Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Five Year Old's Take On Death

So Lil'Bro was upset the other night. I don't even recall how the subject came up. It could have started as innocently as speculating what all will be in heaven. However it came about, Lil'Bro became very withdrawn and upset about dying.

It was after bath time and the boys were freshly dried and pajama'd. They were lying in my bed enjoying time under my ginormous comforter. But Lil'Bro was anxious. Pokemon Boy and I asked what was wrong and he just kept saying, "I just don't want to die." At moments like these, I always mentally slap my head and think, "Why did we take this avenue of discussion?" I brought up all of the usual things that never seem to lift the fears:
  • It won't happen for a long long time. You don't need to worry about it now. [Which is akin to "Think about something else," an equally useless statement.]
  • It's only the end to this physical life and the beginning of our new life forever with God!
  • We finally get to meet Jesus and ask him anything!
  • We get to meet everyone who has gone before us (and start listing cool people from history and the bible).
  • God has a plan for you and that includes a long life.
  • [Insert feeble attempt to put a positive spin on death for a 5 yr old here]
I just couldn't reach back far enough into the dark recesses of my dusty childhood memory to recall the exact source of anxiety surrounding the concept of death.

I tried, "Is it because you'll miss all the people that you'll leave here?" A weak nod. Pokemon Boy cheerfully offered, "Well, mom will go before you so she'll already BE there!" True, albeit morbid. But that's the plan, anyway.

We went on like this for a few minutes and real tears were forming in Lil'Bro's eyes. It was killing me. I hate moments like this. Finally, between sniffs, Lil'Bro said, "I just don't want to leave Buddy [his favorite stuffed animal]." Oh. Now I get it. Man, it broke my heart. I was flooded with those feelings of absolute love and loyalty I had as a kid to certain stuffed animals, blankets and, later, pets. Oh yah. I get it. I couldn't imagine the fear he felt at the thought of having to leave Buddy behind.

"You know," I started, "God can do anything. And I bet he could even make sure Buddy was in heaven with you. I bet God will make sure heaven is so wonderful for you. And if he thinks you need Buddy there with you, God can get Buddy in heaven for you." He smiled. And hugged Buddy closer.

Now, I have no idea what heaven will be like. Much to the dismay of my boys. They pepper me with questions about it all the time. I'm not Paul. I'm not privy to what heaven will be like. I just know it will rock beyond anything I can come up with. So while God might not have Buddy up in heaven? It will be so awesome, we won't care. But I also know that what I said wasn't a lie. If God can poof the entire cosmos into being with a single word, I have no doubt he could have Buddy in heaven for Lil'Bro. Either way, I'm not worried about it. And I didn't want Lil'Bro to worry about it. Just know God will make it rock so much we won't know what to DO with it all.

Anyway, thought I'd just share this because it seriously was one of the sweetest and most heart-rending moments I've had lately.


Allie said...

Wow... it's weird trying to remember your first awareness of death.
Interesting post. I hope Lil' Bro doesn't worry too much anymore!

C. Beth said...

Sooooo sweet. I think your answer to him was perfect!

Trish Ryan said...

I'm pretty sure I saw something somewhere in the Bible about how Buddy will absolutely be in heaven. Maybe it's that part about "beyond all we can ask or imagine"???
Nice job, Mom :)