Some friends of ours - a family of five - recently lost their 3-year-old nephew very suddenly. The family has three sons (6, 5 and 2) and while their mom was trying to explain that their cousin was in Heaven, she had a great deal of difficulty getting them to understand.
She tried to describe Heaven as being a happier place, to which the boys asked "Is there Wii in Heaven? Do they have to go to bed?" And then the boys began asking when they could go to Heaven - their mom told them Heaven is for people after they die. The middle one asked if he could die so he could play soccer all day long. The older one asked why people die when they die, to which mom responded that they die when it's their time, and so they asked if it was their cousin's time, which made mom very upset and ended the conversation. Later, while driving, the boys asked her to hit a squirrel so the squirrel could be in a happier place.
Needless to say, I really feel for their mom, having the dual burden of mourning for her sister's son as well as trying to explain things so her boys understand as best they can. I'm just happy that the two-year-old usually doesn't ask her much - he's mostly content to just snuggle with her or with whomever is willing to hold him.
This family will be staying with us over Independence Day weekend and I'm fairly certain the boys will talk about their cousin and ask questions about God (the 6-year-old usually quizzes me after Mass when we visit them). How should I answer his questions? What's a good approach to use with this very bright, very sweet little guys?