Sunday, January 22, 2012
Caleb: "Mom? What did you do with Joshua's body after he died? Did you bury him in the ground in the parks with the statues?"
I have dreaded that question for over a year.
Caleb has been thinking a lot about death and sickness lately, and I knew that it was just a matter of time before that question came up.
Crap. Crap. Crap.
We have always been open and honest with our children about Joshua. They have seen us grieve and they know that they are always free to grieve however they need to. They know that it's ok to cry or to ask questions. They also know that we will always tell them the truth about life and death.
Today was no exception.
"Well. When people die, sometimes they get buried in the ground. After a long time, their bodies start to rot, like a piece of fruit that has been sitting on the counter for too long. After their bodies rot for a while, they turn back into dust. We were made from dust, and after we die, we turn back into dust."
"But Mom? Did you bury Joshua? Is he dust in the ground now?"
"No sweetie. We didn't bury Joshua. We cremated him. When you cremate someone, it means that their body goes into an oven and that makes them turn into dust much quicker than when they get buried in the ground."
"Joshua went into an oven? Did it hurt him?"
"No, remember? What was inside him, his soul, is in Heaven. His body is dead. He couldn't feel anything because when someone dies, their body doesn't work or feel or breathe any more. He didn't feel the heat in the oven at all. Joshua's dust is right there on that shelf. Do you want to see it?"
We pulled the box down off the shelf and showed him Joshua's ashes.
Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap.
Why does this stuff have to be so hard?
I know life isn't fair, but I struggle to find the fairness in having to explain death to a 5 year old and 3 year old.
This pealed back a whole new layer of grief for Caleb. He's starting to be old enough to understand and he is asking some tough questions. It would be so easy to lie to him and fluff over these questions, but Shane and I both feel strongly that it's important to be truthful and to help him learn how to deal with the truth. I wish there was a manual explaining the best way to deal with this stuff.
I wasn't ready for that question. But, whew...I'm glad it's over.