By T. Alan Lusk, Pastor of The Grove Church
Death is not something we naturally deal with very well. So, how do we deal with it? More specifically, how do we help our children deal with loss? Do you remember the episode of The Cosby Show when Rudy’s Goldfish, Lemont, dies, and they have a funeral complete with a eulogy? It is hysterical, yet it has a lot to teach us about helping our kids deal with loss.
1. Remember there is no timeline. One of the best parts of the scene in the show is that Cliff is the only one interested in the funeral. This is a great reminder that there’s no set timeline on grief. This is especially true for kids; they can go from laughing and playing to weeping uncontrollably in seconds. So, help your kids by bringing them into your process as you grieve. When appropriate, after you’ve made sure that you’ve taken care of yourself, invite them in, let them know you’re sad. Convey that it’s okay to have these feelings and that you’re ready to answer questions and talk whenever they are.
2. Remind them Jesus cares. Jesus certainly knows how we feel. He cried when his friend Lazarus died. And Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” Jesus cares for us up close and promises that he will comfort us.
3. Rest in God’s gifts for grief. It’s hard to reconcile the reality that God gives good gifts in the midst of our grief, but it’s so true. In the midst of our grief, God gives the gifts of His word, our family, and our memories to comfort us. Dedicate time with family to open God’s word, and share memories of how your beloved animal brought joy to your life.
4. Run to the Gospel. Lastly, walking with our kids through the loss is an incredible time to point to the Gospel. Death brings pain, but the Gospel brings peace, and Christ died so we can have life. So, at the proper time, parents should feel the freedom to run to the Gospel and share eternal life found in Christ. ■