We never talked with Kate about heaven or religion or God or anything like that. Only when Grandma’s kitty cat and shortly after, our own Conan passed did we mention it. She knew Rusty & Conan went to heaven and that it was a beautiful place where they weren’t sick anymore, and they could run and chase whatever their hearts’ desired. It was a steep concept for a freshly four year old little girl, but she soon came to “understand.”
Kate’s daddy grew up Catholic (school and all) while I had a much less “intense” religious upbringing. My entire family – aunts, uncles, etc., were big into church – they sang in choirs, ministered (is that a word??) half the Baptist churches in the state of Virginia and spent most of their social time with church groups, too. While I didn’t spend my Sundays (or any days, really) in church, my family is why I believe in what I do.
We sent Kate to a Methodist church preschool. Mostly because the school itself was perfect and the teachers a dream. It was close to home, but also, we liked the idea of Kate beginning a foundation of “the golden rule” and learning what we feared we couldn’t teach her. We always figured we had time to dive into it more wholeheartedly and planned to start this year.
Only…this year didn’t turn out the way anyone thought.
It’s no secret I’m struggling with the whys and hows of it all. You can see it in my posts. I know Kate is in heaven and I know she is perfect and healed, but there are still SO MANY questions that my brain NEEDS TO HAVE ANSWERED. I don’t do well with questions left unanswered. It’s not in my nature NOT to dwell on them. I have a hard time accepting things “just because.” It’s a true struggle I’ve always had with faith and, well, being me.
I’m reading a book right now called “Proof of Heaven” which is one man’s story (a neurosurgeon, by the way) of his seven-day coma and his near death experience. He describes his ascent to Heaven in a way that sounds kind of scary. Scary for him…when he was 54 years old. So, if his story is true and his experiences are real, what must that have felt for my four year old?
Kate didn’t know anyone who passed away before her. I believe she was greeted at the gates of Heaven by those who love HER from afar, and by children we knew who passed before her. But she didn’t know her deceased great grandparents. She didn’t know her Uncle Danny who was just a little older than she was when he passed 40+ years before she was even born. She didn’t know Shayla or Gavin or Gabriella or Mathias or Avery…but I believe they were waiting for her. But when these strangers greeted her, how did she know she was going to be in good care? She didn’t know anything of Heaven or God or these beautiful souls meeting her. How did she know she was going to be okay without us? Without her family and friends here on Earth?
Besides the obvious pain I feel, I worry. I worry so much about those moments looking down on me and her daddy and how that sadness she saw…that desperation…how could anything have taken that from her? I can’t imagine how scared she was seeing that. She always used to say to me “mommy, you’re not smiling! What’s wrong?” even if I was just sitting there beside her. She was so concerned about us being happy.
But now…who is caring for her? Whose lap is she snuggling in? Who is reassuring her? Who tucks her in and reads her stories? Do those things just not happen anymore?
Some days I can’t breathe from not knowing. These last few days are some of those days.