Always when I’m most exacerbated, it’s 100 degrees outside and I’ve made three trips to and from the car with arms full of necessities, Lola is screaming in her car seat, my phone starts to buzz and we are hitting nothing but red lights already late for karate, when his sweet voice from the backseat asks, “Are your eyes open or closed in heaven?”
Where did that come from? I was just yelling at him to put on his shoes. It’s feel as if at that very moment in time someone out there knows I need perspective. Two someones, my angels, my parents. They are urging me to stop and remember.
I take a deep inhale before I respond, “I don’t know, Lucas. I would think open.”
“Because heaven is whatever you want it to be, right?”, he asks shyly.
“Yes.” I can feel my belly tighten but I’m relieved he remembers this from previous conversations.
“But you’re really still, aren’t you?”
“No, I imagine you can dance and sing and ride your skateboard and eat your favorite desserts and build Lego all day long. You could even learn how to play golf!”
“Yeah! You get to do whatever you want with anyone who has already died.”
“Like your mom and dad? Could I touch them? I’d like to hug them.”
With tears now running down my face certain of where this was headed, “They would like that very much.”
“So wait, there are stores in heaven?”
Knowing full well that the thought of Lego in heaven would peak his interest. “No, I don’t think so.”
“Then where do the Lego come from?”
“If that is what your idea of heaven is, playing with Lego then they are just there, ready for you. Boxes and boxes of Lego all lined up.”
Now I’m fearful I’ve just sold heaven to my five-year-old.
“What if I need help, you know how sometimes I need help putting them together? Will you and Daddy be there?”
This is getting too deep. And too hard on my heart.
“Lucas, heaven is just an idea. Some people think, I think that if you’re a good person here on earth while you’re alive, when you die you will go to heaven and when you’re there you get to see all of the people that you loved the most who died before you.”
I catch a glimpse of him in the rear view mirror craning his neck to look out the window, “Where is it? Why can’t we go there now? Is it above the clouds and the airplanes? I can’t see it.”
“No, you can’t see it and you don’t want to go until it’s your time.”
“But you’re going to die way after me right?”
“Oh no, I hope not!”
“When are you going to die?”
“Nobody knows when they’re going to die, but I’m going to be here for a very long time so you don’t need to worry about that, okay?”
“I don’t know, but I hope I’ll be here until you are my age.
Shocked that I could pull a number, an age out of thin air, “42? You’re going to die when I’m 42?”
“Lucas, death is very serious. It’s final. When you die, you are no longer here.”
“What would you do if I died?”
“I can’t even bear the thought. I would cry morning, noon and night. I wouldn’t be able to breathe. I would miss you so much.”
“What would you do with my toys?”
“They’d probably stay right where there are for a very long time.”
“You could give them away, Mom. I’d be okay with that.”
I love my son more than words and I sincerely hope I haven’t done irreparable damage to his innocent mind, world or faith with all my talk of a heaven I don’t know exists.