Tink, 4, and Ace, 8, are experiencing death of a loved one really for the first time. They have lots of questions about Great-grandpa Louie and about dying. We have not been consistent church-goers and I’m regretting it at the moment. It would be easier if we had a faith based framework and community to help explain.
Here is this evening’s bath time conversation between myself and Tink.
Tink (floating around in the bathtub surrounded by the following naked Barbie dolls, Wonder Woman, Little Mermaid, Jasmine, a Beach Barbie and Sleeping Beauty) says, “I wish I could call the fairies.”
“Why do you want to call the fairies?” I ask.
“I would call them and 6 or 5 or 12 of them would come.” she says.
“But what for?”
She flips over onto her back and kicks her feet, making little waves that splash over the edge of the tub, “I wish there were Heaven Fairies. Then I could call them.”
“Well, there are Heaven Fairies, sweetie. Those are angels. Angels are Heaven Fairies.”
Tink sits up abruptly, “Then I can call the angels!”
“Why do you want to call the angels, sweetie?” I ask.
“Because if I could call the angels then I could ask them to put Grandpa Louie-Louie back together again.”
Amazingly, I do not cry. I answer, “That is a really wonderful idea, Tink. But remember, Grandpa Louie-Louie is in Heaven now with Grandma Molly. He really loves Grandma Tink and she has been waiting for him there. He would be happy with Grandma Molly.”
She considers this idea then fixes me with the steady, blue gaze and the slightly furrowed brow that means she is thinking hard and asks, “Do you have to stand?”
She has lost me. “Stand? What do you mean?”
“Do you have to stand while you are waiting?”
“Waiting for what?”
“Do you have to stand the whole time you are in Heaven waiting for someone you love to come?”
Oh. I get this image of a giant barely moving queue snaking through the clouds, like the DMV but with harps. Not my idea of heaven.
“No, sweetie. I don’t think you stand the whole time. You can do other things, like watch over the people you love. Maybe Grandpa Louie and Grandma Molly are watching us right now and feeling happy because we are thinking about them.”
This time we make it out of the tub and into pajamas before the next question comes.
“Mommy, do you leave your body and just take your head to heaven?”
We must get back to church soon.