I saw this picture today and it immediately made me think of Kyleigh. It fits perfectly with the story below.
Rewind to this past Christmas Day. We were at my parents’ house just getting ready to sit down for dinner. My oldest son, who is five, was already seated at the table and as I sat down next to him, he says, “Mommy, heaven is in my heart because Kyleigh is in heaven and I love her. She lives in my heart and is always with me.” I just about dropped my plate as I held back the tears. He asks a lot of questions about heaven and what it’s like, but he had never spoken these words before. We didn’t have much time to talk about it in that exact moment, regrettably. Since Christmas, my son has spoken these words to me more often and we have had the opportunity to talk about it a little bit more.
Hearing these words come from my son’s mouth brings me such a sense of peace. He knows that Kyleigh is safe with Jesus in heaven. His words about Kyleigh and her death can be so profound at times and I often wonder where he gets it from. Then I have to remember the simplicity of a child’s faith. It sounds profound to us, as adults, but really it is quite simple.
Another reason why I believe he speaks in the terms that he does about death and heaven is because we have many books on both subjects. In the days following Kyleigh’s death, I had a few people call and ask if we had gotten any books for the boys to help explain what had happened. For a family who frequents the library and buys books often, this was something that we had not thought of at all. Fortunately, we not only had a few friends go out and purchase books for us, but we also received some as gifts from those who did not know we were searching for books.
We have a handful of books specifically about death, but these are a few of my favorites that we have when talking specifically about heaven:
Someday Heaven by Larry Libby
This book is actually on loan to us and it’s probably about time that I return it! Someday Heaven is set up in a Q&A format. Questions such as, Where Is Heaven?, Who Lives in Heaven?, How Long Will I Be in Heaven?, Will I Be an Angel When I Get to Heaven? and Will My Pets Go to Heaven? are answered very matter-of-factly and are supported with scripture. There is a wide range of questions that are typical of what a child would ask, which means that some of them are silly and light-hearted.
Heaven is for Real for Kids by Colton Burpo
Heaven is for Real for Kids is the children’s version of Heaven is For Real, which I am sure most of you have heard of. I have read the adult version, so when we received the children’s version as a gift, I was curious. I do not want to give away too many details for those who have not read the book, but the tag line on the cover states: A little boy’s astounding story of his trip to heaven and back. That being said, there is a lot in this book that I do not read to my children. I do not want my children thinking that Kyleigh is going to come back from heaven. Sorry boys, that’s not how it works. I do like this book because of the wonderful illustrations and the plethora of scripture references. The book really does give a clearer understanding of heaven through the Scriptures. I just have a hard time reading about a boy who went to heaven and came back.
Heaven: God’s Promise for Me written by Anne Graham Lotz
The book, Heaven: God’s Promise for Me, was given to my boys when my grandmother passed away a few months after Kyleigh. It is written by Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of Billy Graham, whom my grandma really admired. Each illustration in the book contains a hidden angel. My grandma had a love for angels, so that makes this book a little more special. The book not only focuses on what heaven is like, but more importantly, how to get there. It is a rhyming book with wonderful images, such as swimming with sharks and flying with eagles. I appreciate the illustrations in this book because they show people of all ages in heaven, not just elderly like you see in many books. While this book does not provide scripture references throughout the book, there is a list at the back. Heaven: God’s Promise for Me is written in a more kid-friendly story than the previous two books that I have highlighted.
God Gave Us Heaven by Lisa Tawn Bergren
This one is my favorite. I enjoy all of the books in the God Gave Us series, so it was no surprise when I fell in love with this one, too. God Gave Us Heaven is a wonderful story about Little Cub and his curiosity of heaven. He asks his Papa lots of questions about heaven and God that are answered by Papa as they spend the day together fishing. My favorite part of the book is when Little Cub asks, “Will we be angels?” Papa says, “No. Only angels are angels. God made us polar bears for a reason.” “Shoot. I wanted to fly,” says Little Cub. This is a wonderful story for everyone about love, faith and family. If you have not read any of the books from this series, go check one out at the library.
Not long after my grandma was diagnosed with bone cancer, she became very ill. I had the thought that I should buy a book about death and heaven, you know, to prepare my boys for the inevitable. Then, Grandma started getting better and I dismissed my thoughts. I didn’t want to scare my boys by talking about death. Little did I know that they would soon be immersed in more death than most children ever experience. If you have children, find a book about death and/or heaven that works for your beliefs and your family. We all have to face it at some time or another. I do not regret not reading to my children about death or heaven before their sister and two great-grandmothers died. I just now know that I could have done it in a way that would not have been scary, like I thought.
To be continued … I will highlight some of our children’s books about death soon.