Storytelling: A Child’s Perspective on Death

Storytelling: A Child’s Perspective on Death

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. ~Teilhard de Chardin

Children say the most wonderful things—even about subjects which adults find difficult to discuss.  I experienced my daughter’s curiosity about death a few years ago one early morning when I was driving to school.  My seven year old girl was busy calculating how old she would be in the year 2030.  She asked me: “How old will you be mom?  How old is daddy going to be in the year 2030?”  After quietly reflecting on the answers, she came to the conclusion that her dad and I will be quite old and that we might not be alive by then!

This is one of the moments parents dread—having to discuss the morbid subject of dying with their young kids.  I had read numerous articles in parenting magazines about age-appropriate answers to kids’ questions about this matter.  Yet, I was still caught off-guard as I was driving in the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, California by my seven-year-old.  I’m forever grateful that I had attended a seminar by Rabbi Ed Feinstein of Valley Beth Shalom some years ago, which helped parents answer difficult questions about God, loss, etc…

I calmly explained to her that while nobody knows exactly when and how they will pass away, her father and I were in good health and did not anticipate our deaths anytime soon.  Furthermore, my own grandfather whom I loved and cherished, had lived up to a very old age before passing away.  “Even though he’s no longer with us, I still love him and think about him,” I explained.  Then she asked about coffins and burials.  As we exited the freeway she quietly said: “Don’t worry mom. When you and dad die, my brother and I will make and decorate your coffins!”

Love is stronger than death even though it can’t stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can’t separate people from love. It can’t take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death. ~Unknown

I tried to hide my nervous laughter stemming from shock and disbelief.  At one point I was laughing uncontrollably, so I turned the volume of the radio up so that the kids, who were sitting in the back seat, would not notice my reaction to the conversation. But after I had a few seconds to process what had just happened, I realized that my daughter had tried to make sense of an abstract issue and had resolved her fears and anxieties on her own terms.

I was in awe of my daughter’s reasoning and intelligence as well as the purity and innocence with which she had posed her questions.  I truly appreciated her healthy attitude.  I couldn’t help but think about my own upbringing.  Like in most Persian households, death was a taboo subject.  Rabbi Feinstein’s class helped me open the lines of communication and prepare for the difficult questions. Thank you rabbi.

Thinking and talking about death need not be morbid; they may be quite the opposite. Ignorance and fear of death overshadow life, while knowing and accepting death erases this shadow.  ~Lily Pincus

This  beautiful story was written by Angela Cohan.

With all my love,

 

 

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Luminita D. Saviuc

Luminita, the Founder of PurposeFairy, is an enthusiastic student of the arts, psychology, and spirituality. Her acclaimed blog post, 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy , was shared by over 1.3 million people on Facebook. Later on, it became the heart of her book, 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy., book that will be published by Penguin Random House in March 2016. For more details check out the about page.

8 Comments
  1. Thanks for the great article. It shows the power of the mind as reflected by the attitude towards life. Thanks for taking your time to post such a beautiful article

  2. I remember hearing once that in the Victorian era, people talked quite openly about death, but only spoke about sex in hushed whispers. Today we talk openly about sex but only speak about death in hushed whispers. Interesting truth in that observation. However, both are unavoidable facts of life. Good to talk openly about both, I think.

  3. I think it is important to explain children the reality of Cosmic Laws, such as the Law of Karma and Incarnation, as well as the life in different dimensions. Thank You for sharing, it is a transformative questions, which leads to a new stage of human’s evolution.

  4. It’s wonderful how your daughter turned something potentially fearful into something she had a creative solution for. The children of today are certainly coming in with wiser and more accepting attitudes. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Like most people who shun topics about death, I find it interesting and welcome to discuss it as simple as I could with my two boys at home (ages 13 and 6). Explaining to them that life continues after death in a different dimension and that death is only a process of crossing over. Everything is remembered and retained on the other side and there is much happiness and understanding. They listen very eagerly and somehow managed to accept it as a fact of life.

  6. Hi, thanks for sharing! I experienced the same queries from my 7year old daughter about a month ago. I never entertained the thought of death not until she brought it up. She told me she dread the thought of losing me and by just thinking about it and by looking at me, it makes her cry already. Was so touched by her genuine love and affection for me and assured her that it wouldn’t be that too soon yet. I would be very old enough before I leave since I still have a lot to accomplish for her and her two big brothers. But deep inside, I panicked and asked myself, what if…? That gave me the urgency to love and be with my family more often, keep in touch with relatives, colleagues and friends, pray much harder and work my butt out and accomplish tasks the soonest. :) I love our children’s pure innocence. For me, it’s somewhat a wake up call. Enjoy and never take things for granted!
    God bless us all…