A mother and her son talk about love and loss.
I’m not a morning person. I routinely connect with the snooze button, shortening our allotted wake-up time. My boys and I often race to the car with disheveled hair and bowls full of food.
One morning, the day began as usual. Buckled into the backseat, the boys ate their breakfast. A glance at the clock on my dash confirmed we would arrive on time with minutes to spare.
Nathan, my older son, broke the silence.
“Will I get bored in heaven, Mom? Like, will we just sing all the time?”
While his dirty-blond, tussled hair and innocent blue eyes betray his 12 years, his inquisitive words often leave me feeling as though I’ve spoken with someone more mature.
“No, Nathan. You won’t get bored in heaven. I don’t think God plans for us to just stand around in white choir robes singing.”
I moved the visor to shade my eyes from the peeking sun, then adjusted the rearview mirror hoping to catch a glimpse of my thoughtful son.
“Do you remember how we’ve talked about Dad staying busy in heaven?” I continued. “I think he works and praises with ease, simply because he’s in God’s presence. Worship isn’t a duty there. It’s effortless, like breathing.”
I briefly looked over my shoulder and saw him gazing out the window. His breakfast bowl sat empty on his shorts. A book bag stuffed with papers spilled onto his lap. He’d grown so much.
“Do you think he misses being here?” he immediately asked. “Do you think he’s sad that he can’t celebrate our birthdays or watch us grow?”
In my seven years of widowhood, I’d answered that line of questioning for many grieving souls—but never for my son. It’s a normal question, especially for a tween. But that tween was my child.
I prayed for wisdom and started talking.
“Well, since there’s no sadness in heaven, I don’t believe Dad misses us in a way that would make him sad. I think he focuses on how amazing it is that you’re alive.”
Traffic whizzed by, but I cared little about the outside morning pace.
“Dad knows the brain-stem tumor that grew in his head should have taken his life in two or three years. Instead, God gave him 12. Those extra years allowed him to meet and marry me and to watch you and Sammy come into this world.”
I pushed back tender memories and continued, “He certainly wanted more time. Your daddy didn’t want to die young. But according to doctors, he never should have lived long enough even to be your dad. One doctor told him he would live for only six months. Remember, he was 18 years old then. He lived till he was 30. Now that he’s in heaven, I think he’s happy that you and Sammy are alive and becoming young men who love God and want to serve Him.”
I glanced over my shoulder, hoping for a sign that my words made sense. Nathan just looked out the window, deep in thought. An analogy sprang to mind.
“Think about this. I’m leaving town next week. I’ll be gone five days. That’s a long time for me to be away. But you know I’m coming back. And you know Grandma and Grandpa will take care of you while I’m gone.”
We turned from a main road onto a side street, close to school. Separate streams of thoughts began to flow into one current of truth.
“Because 10 years of life may be like a day in heaven, I think your daddy experiences time very differently than we do. From his perspective, our time apart is probably not much longer than the time you and I will be separated next week. Knowing God will take good care of us until we’re together again soon, Daddy isn’t sad. I think he rejoices in who you are—the son he lived long enough to bring into the world.”
We turned into the carpool drop-off line. The PE coach stood under the archway a few cars ahead, opening each door.
“So I really am a miracle child?”
A tingle ran down my spine. Shortly after their father died, I began calling my boys “miracle one” and “miracle two.” Seven years had passed. Now the truth permeated Nathan’s soul.
“Yes, you are a miracle child.”
The words barely escaped my mouth before the car door opened.
I heard, “Thanks, Mom. Have a great day!” as the boys exited.
Scattered breakfast dishes and dried scrambled eggs lay strewn across the backseat. Not minding, I headed to the walking track to further absorb our conversation.
Even though years had passed since my husband died, I missed him terribly and often felt inadequate as a single parent. Recent trials had stirred the loneliness, while unfulfilled longings strained my peace. But on that beautiful morning, my oldest miracle child pulled thoughts out of me that anchored my soul to a perspective far greater than my own—I mothered miracle children.
As that reality came into focus, the heaviness lifted to the skies. No longer dejected, I relished the intrinsic beauty in everything miraculous, including the lives of my children.
Nathan’s growing understanding mirrored my own. Together we’d continue to heal, knowing our days lead to an everlasting place of peace, joy and togetherness. Simple morning thoughts had altered the landscape of our hearts.
Susan Schreer Davis lives with her boys and second husband in Marietta, Ga.
His questions anchored my soul to a perspective far greater than my own.