After I lost my friend Joy, I wasn't quite sure how to deal with my loss and explain it to Trip. He had just turned three at the time. Joy was like a grandmother to both of us, and he loved to go over to her house. I took him to visit her in the hospital a couple times, but after she was gone I didn't know what to do.
I decided not to take him to the funeral. I wanted the freedom to be able to cry, to grieve, without a little boy to try and comfort.
But after a while he started asking about her. “Mommy, is Miss Joy home from the hospital? Mommy, can we go over to Miss Joy's so she can give me crackers and read me a story?”
As best as I could, I explained to Trip that Miss Joy was with Jesus now, and when Jesus comes to take us to live with him in heaven, Miss Joy will be there too. I had to explain to him a bit of how death was, that it's not reversible. He was upset but seemed to take it pretty well. When we drove past a cemetery, I explained to him that was where all the people who had died were, with the tombstones that were signs telling all of their names.
When the one year anniversary of her death came, I decided to share this time with Trip. He still remembers her and the times we used to have with her. So I took him to the store and we picked out some flowers and went together to put them on her grave.
A few weeks later, Trip and I were driving in the car and were discussing some pesky bugs we are trying to get rid of around the house. I explained to him that I was trying to kill them, but some of them would take a while to get rid of.
He thought about it for a while, and then said, “Mommy, when they all die, we will take them to a bug cemetery and bury them and make little tiny signs that says 'BUG'. OK?”
I wasn't sure what to say.