"When will I die?"

I was watching the girls play with their dolls yesterday when I heard Angie say, “Barbie is getting ready to go to Tinker Bell’s funeral.”

“What?” I asked, not sure I’d heard right.

“Tinker Bell died, so everyone’s going to her funeral,” Angie said, then proceeded to get her dolls ready for the funeral.

Image source: www.freeimages.net (andrewatla)
Image source: www.freeimages.net (andrewatla)

We began our year on a somber note with a trip to the Northern Cape for Jacques’ uncle’s funeral. The girls came with us and while Angie asked a lot of questions, Emmy seemed content to go with the flow.

We’ve never shied away from talking about death. Last year, a little boy at the girls’ preschool died quite suddenly, and Angie still talks about him and how he’s in heaven now. Before then, Angie had only known older people who had died, so we explained that God gives each person a certain number of years on earth before He calls them home to heaven. Some people, like Uncle Eric and Uncle Clive and Ouma Saai, are here for a long time but others, like little Wandipha, are only with us for a short while.

Her natural response was to ask, “When will I die?” I said that is something only God knows.

“In my Father’s house are many rooms. Soon I will go and make them ready for you.” – John 14:2

A while ago I did a simple craft where Angie glued pieces of a house together. I shared the above verse with her and told her that one day, when we go to heaven, Jesus will have prepared a place for us.

I hope that we’re doing a good enough job of communicating; I don’t want to instil any fear of death in our children. I want them to understand that, as believers in Jesus, death is not the end but, rather, the door to eternity.

“But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.” – Philippians 3:20

Image source: www.freeimages.com (Mattox)
Image source: www.freeimages.com (Mattox)

Death is part of life, and I’m not going to freak out when Angie includes funerals in her games. I would rather have frequent, if difficult, conversations about death than none at all. At least I know she’s processing the information and trying to understand instead of bottling it up inside.

How do you handle the topic of death with your children?

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