I want to be five years old in heaven…

When my grandmother passed over a year ago, my 5 year old daughter had a lot of questions about death. Where did grandma go? Would she see her again? Where is heaven?

I felt so uncomfortable answering these questions. Not having anything to do with religion or spirituality, but because no one truly knows the answers to them. I am saying what I think and what will provide her comfort.

I told her that grandma is in heaven and has become an angel that watches over us. And someday when I/she/Daddy/her blanket/ go to heaven, we’ll see her again.

Now, here’s where it gets tricky. She asked the question that every parent dreads.

“When are YOU going to heaven, Mommy?”

I didn’t know what to tell her. I chose to focus on old age and stress the fact that most people go to heaven after living very long lives. She has not yet had to deal with the death of someone who isn’t elderly and I don’t feel ready to cross that bridge right now.

She asked, “Like 100 years old?”

I replied, “Somewhere around there.”

She’s starting to do math now. She hears me talking about turning 40 this year and “getting older” and you can see her starting to freak out a bit. She’s told me over and over again she doesn’t want me to go to heaven, she doesn’t want me to leave. I have reassured her that I will always be her angel. I’ll never be far from her, even if she can’t see me.

So when she brought up heaven again in the car yesterday, I was nervous to hear her questions. Would she get upset again? Would she ask me things that I couldn’t answer?

But instead she asked, “Can you pick whatever age you want to be when you get to heaven?”

What an interesting idea, I thought.

I smiled and said, “I can’t see why not.”

Her reply was perfect. “I’m going to pick 5 years old. Because at 5 years old, you, Daddy and Tooper (what she calls her brother) are all together.”

Kind of amazing how a 5 year old can figure out life’s biggest mysteries, then sing “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?” from Frozen two seconds later.

Parenting. It’s full of conversations where your children might actually know more than you.



  1. What a great story!

  2. Oh wow .. she surely has it figured out. I can only imagine how tough that is to explain the passing away of someone dear to you. Well at least she has a plan figured out … for now.

    All the best! And keep up the great work with your blog.

    xoxo, Anni

  3. children are precious and their perspectives help us all! xo

  4. You answered perfectly. My almost five year has been really asking those questions alot too. It is hard to tell them in way taht they will not get scared or freaked out. He says things like I’ll still love you when I’m in heaven and such. It really made me feel creeped out. So I finally had to say I love that you will love me forever but lets talk about going to heaven when we are alot alot older, okay? Which set off a whole new round of questions.

  5. Oh, what a sweet heart she has!

    My 9y/o was reading a biography to me and in it, the mom died when the little girl was 8. My son started tearing up and saying that that has to be the saddest life ever to have your mom die then.

  6. Wow!! How thoughtful of your daughter and definitely an example of how resilient and understanding children can be. We went through a very similar situation- last yr when my daughter was 5, my grandma passed away. She too asked the same questions about life & death and also had a “freak out” moment when she realized Mommy, Daddy and my parents are getting older. Time moved on and this yr on new yrs day, my DD (now age 6) told me she wished she could wish grandma a happy new year & then said- I guess that’s OK because she’s probably having a great time as an angel… :)

  7. Children are amazing and insightful and hilarious all at the same time. What a precious comment… and how smart of you to immortalize it in this post. Regardless of my age, I personally am hoping to be taller in heaven:)

  8. wow – how did you not just grab her up and cover her with smooches and hugs!!

  9. Awwwh bless her heart. That’s really sweet of her. And well-fielded by you!

    I had a panic recently when my Neff suddenly said “I’m going to be a famous singer when I grow up, and you need a video of me, so you can watch me singing after I die”

    I was baffled, but we’ve had an extended-family member die recently, so I guess he’s been absorbing it all in, and didn’t want us to miss him, which is really sweet (but creepy)

  10. It’s amazing what kids can teach us if we just listen. That’s the best part of parenting!

  11. This was a great family story to put out there. I have danced around the issue of death before with my four year old because my mom’s dog passed away recently. He took it and ran, like most kids do. I haven’t heard about it in a while but I love the reminder that kids can take something most of us find scary and make it more bearable.

  12. So true! My oldest went through a phase when she was about 4 where she was obsessed with death, thought her Daddy and I were going to die, etc. She even asked “If everyone goes to Heaven what are cemeteries for?” I wasn’t prepared for that one either! I love it when they have better answers than we do. :-)

  13. Loving your daughter’s perspective in this story. Heaven is a world of possibility :)

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