Thursday, July 23, 2009


All I said to Greg was "Who died?" As in, conversationally. As in, our good friends were called away to a funeral and I want to know how somber I should feel. Not as in, let's unravel the very long rope of mortality and pluck at each mysterious strand, right here at this very moment, when mommy's afternoon coffee has worn off and the taco soup is scorching on the stove.

But that is precisely what happened. I said, "Who died?" and Toby burst into tears, spraying us with worms from the can I'd opened.

"Did somebody die?" and "Am I going to die?" and "When am I going to die?"

Greg and I were completely unprepared. He was crying so violently, so out of nowhere. Greg scooped him into his lap to calm him down. I sat beside them both stroking Toby's arm, searching for a possible trajectory. How could he even know what "died" meant?!

"Am I going to die?" he said again.

Greg and I looked Toby straight in the eye and answered confidently "No!" [Greg] and "Someday..." [me]. What?! I shot Greg my subliminal indignation. Liar liar pants on fire.

Heartless messenger of evil, Greg shot back.

Clearly we had no plan. We sat for a moment, dumbfounded, watching Toby sob. Neither of us had a clue where to start, so we opted to board the Joy Bus through the valley of death like good Christian parents. "Let's focus on Heaven! and Living Forever With God!"

"Will it hurt when I die? Is Charlie going to die? How long will I be dead?"

"Heaven is super-fun! God is awesome to be with!"

He cried so hard that the hangy thing in the back of his throat wiggled with every wail. "How am I going to die? I don't want to die..."

It was more gut-wrenching than Beaches and Bridge to Terabithia together. How could we explain death and eternity to a four-year-old? Ten minutes before he was yelling "Come wipe me!" and now he was Socratically dissecting his own fate.

We whizzed through all the death scriptures we knew. "...conform to His death...?" "The wages of sin is death...?" Then we remembered this: "...Jesus, who has destroyed death..." That phrase became the pot in which we planted our integrity. We could look him in the eye and say "Dying is really scary, but don't worry little man, Jesus wins."

Then we all went to Sonic for a cherry limeade.


  1. Board the joy bus through the Valley of Death like good Christian parents. I spewed my coffee. Great writing as always Andi.

  2. So good! Thanks for your honesty!

  3. Heartless messenger of evil...

    Brilliant writing, my friend :)

  4. I probably shouldn't be laughing when it's such a heavy topic, but I'm with Cindy on that particular comment. So, ha ha ha ha ha!

    Reese (4) has also been a bit obsessed lately with death. I twittered this but don't know if you saw it. She told me she wanted to be all the numbers and never die. Apparently she plans to go all the way from 4 to 5 to more than 150 I guess. She cracks me up.

  5. Did the cherry limeade ease the pain?! :( poor booger!

  6. yep, the joy bus is the best line evah!

    But, Sonic can usually bring the world back down to normal, thank ya Jesus.

  7. Each day as I watch my little girls grow and my life girl gain wisdom (usually from over commitment), I'm learning to let tears flow without asking why. . .
    just giving a hug or a rub on the back and saying it's okay.

    It's okay to cry. . .nothing is wrong with you
    It's okay to shed those tears, letting the harshness of the world pour out with every drop.
    It's okay to cry even if you don't know why.
    It's only when the tank is empty that the Comforter
    can fill it again and again with clean refreshing water.