It’s twenty-three degrees and tiny snowflakes lodge in clumps of brittle grass and into corners of the deck.
The email comes of Grandpa Joe’s death, and we all pause. Stomping up the downstairs’ kids in our odd intercom-manner, they tramp up the steps, and I read it aloud. They listen quietly, soberly, then smile in fond remembrance, and head back downstairs to grieve him as they study.
Death is new to Daniel. Four years old, full of comic book heroes and Bible stories, death is more of a temporary time-out for him. Perhaps he has it right, actually.
I crouch low, looking him in the eyes. “Great-grandpa Joe just died. When you die, you get to go to heaven with Jesus.”
“I want to die and be with Jesus!” Daniel quickly decided. “I want you to die and go too – all of us.”
“Yes, well,” I pause, swallow a laugh. “Jesus is the boss of that. He gets to decide when we go to heaven, and we stay here until then. Okay?”
I look into his eyes and hug him close. “Should we look at pictures of Grandpa Joe?” Daniel leaps excitedly and we pull up digital albums, looking at Christmas pasts. He leans in.
Temporarily stepping out of time…
I think he has it right after all.
I love hearing from you and talking with you.How have you talked about death with your own kids? Or what helped you when you were little? (To join the conversation from email, click here. Thanks.)