The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

The Little Knights

March 16, 2017

Little Knights Talk About Death
by Heidi Wolf

Last year, we had a classroom fish die. I believe that talking about these life events are important instead of just replacing the fish or hiding the event from the children. So we talked about what happens when something dies and read a few books about the topic. Some of the little knights experienced a death of a family member and some had lost a pet. We even found a dead cat and a dead mouse in our adventures out in the woods. With young children, processing death goes in stages and the topic comes up on occasion, in short bursts – a couple questions and then usually the topic ends.

My family lost our golden retriever, Molly, less than a month after Alton and Henry lost their beloved dog, Oscar. So the topic again returns to the discussion. Here is a recent discussion that I recorded as we read a book called Bug Cemetery and What Happens When our Loved Ones Die. The discussion started right after I read the title and opened to the first page—I don’t know if we even finished the book. On that day this discussion was much more important than finishing the book.

Oliver: “I know what happens! They die and go to heaven!”

Sylvia: “Their SOUL goes to heaven!”

Heidi: “What about animals?”

Sylvia: “A dog soul….oh they don’t go to heaven…they go somewhere in the back of the nurses and in the back of the hospital.”

Heidi: “Does anyone else have an idea?”

Alton: “My mom says there is a dog Heaven!”

Henry: “Yeah, there IS a dog heaven. The dog soul goes to heaven”

Sylvia: “Oh yeah. The dog goes to heaven but they don’t have their own cemetery. They stay in the back of the of the nurse’s office.”

Alton: “Dogs make comfy beds out of the clouds and God.”

Sylvia: “God sends the clouds down to lay on in the office.

Henry: “BUT they can not fall through the clouds!”

Heidi: “I think their soul is so light they float with the clouds!”

Heidi: “Do you know any people who have gone to heaven?”

Oliver: “My grandpa and my cousin Emerson, he is still little.”

Sylvia: “Ms. Heidi- I know someone, my grandma Esther died.”

Sylvia: “Hey, Alton! do you think Oscar’s soul and Tanner’s soul are in heaven TOGETHER?”

Alton: “YES! And Heidi’s Molly…I wonder if they are running around and playing?”

Heidi: “My Molly LOVED playing ball!”

Oliver: “Maybe Emerson can throw balls now for Molly and Oscar and Tanner and ALL the dogs!”

Alton: “Oscar likes fetch. He likes sticks not squeaky balls”

Sylvia: “Tanner would run to all the dogs”

Since I had tears at this point, I said, “We feel sad when someone we love dies and the tears sometimes bubble up. What can we do to help us feel better?”

Alton: “Look at pictures!”

Oliver: “I just remember him!”

Alton: “I have a picture of Oscar and a statue”

Amelia: “I have a picture of my Grandma Ann. She was sick. She died. It was so so sad.”

Heidi: “I am so glad we can have memories and pictures, and we get to see them again in heaven.”

Amelia: “Can we read another book?”

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