October 28, 2011

Grandchildren's Questions

Our grandchildren are slowly learning to deal with the reality of death and almost every time after they've been visiting with us, inevitably, coming from the back seat, will come the questions for their parents. "Opa's going to die soon, right mom?" or "Why does Oma have to help Opa when he goes to the bathroom? I'm 3 and I can do it all by myself!"

Joni told us, Ella and I were baking in the kitchen together. As I added ingredients to the bowl she stood on a chair beside me and said "Opa is dying right Mommy?" Yes he is, I said. She looked up at me and said, "But God is going to catch him when he dies right Mommy, and take him up to heaven!" You are right, I said. "And you and me are dying too, right Mommy? But God will catch us too, and take us to Heaven too, right Mom? " I said, "Yep, if you love Jesus you can be in heaven too some day! "I love Jesus Mommy! Can I have my own pile of chocolate chips now?"

When our son and his wife ask their 4 yr old son Benjamin to pray, the first thing he says in every prayer is, "Dear God, heal Opa to make him feel better and thank you that Opa can go to heaven."

The other day my daughter Sarah was running some errands and Ethan our 5 year old grandson was staying with us. I was downstairs hanging up some laundry and he was riding the tricycle in circles near me. Out of the blue he said to me, "When Opa dies, you're going to have to do all the work all by yourself!". I said, "Yes, but I have kids that love me and they will help me if I need help". With eyes wide open he replied, "Do you have kids!" (of course picturing 3 or 4 yr olds of mine that he didn't know about :) So I said, "Yes, I do, your mom and dad, Auntie Joni and Uncle Willem, Aunt Sarah and Uncle Gerrit". Then he realized what I meant and he quickly piped up, "And me too, when I get big I'm going to help you too...." but was quick to add, "but I don't think I want to help you with the laundry!" I told him not to worry, that I quite liked doing laundry all by myself. A short while later after doing a few more laps on his trike, he said, " Opa's giving all his stuff away isn't he," I said, "Yes, he is". Ethan asked, "Why is he doing that? Doesn't he want to take it with him to heaven?" I said, " No, you can't take anything with you to heaven". "Why not?" he replied. I said, "You wouldn't want to because everything in heaven is far better than any of your stuff here on earth." That was probably not the best answer I could give but you have to think quickly because you don't get any advanced warning when these questions are going to come.

 I think it's God's mercy that Jack is gradually dying and not suddenly snatched away from us, also for this reason; our grand children are slowly dealing with the impending death of their beloved Opa and have lots of time to think about it and ask questions and get a bit prepared, if that is possible, for that inevitable day when we will have to bring his body to the graveyard. What a lot of questions they will have then!

Is it possible to wean them off of their Opa? There is no better way than to point them to a better "Abba", a Father in heaven who will never leave them nor forsake them, and to the Lord Jesus who promises to be a "friend that sticks closer than a brother" and to the Holy Spirit who will be their "comforter" forever.

1 comment:

  1. I read through everything you have posted yesterday with a lot of weeping, but also laughter. Your blogs have challenged and convicted me deeply - thank you for being so willing to share. I had a very special mentor die of ALS, and I will never forget her legacy of faith and dignity either. It made me smile when I read of your frustration for being unable to brush off food crumbs or dandruff, and sensing a loss of dignity. I don't think I've ever met someone with as much strength and dignity as they face such a trial as you and your family. Thank you for giving all the praise to Christ. You are all in my prayers.