You see, we lay with Gavin every night until he falls asleep. I know, he is almost six years old, but the habit started when Ty was on hospice care and Gavin just upgraded out of a crib and into a big boy bed. He was constantly getting up and coming into our room where Ty was sleeping and in pain, so we started lying with Gavin until he fell asleep soundly for the night. After losing Ty, Gavin took his place in our bed and we don’t mind one bit (except for when his elbow is in my face while Lou and I cling to each side of the bed to accommodate his sprawling position).
We found ourselves in a routine that works well enough each night, and neither of us want to go through the torture of breaking Gavin of this security. He falls asleep in his own bed with one of us, we sneak out, then at some point in the middle of the night he climbs in between us to snuggle 'til morning.
For our bedtime routine we read a book, turn on the nightlight and the fan, lay in bed, say our prayers and go to sleep. When I am with him, he just doesn’t stop asking questions and hugging and kissing me once prayers are over. I love it so much, but it can make me crazy, too. The last thing we do is tell Ty something about our day.
Tonight we prayed for all of our loved ones, and we prayed for a cure for cancer – especially for the children.
“Does that mean Ty will be able to come back to life?”
“No honey, but it means other children like him won’t have to die from cancer.”
“What happens to your body when you die? What does it look like?”
I explained that people die in so many different ways, but no matter what happens their spirit leaves their body and the soul goes to heaven.
“How will I know to go to heaven when I die? How do dead people know where to find God?”
Duh… I have no idea…
“I’m not sure but I think the other angels and spirits will help you find your way?” (cringing)
“Can you try not to die before me? I want to die at the exact same time as you. Can we die together? I would be so scared without you.”
That, Gavin, is exactly what I feared for Ty all those years he was fighting cancer. It was the first thought I had when the reality of his cancer diagnosis was first explained to me in 2010. I pictured my curly haired little baby alone in death and scared to let go of my hand. The idea still haunts me sometimes, even though I am certain he is at peace.
The only response I could muster was, "Okay."
|Ty feeding Gavin ice cream. This was 7 days before his diagnosis.|