By Miriam Rossow
My 8 year old has had a hard time separating. She has been worried that something will happen to me or her while we are gone. I can’t say that I blame her. Since we have moved back to Michigan 2 years ago she has said goodbye to 2 great Grandparents, 1 Grandfather and has also been touched by the loss of a prominent member of the church along with other less familiar family members.
Death and sickness have become a major part of her life these last two years. Her dad was also in a car accident that left him with a few broken ribs. She also has been through some very hard winters seeing lots of accidents.
So she is worried as we separate that something bad might happen. This has even bothered her sleep some causing some nightmares.
I am obviously not able to never be separated from her. In fact I am in China right now attending a memorial service held for my dad who died this past summer. Here are a few things that I am doing to help her with this fear.
- Acknowledge her feelings and let her grieve.
I don’t believe it is helpful to hide or hold in feelings of being scared or sad or concerns that she might have. We have tried to be patient as she talks about them and shares her worries. I have acknowledged that if something were to happen to me she would be sad and it would be hard. I don’t want her to think grieving is bad.
- Reassure her of my love and protection of her and myself.
The other night when we were leaving she was worried about a car accident. The roads had not been great. I assured her we would drive as safe as possible. I also reminded her that I loved her and wanted to give her a big hug in the morning.
- Remind her about Jesus’ love and protection for her and myself.
As we talked through driving safely I also reminded her that we both belong to Jesus and that He loves us. He has a hold of us and has a perfect plan for us even when we don’t see it or understand it.
Often before we separate we say a prayer. It usually has some of the things we talked about. Lord, we know you love us. We know you have us in your hands and are holding onto each of us. Please send your peace to us as we are apart. Calm our fears and worries and help us trust your love and plans. If it is your will bring us back together safely and if not be with us in whatever is ahead of us.
- Use the language of the bible to talk about death.
The bible talks about death as a sleep. We wake up from sleep. So if death is like sleep then we will wake from it one day. Death is not the final word.
- Always point to Jesus and the promise of His return!
So often we talk about the loved one being with Jesus in Heaven without pain and suffering. This is very true and very wonderful. The good news of the bible is that Jesus is not happy with this end. His work in my life and the life of the one who died is not done until He comes again and body and soul are reunited.
So when talking about death with a child be sure to remind them that Jesus is coming again to put body and soul back together. We will wake up when Jesus returns! He promises to bring a new creation where we will with our own eyes see Him. So the good news is we will with the person that died get to see Jesus face to face, body and soul together!
We will wake up when Jesus returns!
I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor. I have no training in any of these areas. I am simply talking like the bible and pointing my 8 year old and myself to Jesus when things don’t seem good and right.
These are not only good for children but for you also as you deal with death or pain in your life. Talk with someone and allow yourself to grieve and hurt and be renewed by the love and promises of Jesus in your life.
Here are some passages to read concerning death and resurrection.
Romans 8: 18-30
Romans 8: 31, 35-38
1 Corinthians 15 (all of it, but especially 50-58)
Revelation 21: 1-8