I’m not entirely sure what went down at Sunday School this weekend, but as Justin was going to bed Sunday night, he informed me that he did not want to die, and that heaven was stupid, and that he didn’t like God or Jesus, and didn’t want to be with them, and would kill everyone up there.
Alarming words from a five year-old, but I took this to mean that if going to heaven means that you have to die first, then screw that, he doesn’t want to go, and he’s going to deal with anyone who was involved in putting him there.
I guess I didn’t realize that this last month has taken its toll on his little psyche. The father of a baby at his daycare passed away suddenly last month. My uncle died after a long illness. And I know he heard Barry and I discussing a young woman we were acquainted with who was killed in a car accident a few weeks ago. Justin wasn’t close to any of these people, but death isn’t a subject that’s touched his life personally in any form until now.
We had a talk about dying and heaven that night. By the end of it, he still did not have a favorable opinion of heaven. But in the few days since that discussion, he’s asked a lot of questions, and seems to be processing it, and is maybe a little more accepting.
This morning he tried to get the idea straight in his mind. “Mom, when you die on earth, you’re alive up in heaven?”
Tonight as I was making dinner, he asked, “Mom? Where do you sleep in heaven? Do you have a bed there?” I told him that I was sure you had a bed in heaven, maybe it’s a really soft one on top of a cloud. I think that’s what he needed to hear, that there would be a place for him, and he’d be comforted and safe.
© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011