When Your 6 Year Old Asks About Death

When Your 6 Year Old Asks About Death

Kids aren’t the only ones who need hope. This life will throw a thousand tragedies and trials our way. The way we respond says a lot about the God we trust. I pray that one day I’ll have the faith of my daughter. 

Amy answers the phone and begins telling me what she’s hearing on the other end. 

“Dad isn’t making sense. He can’t talk or put a sentence together.” 

I told her he’s having a stroke, and needs to go to the hospital immediately. Then I began collecting my stuff to go to the hospital to meet him there, but Amy threw on her shoes and jumped into the car. As she was walking into the garage I received a call from my mom. She’s been updating on health issues with my grandma who was like another parent to me in my younger years. 

“The scans for grandma came back. She has a mass in her abdomen that will have to be removed. Based on her blood tests and scans it is cancerous, and it’s about the size of a grapefruit.” 

Kids, the very observant creatures that they are, are watching mom and dad hold back tears. 

Kids, the very inquisitive creatures that they are, begin asking questions about Grandpa and Grandma Sherry. 

“What’s going on? Are they going to die? What’s a stroke? Can you see cancer? Will I get a stroke when I’m old? Why does cancer exist?”

Faster forward 5 hours.

Savannah (6yr old) comes into my room after bedtime, and I thought it was just another bedtime postpone tactic until I saw big tears welling up in her eyes. 

“I don’t think I want to die daddy. What if someone sneaks into our house to get me?”

“No one will sneak in baby, we have 10 other people in the house who will protect you.”

“What if cancer sneaks in?” 

I was already emotionally done for the day, so I hugged her and began telling her a story about when she and I will walk through the City of God. I tried, as best I could, to tie in every verse, every sermon memory, every hope, every amazing picture I could dredge from my memory. The golden streets, the death of sickness, the overwhelming love, the beauty of nature, walking with Jesus and all those who go before us to the forever family of God, racing on hippos, eating a giant feast, and the years of perfect days we’ll have playing together. After some time passed she smiled and said, “That sounds nice, can we go there now?”

“No sweetie, first we live for Jesus in this world to show God’s love to others with kind words and kind actions. Then we ask other people if they want to be part of God’s forever family by trusting in Jesus so they can come with us to the new city.” 

“Ok, I’ll do that.” 

Off to bed she went with her usual gallop and a renewed smile. 

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