Monday, April 8, 2013

On death and Jesus

This past Friday night the girls and I spent the night at Vivi's house. I had been telling Vivi (my mom) for quite a while that I would come get some of my crap out of her house. Seriously, I'm 33. Does your mom still have some of your crap stashed in her home? This isn't just me right? Anyway, Vivi is trying to renovate. I am trying to have a yard sale. It was time. We plan this little sleepover of sorts and head on over.

Let's back up a little. When my dad died suddenly this past August it was a very horrific time for me as many who have read this blog for a while know. Lila was just barely three and I was at a complete loss for how to explain things to her. Poppy wasn't around a lot, but when he was he made an impression. Lila's favorite doll, an American Girl Bitty Baby she named Lucy, came from Poppy. That and going to Disney World last January are really the only concrete things she associated with him. I'm pretty sure I did a terrible job of helping her to understand. It's a hard thing to navigate when she didn't see him all that often to begin with. Probably to her it seems like it's just going to be a while before she sees him again...not forever. So we would discuss Poppy being with Jesus, she would say something like "Poppy gave me Lucy!", I would cry, and that would be the end of it. I just couldn't get it right.

Fast forward to this past Friday. We are halfway to Vivi's and Evie is so confused. We had to go to Grammy's (Seth's mom) to feed her dogs before going to Vivi's. So Evie is sure we are going to see Grammy. Then the lightbulb goes off when she yells, "we are going to see Vivi and Otis!". Here we are in rush hour traffic and it dawns on me, thanks to Evie, that I have not explained to them that Otis is also no longer with us. Otis was my mom's dog and the dog Sara and I grew up with. My mom told me when we planned this sleepover that I needed to make sure I explained Otis passing away to them. Guess who forgot to do that?

These days if I try to have any sort of full on conversation about something with the girls Evie just starts talking. She talks while you talk. She talks louder than you. She gets this look on her face like she is an adult and the conversation is so very important. It's insanely adorable...except when you really actually need to talk about something. This was the case as I fumbled over explaining again about Poppy. It had been months since I brought it up with Lila. I brought up Heaven this time because I was hoping she could sort of grasp that in some pretty place in the sky sort of way. She kept asking why we wouldn't see him again and how he went to Heaven. I struggled there too. I told her his heart wasn't working right and he was sick. But then I didn't want her to think every time you get sick you could die. It's all so unbelievably confusing. I decided to move on to the topic of Otis. I told them (her) that he was with Poppy in Heaven and they were taking care of each other. She panicked and asked who was going to take care of Vivi if Otis wasn't there! This then led to talking about how some people don't even have dogs/pets and Vivi would be fine. This parenting thing is SO VERY HARD. 

Meanwhile, I am trying to talk loud enough for Lila to hear me but not so loud as to overshadow Evie's intense need to be heard. Most of what Evie is saying makes no sense at this point. That is until she says rather loudly, "Jesus is at home tomorrow and he loves me tomorrow!". Lila quickly responds with, "No Evie. Jesus is in Heaven".

I busted out laughing. Then started crying. Then started laughing again. 

We got to Vivi's and no one even mentioned Otis. And I was exhausted.

I know this isn't the last death/heaven/Jesus talk by a long stretch. I have always struggled with the topic of faith with Lila because I know how confusing and abstract it is at such a young age. Throw in death and my head is SPINNING. But, I also feel like it doesn't really matter. Faith isn't about getting the names and places right. For her it's not even about believing in something. It's completely about following our example and feeling our love. 

Maybe by the time she can comprehend more of it I will have the explanation sorted out. Until then we will just go with Evie's sentiment and be on our way.


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