I am really bad at explaining things to my children.
They are still waiting for my mom’s dog, Avery, to get back from the dog movie theater.
How many times can a dog watch 17 Again?
But, people are harder.
Thankfully. They haven’t lost anyone they were close to yet.
I dread the day it happens.
I don’t really know what I’ll say to them, and I hate to equate heaven to an endless Zac Efron movie.
I think the hardest death I would have had to explain to them, happened before they were born.
They never met their Aunt Megan. Though, they can point her out in pictures, name each of her dogs, tell you that her family raised lots and lots of lambs, show you all the objects in our home that she’d made, and sing almost all the words to the song she and I danced to at my wedding.
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama.
One of the best memories I have with her, is singing our hearts out to that song, in the pouring rain, at a Skynyrd concert in Southern Michigan.
When I couldn’t get pregnant with our first child, I sat next to her headstone and cried and asked her to help me.
I was pregnant two weeks later.
I found out on the day we were set to go to a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert.
I believe in signs. They make my life happier and less mentally ill feeling.
The kids have gone to the cemetery with me exactly four times to see her.
She is buried about a mile down the road from my parents, so I usually drive down the hilly stone roads to the farthest shaded headstones long after they have fallen asleep in their car seats.
It’s just easier that way.
A few weeks ago, we had an hour to kill before meeting my mom, and driving around until they lulled themselves into some sort of nap was just not in the cards for us that day.
We ended up in the cemetery.
Why do these people live in stones, mom?
They don’t live here, the stones are just markers of a place we can go to visit and remember them, like X’s on a treasure map.
Why does that person have fish on their stone?
I don’t know, maybe they liked fish?
Can we get a fish stone for our house but with beavers on it?
Like the ghosts who live in our pond are creepy?
Like Donny Os-Man from Oma’s Star Dancing show with the big teeth?
Like daddy’s friend with all the cats?
Yeah, ok, clearly, I am using that word too much around you guys.
Why do we bring Aunt Megan flowers?
Because they’re pretty, like her.
Can she hear us when we talk to her?
Can she see us here?
Can we see her?
Only if you close your eyes really, really tight.
The mosquitoes were bad, so we started to make our way back up the hill, to the front of the cemetery where I left the car.
Is that guy here to visit Aunt Megan, too?
I’m not sure.
Can you ask him?
No, we don’t talk to strangers. Especially ones in cemeteries.
Because they’ll steal us or touch us bad.
Because they’ll collect kids in a cave in their house.
Oh my god, why do I tell you guys this stuff?
Because you have your issues?
Who told you that?
Will she ever talk to us?
Um…I think she just did.