This is not a conversation I ever wanted to have with my kids. I was hoping they'd all be 8 or 9 or older when death became real to them -- and we'd be able to communicate truth in a way they could understand.
But the hard reality is that death is just as much a part of our world as the sunrise and the sunset. We are living in a creation that is broken and needs redemption. Death and separation will one day be a distant memory, but for now, we have to make sense of it as best we can with our children.
Spring and Easter are great times to talk about life and death -- seasons and changes. As they see the snow melt and the grass appear once more, you can use these visual, tangible elements to make connections.
But it's never easy, that's for sure. Just this morning, on the way to school, I check out my baby boy Jonny in the mirror and he's blinking too fast, lips pouting in a way I'm all too familiar with.
"Jon Michael, what's wrong?"
(sniffing) "I'm really gonna miss you when you die, Mom."
(me falling apart inside) "Aw, buddy, you don't have to worry about that! Mommy's not gonna die for a very long time!" (please please please Jesus please please Jesus)
"But I'm gonna miss you and Daddy when you die..." (Oh help us all, he's wiping his eyes now....)
"Buddy, you listen now. When someone dies, it just means you don't see them for awhile. But since we both have Jesus in our hearts and we love Him so much, it means we'll be together FOREVER someday!!"
Sometimes being a mother is just impossible, isn't it? You don't have the answers that make the tears stop; you don't have the magic words that make everything okay.
What matters is that Christ at the center, always the center. He's writing my kids' life stories. Not me. When (not if) they go through dark tunnels of pain or confusion, He's there. He will glorify Himself and He will redeem all that the enemy has meant for evil. Amen and Amen!