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posted by Katie

I know he died, but how is he?

"Hi Mama. How's Grandpa Sr.? I mean, I know he died, but how is he?"

Such a simple sweet question from six year old Nathan. Caught somewhere in the middle of not really understanding what it means when someone dies, and having a sense that death is not the end. And totally heart breaking. Death is even harder when you have a six year old.

Grandpa Vogele is the first person to die who Nathan will remember, does remember. On Saturday night when I told Nathan I was going down to Maryland on my own, instead of my trip with the boys planned for Monday, because Grandpa might die tonight, he asked "but how? how can someone die at home?" Because our bodies are done, but we are lucky enough to be comfortable in our own space; that is where we all hope to die sweet boy. Still, Nathan got out of bed in his pokeman pjs, crying, putting on his socks and snow boots and jacket, determined to come with me.

And then Sunday night, "I know he died, but how is he?" So we talked about what death means, that the next time Nathan comes to Maryland we will remember Grandpa Sr. and celebrate his life and miss him, but we won't see him. That when I see him this week, I am just sitting with his body, remembering him and missing him, that we do these things because his body is all that is left here on earth, but we know his spirit is not changed, and we miss being able to see him and hug him and talk to him, but he is not completely lost. We talked about what his body looked like - calm and peaceful and comfortable. Nathan was so mad and sad that he didn't get to even just see Grandpa Sr. one more time. He handed the phone to Tim, crying, "I just can't take anymore." Then he wanted to talk some more.

Nathan asked if I would send him a photo. I said I'd take one and we'd look at it together. I told him I would bring the picture he'd drawn so that his picture could sit with Grandpa Sr.'s body too. I told him how much is Grandpa Sr loved him. And then Nathan said "You know Mama, if you want to take a break, and not talk about Grandpa Sr. for a little while, and then talk about him more when you're home, that's okay." "Do you need a break buddy?" "Yah." "Okay. If you want, we can talk about him more when I come home."

Nathan is the sweetest boy. And death is even harder when you have a six year old.


What bittersweet times. My heart breaks with yours. But what a joy and hope Nathan has in his Eternal Home with Grandpa and his Lord. Sending love and comfort to all of you as you mourn your grandpa's passing. 💙 So so sorry...

Katie, what a lovely post. It's always difficult to watch your child struggle with something that's not quite within his grasp, and to try to make sense out of it. He's lucky to have a wonderful, understanding Mama (and Papa), and lucky to have known his great-grandpa. Our hearts are with you at this sad time.

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