"Mommy, I miss Daddy. Will he ever come back again?" This very question was asked by my two year old last week as I gently rocked him to sleep. The evenings are the most honest part of his day, the tiredness brings openness in rhythmic waves.
I was glad the room was dark so it didn't allow him to see the tears that fell down my cheeks as I tried to formulate a response to the question that had caught me so off guard.
His words were like a dagger to my heart. As parents we long to give our children the world yet I know the one thing my son will always want the most is the one thing I can never give him-his Daddy back.
Honesty is important to me. It's a core value in our home. We tell the truth, even if the truth sometimes hurts. Never would it hurt more than in this instance.
"Buddy, your Daddy loves you very much. He would love to be here with you. But he can't come back. You know what though? One day we will get to see him again." I said gently.
"Well Mommy, why do we get to see him again?"
And there it was.
The moment where I get to explain to my son why we will see his Daddy again. Why we believe what we believe. Who God is. Who His son is. What death is. How His son defeated death. What Heaven is. What Heaven will be like. In simple, childlike terms.
That wasn't the last time we have had that conversation. In fact nearly every night for the past two weeks we have had conversations I thought we would have years down the road, yet somehow the moment to have them is upon us. His tender heart questioning, thirsting to know more and in small ways gaining peace for all his little mind is starting to understand.
These are the ways death makes you better. It's not the way we ever would have chosen to be made better, but it's part of the gift it brings. My son will be a better man because of this journey we endure. He will walk in better love and empathy for others certainly. But what will really change his life is seeing it through eternal eyes.
When death has visited you so closely it is no longer a foreign concept. It is the defining moment that shapes your life.
It causes you to realize the brevity of it.
It causes you to live more fully in light of that fact.
It also causes you to live, every day, with the knowledge that this world is not our home. It's just a very small piece of the picture. You start to long for what's to come, because it is so much greater than the now.
What we see is temporary, what's ahead is eternal.
His Daddy is walking in that eternity healed and whole. We get to see him again. He's cheering us on from where He is. We can always ask God to tell Daddy how much we love him. And we do, every single night.
It hurts now, yes. One day all things will be made new. All things.
Is it easy to have to explain these things to a child who's heart you long to guard? No. But as much as I would love to guard his heart I am also so proud of the ways I see it opening, blossoming and understanding.
This traveled road will only make him better. The moments of the awful, aching, heartbreaking, real, tender, loving, beautiful gifts death brings.