…..unfortunately is a part of life.
My sister in law passed away last night in her home surrounded by her adult children and loved ones. She had suffered from that evil disease cancer for too long. She fought the good fight.
But how does one deal with death and young children? How do we teach them that as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we do NOT have to fear death?
I am by no means an expert, nor do I pretend to be. All I can share is my experiences.
We have dealt with many deaths in our 35 years of marriage. The first as parents was my great grandmother. My children were around 2 and 4 years of age. After discussing and praying about it, my husband and I felt it would be best for the kids to go to the visitation.
They were young and did not have a real emotional attachment to her. She had been in an assisted living for a number of years and did not really know her. Some of our friends and family questioned the wisdom in our decision, but we did what we thought was best.
It allowed us to start the ongoing conversation about heaven and what a believer faced. It became more real to them as we faced the next six years.
“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
And I still believe it was for the best. You see, only two years later my dad…their “PaPa” passed suddenly of a heart attack. They knew him, they loved him and they needed to be able to see him. That was the first of many deaths that my children had to deal with at a very young age.
I remember well the day that my eldest asked me, “Mom, who is dying next?” In four years we lost 13 family members or friends.
So death became a very real part of living in our home. My boys grew up dealing with it and subsequently as friends passed during their high school years, or others in their lives or girlfriend’s/wives’ lives…they had experienced grief.
I did talk to a counselor about how young ones handled grief. As they age and mature they deal with the reality of death. I remember one day two years after my dad passed I caught my youngest crying about “PaPa” and how much he missed him. It was totally out of the blue…but it was very real to him at the time.
I guess I would have to ask the kids now that they are adults their opinion on our decision, but I think they would agree that they were better prepared than some of their peers.
Be it right or wrong…choose what is best for your family.
IN CHRIST ALONE
*pixabay, google image, NIV Bible