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Death in a child's eyes

Death is a difficult topic for an adult, but then when you have to explain it to a child, it becomes a bit more complex.  Recently, my husband and I had to have this discussion with our children. Our 2-year-old didn't really pay attention, but our 5-year-old was very curious.

Before the viewing and funeral, we talked to our daughter about Grandma passing away and that she was now in Heaven. There were many questions about whether or not we could still visit Grandma and when we would all go to Heaven. Talking about our own mortality wasn't especially fun for me as a mom, especially when my daughter said she wanted to go to Heaven now to be with Grandma and Jesus.

Then, we got to the viewing and, after much discussion with my husband, we decided we would take the kids. When our daughter walked in and saw Grandma's body, she immediately asked if we were in Heaven - tears immediately came to my eyes. Questions continued about why she could see Grandma but she wasn't really here. How do you answer these? I finally settled on saying that Grandma was now asleep forever on Earth, but awake with God and Jesus in Heaven.

So, this inevitably led to a Mama Law moment of my daughter telling everyone who came after us, into the viewing, that Grandma was already dead. But, it was said in such a cheerful voice because my daughter knows that, while Grandma's dead here on Earth, she's alive and well in Heaven.

My daughter may not fully understand the adult emotions that come with death, but she knows - and is excitedly anticipating - there is something far greater than here on Earth.

...I'm still working on teaching her the difference between wanting to go to Heaven NOW versus being ready to go when it's our time.

The love of and for a Grandma. There's nothing quite like it.

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