Hope you are having a great week! My 4-year-old daughter, Ellie, and I were driving back to Dallas last week and we had a very impactful conversation that I felt compelled to share with you. For those just joining our journey, almost two years ago we lost my husband and Ellie’s dad, Andrew, to cancer.
ELLIE: (out of the blue): Mom, why can’t we see God?
ME: Good question, El. I’m not really sure why. I think it’s one of those questions we will have to ask God one day when we get to Heaven.
ELLIE: Does everyone die? Do they all die from cancer?
ME: Yes, El, at some point everyone dies, but not everyone dies from cancer.
ELLIE: Like everyone dies at the same time?
ME: No, all at different times.
Ellie is really confused at this point and asks me the same question over and over and over because she thinks I do not understand her question.
ELLIE: Mom, are you going to die?
ME (uneasy about answering this question): Yes, sweetheart, some day.
ELLIE (bursts into tears): I don’t want you to die, Mommy. I want to die with you.
This officially breaks my heart and I start crying, too. I’m trying to console her and let her know I am healthy and plan to live a long life, but that I do not know what God’s plans are for me.
ELLIE (through her tears): I don’t want God to take you while I’m a little girl. I just hope He knows, I just hope He knows.
ME: Hope He knows what, baby?
ELLIE: That I’m still a little girl.
ME (crying): He knows, baby. Ellie, I just want you to know I’m so sorry you lost your daddy and that you had to go through that.
ELLIE: Was it your fault, Mommy?
ME: No, sweetheart, it wasn’t anyone’s fault. I just wanted you to know I’m sorry.
This is the first time Ellie and I have shared tears over the loss of her dad.
ELLIE: I don’t want to talk about dying anymore, Mommy.
ME: Ok, sweetheart, we don’t have to talk about that.
Not sure what your conversations are like with your 4-year-old, but I’m never prepared for what comes out of her mouth. It’s so amazing to me how much some kids internalize and the depth of their thinking at such a young age. As painful as these conversations can be, I’m grateful for the moments when we can connect on an emotional and spiritual level. I always want to know her heart and how she is feeling even when it breaks my heart. I learn so much through watching and talking to Ellie and daily she challenges and inspires me to be a better woman and a better mom.
On Father’s Day, I asked Ellie if I could pray with her before she went to sleep. She agreed and about 10 seconds into my prayer she asked, “Mommy, can I pray?” I said, “Of course, El.” This was her prayer: “Dear God, thank you for making us happy even though we don’t have my Daddy.” My heart was filled with so much love as we drifted off to sleep.
If you are willing to share, I would love to hear about a meaningful or impactful conversation you’ve shared with your child in the comments below. Thank you so much for spending time with me today! Sending you lots of love. Blessings!
P.S. If you want to see the precious gift Ellie’s daddy left for her before he passed away go to www.ellieproject.com to get your copy of The Ellie Project. I truly appreciate your support!