Last week, we attended the wake and funeral of Ashwin's beloved grand uncle. We wanted Nanma to witness this. Naturally, we knew there'd be many questions and Ashwin and I had discussed what we would tell her and how. We are particular that she knows the truth about life and death and we want her to grow up knowing that death isn't the end and of life everlasting to those who believe.
So... we got past all the "Why did he die?" "How did he die?" and the "I won't die". Nanma was fine at the home of the deseased. She played with her cousins there and everything was fine. Then came the time at the cemetery. We reached early because parking would be a problem. Ashwin showed her the pit they had dug (funerals in India are very different from those in the west. The congregation is present for the actual burial) and explained
Ashwin: "Nanma, that's the pit where they are going to put the Appacha's body."
Ashwin: "Because he died. When someone dies, their body cannot walk or talk or do anything we can do. It will soon get spoiled so we bury it"
Me: "But then, remember your memory verse? "
Nanma : " for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son. Whoever believes in him will not die but have "returnal" life" (she can never say eternal)
Ashwin: Yes. So Appacha is in heaven with Jesus.
Nanma : huh?
Me: "Nanma, his body will be buried. But because he believed in Jesus, his life will be with Jesus in that awesome, super place called heaven"
Nanma: ..... (long pause) ... but his head will still be here, no?
She understood "body" to mean everything neck down. ha ha! We laughed, got a few glares from people around, and then set her right.
She still doesn't understand the concept. But we aren't going to dilute what we believe in with watered down lies.