Calder, tonight at age 5 you started asking me about death. I stumbled through some explanations trying to be honest yet simple. Almost impossible, when your'e speaking about death.
"Mom, what happened to Nemo's Mom?"
"well, she died"
"why did she die?"
"the barracuda got her"
"am I gonna die?"
whew....what do you say in that totaly unprepared for moment? I gave him straitforward answers, rather grim I'd say. I realized after this bedtime discussion that I can tend to lean toward the pessimistic. So what would be the optimistic thing to say? That is the discussion of God, Jesus, and angels. I never really knew how to begin that conversation about Jesus and who he was: the bible stories. But if I had to describe death and afterlife to a 5 year old who loves doors it would sound something like this:
One day, hopefully when your'e really old and you have had a family of your own, after being given the gift of a happy and full life you will come to the end of it. Death is like a door you pass through, except you only go through this door one time and you leave your famly, friends and all your things behind you in the place you just left. Even your body, you leave behind in the other place. Only your soul can pass through this special door. It can feel very scary because you will be leaving so much behind you.
When you're young you are in the Spring of your life, still growing like the sapling. When you get older you have alot of fun in the Summer of your life and you experience so much and learn about what it means to be grown up. In the Autumn of your life you begin to teach things to the people in your life: things you have learned that you can now share. In the Autumn of your life you may choose to create a family of your own. Autumn is knowledge. The winter of your life is when you slow down. You notice the things really close to you. You do a lot of remembering. You are the wisest during the Winter of your life.
Some of your family and friends will die before you do and they will pass through this special one-way door. They will be on the other side waiting to greet you. So, although it may seem scary for just a short time, soon you will feel very good inside. You will feel so good inside that you will not want to go back through the door to your old life and your old body. You will want to stay in the new place you're in. Different people see different things in the new place. You might see Gage. Some people see bright lights, some see angels, some see meadows, some see tunnels, some see sunsets, or sunrises, some people may even see Jesus.
Remember your sunflower you grew in Jan's classroom? You saw it start from a seed you planted. Then you saw it start to grow, (when we thought it was actually a bean plant). In the summer, you saw it bloom into a flower, and in the Autumn you saw it bend over it's head and make seeds. In the winter you helped pick out those seeds, and next Spring you will plant those seeds and watch them grow all over again. Even though the new plant will look the same as your first plant, it will be an entirely new plant. And so the world goes, year after year, before and after we walk through our lives.