Lately, I have been walking with my niece Lauren. Big long 4 hour treks along the river and through the inner city. Recently she shared a beautiful story about my son Ethan. It brought my own story full circle.
Lauren was 5 years old when Ethan was born. Up until that point she was the youngest grandchild and she was excited to have a younger cousin to play with. Sadly, our sweet Ethan was a very sick little boy. He was taken back home to God long before we were willing to let him go. Lauren just said, “He was here. And then he wasn’t.” She had looked forward to his arrival for so long and she didn’t have any real answers. Death is hard for all of us but for a 5 year old it is truly a mystery. There is a loss and a sadness that they just don’t understand. And so, she pieced together something that made sense to her. He was in heaven and so he must an angel. He was her angel. And 20 years later she feels Ethan has walked through life with her. Her own little angel cousin, watching over her.
As she shared her story I was transported back twenty years. To a little eight year old boy who was trying to make sense of his brothers death. Sam had previously watched the movie Kundun and was fascinated with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Remember, this is my deep thinker. Sam also became very interested in Buddhism at this time. He often questioned us regarding reincarnation. As Christians, we are taught to refute the idea of reincarnation. Alas, like everything in our marriage, Rene and I are very different Christians. He is a catholic. When Rene’ was asked by Sammy if he believed in reincarnation, the answer was an emphatic No! I am a Lutheran. Protestant. We often refer to that in our house as “catholic lite”. Catholic without the guilt. Although it is truly so much more than that. Regardless, the views on reincarnation are the same. Nope. Not gonna happen. That being said, I do have some ideas in life that may be a little contradictory to my Christian upbringing. That’s another post. However, one little, tiny, quite small in fact thing is my view on reincarnation. Suffice it to say that although I haven’t really squared things away in my own mind, I believe in science. We are electric. Energy. Energy is neither created nor destroyed. We die. And then? See where I’m gong with this? The energy has to go somewhere. So, when Sam asked me about reincarnation I answered honestly. As a Christian I am taught that there is no such thing as reincarnation. As Sam’s Mom… Do I believe in reincarnation? Yep. It’s a thing!
Back to our story. A few months after Ethan died Sam came to me and said he knew why God took Ethan from us. It turns out that another family needed Ethan. So God took him back from us so he could be with the other family. Reincarnation or an angel of God? All I know is that my son let his brother go so he could watch over their cousin. Two children. Touched by death. Each one trying to make sense of something that makes no sense. And in the end, I learned that God had a purpose for Ethan and I am truly thankful that I was chosen to be his Mom.