Having had to attend quite a few funerals these past months, we knew we had to undertake the task of explaining death, eternity, and heaven to our children. It’s not that they’ve never heard of death before, but this was close to home for them. In particular, the sister in Christ that I mentioned in my previous post, who passed away from cancer, was very dear to our family. Affectionately called “Grandma” by our children, they had grown accustomed to the many visits we had with her. But, with so many visits, the children also witnessed the physical effects the cancer had on her. They knew she was sick, but simply thought she would get better again.
On the morning that the Lord took her home, my husband and I sat down with each child to discuss what had taken place. Chase, our 3-year-old, quietly listened but didn’t ask any questions. Our 7-year-old Gabriel also just listened quietly. Both boys understood what had happened. They knew she was no longer here with us but in heaven with Jesus. But, they weren’t emotional at all. On the other hand, our 5-year-old daughter, Tamara, was the complete opposite, which was not a surprise to us. She wept. She also expressed her fears of death. To her, death means separation from those she loves. She kept saying between sobs, “I don’t want to die. I’m gonna miss my mommy and daddy and my brothers.” It was a God-appointed opportunity for us to talk about the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, that when He died on the cross for our sins, He effectively removed the sting of death from us. To those who believe in Him, death means being with Him forever in heaven. Her sobbing eventually subsided, and like most 5-year-olds, she was off playing and all smiles again.
But, I believe it was still on her mind because later, I noticed her sitting at the table, looking rather pensive. Then, she said something that just melted my heart. “Mommy, if I die and go to heaven, I think Grandma will hold my hand if you and Daddy are not there yet.” I just smiled and said, “Yes, she will, sweetie. Yes, she will.”
(Photo credit: Close to Home)