"What is he going to do, Mom?" Bud asked in anguish. The mother of a new church friend was dying, leaving behind two young children. I had been talking to a church staff member about sending cards to them and then had to explain it to our kids.
The death of a mom with young children. I knew this was one of my nightmares, but hearing Bud and looking at Sis, who was so serious and concerned, I was reminded that this was also one of their nightmares come to life. Sure, it happened to Harry Potter. And Luke and Leia. But this was different and new; we'd never known a mom to die.
"How old was she? Older than you?" I didn't really know and probably should have told them it really didn't matter, that all bodies die and age isn't always a factor, but I said she was older. "And I'm not sick," I told them, having explained that she had cancer. But, I continued, "this reminds us to live and love each other everyday." We stopped talking about it soon after, but Bud was clingy until the arrival of their babysitter and a trip to the hotel pool distracted them.
As I left the hotel for a great night out with friends new and old, I savored the beautiful rainbow that followed some dramatic clouds, rain, and lightning, grateful to be in that moment and to be reminded of the beauty in and after darkness, however temporary.
This morning, I learned that she died last night. Bud had even asked me about her in the car this morning, before I knew. Clearly it was still on our minds. I'll tell them both after camp today and we'll make cards for the kids. And give each other extra hugs, savoring today even as we know that nothing is permanent. And today that makes me sad.