Special Needs

Death and After-Life questions

DS has been asking questions about what happens after death.

It would be totally fine if they were just curious, hypothetical questions, but he seems really disturbed by the concept, as if he has really put some thought into it already and is really "feeling" how it is when it happens.

One evening, right when I was putting him to bed, he told me he was really scared that after he dies he won't know what to do. I asked him to elaborate and he said, he didn't know how to get to Jesus's house, so he would be lost. I started scrambling for thoughts and said something like that he would never be lost and not to worry. He kept insisting and asked where would I (his mom) be? Would he be alone? It broke my heart, but I said that I would never leave him (yeah, I lied). But, I wanted to console him. He said that If I die, and he doesn't, he will be alone. I reassured him that I will always be there for him.

I probably did not handle the situation well. It was a shock.

I don't go to church regularly, my H only very occassionally. I have never discussed after life with DS. I asked H, if he was talking religion or death with DS, because he is getting some kind of anxiety around death and not finding Jesus. H said that he has not.

Another time, again at bedtime, DS mentioned that he doesn't want to grow up or get any older. I asked why. He said it's because the older he gets the closer he is to dying. He has also been asking how many years grandma, grandpa or even I have left.

Anybody gone through anything similar?

Re: Death and After-Life questions

  • DS had a problem with his teeth falling out, too. He felt sorry that his teeth "died" and mourned them.
  • I was like this as a kid.  Still vividly remember it.  I saw a superman movie where the uncle died, and for awhile kept waking my parents up telling them I was having a heart attack.  I over think things (still do), and remember wondering some of the same things as your DS.  I was scared of getting buried and not being able to get out.  Funerals as a kid were horrible for me, and I was always had bad dreams afterward with dead bodies in them.  As I got older I struggled with if there was life after death, or if it was a fairy tale.  This has lead me to really research both science and religion.  It's been quite a journey.  Today I am a born again christian.  God had to really do things that were beyond my ability to explain away as anything else but Him.  Now THAT is a whole other story :)  

    So, talk to your child simply and truthfully, encouraging him to seek his own answers.  Bring comfort and reassurance where you can.   Death is the great unknown.  I hope it's a rewarding and comforting search for him ultimately...

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  • I am very literal, type A, linear and so is my daughter. At a young age 7 my folks made the poor decision to take me with them per no sitter to see Driving Miss Daisy. Can you say don't drop the peas?!

    It instilled a very intense fear/obsession with death, I would have panic steals at night not knowing if I would wake up or ponder eternity I was raised catholic my dad felt that if he explained eternity it would make me feel better. No, I just pictured being dead for all eternity I was told there was no way to stop death for anyone true but harsh at a young age. It got to the point where I would get physically ill at night.

    This went on for a couple years on and off until my aunt died in her 40's her death gave me comfort as I figured I'd she could do it I could do it she knew it was coming. Also my family kept talking about how she was with everyone else that passed on.

    So I am on the let DS figure out how he wants to explore or learn about this rather than the this would make me feel better approach sayings. I think it takes ones own personal response to get OK with the whole life/death thing IMHO.
  • Don't know if this helps, but DS goes to Sunday School and seems fine with the whole "when you die you go to Heaven" situation. Hasn't asked much more questions, but we did have a close family member die recently and the funeral provoked all kinds of doozies. Particularly he couldn't figure out why you'd put her in a box and then bury her underground. It was open casket (my grandma), and he did amazingly well. My DH was opposed to DS even seeing her, so I let DS decide and he was very curious and quiet during the viewing- even up close. One of his teachers told him that we bury people in the ground because that's the tunnel to Heaven. Myself and all the other parents at the funeral thought that was a pretty good description! Until my son, at the cemetary, whispered in his faux quiet "whisper" "I wanna see them push her down!" He pictured it as a slide and was pretty fascinated with the contraption that lowers the coffin. Everyone had a pretty good sense of humor about it though. Good luck, your son is asking some really intense questions!
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