Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Where IS heaven?

Monday night Ella and I went shopping for a Valentine’s gift for Chris. As we were waiting for his gift to be wrapped, we walked across the way into a quirky gift shop with everything from pet paraphernalia to artificial aluminum Christmas trees. Ella wandered over by some wooden figures – carved snowmen, Santas and angels. As Ella fondled one of the angels, I asked her if it was an “Oma angel”. She didn’t answer, but quickly asked, “Where is heaven, Mama?” I don’t remember talking about heaven in reference to my mom’s death at all, but maybe she overheard people at the service. I couldn’t conjure up a simple answer fast enough before she was off to look at the wooden alphabet letters on display and loudly declare them out of alphabetical order. I’m sure she believed the teenage store clerk cared.

After we went back to pick up Chris’ gift, she asked if we could go in one more store. She picked Pottery Barn Kids. This store was nirvana for her – running from the kitchen “appliances” to the SUV playhouse to the fabric dollhouse. A lot of imaginary play started occurring. She immediately started talking about her “grandmother.” She calls Chris’ mom, “Grandma”, but it still took me a few seconds to realize the subtle difference. She referred to her “grandmother” over and over saying that she was sleeping in the playhouse, or cooking in the kitchen, and then I finally asked, “Ella, who is your grandmother? Where does she live?” “Maawwm, I’m just pretending!”

This morning, still waking up slowly with Chris, I told him this story. His reply: “Really? That’s interesting. Harry asked me about heaven yesterday, too.”

It’s interesting for me to watch my childrens’ minds work through my mother’s death. Each in their own way. As hard as it can be at times, I’m so glad that angels seem to always trigger memories of Oma for them. Maybe my mom is showing herself to me through these interactions. I would love to think she’s watching.

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