"Mommy, next time, will Daddy be alive?" Tyler asked, from his carseat.
Terms of chronology are vague at our house: 'next time' means any time to come, and 'lasterday' means any time previous to this moment.
I spoke to him over my shoulder as I drove. "No, lovey. He's in heaven. He gets to stay there."
"So do you mean he really died? He really got sick? And he really died?"
"He really did, buddy. Really, really."
His face crumpled with sadness and he began to cry.
"But, Mommy, I can't remember him. I can't remember what he looks like."
A knife through my heart, these words. My sweet child suddenly realizing that his memories are fading. I turned to look at him, our teary faces mirroring one another.
"Oh, Tyler, I'll help you, buddy. We have so many pictures. I'll show you, honey. I'll show you."
"No. No. I don't want pictures. I want all of him. I want his whole body - with bones in him. I want him with bones!" He cried and cried.
Me, too, Tyler. I do too. I want all of him, with bones in him.
My children are each coming to their own realizations of what this means. The truth of it all, the permanence. It is so much to hold their hearts. A high calling, a heavy burden, one I will never, ever lay down.
In the meantime, I am quickly putting together a memory book that he can look at until it wears out.
And then I'll make him another one.
Please, God, help him remember.
Please, let him remember.