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The Talk

March 30, 2010

Explaining death is never easy. Especially when you’re talking to a four-year-old that is full of questions. Unfortunately last week I learned this the hard way when I lost a very close aunt and had to explain to Princess #1 why “Mommy’s sad.” I’ll admit, at first I wasn’t quite sure what to say, so I gave her a very basic answer and changed the subject.

Then I did some research and I bought the book, God Gave Us Heaven by Lisa Tawn Bergren. She understands that she has some relatives in heaven (those that died before she was born), and this book did an excellent job of explaining heaven in further detail.

Later when it came up again I was prepared to explain death a little better. I’m not sure if all of this will work for you, but here’s my  answer to her. It seems to have answered her questions, at least for now.

“Mommy is sad because her Aunt died and I won’t be able to talk to her, hug her or see her again. She lives with God in heaven now and I’m going to miss her a whole lot.” In explaining what dying meant, I said, “People, animals and plants die when their body doesn’t work anymore.

Usually this happens when a person has lived a REALLY REALLY REALLY long time, but sometimes it happens when people get very sick and a doctor can’t fix them. This is when they are ready to go live with God in heaven. And we know God is very nice and loves us all very much, so he takes very good care of them. Just like he takes very good care of us.” I then went on to explain the beauty found in heaven.

This was a very draining exercise, but it actually helped me, too. It gave me a chance to talk about death in a healthy way, to not focus so much on my grief, but on the fact that my aunt is no longer hurting. She is in paradise.

Princess 1 is probably going to bring it up again, because I saw her wheels turning. And I’m not sure how this information is going to come out when she decides to share her newfound knowledge (which I’m sure will happen at an awkward time…), but at least I feel like I’ve explained it to her on a four-year-old level.

*RIP Aunt Gwenda. There are no words to express just how much you impacted me, my life and the way I try to live. In your memory I will continue to try to be a good, God-fearing person. A woman full of love, compassion and joy. Love you much Auntie!

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