What’s He Doing in Heaven?

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Thank you for your encouragement and excitement with this new blog series, TANNER & TY Talks. I love that so many of you relate, have additional thoughts of how you talk with your children, and are pulling up a chair to join us as we throw honesty out there, mess and all 🙂 My hope is somehow the conversations we’re having with our boys will bless your family, and remind you that we as parents, we are not alone. It takes a village, so let’s help one another out. And let’s do so in a humble place where we can laugh and cry together. Yes?

Today we join the world of TY Talks.

TY. This kid. I adore him. I didn’t know a three year-old could make me laugh one second and scream the next.

He’s independent, thrives on social settings, and is stubborn as all get-out. He’s brave and I want to be like him when I grow up.

We were in the car on the way to my mom’s when out of the blue he asked,

Is Papa going to be there?

If you’re familiar with our story, you know that my dad passed away eight months ago.

Ty rarely speaks of him now. So it took us by surprise when he asked this.

Ty, remember he’s in heaven?

Kids and time. They have no clue. I’m reminded of this more and more in dealing with death. Forever is such a challenging concept for them to grasp. I recalled the day we told Tanner that Papa was going to heaven, then an hour later he informed Ty that when Papa gets better, he’ll go home with Mimi. Their child-like faith is precious and heart-breaking in the same breath.

No wonder Ty asked. It’s about time Papa comes back from heaven and joins the family again, after all.

Grinning, we saw his pure heart. His forgetfulness that no, Papa will not be there.

What’s he doing in heaven, then?

As a daughter who’s lost her earthly father, I’ve struggled with this question. What is he doing in heaven? Does he remember us? Does he miss us? Scripture says heaven has no pain or tears. Does he know a family on earth is celebrating that his body is cancer-free but simultaneously missing him like crazy?

Books on heaven heap my nightstand.

Heaven by Randy Alcorn

A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser.

C.S. Lewis’ words offer comfort for eternity.

I reflect the question back to Ty. What do you think he’s doing, bud?

He’s eating IN-N-OUT! And drinking Coca-Cola. And playing hide-and-seek with Jesus. Brothers chatter in the backseat, imagining what Papa is doing in heaven.

Bryan grabs my hand.

We listen.

He’s playing the piano. He’s singing Sweet Baby James. He’s eating a toad! Ha!

My mind wanders. He’s holding babies belonging to friends who have lost children too early. He’s talking with his own father. He’s face-to-face with the Creator of the World! He’s probably riding peacocks and painting sunsets and… I can barely contain the thoughts.

Ty, please don’t stop asking if Papa will be there at Mimi’s house. He’s there in a million ways.

In pictures holding his grand-kids and smooching Mimi in Rome. He’s there.

Opening his bathroom drawer to see his comb and toothbrush. He’s there.

He’s there in every hand-picked song playing from the ipod.

Nibbling peanut butter & chocolate cups, he’s there.

A quilt made with love from a friend hangs over the couch, squares of his Hawaiian shirts and the veil from mom’s wedding dress. He’s there. Memories so palpable, I believe I can pluck them from the air and feel his presence.

Let our little ones imagine heaven- whether they know someone who is already there or not. Assure them that heaven is not a shadow of earth, but the other way around. We can’t even imagine the splendor and glory of forever with the King. Let them think of heaven as eating their favorite foods, singing their favorite songs, loving one another with pure intentions and no pain. Let us remind them that earth is not our permanent home, but a hint of the unfathomable sights, smells, tastes, sounds, and experiences to come in eternity. Let them dream. For in their dreams, I’m confident God places the desire for more to come, beyond this earth.

Whatever you are doing in heaven, Ty probably guessed it, right Pops?

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