♥ How to Get to Heaven, According to a 3-year-old
Copper, the dog, had gone to heaven. He was hit by a car. Cleo the cat had gone to heaven. She was also hit by a car. That was in the Spring of 2001.
Then my grandmother, born in 1907, raised 5 children, sewed beautiful dresses and gowns, helped raise my brother and I, she died in August of 2001.
She’d had dementia for a few years. She remembered my oldest son, but not the others.
One day she asked, “Who’s baby is that?” I told her he was mine.
“Who are you?” she countered.
“Maryleigh,” I answered.
“Oh, no, you can’t be Maryleigh,” she said. I’d just had a baby, hadn’t lost the weight, wasn’t looking my best. I didn’t look like the Maryleigh she had helped raise, every day for most of my life. That she didn’t remember me didn’t bother me as much as the fact that I didn’t look as well as she pictured me in her mind. It made me feel worn and aged.
As a girl, she had a horse. I grew up on stories about how she raced the trains in Normandy, Kentucky on her horse, Lou. That’s how I always pictured her spirit–so free, so strong, so full of life. When she died, I rejoiced that her spirit soared, broken free of the frailty of body and mind. Her spirit raced its way to heaven.
There’s something wonderful about celebrating the life of a loved one. My dad had died in the 1997. He’d never met my sons. It’s sad when someone dies, and you have nothing to celebrate. However, grandmother had a life worth celebrating, remembering, and missing.
A few weeks after grandmother died, my 3-year-old was talking to one of his teachers at church: “My Gigi (great grandmother), she died. . . . She’s in heaven. . . .She was hit by a car.”
Somewhat taken aback, I thought, “Oh, my, I’m going to have to address this.”
A few months later, he was all tucked in bed. I was straightening his room when he said, “Mama, I don’t want to go to heaven.”
“Why?”I asked, knowing what was coming.
“I don’t want to be hit by a car,” he answered.
I snuggled up with him in bed, explaining that Gigi hadn’t been hit by a car. Then we talked about heaven. “Do you love Jesus?” I asked. He did. I think he did since the day he was born when he was held in the hand of God.
He always seemed to understand things about God and life, yes, even at 3. Earlier that year, he and Perceiver of Truth were fussing at each other–the high school student trying to verbally one-up the 3-year old, but unable to do so. Finally, the 3-year-old had enough, “In the Name of the Lord, ____, Shut your mouth.” Perceiver of Truth shut his mouth. It was amazing. Of course, I did have to talk to the little guy about not using the power of God when we’re angry at someone else.
That night when he asked about heaven,we talked about loving Jesus, living how Jesus wants us to live–even to a 3 year old, and letting others know that Jesus loves us, asking Jesus to forgive us when we’re naughty, that’s how we get to heaven.
Needless to say, he was relieved that he didn’t have to get hit by a car to get into heaven. I was somewhat relieved, too.
Thanks for stopping by my blog… I’m glad I popped over here as I’ve also been talking with my three (just turned four)-year old son about death lately. He’s had a lot of questions and the whole concept, of course, is quite difficult to understand. Mine told me recently he didn’t want to grow old to be a great-grandpa. When I asked why, he said it was because he didn’t want to die! We’ve been doing a lot of talking and I just picked up some books to help explain death as well. Take care!
I’ve been coming to think those discussions are even more important in the early years when we are still wondering how much is sinking in. My boys understand more than I realise. My great grandma (their great-great) passed away a few days after their 1st and 3rd birthdays. The conversations we had then, explaining it all but in simple terms, have set a solid basis for so many conversations since. As their understanding of the world grows they come back to the theme and ask more questions. I love sharing it with them and even though it reminds me of the sadness of her passing I am glad that it is reminding the boys of her life too.
Great story… totally laughed at him pulling out the power of Jesus to shut someone up!!! 🙂
And I too am glad I Dont have to be hit by a car!!!
Oh this story tugged at my heart..we also have a Gigi (Great Grandma was just too hard to say when they were little). So glad you got the whole thing straightened out!
That truly was a sweet story. I love little-kid logic, it’s so pure and innocent.
I don’t even want to think about my parent’s aging. They will be in their 50s forever, that’s what I want to believe.
Just want to thank you for visiting my site and leaving me an encouraging comment. Returning the favor so I can get to know you better and I’m blessed by your blog.
That’s funny when your 3 yr.old used the mighty Name of Jesus to shut someone up! I can use that at work a lot! 🙂
God bless and looking forward to coming here again and again…
What a great story! Your little guy sounds like he is very smart. I’m always wondering what is going through the little minds of my little boys. I bet he was relieved to know that he didn’t have to get hit by a car to go to heaven.
Poor baby. That can sure be confusing.
Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you win something. I hope I win something. LOL
Thanks for sharing this beautiful story. Also thanks for stopping by my blog the other day. Have a great day.
Thanks for visiting my blog, and for the comments. I loved this story. It sounds like you and your family have a very beautiful life, with your priorities straight! That is a very lovely picture up top also.
Hope to see you around.
I love it (The Mighty Name of Jesus). I may have to use that one sometime.
it’s amazing how kids pick up things & try to make sense of the world on their own. i struggle to make sure i’m not sending my son, also 3, mixed signals. although we haven’t had the “so and so is in heaven” talk, i do hint around the fact that his dad isn’t around because he’s in jail. i haven’t flat out told him yet (baby steps. like, what does/should a 3 y/o know about jail anyway?), but he knows his dad is in NY and loves him a lot.
i love that you converse w/ your kids. i find that my son knows and understands more than i thought he would. this just reminds me to keep talking up our convos.
I just found your blog through a different blog. I am so glad that I did. I absolutely love this post. My girls help me to open my eyes on a lot of faith questions. Thanks for sharing. I am going to go and look around a little more.
I love this post! I can just imagine having a similar talk with my son one of these days. 🙂 Very sweet!
Such a sweet story. I find a child’s perspective to be so touching and unique and interesting.
The first loss I experienced was my grandmother’s passing, and even as a freshman in high school, I remember really struggling to comprehend the idea of death. It’s a tough one.
The conversation you had with your son was an important one and well done!
Thanks! We have a lot of “I don’t want to go to heaven” conversations around here. We also “don’t want to eat because we don’t want to grow up”.
It’s so interesting to see how the wheels turn in their little sweet heads….