April 8, 2011

life lessons for a 3 year old

In December an uncle of mine passed away.  I was able to take the day off from work to attend the funeral since it was in Noble.  I rode down with my parents and brought Kiera with me.  Some people may think this was strange that I would take a 3 year old to a funeral but Kiera is very well behaved in public, and she is old enough to somewhat grasp the concept of what death is.   

Before we arrived at the church I had a discussion with Kiera about what happened to Uncle.  I explained that he was old(er), his body was tired, and decided it was time to rest forever, kind of like going to sleep and never waking up.  I told her Uncle was happy to sleep, and we did not need to be sad but happy because we were able to have him in our lives and this is what he wanted.  I know this because my aunt said "He was never in a hurry for anything in his life until it was time to meet the good Lord...". 

I am sure some of you are wondering why we didn't tell her "Uncle is in heaven now" or something to that effect.  Jimmy and I want Kiera to make the decision for herself when she is old enough to understand what a religion is .  If she decides she wants to be a Christian, Mormon, Catholic, Wicca or whatever else is out there we will support her as long as she lives her life as a good and decent human being.  We try our hardest to instill good morals and values and to be kind, loving, and accepting towards all living things.

So the funeral is over and we all walk by to say our final goodbyes to Uncle.  I told Kiera "See he looks like he is asleep" and she just says "Yeah" in a sweet little voice.  We are standing at the back of the church now waiting for the rest of the family and she tells me she wants to go back up to touch him.  I told her no and that we just needed to hang back because his wife needed some time with him to say goodbye.  For some reason I was concerned with what my family would think but knowing darn well they wouldn't care because she was just curious.  I usually give my loved one a pat on the hand or a kiss on the cheek if you are my grandparent.

When we got to the cemetery I explained that Uncle was in the box which is like a super comfy bed (not that I would actually know what it felt like since I have never been in one), and they were going to put the box in the hole that was in the ground and cover him with beautiful flowers.  Then I explained what all of the headstones were and how you never want to step on them because it's just not nice.

Uncle was also a bus driver (so is my Aunt, that's how they met!).  A close friend of his of his actually drove Uncle's bus to lead the procession to the cemetery.  Kiera loves buses so I got a pic of her sittin' in his seat. 
J. Bus

A couple times since then she has asked me about death and it is always hard to talk to her about but it has to be done.  She will then start naming off people she doesn't want to die.  Those are some hard words to hear coming out of your child's mouth.   
Just last week while I was driving her to my in-laws we passed by a cemetery. 
Here is how the conversation went...

"Mama are there people over there"

"Yes, remember they are sleeping forever."  

"But Mama I want them to wake up and be well so they can come and be with us." 
(never mind that they are strangers, she has love for all people.  YAY!)

"I know you do sweetie."

"Mama I'm going to miss you"

The only thing I could say with out bawling was "Well hopefully we don't have to worry about that for a very long time"...and then I quickly changed the subject.  I can't even type that conversation without getting all teary eyed.  She has turned me to mush. 

But she gets it. 

What a beautiful little heart and mind she has after such a short time of existence.

Maybe we are doing something right after all...

1 comment:

ella@lifeologia said...

oh what a little sweet heart...
It is such a hard discussion I am sure.
We haven't been affected with death in the family in the recent years for her to witness a funeral and such and of course I wish this doesn't happen for a long long time...
I also agree with you about keeping things neutral and not pointing to a specific religion. I think they learn with more clarity that way.
Very touching. Definitely hit a soft spot in my heart ;)

Big Hugs!

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