This week we said good-bye to a dear friend, our former neighbor Ashley, who lost a six-year battle with cancer. (More details at: http://valsmomblog.blogspot.com/2008/10/ashley.html) Reagan has known Ashley since she was an infant, and Ashley was the only non-family babysitter Reagan had as a baby.
When I got the news on Monday that Ashley had passed, I was worried about how to tell Reagan. Reagan knows about death and heaven because she has lost three great-grandparents in the last few years, and we explained that their bodies were worn out and tired, and they were going to heaven to get new healthy bodies and be with God. But this is the first time Reagan has known a young person who died (Ashley was only 23). And, most recently, Reagan has been praying, "Thank You, God, that You are healing Ashley." I wondered how she would respond to God's choice of ultimate healing, rather than earthly healing, for Ashley.
I guess I underestimated her. When I told her Ashley had gone to heaven to be with Jesus, Reagan didn't get sad at all. In fact, she kept asking me why I was so sad. (Honestly, I found it a little disturbing that she wasn't more upset.) But then, as the day went by, she did say a few times that she was sad and would miss Ashley.
Then, last night as we were getting ready to go to Ashley's visitation, I was giving Reagan the behavior talk: "We need to be respectful. And quiet. There might be some very sad people. Some might be crying. We're not sad because Ashley went to heaven; we're just sad because we'll miss her."
Then Reagan said with earnest excitement and amazement, "I wish I was Miss Ashley! I want to go in heaven! They have streets of gold--that's metal!"
Wow, if we could all have that attitude.