When Someone We Love Dies
Death is the name we give to a part of life that is hard to understand. When we think about it though, we know that plants die in the Winter. We know that animals die too. After all, this is the way nature works. But it is much harder to understand why people die, especially when it is someone we love. When someone we love dies, it can make us feel very sad, or even mad. Let's spend some time talking about it and it will probably make you feel better and answer some questions you might have been wondering about.
Q: Why Do People Die?
A: Dying is a natural part of life. All living things like plants, animals, and people are special parts of God's natural world. Nature almost always gives us long, healthy lives. Like all things in nature, after many, many years people grow old and reach the end of life. This is called death.
Q: Does Death Hurt?
A: Doctors tell us that death is usually not painful. Especially with old people, dying is almost always quiet. When someone dies in an accident, they often feel no pain either because death comes so quickly. Even when someone is sick or hurt for a long time before they die, special medicines take away most of the pain.
Q: When Someone Dies Are They Being Punished?
A: Death is not a punishment. To help you understand this let's talk about your bicycle for a minute. Your bicycle has many many parts. If you ride your bike a lot, eventually one of the parts will wear out. Maybe it will be the tire on your bike or maybe the chain will break. Our bodies also have many parts. After many, many years some parts wear out and do not work anymore, just like your bike. People die when the real important parts of their body, like their heart, stops working. Sometimes people get sick and this makes it hard for some parts of their body to keep working. This is not a punishment. Even at your age, you get sick, but because your body is so young and your parts are so strong, you get healthy real fast. When people get very very old, there parts are not strong like yours so when they get sick it is hard for them to get better.
Q: Why Can't Doctors And Hospitals Stop Someone From Dying?
A: Most of the time they do. Sometimes though, even with the best medicines and best doctors, someone dies because they are very old or very sick. Doctors and nurses are so great because they help us live long healthy lives. Because of what they know and the special machines they use people live much longer now than they ever used to. When a person gets very old, not only are their parts wearing out, but special medicines no longer work to make them healthy again. Most of the time people go to hospitals to become healthy again, not to die.
Q: Where Do People Go When They Die?
A: Most people believe that when someone dies, a very special part of that person lives on and goes to Heaven. This part is not like the heart or the brain or any other part of us that doctors and nurses take care of. It is the part of us that lets us feel love and happiness. This part never gets sick. It never wears out. This special part is called the spirit or the soul. As you get older you will even read many poems and listen to many songs that talk about the spirit. This will help you learn more about it. We cannot see someone's spirit or soul. We cannot see Heaven either. Even though we cannot see these things, we can still believe in them. This is called faith. Faith is believing is something that we cannot see. People all over the world have always believed that our spirit or soul lives on forever. American Indians talk about their spirit a lot. When someone we love dies, it can make us feel better to know that part of them will live on forever.
Q: Why Did Someone I Love Have To Die? Why Couldn't It Have Been Someone Else?
A: Sometimes death doesn't seem fair. Of all the people in the whole world, why did this person have to die? Almost everyone, no matter who they are is loved by others. Almost everyone will be missed by someone when they die. Right now someone just like you - somewhere else in the world is asking the same question: Why did someone I love have to die? Maybe if you were with that other person you could help them understand that we all will feel that way about someone who dies.
Q: Is Death Like Sleeping?
A: No. Dying is not like sleeping at all. People sleep to rest up and stay health. Sleep gives hard working parts of our body time to build up strength again. Think of how good you feel after you sleep. You feel so good because your body is rested and ready for another day. When someone dies, their body stops working. It is not resting anymore. Its job is over.
Q: Why Do Some People Die When They Are Very Young?
A: Sometimes, but not very often, a young child dies. It can happen from a very bad accident or a very tough illness. A young person's death makes us especially unhappy. We feel that it is not fair because everyone should live a long happy life. It if happens to someone young in your family it is very hard to understand. Even for big people it is hard to understand. We may even feel sad if we argued with the young person that died. All those feelings are very normal. Every young person has them, just like you. But you need to leave room for other feelings too. Remember, all friends argue once in a while but eventually 'make up' and end up better friends than ever. In fact, that young persons life was a mostly happy life because of friends like you. Always remember that.
Q: How Long Will I Live?
A: No one knows that. We do know that we will not live forever. We know that if we eat good foods and stay away from things that are bad for our body that it will help us life long healthy lives. We also know that when we grow old that death gets closer. This does not mean that people worry all their lives about growing old and dying. As we grow older we learn more about living and dying. The more we learn, the less we think about it. Everyone knows many old people who are very happy. They have learned not to worry about these things. How long will you live? Probably a very long, long time.
Q: Do People Die Because They Are Unhappy?
A: Being unhappy can sometimes make us feel sick for awhile. But almost no one dies because they are unhappy. Remember the times when you have been unhappy? Sooner or later you feel better again. You are able to smile and laugh again. Everyone goes through times like this. It has nothing to do with dying.
Q: Will I Ever See The Person Who Has Died Again?
A: When someone dies they do not come back to life. This is why people become so sad when someone they love dies. They miss the person who is gone. Right now you may miss someone who has died. Maybe you will always miss them. But you will not always feel sad about it. By now you may have heard about Heaven. Many believe that Heaven is a special place where the spirit lives forever and that someday we will all see each other in this special place. Someday, a long, long time from now, you may be with that person in Heaven. That is why many people do not think that death means they will never see that person again. It means that someday they will see them again in Heaven. When we are sad about someone who died, thinking about Heaven helps us feel better.
Q: How Can I Stop Feeling Sad?
A: It is normal to feel sad when someone you love dies. You miss them. You may feel lonely. You may feel mixed up or confused. It is good to cry if you are sad. When someone dies you will see many people cry because many people are sad, just like you. Most people have these same feelings when someone they love dies. Sadness is something like the pain you feel when you get hurt. At first it hurts a lot. But it will hurt less and less each day. Sooner than you think it will be almost gone. Then you will be able to think about the person who has died without feeling sad. It helps very much to tell your family and friends how you feel. It also helps to ask a lot of questions. It helps, most of all, not to pretend. If you are sad, don't pretend you are not.
Q: Why Are People Buried When They Die?
A: There is a special place called a cemetery that was made for people when they die. It is a place that looks like a park. It has trees and flowers and places to walk. The only difference is that it also has special stones called monuments which list the persons name so we will always know where they are buried. After a person dies their body is placed in a special container called a casket. The casket in buried is then buried in the cemetery. Some people are not buried in the ground. Their casket is put in a special building called a mausoleum (moss'-o-lee-um). The nice thing about cemeteries and mausoleums is that we can always go back and visit this special place whenever we want to. It helps us think about the person who died and brings back many special memories.
Q: What Are Funerals For?
A: One of the nicest things about being a person is that we are able to love one another. This does not end when the person dies. Funerals are for sharing feelings with others about the person that died. They give us a chance to remember the goodness and happiness that person brought into our life. When we talk to others at the funeral we will hear their stories and learn how that person them happy too. This takes away some of the sadness that we all feel. It also helps us understand how much others care too.
Q: When I Get Older Will This Get Easier To Understand?
A: As we grow up we learn more about the circle of life that starts when you are born as a baby, go through grade school, become a teenager and go through high school, possibly go to college, maybe get married and have a family, work at a job for many years, retire and perhaps travel throughout the world and someday come to the end of your life. This all takes many, many, many years. By the time you are grown-up you will have learned so much. The more we learn about life, the better we are able to understand the last part of life called death. It will get easier to understand and easier to talk about as time goes by. Always remember this: the person who died was lucky to have had you as a special friend. You will always remember them and those memories will make you feel good as you grow older.