It is one of those days today, when my mind keeps wondering. Today is my brother's 34th birthday. The 33rd birthday that he has spent in Heaven. He died when he was 22 months old. A perfectly healthy toddler one day and a sick dying child the next. I know after all of this time there are so many questions and unanswered “what ifs” that my parents have tried to look past. I know things like Austin dying bring all of their pain to the surface and make everything seem as if it were yesterday. As I think of these things, Mikey, Austin and even my own 2 babies in Heaven, I have a huge question....what happens in Heaven to how we look.
I have spent many years pondering this about Mikey. Since I was about 9 it has actively played in my mind if we would know each other. If I could only count the number of hours I listened to Eric Clapton's “Tears in Heaven” thinking to myself, he will know me. Then I would wonder if he would be the same. Would he always appear to be the cute, toddling child that he left this Earth as? I would imagine you don't age in Heaven, what about the old people that die? So in my 9 year old mind I came up with a plan to help me grieve this loss and to help me deal with my 9 year old emotions. Mikey would stay the same age. This way I could recognize him when the time came. In Heaven he would where the outfits that I had seen him wear in pictures. He would have the toys that I had heard about and still have the smile I had dreamed of. He would know me, because he had watched me from Heaven.
This all seemed to make a lot of sense back then. Now, however, I wonder. If this were the case for all people in Heaven, what would that mean for Emma? She was so small and sickly. A few years ago I came up with a new plan. This one to help my 28 year old mind to grieve and wrap my head around these things. Emma would be a happy chubby 6 month old baby in Heaven. She would be sitting up,playing with toys and keeping all of her great grandparents busy. I may have never seen her on this Earth, but we would know each other as soon as we met in Heaven. I am her mother, so of course she would know me, right?
When we lost Connor I had to come up with yet another plan. I had seen him and held him. I memorized the creases in his hands and the folds in his tiny legs, so how could I make him any different than the perfect angel that I held? Connor in my mind is just as he was. A perfect little full term, squishy baby. His only difference is that he is healthy.
I guess that brings me back to today. I bought a picture from the John Deere store online. I saw it and I couldn't resist. It is a little boy in a John Deere hat with pumpkins and a scarecrow. In my 30 year old mind this is Austin's Heaven. The way I see it the second he left this life he entered into another that was all that he loved here, even better. I guess in a way I am blessed that this grieving process of mine started when I was 9. I have spent more than 2/3's of my life trying to figure out little pieces of Heaven. Maybe the best part of all of this, is that I get to keep these ideas. The only one who could ever prove me wrong is God himself. Someday when I get to Heaven I know there will be a wonderful group of children who I love and long for daily, waiting for me. Maybe they will look different than I have imagined or maybe I am right. Either way at that point I will get to hold and hug them all, so it really won't make a difference will it?