With one little word... three little letters... the conversation I had anticipated, dreaded, feared was underway. And once that little word... those three little letters.. were spoken, they hung in the air like a thick fog.
And I was speechless. I felt powerless.
|So many questions|
How many times a day does she ask that question? Dozens. But never, had she asked this.
She finally wanted to know where Popsie is. My dad.
"Where is he?," she inquired when we brought up his name for the thousandth or so time. Has never happened before. We always talk about him. His name is part of the conversation pretty much every time we mention my family. Or my wife's family for that matter. We've made a point of it. Just last week we were looking at swing sets at an outdoor store and she thought it was just a really big park (Good thing because I don't think we're getting one), and at one point she asked me, "Daddy, did Popsie used to take you here when you were a boy?"
|My dad at our wedding 12/7/02|
This, however, was obviously different.
My wife answered her, "He's in heaven, honey."
And then... "Why?"
I ask myself that same question almost every day. Why? Why isn't he here? Why is he missing all of this? His youngest granddaughter. Our house... and everything I've needed him to fix. Why did this happen to us, so soon after our wedding? Why did it have to happen to him? He had just bought a bag of discount Christmas decorations at Target that day for crying out loud. Does that sound like a man who was ready to die?
Maybe that's why I didn't have the answer. Thankfully my wife was poised to respond. As always. She said pretty much the only thing you could say. "Because God wanted him in heaven."
|Beauty & the Beast doesn't dance around death|
My wife was surprised she had made the connection so soon after the conversation about my dad. Or did she? We never said he had died. We told her he was in heaven. That God wanted him. That he's her guardian angel. "Do you know what it means when someone dies," my wife cautiously pressed her. "That's what happens when bad guys hurt you," she said.
She wasn't interested into getting philosophical. She wanted to move on and read books. So we dropped it. Until the next "why."
I might not ever have the answer, but at least we've started the conversation.