Life and Death – Growing In God

We have talked a lot about life and death in our home over the last week.  It’s a heavy topic, but circumstances meant discussing death was unavoidable.

The first thing that happened was that a young mum from our church passed away.  The kids understandably had some questions…

  • Mummy why are you sad?
  • What is a funeral?
  • What happens when people die?
I don’t have all the answers to questions about life and death, but I answered the kids to the best of my ability, at an age appropriate level, according to what I believe.  I’m crying because a very sad thing happened -everybody cries sometimes.  A funeral is like a special church service where thank God for someone’s life, and celebrate what was wonderful about them even though we are sad.  And I believe that when we die, those who have accepted Jesus live forever with Him. 

The second thing that happened was that two of our Gouldian Finch eggs hatched.  The pair had been sitting on four tiny eggs.  Unfortunately a common behaviour of Gouldians is to “pitch” their young.  For a range of reasons, the parents toss their own chicks out of the nest.  Sadly our finches pitched their two chicks, and despite our attempts to return them to the nest, we were unable to save them.  The other two eggs did not hatch.  Again, the kids had questions:

  • Why did they throw their babies?
  • Why didn’t the other eggs hatch?
  • Should we bury them?
  • Why is nature so unfair?
  • Why do some creatures live and some die?

I don’t have all the answers to questions about life and death, but I answered the kids to the best of my ability, at an age appropriate level, according to what I believe.  It is unfair, isn’t it? Sometimes Gouldians pitch their young because the chicks aren’t healthy, and sometimes because they just aren’t ready to be parents yet.  (Aren’t you glad I’m not a Mummy Finch?! I would never pitch you.)  I don’t know why the other two eggs didn’t hatch. Perhaps they didn’t grow properly inside, or maybe the parents didn’t keep them warm enough.  It’s hard to understand, but it’s important to remember that everything that lives – dies one day.  Yes, we can bury them together.  Let’s dig a little hole… 

And thirdly, this weekend is Easter.  Today is Good Friday, the day we reflect on Jesus’ death on the cross.  Sunday is coming, the day we celebrate His resurrection.  And the kids have questions:

  • Why isn’t it called Bad Friday?
  • Why did Jesus die?
  • When can we have Easter eggs?!
I don’t have all the answers to questions about life and death, but I answered the kids to the best of my ability, at an age appropriate level, according to what I believe.  It does seem like a funny name because bad stuff happened and it was really sad when Jesus died on the cross.  But we call it Good Friday because it was good that Jesus came, good that He did all the things God sent Him to do, and good because the job was finished on the cross.  Jesus died for us so that we can all have new life.  Today we eat hot cross buns to remind us of the cross, and on Sunday, we’ll eat Easter eggs because eggs remind us of new life!

 

 Feel free to leave a link to your own Easter – Growing In God post in the comments.

11 thoughts on “Life and Death – Growing In God

  1. I think your answers are honest and truthful – and that’s what kids really need. I naturally want to shield them from pain (my kids) but it’s simply not realistic to do that. They need to learn and accept and move on – just like we do :)

  2. Thanks so much for this Cath. We avoided telling the kids before we left for the funeral, as we believe it would have made the kids anxious that something might happen to us while we were away. Then when we got home we have just avoided the topic… and it just hasn’t come up again. Although Mr 5 DID ask “why are you so sad and grumpy mummy?” – I should have just gone for it then! But when it comes up again, we need to tell him why his friend’s mummy isn’t around next time we visit the family… I will be sure to remember your short and sweet answers xx

  3. My pop died when my kids were little. For months afterwards Julia wanted to pray for pop! It took a while to get her to realise he was in heaven and didn’t need our prayers anymore …

  4. Great post. It’s always hard choosing to face these questions with honesty and in an age appropriate way. I really wanted to find a great Easter book to share with our kids. One that captured the message of hope. But I didn’t find anything. Do you know of any?

  5. I think you have answered all their questions really well, also taking into consideration that you did it out of a Christian view. Well done.

  6. Great answers to those tricky questions Cath. I think it’s good to be upfront with kids- tell them what’s happened and why. It’s amazing what they can understand and cope with. Our neighbour passed away at the end of last year and we too had to answer a lot of questions.

  7. Thanks for this post. It so often seems to me that the children are closer to understanding death and its implications than we are! After 37+ years on this earth I still can’t completely wrap my mind around the circle/cycle of life and death, so it is so helpful to know what other moms and children are talking about, and so powerful to read your corresponding stories about God/Nature. The creation so clearly reflects the Creator, and yet still brings us back to our ever present questions. The questions are always so much more prescient than answers could ever be. It takes the children to remind us of this.

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