Carol Jane Remsburg
The other night my young daughter, Erin, queried me as we rode home in the darkness. “Do my grandfathers hold up Mr. Moon each night?” The thought came from out of nowhere and caught me off guard, but the idea stuck with me. My father had died two years prior to Erin’s birth, and my father-in-law passed on just four months after her birth. Erin never had a chance to know either of them, so she fantasizes about them often.
Now religion is religion, and always a touchy subject. Formal training notwithstanding, we all believe in something. The concept of angels for me comes from my own childhood. My paternal grandfather died when I was just six months old on New Year’s Day. I’m sure that over all Erin’s years that I’ve alluded to many thoughts of that nature.
Still, the idea that her grandfathers were bringing her the moon each night was a heartwarming thought. Although her logical self understands the planets in our solar system as well as an overview concept of the universe, learned in her 1st grade class, it’s her emotional self that begs for more. This I understand, for I feel that way too. Call it self-delusion if you like, it makes me feel warm just the same without any harm to others.
Now my family has had it’s fair share of death, we all do. Most of ours was condensed into a four year span of time with seven deaths, and no age group was spared. The last in this grouping was my father-in-law, so the only mourning experience that she’s had has been with two of our pets, aged cats of nearly 14 years. Our cat, Cotton, passed on in January of last year followed by Muffin in April. They had been close in life and in death. Erin was upset, naturally, but preferred to consider that they were in “Kitty Heaven” and that my mom was watching out for them ensuring that they received their special treats. It was easier for her to let them go that way, even though she knows they are buried in their special boxes in the backyard.
The concept of God, Heaven, and Angels to a small child is enormous. Erin takes small bits and tosses them about, turns them over, and asks endless questions. Many of those questions aren’t easy ones. Like parents everywhere, I don’t have all the answers. But when she worries in the wee hours over the keening of the wind, it calms her to imagine it’s just the angels singing.
That’s why given the shortage of available family members, Erin likes to think that those who have left us are watching over us too. As with any seven year-old, my little one doesn’t hover long on the subject. It’s just that when she lights upon the subject, she always startles me.
My fearless wonder, has of late, been not as fearless as before. A sign of growing up? Thunderstorms were normally the only thing to cause apprehension formerly, but now other concerns spring up from time to time. She takes comfort in the idea that she has reinforcements to bolster her. Ever since Erin watched the movie, “Angels in the Outfield” she’s been hooked on the idea of real angels. The magic of Hollywood strikes again.
And, after all this, what did you think my answer to her question was? It was a resounding “Yes.” If for nothing else, for all the things we don’t know completely. Faith, goodness, and love give us hope and comfort. They make our days and nights warmer and richer. Yes, my daddy brings me the moon each evening while I listen for the angels to sing.