Astronauts and Angels

My son went to his very first funeral for his six-year-old peer. It is a sentence I never thought I would say and it is with a heavy heart that I write this. Hunter dressed in a homemade prince’s crown and his knight costume, as he was both to B, who passed away.

Inside the Chapel was a table with post it notes where you could write a favourite memory. Every time we approached the table to write a memory of his friend, “B”, he would tear up and declare that he couldn’t think of anything. With his mouth set in a straight line, he would walk away. My son is still not ready to cry.

After the Celebration of Life ceremony, Hunter ate some cake at the reception and said, “Let’s get out of this place. I can’t be here anymore.” So we did. We were just outside the Chapel doors to say thank you and goodbye to B’s parents when another boy from his school approached him to say hello. While the boys bonded, the boy’s mom came to me and told me a really sweet memory she had of B and Hunter. The mother remembered,

“I remember one time I was waiting outside the school while my son played with his friends. B came running over to me and said, ‘See that boy over there? His name is Hunter and he is my boyfriend. Someday I will marry him.’ I laughed at B and thought it was very cute.”

She asked Hunter about it and he nodded, shyly, and said that he remembered that too. He quickly hid his face and went to examine the flowers on the side of the walkway. My son is still not ready to cry.

I cried a lot that day. I cried so much that friends approached me and asked if I was an aunt that wasn’t around much. When I explained the relationship they seemed to understand. I somehow held it together during the balloon ceremony where close family and friends, including Hunter, got to send a sweet thought or memory up to the ‘heavens’ for B.

Waiting to release his balloon

Waiting to release his balloon

I was okay until, during the car ride home, Hunter shared his theory on death and the afterlife and it was so sweet it made me want to cry again.

Keep in mind that Hunter knew that B was gone, intuitively, when it happened on Tuesday night, and his school didn’t know until Wednesday evening. His peers found out Thursday morning. He constantly says that B is “just up there in the air above” and that he talks to her constantly. I can hear him in his bed at night, especially. Sometimes he is arguing a point or pointing out his toys. I don’t know what is going on but I am willing to believe anything at this point. It also makes sense that if Hunter feels he can still talk to B, that she isn’t really gone to him,  my son doesn’t need to cry yet.

Here is what Hunter told me on the car ride home, as well as I am able to remember it and in as close to his original words as possible.

“Did you know that girls turn in to angels and that boys turn in to ghosts? It’s true. They have to be different. But they still end up in the same place and can talk to each other and stuff.

When they are ready, girls turn in to angels and boys turn in to ghosts and they go in to space. Before that, they are just called spirits. When they are in space, and astronauts go up there, the angels and ghosts turn invisible to the astronauts. They don’t want to scare them. But if you truly believe in them, you’ll be able to see them. There are a lot of ghosts and angels swirling around up there.

When I grow up, I am going to become an astronaut. I will believe in them-you have to really, really, really believe and I will- so I get to see them before I become a ghost myself. I’ll land on the moon so that I can visit B and we can talk. I know that I will be able to find her right away because we are very special to each other. I can find B by the moon because she loves the moon- she always has. We will recognize each other instantly and we will tell each other our stories since we have been apart. I will try to remember as many as I can, especially the funny ones so that I can make B laugh a lot. Her stories will be a lot different from mine I bet. It will be hard to leave to come back to Earth, but I will try to visit a lot as an astronaut. And then, when I am a ghost, I won’t have to leave and we will have forever.

It’s too bad it won’t happen soon, though. I am going to live until I’m a very old man. B will wait for me by the moon. B always said we would marry, but if I married someone else I don’t think she would be mad- I think she would understand….but maybe I won’t either. Maybe I’ll wait. I don’t know yet but I guess it depends on what happens and who I meet.

When I die, I’ll turn in to a ghost and find B as an angel and we can get married on the moon before we go to live in the nearby stars. I’ll have sooo… many stories to share with B about my time on Earth. I bet some of them will make her laugh! B will have so many things to tell me, too, and we will have a lot of time to tell each other everything…..we will have forever.

*long pause*

I wish they had child astronaut suits so that I could go up to space right now. Why don’t they make child size suits? I already have so many stories to tell her and she will be up there soon. I guess when she makes it up there I could talk to the moon and maybe she will hear me, even though it will just be a whisper and she will have to listen hard.

Right now, Bailey is just above us so I can talk to her all the time. I don’t think she is ready to go to the moon. Later, when she does go, I will look at the moon and tell her I am thinking of her and that I miss her. “

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