Posted by: Susan | November 18, 2010

“Mom will I have down syndrome in heaven?”

About 6 weeks ago a wonderful young man from our area was killed in Afghanistan.  Scott Morrison was the kind of person everyone loved.  April knew him because he worked at the Blue Ash Recreation Center before he joined the Army.  He taught her how to use the exercise equipment at the Rec Center.  April saw and interacted with Scott on almost a daily basis when she would go to work out.  Scott would always talk to her and joke around.  He was that kind of an awesome guy.  Jake and Sam took an exercise class that he helped teach.  Scott was fun and treated the boys like regular kids.  I so admired this young man and remember talking to him after he had joined the Army.  I also remember giving him a big hug good-bye when he went off for his training.

I have to admit I hesitated and really thought about how I would tell the kids about Scott.   Would they big able to handle it?  I then realized it would not be fair to keep his death from them.  I told the boys first.  Jake started to cry and Sam didn’t quite get it.  I told April  and she was pretty upset.   Since Scott was so well-known and liked in the community and because his dad is a Blue Ash firefighter the only place large enough to handle the visitation was the Rec. Center.  April and I walked up to attend the visitation.  We waited in line for 45 minutes to see the family.  We waited with fire fighters, soldiers, students, policemen and police women.  We waited with all the people that Scott’s life had touched and there were many.  We looked at pictures of Scott as we waited and talked about him and yes, shed tears quietly.  Scott’s mom knows April and greeted her with a very large hug.  It was so right for us to be there to acknowledge our hero/friend.

Several weeks later we went to the cemetery  to see Scott’s grave, leave flowers, a flag, pray and sing.  We all went to give our personal tribute to Scott.  It was important for the kids to understand what happens from the visitation, to the funeral, to the burial.

Several weeks after that April turned to me and said, “Mom, will I wear glasses in heaven?”  “No, April you won’t wear glasses in heaven.”  “Mom, will you know me in heaven.”  “Yes April, I will know you in heaven.”  “Mom, will I have down syndrome in heaven?”  Wow, how do you answer that?  To me April is perfect just the way she is but she doesn’t like having DS.  Deep questions that required much thinking.

Life lesson:  We can’t and shouldn’t protect our kids from learning about death.  We must teach them what happens, come along side them when they grieve and help them to understand what is going on.   April is processing all this and thinking about it and that’s a good thing.  Jacob has told me he misses Scott on several occasions.  My Sammy doesn’t seem to understand yet, but he will. 

We miss you Scott and will never forget you.

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