The days leading up to now have been admittedly hard. I have been teary, cranky, and exhausted. I even cried at a wal-mart commercial about kids growing up. I just couldn't shake it and didn't quite know what I needed so I just kept trudging forward.
On Saturday we had a family Christmas party to go to. I had bought Carter a little tree but just hadn't taken it yet. I was avoiding it because I didn't know how it would go for me now that Cohen is talking. We told him we were going to take Carter his tree and from then on he was talking about "Carter's house" and "going to see Carter". The whole way to the cemetery I could hear his little voice in the backseat saying Carter's name. So bittersweet. I could feel the tears rolling down my cheeks as I wondered how he would respond when we got there and Carter wasn't there.
We arrived and got the kids out. There was still snow covering the ground from our recent snow and visible footprints in the snow to various graves. We uncovered Carter's headstone and made a place for his tree. Cohen knew right away that there were toys buried under the snow. He remembered there was a car there that he liked to play with. We spent some time there and then got back in the car. As we drove on, it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I could still hear Cohen saying "find Carter" and I wondered how on earth we were going to explain death to a child. And then I realized that although we wish we didn't need to explain death, what a great opportunity we had. By explaining death, we can explain life. We can share the great gift of life that we have because of Jesus, who also died. Carter isn't here physically, but he is living in heaven and we will see him again. We always planned on telling our kids about God, but what an opportunity we have to be able to teach them as they grow and to talk about these things. Afterall, this life isn't all there is. There is an eternity to be spent with Jesus, free from pain and sorrow and full of joy in His presence because of what he has done for us. I hope and pray that we can help them understand that while we have suffered great loss, we also have great hope and peace in Jesus.