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Eagle Mountain, Utah, United States
My name is Lauren, and I live in the bubble. I am wife to Marshall, the biggest BYU fan in the world; and mother to Carly, our big girl, and Wes, our wild man, and Calvin, our new addition. I graduated BYU with a degree in Social Work, and I went forth to serve at LDS Family Services. I like scrapbooking and going out to eat at nice restaurants. I am fascinated by new cleaning products at the grocery store, so I have to shop in wide circles around the perimeter to avoid the temptation to buy. I love chocolate.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Death and three-year-olds

As I mentioned previously, we are reading the Book of Mormon with Carly. It's been going great and has given opportunity to learning more about many life and gospel topics. Sin, repentance, baptism, temples, obedience. It always surprises me which topics or stories spark her interest.

The topic that has had the greatest impact on her?  Death.

It all started when we got to the point where Lehi died. Carly was devastated.
"Nephi's daddy died?! Noooo!"  I explained that, yes, Lehi died. Everyone eventually died.

Wrong way to go.

"Are you going to die?" Yes, Carly, someday I'll die.
Full blown tears and sobbing. "I don't want you do die!!"
Don't worry, I won't die any time soon. People get old before they die.
"Old like grandpas?" Yes, yes! I'll be a grandma first before I die.
A little more hysterical "Will my grandma and grandpa die?"
Ummmm.... yes, someday they'll die. But not anytime soon.
Sobbing. "I don't want them to die!!"
Honey, everyone dies someday. It's a normal part of life.
"Will my daddy die?! I don't want my daddy to die.  I love him too much!"
Yes, he will die too, but not until you are much older. And when we die it's so happy! We get to go to heaven and see all of our family who has already died.
"I'M GOING TO DIE??" Fully distressed at this point.
Yes, someday you'll die too, but not for a very long time. And dying isn't scary or sad.

We hugged it out and I thought that conversation was over. I was wrong.

She has brought up death and questioned Marshall and I repeatedly in the last month whether we are still going to die. Always hoping we'll just lie to her. We've repeatedly acknowledged her fears and then reminded her how normal death is, and how our family is forever so we'll see each other again soon after death. And we've talked about life after death. And about temples and eternity. About how this life is 3 parts, and we are in the 2nd part now, and how it wasn't sad when we were born and left the pre-existence. We've compared it to going on a trip and being reunited later. And really done everything we can to calm her anxiety and not traumatize her any further.

But she still brings it up randomly, and bursts into tears at the thought of one of us or her grandparents dying.

So today we're finishing up 2nd Nephi, and we get to a part about Christ dying. It was just awful. Worse than Lehi dying. "Jesus DIED?! Waaaaa!"

I stopped and we talked about death again. About it's necessity, normalcy. We talked about why Jesus offered to die, because He loved us so much. Talked a bit about the atonement and being free of sin. She was still sniffling when we moved on.

The next chapter was about Resurrection.

Am I really THAT stupid? Really? Why didn't I bring up resurrection any time in this last month?

I explain to Carly that after 3 days, Jesus woke up and His spirit went back into His body, and He was alive again. I explained that Jesus overcame death, and that because He did, we ALL will overcome death someday. I explained that after we die, and our spirits go to Heaven and hang out with our families, after a while we are allowed to go back and get in our bodies again and not be dead anymore.

I watched the BIGGEST smile come across her tear stained face. Puffy, red eyes looked hopeful. "Someday, after you die, you won't be dead anymore?" That's right! After we die, we get to be resurrected and come back to life. Because Jesus did it first.

And it's over! After a month of drawing out my 3-year-old's traumatizing exploration of death, I finally have the answer to her fears. And of course it was the most basic answer. I mean, what comforted Christ's friends when he died? They knew about life after death, but they were still sad. Sad is normal, even when we know how temporary this state is. But seeing resurrection, seeing the promise of eternal life in real-time, that was what comforted Mary at the tomb. And just knowing that it happened comforted my Carly.


Alyssa said...

We have had the death talk a lot lately too, although Max is the opposite, he wants to know when we can die and be up in Heaven, not so much worried about losing any of us! Oh to be young again :)

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