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“What are you going to do with me when I die daddy?”

Greg Stier
Greg Stier

Death is one of those things that is hard to explain to a five year old. So in the aftermath of our Dauchsand’s demise (died last Monday night) the conversation between me and my favorite kindergarten kid on the planet went something like this:

“Daddy where’s Shadow?”

“Ummm. Jeremy you know that she died last night. You kissed her goodbye. I had to take her to the doggy place so they could ‘deal’ with her.”

“She will never be back?” his eyes starting to well up.

“No, Jeremy, we are having her cremated.”

Blank look from Jeremy.

“I’ll bring her back in a cannister” was my failed attempt at grief management.

Blank look morphs into a look of fear. Jeremy started getting nervous imagining Shadow in a can, her little puppy dog eyes pressing against the glass.

“Jeremy she’s coming back as ashes.” (I didn’t think he would understand the implications, i.e. furnace, fire, ashes, etc.)

“You are going to put her in the fire?” his voice rising in righteous indignation.


“What are you going to do with me when I die Daddy? Are you going to put me in the fire and put me in a can?” the little guy is getting all worked up as I am freaking out trying to prevent further psychological damage.

“No, Jeremy, we are going to bury you in a coffin in the ground.” (as the words spilled over my lips I knew it was the exact wrong thing to say, but it was too late.)

“You are going to put me in the ground?!!!!”

Needless to say I got the “what were you thinking” look from Debbie that night. She solved his problem with a long hug and a much better explanation.

You think explaining theology to ten thousand teenagers in a room is tough? Try explaining the death of a pet to a five year old.

Unlikely Fighter

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