"Grandma, I dreamed about Daddy. I dreamed he came back."
"Well, Tyler, that sounds like a very nice dream. Did he play with you?"
"He was getting ready for a trip. And he gave me a big hug."
"That sounds like your daddy."
"Grandma, did Daddy get any presents for Christmas? 'Cause he didn't get our presents."
"Oh, I'm sure he did."
(Joyful gasp.) "What did he get?!"
"Well, I don't know, but I know God loves to give gifts. So I'm sure Daddy got something wonderful for Christmas."
"Grandma, is Daddy still sick?"
"No, Sweet Pea. Daddy is all better now."
(Joyful gasp.) "So he can come back!!"
"No, buddy, I'm sorry. Once someone goes to heaven, they stay there. He's not coming back."
"So he's living in the house Jesus is building for us?"
"He sure is."
"Grandma, when Mommy dies, will you and Poppa take care of me?"
"Oh, Tyler, Mommy will take care of your herself. Mommy isn't sick. She's not going to die anytime soon."
Suddenly, his voice became very serious.
"Grandma. When Mommy gets sick, will you and Poppa let me come live with you?"
Mom realized the true question at hand: not whether or not Mommy will die, but whether or not Tyler will be loved and cared for if he loses the one parent he has left.
"Yes, honey. We sure will. And you have so many people who love you who would step right in if you needed them. You'll never have to worry about that."
"Grandma? Does Daddy watch me?"
"Maybe he does."
"I don't think he's watching right now."
"Okay. Maybe not right now."
(I think Tyler would like to pick and choose what Daddy gets to see.)
"I think I need new mittens."
And that's that. Every once in a while, he lets us inside his sweet little mind that's working so hard to make sense of a tragic mess. And just as quickly, he moves on to other things.
Oh, the resilient minds of my children.
God, may it ever be so.