My Unity church is a small one. We don’t have a big children’s program so for that reason my youngest daughter, Callee, is almost five but still a “nursery kid.” Her age group doesn’t yet get spiritual instruction. Up until September she hadn’t really been introduced to Jesus. (In our house we pray to God or Spirit not to Jesus.)
In September we (Callee and I) went to NC for my grandmother’s funeral. In the days leading up to her death, Mema had a vision of Jesus. It was a given that when she finally passed everyone talked about that vision. Jesus had come to take her home.
Before the funeral, the family went to privately view Mema’s body. I really didn’t want to take Callee into the room. I didn’t think she would understand. I thought it might scare her or scar her. In the end, the confusion scared her more. There was a mysterious room where people walked into and then started weeping. My brother-in-law did his best to distract her, but ultimately I decided she needed to see what was going on.
When we showed Callee Mema’s body it was explained to her that now Mema was with Jesus in Heaven. I did not realize then how seriously she was filing that statement away.
It has been two months since the funeral and pretty often Callee still mentions, out of the blue, that Mema is with Jesus. The other day though she said something that made me realize that this particular way of explaining death to her may have been a mistake. We had stopped to check the mail when Callee stepped in a huge fire ant nest while wearing flip flops. She ended up getting eleven ant bites. When we got in the house she sat down and was furiously scratching the bites. While doing this she said in her meanest voice “I wish all the fire ants in the world would just go with Jesus to Heaven.”
On one hand, I wanted to crack up laughing but on the other hand, it made me sad. Now my little girl equates Jesus with dying. I’m realizing now that although it wouldn’t have been as sweet, it would have been much more productive to have just told her that Mema had died.
With this in mind I just have to hope that she doesn’t come in contact with someone trying to evangelize to her. The moment they ask her if she wants to have Jesus in her heart she’s likely to wonder if it’s some kind of death threat!