Last week our grandchildren, Owen and Ella, came to stay with us for a few days. One of the things that Ella wanted to do was bake cookies. Because of our many other activities, we were running out of time before she had to leave, so I decided we should use my mom’s recipe for “no-bake” cookies. I knew they wouldn’t take as much time as cookies that needed to be baked in the oven.
As we were working, I told Ella that the recipe was one that my mom, her great-grandmother, used to make all the time. Our conversation continued:
Ella: Oh, and her birthday was yesterday, right?
Me: Yes, it was. She would have been 94.
Ella: Where is she now?
Me: She’s in Heaven with Jesus.
Ella: So she’s dead, right?
Me: ….. yes.
Here I was trying to avoid the word “dead” and she had no trouble with it.
When I was a child, no one talked to me about death. I still remember being afraid and confused when I went to my grandmother’s funeral, around age 6 or 7, because everyone was so sad and I didn’t understand what was going on.
But Ella had no trouble with the word or idea of someone being “dead.” I admit to being a little startled at her directness – only because of my own experiences at her age – but I also was really glad that her parents had talked to her about death, that she knew it is a natural part of life, and that it’s not something that you can’t talk about.
What a healthy attitude!