Our small town of Dickson City, Pa, was the unfortunate scene of a tragic house fire. It happened several months ago and a little girl died. This event has shaken our whole community. In my own home, it truly shook my 7 year old daughter to the core. She has had so many questions and fears since the fire happened. It’s as if she suddenly realized that the world is not a safe place. She sees the reality of death. As I’ve been working her through this experience, we’ve used these conversations as teachable moments.
The idea that someone she knows could die was a tough concept for her to understand, so my husband and I have had to explain the concept that everyone will die. Of course, my daughter started by thinking how sad it will be for Mommy and Daddy to die someday. We explained that although it probably won’t be for a long time, we will eventually die, but that our true home is in heaven, not here on earth. We reiterated to her that heaven is a happy place where we get to be with Jesus and we are reunited with our loved ones who have gone to heaven before us.
She went through a stage where she was extremely fearful. She was worried every night that a tornado or fire or flood was going to hurt our house and family. We did a couple of things to help her like explaining about smoke alarms and the safeguards in our house. We also stopped watching the news because it seemed to feed her fears. I explained to her that God is with her always. No matter what situation she encounters, He will be with her to comfort her and help her. We told her to whisper a prayer when she feels afraid.
During this time she also contemplated the idea of her own death. She wondered what would happen if she died you like the little girl in the fire. She said to me, ” I think if I died, Daddy would kill himself so that he could be with me in heaven.” I had to do some quick thinking with that one! I said, “Although Daddy and I would miss you terribly, we wouldn’t kill ourselves because that’s against God’s laws. Even when life is hard, we must allow ourselves to live out our natural lives.” She understood this, but I’m glad she vocalized her thoughts so that we could deal with her concerns.
Even though this has been a trying time for my darling daughter, we have used it to bring home some important life lessons: everyone will die, God is there to calm your fears, and suicide is not ever an option. As we continue the conversations with her, we pray that many more teachable moments will present themselves, and that we will have the insight of the Holy Spirit to address each issue with love and godly wisdom.
Copyright 2010 Pamela Kobierecki