Tuesday, January 14, 2014

explaining death to a toddler

One of my oldest, and best friends Dana lost her sweet mema, Mrs. Hilda last week. Mrs. Hilda was a spitfire of a lady and was always smiling and laughing. She played the organ for our church for as long as I can remember and we just had a special day just for her last year when she decided to retire her organ seat to another member of the church.

My favorite Mrs. Hilda moment was a few years ago. We were at choir practice one Wednesday night and she had really jammed out on the organ during one of our songs. I told her that she had done a great job on that song and she proceeded to dust off her shoulders and say "I know".

Mrs. Hilda with Dana's son Colton
Last Tuesday night was the visitation at church and I had to take Sawyer along (since our heat went out and I had to leave Josh home to figure out that situation).

When we got to the church I explained to him that Colt Colt and Dane Dane's mema was going to be with Jesus and that we were going to go hug them and their family and tell them we love them and we were praying for them.

When we got inside the church, Sawyer saw Mrs. Hilda's body at the front of the church and said, "Mommy, why is Dane Dane's mema sleeping in that box?" (insert me starting to ugly cry here)

I was at a loss for words. What do you say to an almost-3-year-old about death and why we put a body on display? So I told him that when people die we put them in a special box so we can see them one more time before Jesus takes them to heaven.

His reply was "Well I hope they have a piano in heaven for Dane Dane's mema to play." I laughed and told him that Mrs. Hilda played the organ, not the piano to which he replied "Mommy. I have seen her play it every day at church. She plays the piano." Bless him.

We made it through the line and got to Dana and her family and Dana & I immediately burst into tears upon seeing each other. We hugged and cried (and held up the line) then said our goodbyes so she could see the hundreds of other people waiting to express their condolences.

Me and Sawyer got to the car and he said, "Mommy why did you and Dane Dane cry?"

I told him that we were sad that Mrs. Hilda was going to heaven and not staying with us. In his little country accent he said, "Well, you need to stop 'cwying' because Jesus wanted her too."

While I hate the reason behind our tears, it is nice to know my Sawyer knows that death is not the end and that me and Josh are at least doing SOMETHING right in raising him to know about the Lord.

Please be in prayer for Dana and her family and Mrs. Hilda's husband, Mr. Ralph. They would have been married 60 years this year and he was the light of her life.


  1. Kids are amazing. They are so in tune and able to simplify things in a way we didn't think were possible. I'm so sorry for your loss, she sounds like she was a really great woman!

  2. I don't know if you follow the blog Busy Budgeting Mama but she wrote a children's book for grieving mother's called "Mommy has an Angel". It might not apply for this situation for your child but maybe for your friend's children it could be a comfort. http://www.mommyhasanangel.com/