Can I stay with Grandpa Tickley Beard?

Rachael and I got out for a quick afternoon run to the Dollar Store.  Jaden was so excited about the Dollar Store, we took him with us –  leaving mom with the triplets.  Of course as soon as we load into the minivan, Jaden wanted to watch his movie.  Boy was I glad when I told him we were going to talk and listen to music because we had the most precious conversation!

Jaden: I want to live somewhere where it’s warm all the time.

Me:  Do you like it better when it’s warm or cold outside?

Jaden:  I like warm – like the beach!

We passed by a cemetery and Jaden said that he remembered his “Grandpa Tickley Beard” (my grandfather who passed away August 2008).

Jaden:  I miss  my Grandpa Tickley Beard.

Me: Yea me too.

Jaden:  He’s in heaven with Jesus.  I go and see him there?

Me: No, I’m sorry Jaden, it doesn’t work like that.

Jaden: How do I get there?  Do I drive there or do I fly there?

— thinking he’s talking about how to get to his ‘warm’ beach I respond:

Me: To the beach?

Jaden: NO to heaven!

— I took a deep breath here and really debated on what to say.  Was I really having a conversation about death with my 4 year-old and how much does he really need to know?  Do I say the “d” word?  Or do I try to find another analogy to continue our “story”?

Me: Well Jaden, when you die that’s when you go to heaven.

Jaden:  Can I go and visit him?

Me:  No – it’s a one way ticket.  You can’t come back.  When you die, you go and stay with Jesus.

Jaden: Will YOU go and see Jesus some day?

Me: I sure hope so!

Jaden: Why do I have to stay with Jesus?

–another deep breath.  What do I say?  How do I explain the finality of death to my little Jaden?

Me:  Well Jesus loves you SO much that when he sees you he’ll want to keep you forever.

Jaden: When I die, I want to go to New York … forever!  Oooo It’s a bus!

And there you have it.  As quickly as our conversation about faith and afterlife started, it ended – in New York.

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