Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Laying the groundwork

We have spent a lot of time this week talking about heaven and what happens to you after you die. We have been talking a lot about our grandma in Ethiopia and how sick she has been. The kids know that grandma wanted to keep them, but she was just too sick to take care of them. They know that grandma loved them SO much that she was able to let them come here to us. Jameson said, "I know. She prayed for us everyday."
We have been trying to lay the groundwork that we may not see grandma again in this life, but we will see her again in heaven. Jameson has been specifically intrigued with this thought, as well as more than a little sad. She has been asking a lot of hard questions about death, dying and heaven. She and I sat in the chair together crying as she whispered that she's afraid she doesn't remember what her mother looks like. I think this is a huge fear for all of us when someone dies. Will we remember them? Will we remember their scent? I can remember wearing my grandfather's pajamas for a long time after he died simply because they smelled like him. It was very sad when they no longer smelled like him. So how do we keep these memories alive for them? It's a fine line for sure. The kids need to remember. They need to grieve. But they also need to be alive themselves and not feel guilty for being survivors.
Josh and Jameson have seen so much in their short little lives. They haven't been allowed to have the sheltered little lives most kids have. Jameson said her mother went to the doctor and they didn't know what was wrong with her and she still died anyway. She said she was walking in the street, lost, and alone, looking for her mother. I felt sick when she said this. I felt my heart in my stomach.
We talked about *when* grandma dies that she will no longer be sick and she will have perfect vision and walk straight. I told her that her parents are no longer sick, but are waiting for her in heaven. They are smiling as they watch her grow. I told her they would be very proud of her for learning to read, to ride a bike and for being a good girl. And what did she say to this? She said, "When I get to heaven, I'm going to thank grandma for giving me to you." I'm a blubbering idiot at this point. Oh geez!
It's so hard to answer those questions. It's so hard to imagine what these kids have been through and to figure out a way to not compound those hurts. It takes so much insight and guidance through prayer to be able to even approach it.
Please pray for us in the next few weeks, as we are now laying the groundwork to talk about grandma with the kids. I know it seems like I am postponing the inevitable, but I just want to make sure that we prepare them to deal with it in a positive way. Please pray that we make it a positive thing, and that it will be a faith building and family building moment.


Family of Six: Going To Ethiopia said...

Gina, I do grief work with kids and something that might help both Josh and Jameson is a memory box. It is a box (any size) they get to decorate (decoupage-style) and fill with memories. Memories can look like physical items, photographs, hand-written notes, letters to those they miss, tape-recordings, etc. It is something they can keep and add to for as long as they need to, and a great way for them to keep a history. A memory box is very individualized way to move within and through grief. Crystal

Mendy Twigg said...

Blubbering idiot or not, you guys are doing a great job. Keep praying and He will be faithful and work all things for His glory. We will be praying for you also.

Chris said...

Oh my Gina, what a beautifully bittersweet passage that you are sharing together. I love that you are using this moment to share God's great eternal plans for all of us and that they feel safe and open to share their fears, sadness and new hopes with you. Praying for their hearts to find comfort for God to continue to use you as his vessel in this situation. As always you are an inspiration to us all!