How in the world do you explain death to a 3 year old?
It doesn't help much that Bryson is the most curious little booger ever. He wants to know exactly how everything works, why it works that way, what happens next, etc... Mama Pearlie's passing has brought on all of those tough questions about death that I don't guess you're ever really prepared to explain. Since Jay was asked to officiate the funeral he was a little bit pre-occupied so that left me to deal with the questions. It has brought quite a bit of humor with it though.
I was always a little iffy on the "he/she went to heaven" line. I kind of felt like that wasn't my place to tell people and what if I was lying...you know-typical over thinker that I am. Well, clearly people tell children that because it's the easiest way to try and help them make some since of death without scaring them and saying "he/she may be in heaven but they might be in hell too, we just don't know". I realized this pretty quickly and went with the "she's in heaven" bit. When we were getting ready to go to the visitation he asked
"So now we'll just go visit Mama Pearlie at the funeral home & not the nursing home? I just want to go to the nursing home."
I told him the we were visiting her there for a couple of days so we could say goodbye before she went to heaven.
"Oh, okay, okay." (his resonse for almost everything)
In the car on the way to the funeral home it continued:
"Well, what's that heaven close to? Is that heaven over there with the black mailbox?"
I explained that it was the same heaven where God & Jesus are and when we pray 'Father in heaven' that was what we were talking about.
"Well, can we go visit her there in heaven?"
So I told him if we're really good and do all the things God tells us to do then we'll get to go there one day. Now I really felt like I had made some progress. Getting the ole message in there...maybe it'll stick a little bit.
Like I said in the previous post, the kids were able to visit Mama Pearlie the day before her death. Her mind was coming and going in the end and while the kids were there she kept talking about needing to cook a turkey. Well ever since then Bryson keeps saying "Mama Pearlie sure does want to cook that turkey. Can I eat some?" I think he reminded every single person at the funeral home that she really just needed some turkey.
I know opinions are vast on letting kids view bodies at funeral homes but for our kids I thought it was best. I thought it would confuse them even more if they never saw her again. They did totally fine with it. They kept wanting to see her "just one more time". Every time we went to potty at the funeral home Bryson would ask "Is it okay to flush it or will that wake Mama Pearlie up?"
When it came time for the funeral, there was so much family that it overfilled the designated family section so we were seated in the main chapel. When they brought the casket in, Bryson yells "Why did they close Mama Pearlie's little door?" (on the casket) Well, Jay preached the funeral-thankfully Ashley was there to help me with the kids and then it came time for them to take the casket out to the car. Bryson asks, as loudly as possible "Where are they taking Mama Pearlie?! Are they gonna roll her around the house?"
Ahhh....3 years old. Lovely age. It's just so hard to explain the events. The concept of a soul and body are hard enough for me to understand much less relay them to a 3 year old. Kynsley just rolls with whatever. I don't know if it's her age or that she's just that much like me but she was just happy to be there. She wanted to stay right with the body at the funeral home though. She didn't want to leave Mama Pearlie's side (except for when Pawpaw took them to the break room for crackers and pizza of course). Overall the kids were extrememly well behaved. I was pretty proud of them throughout everything.