Monday, July 20, 2009

Kids and Death

Wow, I can only say this last week I have felt almost every emotion I can imagine. Last Sunday as we traveled out to Springfield, IL I debated how much I should shield my kids from what was happening with grandpa. When we arrived in Springfield, JA dropped me off at the hospital and I was able to sit with grandpa (he was in a stage 4 coma) for awhile.

The next morning we brought the kids in to meet grandpa and they sang some songs to grandpa. Then JA and Joel took them out to the park, and later they were in and out of grandpa's room. Tuesday was very similar to Monday.

Wednesday morning my grandfather died, and other than telling them that grandpa was no longer in the hospital, but he was now in heaven I wasn't going to expose them to more. But then, Friday night was the wake at the funeral home. JA and I took the kids, but we really didn't know what to expect from them. I am amazed at how much the girls were able to pick up on. I think Kara started to understand when my little brother came back from viewing grandpa and was bawling. Kara started crying, and I left her with someone while I took Lydia up to go see grandpa. In front of grandpa I asked Lydia where grandpa was, and she said right there. I took that opportunity to explain that grandpa's body was right there, but that he was now in heaven singing to Jesus.

I wasn't going to push Kara. I decided to let her go at her own rate. After she saw her cousin Corbyn went up to talk with grandpa, Kara decided she wanted to go, and she literally dragged me up there.

Kara stared at grandpa and said "Grandpa's not there"
Mom : "Where is grandpa?
Kara: "In heaven"
Mom: "What is he doing in Heaven?"
Kara: "Singing"

Later during the wake, I was sitting up front by my mom, and Kara came up to me. (She had colored a picture for Grandpa at the hospital and Dorothy wanted it to be put in the casket with Grandpa). I told her that we were going to put it in the casket and she responded "I want Grandpa to take it with him to heaven." I then had to explain to her that when we die we can't take things to heaven with us. Then she replied "When Oma goes to heaven will she take gobstoppers with her if they are in her pocket?"

Some other fun things the kids said were:

Daddy to Lydia: God called Grandpa home to heaven
Daddy the next day: We are going home
Lydia: Are we going to heaven now? How to we get to heaven?
Lydia on the way home: God told us to go home. Daddy, did Jesus say we have to go home?

Lydia: I miss my grandpa. Can I go to heaven and see my grandpa? How do I go to heaven?
Kara: "One way God says to get to heaven, Jesus is the only way" (singing)

As we walked away from the gravesite, Lydia exclaimed "Mommy, we forgot to plant grandpa in the ground." -- I had explained earlier to the girls that we were going to plant grandpa's body in the ground so that when Jesus comes back grandpa's body would go up to Jesus.

Last night after I put them to bed in their own beds for the first time in a week, Lydia woke up and came crying to me "I miss my grandpa" As I tried to calm her down and explain that grandpa was happy in heaven, Kara called out. I'm going to go to heaven when I die and see grandpa.


TwoMuths said...

Wow, Tracy, what an amazing post. I'm sad with you and happy with you too. :-) It's fantastic how much your oldest kiddos were able to express and how you were able to see that they understood to some extent. I'll be praying for you as you miss your grandfather!

dan and cheryl forbes said...

What a wonderful story! Praying for your family.... Jenny Muth's mom