". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Talking About Death With a Five-Year-Old

Scene: Last night, snuggling in bed with Evan

"Mommy, I'm sad that Granddad died."

"I know, honey. I'm sad, too."

"I won't get to see him anymore. "

"I know, Evan. We all miss him. But Granddad was hurting a lot. He's not hurting now. It's better for him this way."

"I don't ever want to die. I wish I could go to heaven without dying."

"Well, honey, you never know. You might get to if Jesus comes back soon. But try not to worry about dying. People who believe in Jesus never really die. They just go to a different place."

"But Granddad believed in Jesus and he died."

"His body died. But his soul didn't die. As soon as you die you'll be with Jesus and it won't even seem like you died. You'll look dead to the people who are still alive because your body will still be here. But your soul will be with Jesus. And when he comes back, he'll raise your body and take it to be with your soul in Heaven with Him."

"Daddy's grandma and grandpa and grandmother and granddad are all dead?"

"Yes, honey, and mine, too."

"That's sad."


"I won't ever see them."

"No, not until you get to heaven. But then you'll get to see them all, and they will be so happy to see you. It will be like a party!"

Evan has also expressed sadness about never getting to meet our former dog. She was a fixture in our household for 17 years--until my oldest was about 9--and he has heard many stories about her and seen pictures of her. It strikes me that Evan's extreme extroversion may make him feel more acutely the deprivation of not having met these animals and people of the past and the pain of never again in this life being able to see loved ones who have died. He has cried about it before and he cried again--hard--last night. Finally I got to the point that I just wrapped my arms around him and cried with him, saying, "It's going to be okay, Evan. It's going to be okay. It's going to be okay."

To the moms and dads out there: is there anything different you would have said if you had been in my place last night? I am not good at calling Scripture to mind in situations like this. Is there a particular passage that might comfort his five-year-old heart?


Anonymous said...

I think I would have done just what you did. My children have each gone through that same process several times and it usually happens when they are very tired. They certainly need the assurance of their place in heaven as well as the loved ones' place, but I think the most reassuring thing for my children was the closeness of the hug and the soft quiet voice of Mom telling them that all will be well. Just keep talking to him about what heaven and death are when he is not upset.

You did just fine. I'm sure Evan will be fine, too.

Melanie T.

Cheryl said...

"You did just fine. I'm sure Evan will be fine, too."

Thank you, Melanie!!! Hearing that from another mom helps as much as anything! :-)

mm1985 said...


Wiping the tears from my eyes as I type this out. You gave Evan exactly what he needed. Being extroverted myself, he needed to talk it through and to feel his feelings. Just holding him and crying with him, shows him that it is okay to mourn our losses. But you also gave him the hope we have in Jesus. It's a concept that is hard for a young child to understand. Just keep focusing on Jesus and what He has done for us. Keeping it as simple as possible, which you did, is the best way to handle it.