Explaining the Inevitable

This past weekend was a three-day weekend for us. Not that we could tell. David mostly works from home, so other than him running downstairs around 7:30AM each day I have no way of knowing if it’s Tuesday or Saturday. You know…because I don’t own a calendar.

When it is Saturday, I get to sleep in. David wakes up with the kids and I get to sleep in until 8:15 or so. That’s about two extra hours of sleep. Alone. In my bed. Two glorious hours asleep sprawled out across the bed; arm draped across my face and possibly even some drool hanging out in the corner of my mouth. Like the visual? Good. I knew you would.

Last Saturday when I finally dragged my lazy butt out to the family room take over kid patrol so David could get some schoolwork done, he told me, before he headed downstairs, that Chloe had made him sad this morning. I didn’t get a chance to ask why, but I found out shortly after.

Chloe was over at the train table playing with her dolls when she turned to me and said, “Momma, I don’t want to die when I get older.”

If I wasn’t awake yet, that statement did it. Affecting my wise mommy façade I told her, “Chloe, you’re not going to die until you’re really old. It won’t be until after you get married, have lots of babies and your babies have lots of babies. You’ll probably be a great grandma. And you’re hair will be gray.”

Then she said, “But I will miss you and Dadda when I die.”

Holding back tears now, I explained, “You will be so old when you die that Dadda and I will have already died and gone to heaven. When you get old and die you will see us again there.”

“But Momma, will I be able to move my arms and legs? Will I be able to play? Will I be alive again?”

Leave it to Chloe to ask the important questions. Okay, she’s going to die when she is really old, she will be with Mommy and Daddy in heaven, but will she be able to play?

“When you die your body will be buried in the ground and your spirit will go up to heaven, you’ll be able to hang out with Dadda and me and we will play all you want.” I also said that because she will be so old when she dies that Irelyn and Grayson will be really old too, and we’d all be together again.

Which piqued Irelyn’s interest and she had an important question too, “Momma, when we die, will we be able to eat?”

“Ah,” I said, “Well, you probably won’t need to eat in heaven. But, if you want to, I am sure you can.”

The girls were satisfied with what I had told them and went back to playing. Chloe asked if I wanted to watch one of her stories (she likes to act out stories with dolls and action figures).

“Sure,” I said.

Chloe gathered her toys and set them up. “This is a story about how Robin gets old and dies.”

I watched as Batman and Robin fought bad guys and leaped over Smurfs to reach Pinkie Pie (from My Little Pony) to rescue her.

Then, at the end, Robin said to Batman, “I don’t want to die.”

“Everyone dies when they get old Robin,” replied Batman.

And then Robin fell.

9 thoughts on “Explaining the Inevitable

    • Lacey says:

      She is a funny girl, even when talking about death. :/ When your son starts asking I’d just go with your whatever your mommy instinct is telling you is the right answer.

  1. Donna O'Neil says:

    My daughter has been asking questions about death and she is almost 4. First it started with our old cat who we think is probably going to die soon and she overheard us talking about it. Now every day when she comes home from Preschool she runs looking for the cat and says “Figaro is not dead yet.” My hubby’s grandmother passed away the other day and he told her that he was sad. Now she gets all misty eyed and says with her arms lovingly around my neck “Mommy, I don’t want you to die,” Totally makes me want to cry. Of course I tell her it won’t be for a long time but for a 4 year old time is a weird thing.

    • Lacey says:

      Time is weird for them. Chloe doesn’t quite understand when “the weekend” is (she usually thinks it’s the following day even if it’s Monday) so I can’t even imagine what she thinks when I tell her that it won’t happen until she is a great grandmother.

  2. jessica says:

    My oldest went through a phase where he asked about death all the time, it was sad but only lasted for a bit. BTW I love your daughter’s story she acted out for you

    • Lacey says:

      She is my storyteller! Her stories are even better when death isn’t involved. :) She seems to have already forgotten about this whole death thing, which is good – for my heart.

  3. Velle says:

    Such an effective, honest answer, and your Wise Mommy Façade obviously works! Shall be keeping this answer in mind when my turn comes. It’s sobering, isn’t it. Imagining the end.

  4. Leanne says:

    Aww! we have these discussions a lot in our house. Our 7 year old has been asking very in depth questions since he was 4, and our 3 year old is starting to get curious about it, since our hamster just died…
    at Christmas time our son asked if they have birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas, and I said “well, I don’t see why not! It must be quite the party up there!” and my hubby added “and I betcha they eat Angel Food Cake!” harharhar!

    Signing up as a new follower, I love the posts I’ve read so far!

    Leanne @ Because (I think) I Can

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