This morning while I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get myself and my two kids ready for school, work, and granny’s house my 4 year old was sitting at the breakfast table eating Apple Jacks and talking to his sister.
Both of their gazes shift to the display case that we keep all of Adam’s things in and Bub looks at me pulling my boots on over my socks on the couch and asked, “Where is Baby Adam now, Mary?” They (nurses etc.) said these random questions would happen at the most random times. And from sitting in line at the grocery store trying to get Bub to stop telling the people behind us that we are buying this garden decoration for his “baby brother” to now, they were absolutely right.
One thing I didn’t realize, however, was that I would love the questions. Never have I been hurt when one of the kids bring up Adam. Sometimes, I have to really think hard about how to answer their questions (like ‘how did he get out of your belly’) but I try my hardest to be honest with them and explain things at their level of understanding. (except for that question. We’re not going down that road yet!)
So today when Bub asked, “Where is Baby Adam now?” my response was simple, without looking away from my boot I said, “Well he’s in Heaven, Bub.” To which Bub replied, “Where is Jesus?” And the conversation went something like this:
“Jesus is in Heaven too.”
“He is in Heaven with Adam?”
“Is he next to him?”
“Yeah I bet he is next to him. Probably holding him right now.”
“Where’s his stone?…Is it next to him on this side or on that side?” I thought about this for a minute before I realized that Bub was talking about Adam’s headstone. They are always very aware of the other babies in the cemetery around Adam and they often run around from stone to stone visiting each one and asking their names or commenting on their flowers. So, naturally, in my 4 year old’s cut-and-dry-mind, Jesus must be next to Adam somewhere in there if he is in Heaven too, because everyone else over there is in Heaven.
So how do you answer that to a 4 year old? He asked, “Is his stone next to Adam?” again because I was thinking too long. I told him that Jesus’s stone was far away but that he had a stone. (Silently proud of myself for the pun…you know the stone was rolled away yada yada.) So Bub’s next question was, “Is his body down there too?” Well….okay then. So I ended up trying to explain the ascension to him at which time my 7 year old asked, “How can Adam being running and playing up in heaven if he is just laying down there all…?” She immitated the seriousness of Adam’s face in his casket and put her hands on her belly with her eyes closed. The Lord loves to see how I answer complicated questions!
So THAT question led to a brief explanation of Souls and that everyone has one and our body is only a temporary house for our soul, that when we die our body goes in the ground and our soul goes up to Heaven. After assuring that Adam did indeed have a soul too, they were both satisfied with this answer and just as randomly as the topic came up, it ended just the same.
Which leaves me here, now, sitting at work feeling some kind of weird happiness at their questions. Why their questions bring me such this weird feeling of happiness is not very clear to me but I do know one thing. I worry that they will forget him every day. That as life goes on he will become less important to them as the recentness of his loss fades away into years. It really bothers me and worries me where it probably shouldn’t. I will keep his memory alive as best I can and I am sure that specifically for Doodle, she will remember him for the rest of her life. The big task will be keeping his memory alive to Bub who was only 3 when we lost him. But days like today, when he randomly brings him up and wants to talk about his baby brother make me feel good. Knowing I have at least one more day of not having to remind him who the baby pictures in the display case are brings me a happiness that is not easily explained.