This Week in Death

Some people are sports fans. Some people are Instagram followers. Others are ardent devotees of Dancing with the Stars.  I am a big fan of anything or anyone who helps us deal with death in healthy and helpful ways. I know. It’s weird.

Kudos to ABC this week for offering up two well-done story lines about how to (or how not to) handle death when children are involved.

Single Parents (which I think is one of the season’s best new offerings) dealt with the death of a pet guinea pig–or at least it started with that death. In the midst of some elaborate animal funeral planning (and I do love a good animal memorial service), we learn that the widowed dad of the twin girls who lost the pet has never really dealt with the death of their mother.  Like most people who lose a spouse in the midst of raising young children, he was far too busy trying to figure out how to parent 10-month-old twins by himself to be able to master the stages of grief.  But now he realizes that he’s taught his kids those repressive “skills” and seeks to turn things around.

The “big” crossover event between Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19 brought us a dad who is trying to keep his autistic son from the knowledge that his mother is dying.  The story played out just like I have seen it happen so often in real life when parents “protect” their children from the death or cause of death of someone the child loves. Children always sense that there is something wrong, and they know when you are not telling them the truth. This produces a much higher level of anxiety than simply telling the kids what is going on. Kids are smarter and stronger than you think. Sure enough, the kid in the show ended up in a precarious situation, and he couldn’t trust his dad enough to accept help until his dad leveled with him about the mom’s condition.

It’s kind of weird that so many Christians deal so poorly with death. Of course, there is going to be grief…lots and lots of it. Of course, we will deeply miss the people who are no longer here with us. But if we really believe what we say we believe about what Christ has done for us, then death is not the end–only the beginning of something far greater than this life has to offer.

But hey, I can’t watch everything. If you’ve seen a good death storyline on tv lately, let me know. I’m a big fan.

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