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by - February 02, 2010

This is a post I wrote back on May 1, 2009. I never published it because I was afraid that people who read it would think I was being too negative or didn't have enough faith that God could heal Josiah. It was hard to admit, at that point, to the negative thoughts in my head.

Our three year old is beginning to understand the faith that her mommy and daddy have. She loves to go to church, she loves her little Bible and loves to read it while mommy and daddy ready theirs. I think she's beginning to understand that God made her and that God loves her. She's beginning to know that God wants her to be kind and loving to all people and that God wants to be her friend. She's beginning to know these things because that's where Milo and I feel is a good place to start. So those are the things we've been trying to teach her.

One thing she has no clue about it the concept of heaven. While other kids in her class at church can tell you that Jesus died and went to heaven and that he wants others to be there with him when they die, Daylia thinks that Jesus built a special place for her called Africa. It's just not a concept that I feel a 3 year old is capable of understanding. I don't think I even grasp it sometimes. So we haven't tried to teach her about heaven because if you go there you have to teach about death and dying. Until she experiences death she won't understand it. Who knows when that will happen. It could come in the form of a pet or animal or a great-grandparent, I don't know. But I don't see the point in talking with her about it until she's experienced it. Just like there was no point in me telling her about the ocean before I ever took her there. She just wouldn't get it.

I'm really praying that I don't have to teach my three year old about heaven anytime soon. I really am not ready to do that. I'm praying her first experience with death isn't her brother.

Daylia and Hazyl have done well with the news of Josiah's death. I'm not sure how much they really understand. It's difficult for them to grasp because Josiah was not with them everyday. The last time they saw him was New Year's day, so they are used to not seeing him. I really don't think Hazyl understands yet. She says things like, "this shirt doesn't fit my anymore, mommy. Josiah is a baby he can wear it." She talks about him a lot, which makes me very happy. While returning a double stroller that a friend had let us borrow for Josiah, I had to tell her again today that Josiah died and that he was now in heaven and that was the reason he didn't need the stroller anymore.

Daylia understands a little more. That may be even harder for us. Milo has a song he has made up, spelling all of our kids names. He was singing it to Daylia today, when she told him that he didn't need to spell Josiah's name anymore because he died. Milo reinforced with her that, yes, Josiah died, but that we could still sing about him. That he was still a part of our family, that he would always be her brother and that we were always going to talk about him. He talked with her about how she could always tell people that she has a sister and a brother, but that her brother is in heaven. We want so desperately for her to know that Josiah is still a part of our family and that it's okay to talk or sing about him.

One of my biggest fears through this whole process has been the thoughts of teaching my girls about death and heaven. We are living that fear now and realizing that it's going to be a long process.

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  1. Erin we have not met yet but my husband and I started coming to Ridgeview right before Christmas. We came to hear Garry Harper speak and have been there every week since. We recently lost my 3 year old nephew and it has been the hardest thing we have ever gone through. I have 4 children and explaining all this to them has been a challenge everyday. My children are 2,5,7 and 10 so they all understand on different levels. Watching how the death of a child affects children is so heart breaking. I have been thinking and praying for all of you so much. My nephew's death was unexpected also. Although he had cancer he was in remission and actually went in for his last round of chemo. 24 hours later he was gone. I don't think you can ever prepare yourself for the death of a child. I look forward to meeting you.
    Shannon Cole

  2. I am sorry about the loss of your son. He was just beautiful! My daughter has HLHS and I can only imagine what you are going through. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Jessica Makuh, jnmakuh@live.com