“He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.”Philippians 3:21, NLT
“What is cremation?” My seven year old asked me as I tucked her into bed one night. She often wants pillow talk at bedtime, but this felt like a dark subject to bring up right before she drifted off to sleep. She regularly has night terrors, and I didn’t want to provoke any unnecessarily. They are exhausting for both of us.
Nevertheless, I’ve learned to be a student of my children in grief. Each child processes loss in a unique way, and it’s been a holy honor to walk with them as they process Rob’s death. When they want to talk, I drop whatever I am doing and we talk. No exceptions.
So even though it was bedtime, we talked about cremation. About the room with the bright light that turned Daddy’s body to ash. “Even his bones?” She asked. “Even his eyes?” My heart slid up into my throat. My stomach tightened. Her questions are so pointed, so direct. Not like the meandering pensive questions of her older siblings. “Yes, all of him,” I replied as my eyes filled with tears.
“How do they do it?” She probed, not satisfied with my practiced answer born of hours of reading on child loss. “I don’t exactly know,” I had to admit. “I can find out for you, if you want.”
“That’s okay, Mommy,” she said as she snuggled deeper into the blankets and squeezed her stuffed pig. “God can put Daddy back together again. He has all the materials.”
He certainly does and He really will, I affirmed her. We talked about Ezekiel and the dry bones, about God breathing His Spirit into a handful of dust at creation. We talked about His promise to bring Daddy alive again to us at the last day. We smiled and snuggled and sang, “We call out to dry bones, come alive, come alive,” from her favorite Lauren Daigle album.
Rob used to say everything is about death and resurrection. He was right. Even talks about cremation. I’d studied all of the best ways to talk to a child about death. My daughter knew all the best ways to talk to me about resurrection. Come alive, dry bones. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.