I think every parent has the “heaven” talk with their young child at least once in their lifetime. Sometimes it’s because Sam the hamster died, Brutus the dog, Darrel the fish, or unfortunately because a loved one goes on to heaven.
Last week we had to tell our kids that Pawpaw Eric died. In spite of how sick or old (he was 59) he might of looked to our kids, the past 4 years we’ve cared for him he has always been in their lives. Sure, they saw his decline of health, and even Sofia (4) has told us that it sure looked like pawpaw would be going to heaven soon, but that didn’t stop our kids from playing and being loud when he sat on our couch all day. When Big Eric was over at our house, Sofia would draw pictures for him and Alex would enjoy pushing his empty wheel chair around our house (or even getting pushed himself). There were countless times that Sofia would ask how come Pawpaw Eric didn’t have a house… and here we would have the conversation that he lived in a big house full of nurses who cared for him better than we could here.
The day after he passed away, my husband had the talk with Sofia that Pawpaw Eric had gone to heaven. We think she was expecting it for a while now, so in her mind it was a good place to go. Eric said that Sofia went into her room and busied herself for a while. Shortly there after, Sofia walked out with this picture.
The conversation went something like this:
Sofia: Dad, I drew a picture for Pawpaw Eric in heaven.
Eric: That’s sweet honey. He’ll love it.
Sofia: I drew a nice yellow roof house because he needs his own house now. Pawpaw Eric is standing up, you know, because he can walk now that he is in heaven. -Later she’s told me that she knew he would be walking in heaven because he left his wheelchair in our garage-
Eric: I think he’ll love it.
Sofia: Can we mail it to him dad?
Eric: Sure. Let’s have mom do that. Ok? (oh, sure… let mom figure out a way to get it to heaven)
Fast forward a couple days. Next, Sofia told me that she needed to wrap up his picture because it was a gift for him in heaven and for his new house (house warming gift?). Here goes the attempt to ‘wrap-up’ the drawing.
Next, I needed an envelope. Check. My adult brain begins to question how all of this is going to really happen and where will the letter actually go?
Mom: Sofia, where should we mail it?
Sofia: To Pawpaw Eric, Yellow Roof House, Heaven.
Mom: -not out loud: oh, yes… that simple!
Next step was actually going to the post office and mailing the thing. One of my businesses requires me to go to the post office quite often, so my kids know the drill and that every letter and package needs a stamp! Plus, Sofia wanted to come with me! -no fooling my kid I tell you.
I went the next day while she was in school to talk to the ladies at the post office that in the next few days I was going to come in and mail a package to Heaven. I only got one raised eyebrow, the other lady told me to just ‘pretend’. Seriously? That won’t work with my girl. They agreed to ‘mail’ the package for me and put it in my P.O. Box for me.
The next day I came in with Sofia to mail her gift to Pawpaw Eric in heaven. She was thrilled when the post office lady took it and winked at me (maybe at her? who knows) probably because I was the retard who just spent $1.05 to mail an envelope from the counter to my own P.O. Box inside that same post office!
It made my daughter happy and it was worth every penny. “Pawpaw Eric is going to love it!” She said. Sure he will! –wink!