Now, let me say that we don't really like to talk about anything or anyone dying--not even fictional or inanimate objects. Even in Adam's video games, when characters would kill each other, when the boys were little we would just say they're "knocked out" (of course, they probably shouldn't have been watching in the first place, but oh well). To this day, they'll still usually say "knocked out" when they mean dead. We also don't go to church (unless a relative is being baptized or someone is getting married--but that's a discussion for a different time) so I don't really know how much they understand the concept of heaven.
So in response to me saying that great grandpa went to heaven, Logan said "that's dead, right?" and Aidan said "you mean knocked out?" I had debated whether to tell them at all because I really wanted to keep them sheltered. I didn't want to expose them to the reality that someone you love can die. I'm sure they already realize that to some extent, but I didn't want to burst that bubble for good and scare them. I tried to put as positive a spin on it as I could, so I said he's in a good place now in heaven. He had been sick for a while, but he lived a very long and happy life and was lucky to have a lot of people who loved him very much.
I could tell they were upset, so I made sure to tell them they didn't need to be scared that the same thing would happen to mommy or daddy anytime soon. I may have led them to believe that only old people die, because that was just easier and I didn't really know what to say. It's not every day you have to tell your kids someone died, so I was just sort of winging it. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get to it (hopefully never!)...
I also explained to them that when someone you love dies, it's okay to be sad but you should think of as many happy and good things about that person as you can, and you celebrate their life. And that was why daddy had to go up to Indiana for the funeral, so he could celebrate his grandpa's life with the people who loved him the most.
Even though they didn't know their great grandpa (Aidan was a baby the last time he was well enough to be down here so Logan never knew him at all), they were sad. They said they were sad for daddy and grandma Cheryl. I'm so proud of their compassion. Even if we've sheltered too much from certain realities in life, at least we've taught them compassion.
|Rest in peace, grandpa. You will be missed, but your memory will forever live on with those that loved you.|