Come to find out, it stemmed from a conversation he had with a 6 year old that lives in the neighborhood -- we'll call him Landon -- whose Dad apparently passed away. Mix that with the over-active mind of a toddler who does not want to actually sleep at nap time even though he probably should and you've got the recipe for an emotional kiddie-cocktail.
We had a little chat about how dying isn't bad because we get to go to Heaven and see Jesus and all of our friends that have died before us. That made him perk up. "I get to see Landon's Daddy?" he asked eagerly. I assured him (and optimistically assumed) that he would.
He then segued into questions about how he was going to die. Really? He's 3! He asked if he was going to be nailed to a cross. "No, Sweetie," I assured him. "Thankfully, they don't do that anymore." Sheesh. Even not-so still waters run deep. I was finally able to placate him with a promise that Mommy and Daddy will do everything we can to protect him (and us) from dying before it's our time.
Bless. His. Heart.