By Lorry Myers
On the day of his last radiation treatment my husband was hospitalized and spent the last days of his life fighting for his life. The last hours and minutes and seconds of his life, I spent telling him how much I loved his life.
There just wasn’t enough time.
The day after, I woke with a house full of family in a house full of quiet. I sat in the stillness and watched my three children whisper and wander around the house like speaking out loud was too much. Someone dropped off lunch, someone made dinner and breakfast was ready and waiting. In all that quiet was my four-year-old grandson who was trying his best.
Just like the rest of us.
Ivan attends a faith-based pre-school in a neighborhood church. He sings songs that I remember from Sunday School along with unfamiliar songs that carry the same message. This little guy prays with the understanding that someone is listening and watching over us.
Ivan is a believer.
The day after, this little boy missed his golf cart partner; his cohort in all things secret and Ivan, like the house, was too quiet. My daughter finally called him back to the back room and in his own way, Ivan understood the words his Mom used to explain the hardest thing there is to explain. Afterwards, Ivan climbed into Randy’s chair, a chair that was big enough for two. A chair that was right beside mine.
“Pops! I’m in your chair!” Ivan whispered.
His soft words were so clear as they floated through that soundless house. These were the same teasing words Ivan always used when Randy was in the other room and Ivan took over chair.
“Are you missing Pops?” I asked, from the chair beside his.
“I am sad about it,” Ivan said, his voice sounding exactly that way.
“I am sad, too,” I replied, my voice sounding just like his.
With that, Ivan crawled out of Randy’s chair and into mine. On my cheek he saw a single tear and tenderly, as if he had done this very thing countless times before, my grandson brushed it away.
“You know, Queenie, Pops is in heaven.”
“I know, Ivan,” I said, hanging on his every word.
“Heaven is where all the heroes go.” Ivan replied, looking at me with eyes full of goodness and light. “It’s not that far away so even though we can’t see Pops, he can still hear us. It’s OK to talk to him.”
With the wisdom of a four-year-old, this Queenie made a decision.
I snuck that sweet boy into the kitchen and let him pick a sucker out of my husband’s sugary stash of illegal treats.
For the complete column, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard