Talking about Death

Whether or not we talk about it, we all know that death is a certainty in the road ahead of us.

My children attended their first funeral wake over the weekend. It was that of a dear family friend - a long time mentor to my sister. She was an amazing woman with an infectious laughter. She always had an encouraging word to all she met, and a deep love for God and His people. It was the ravage of cancer that claimed her life in just a couple of weeks.

I wanted my children to see how her life was celebrated and to get a glimpse of how people who are grieving can be comforted. I wanted them to see that death need not be a sting, but a celebration of the life that was lived and the life that follows.


On the last day of 2013, I was putting Bubbles to bed and as usual I asked her what thanksgivings she had. I asked that she think about the year that passed (instead of the day, as we usually do on an almost daily basis). She shared a few things, and then suddenly burst into torrents of tears. I was shocked and thought she somehow hurt herself.

Then she said: Mummy, can you pray for God to stop time?
Me: Stop time? But why do you want God to stop time? You have always wanted to be five years old and you will only be five next September. If time is stopped you will not turn five.

Bubbles (sobbing uncontrollably): I don't want to be five anymore. I want to stay four years old.
Me (concerned but puzzled): But why dear, why do you want to stay four?

Bubbles: I don't want time to go on, because I do not want YOU to die.
(She then cried with such sorrow after saying this.)

I was dumbfounded. Then I cried along with her. Then I told her that our real home is in Heaven that lasts forever, and reminded her about how we rejoiced when she decided on her own to accept Jesus into heart a couple of months before.

Bubbles: But can you pray to God for us to have eternal life on earth?

And you know, between that last question, more sobs and lots of assuring hugs later, I cannot even remember what I said to her :(

At the funeral wake the past weekend, she had the opportunity to ask a lot more questions. This time, she wasn't sobbing, and asked questions from a less personal perspective. She wanted to know about dead bodies and why they needed to be buried, for example, and what are souls.

We answered each question as factually as we could, and she would given an intellectual, serious nod each time she understood.

I reckon this will not be the last time we will be talking about these things. I pray that I will be able to answer her questions better in the future, and in ways that will lead her to be able to see death as a natural process that comes with living, and to rejoice that it need not be the end. 

Do you talk to your children about death? How do you do it? 


lilacbutterfly said...

oh, I cried reading this too :'-(

Corsage@A Dollop Of Me said...

Hugs, my dear!