A Doozy of a Discussion

 

Have you struggled through the "death talk"; with your children? This post dives deep into letting the Holy Spirit guide your difficult conversations with your children.

Jessica
Jessica

Well, we survived that rough weekend with our dog almost passing away.  Thank God he’s doing so much better, but I’m looking back on the whole situation and I’m questioning how we handled it with John.  I could tell his almost-four-year-old mind was struggling to comprehend what was going on and process it all.

Jessica
Laura
Laura

Oh goodness!  I’m sure the poor little guy had more than a few questions.  My “favorite” question about death came from Jesse came when he was 3: “Mommy, when you put me in the ground, will you be sad?”  I’m was like, I’m sorry, what?  WHEN I put you in the ground? I was so caught off guard!  All the answers I tried to give him were obviously not what he was wanting to hear because he kept asking the same question!  

Laura
Jessica
Jessica

Oh my gosh – that’s nerve-rattling! 😬  I’m at a loss myself! He could see that we were obviously upset and crying, and we explained that our dog was very sick and he may not come home.  I could tell this was causing John to become very quiet and concerned.  He started asking questions like,  “But we can just go get another dog, right?”  and “When is he going to die?”

Jessica
Laura
Laura

What did you say?

Laura
Jessica
Jessica

Luckily our dog got better so I just kind of brushed it under the rug because I had NO idea what to say! 😖  It’s obvious that John was trying to process it all, and eventually the day will come where we will face a death of a loved one. So help me out – how do I talk to my kids about death??

Jessica
Laura
Laura

I know it’s uncomfortable, but talking to them about something like this is important. When Jesse asked me that question, he was processing some deep thoughts that I had no idea a three-year-old could even understand.  So I think the first thing to keep in mind is that they are able to talk about this (and other hard to understand things).  So don’t be afraid to open up to him.

Laura
Jessica
Jessica

Great points.  I know I don’t always give my kids enough credit for what they are able to comprehend.  

Jessica
Laura
Laura

I think that the hardest part for me was trying to figure out what Jesse wanted to know.  Why did he ask me that question?  I had to think about everything he had been experiencing recently to know why he asked that question in that way.  

Laura
Jessica
Jessica

I hadn’t even thought about digging deeper into the meaning. It could be that they want reassurance, or things explained in a different way to gain understanding, or just to know they are loved.  

Jessica
Laura
Laura

That’s exactly it!  And that’s exactly what Jesse wanted to know.  He needed to know that I loved him, that his daddy loved him.  And guess what? He really NEEDED to know that his Heavenly Father LOVES him always.

Laura
Jessica
Jessica

But man, in those tense moments of questions catching me off guard, or when my mind goes blank on how to respond, how do I find the right words to say?

Jessica
Laura
Laura

Pray and then trial and error!  Every child is different, but in these moments what you have is a wide open door as his mom to teach him the most important truth of all.  Even if it does take few different answers over a few different days to figure this out! I do not want to limit what I tell my kids about “scary” stuff like death because I think he can’t understand it.  The Holy Spirit is at work and is way smarter than I am!

Laura
Jessica
Jessica

I definitely get a little tense thinking about having these conversations, but maybe that’s a good thing.  It shows I have room to grow as I work out the feelings I have toward death.  It also shows that the Holy Spirit can do some work in me and through me, especially as I try to make it understandable for my four-year-old.

Jessica
Laura
Laura

You know, this could be the first open door to his little heart becoming aware of what he really needs: Jesus.  These first conversation about death aren’t easy, but try to embrace it.  Let it lead to more questions.  One day, sadly, your furbaby really will die.  And all of you really will be terribly sad.  Terribly.  Let the Spirit lead you in those conversations.  

Laura
Jessica
Jessica

Thanks for the reminder to embrace it all – even the tough parts of life.

Jessica
Laura
Laura

This is not easy, but because of what Jesus did for us on Easter, we can grieve with hope! I know we are talking about a dog in this case, but it is a great example of how you will grieve a person.  How do you cope with the loss?  You rely on the One who made and loves you.

Laura
Jessica
Jessica

Yes to all of that! 👆 God calls us to have “child-like faith”.  If I can approach this all with the heart of a child and invite the Holy Spirit to guide our conversations, maybe I will be taught a thing or two about death and Jesus and God as well?!  This is all great stuff to keep in mind as Easter approaches. We can process death with the hope of heaven because Jesus made that possible.

Jessica

Soaking in the Truth

Scripture to encourage you:

  • “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?  When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.  And you know the way to where I am going.” (John 14: 1-4, NLT)
  • “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid,  for you are close beside me.  Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” (Psalm 23: 1-4, NLT)
  • “And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18)

Music to inspire you:


Readings to come alongside of you:

  • “But in reality, there’s no escaping it:  every one of us will face difficulty, pressure, grief, pain.  Where will we turn in those moments?  The happy people are the free people.  The happy people are the ones who aren’t addicted to this world, whose hope is in heaven.  The happy people are the ones who don’t fear losing anything on earth because their hope isn’t here.  The happy people are the ones who taste suffering and know that Jesus is enough.  The happy people are the ones who need God and have God!”  Jennie Allen, Nothing to Prove
  • How to Help Your Child Grieve by Candy Arrington
  • Talking to Children about Death by HospiceNet
  • It’s Not How you Start.  It’s How you Finish.  By Sharon Jaynes

Living Out the Truth

Ideas to try:

  • When your kids start asking tough questions, it’s ok to tell them you need a moment to think and to step away from the conversation.  Take that moment to pray and invite the Holy Spirit into your conversation.  The prayer can be as simple as, “Holy Spirit, I invite you to join our conversation and guide the words that I speak.”

 

{These suggestions are ideas from novice moms. Sometimes our life situations need more.  In that case, seeking out professional help is the right call.}

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