Last night was difficult for us as a family. It involved a very unnatural conversation with our six year old daughter, Isabela. A conversation that makes me grateful, yet angry for having to have had it. A conversation that I myself don’t fully understand. A conversation that began in tears and ended in more tears.
As I was putting Isabela to bed and getting ready to read the bible to her, I asked her how she was doing with regards to her missing Susana and things like that. She told me that that she was fine. So, I pressed in a little and asked her if she ever thinks about Susana and how does that make her feel. She then opened up and shared about how she does think about her often and sometimes she gets sad, but is afraid to cry. She said that she doesn’t want to cry because she doesn’t want to take anything away from us feeling happy. My heart broke. Then she told me that she has cried a few times in the car, but kept it hidden from us, and told us that she was just playing and pretending when we asked her what was going on. I felt really bad.
So, we put the bible aside for a moment, and I told her how it is completely ok for her to cry whenever and wherever. I told her that she should not feel bad about crying. I told her to look at me and see that her Daddy cries all the time. That crying is normal and God completely understands that we will have many tears of sadness because we miss our sweet Susana. So, I encouraged her to cry whenever she needs to. And, of course, as I was talking about these things with her, I began to cry. Then, she asked for me to go get Mommy for her. And I knew that she was going to cry with Mommy. And I was glad. I knew that my little girl needed to cry.
I overheard Mommy and her talking briefly, and then I heard Isabela just start crying. My heart broke, but at the same time I was glad to hear it because she has not really cried much at all, except for a few shed tears here and there, since Susana went to heaven.
After Maria came back out 15 minutes later, we talked on the couch about what had happened. Shortly into our conversation, we heard Isabela start to cry again. We both agreed that it was good and that we should let her cry. So, after a few minutes of her and I trying to talk, her crying became more and more. So, we both got up and went to her room to be with her. We just climbed on her bed, held her hand, and cried along side of her. It was the first time that Isabela has ever cried like this. It broke my heart. She was grieving the loss of her sister and her best friend. And she is only six years old.
And then it dawned on me…she probably has no idea what is going on inside of her. That’s probably why she would try to hide back her tears. She’s never experienced such tragedy and grief. Even Maria and I have never experienced such grief, but at least we know and understand that such grief will cause the tears to fall without ceasing. But what does Isabela, a little six year old girl, know about how to walk through grief.
So, after many many tears, I explained to her about how important it is for us to release what we are feeling to God rather than try to stuff it back down inside of us. I used the analogy of a can of coke and asked her the question as to what happens when you shake a can of coke a lot and then open it up. She knew that the answer is that it will explode all over the place. And so I then told her to imagine that her body was the can and the pain and sadness was the coke. If she keeps stuffing down the pain and sadness without letting it out, then it will become very messy one day and she is going to spill out all over the place in a very unhealthy manner. But, if she pours out the pain now, then God is able to bring healing and wholeness to her heart, even though it will hurt some as she allows the pain to pour out. She was looking at me and really understanding what I was saying. She was asking good questions that showed that she was getting it. Then she started asking silly questions, and I knew that it was finally time for nite nite, and Maria and I gave her huge hugs, and then she fell asleep.
Maria and I talked about it for a while afterwards on the couch. We were sad. I was crying. And I told Maria that this is where I feel that it is just so wrong to have to have a conversation like that with a six year old little girl. That’s where I get mad. Again, not mad at God, but mad at this sin cursed world. And this is where I know that it really is unnatural to have such conversations, especially with a six year old little princess. But, for us as believers, there are many things in this life that are unnatural because we were not made for such a life as this.
And so, by His grace, we have such conversations, and we learn to trust the Lord more, and we walk forward. But my heart just breaks for my little girl who has to be schooled so early in life about the deepest pain and brokenness that one could ever feel. Most six year olds are busy about playing with their barbies, playing dress-up, and watching Disney. Yet my six year old is wrestling with looking at an empty bed next to her and wondering why her sister was taken to heaven so early, and wondering what to do with all the feelings that are caused by such thoughts. She hurts. She is wounded. She is sad. Why should any six year old have to deal with such things at that age? I wish I had the answer.
But, she, like Maria and I, are being taught more than ever about what it truly means to walk with Jesus. It is not an easy road here on this earth, but the joys and rewards in Heaven will be unspeakable! And I pray that my little girl grows in this knowledge and truth more so than ever through what she is enduring at such a young age.