I received news on Sunday evening that my mom's boyfriend passed away. With my mom being a fairly private person, I only met him early last year, though they had been dating for the entire year prior.
He was a gentle man, a retired loving grandfather who enjoyed my mom's vibrant company, and doted on her incessantly.
Admittedly, I was a bit jealous of my mom's time whenever I came to visit because he was always around, but considering the only other man who truly loved her was a complete asswipe, she deserved everything that her boyfriend gave her -- his love, his time, and his undying attention.
I could never complain about him, however, since his love (and his family's, who lent us car seats and playpens on a recent visit without ever have meeting us) extended to us as well. He'd hold Drew for hours, rocking him gently to sleep for our whole visit, or take Quinlan to the beach with my mom to give me some time alone. He spoke of them like they were his own grandkids.
And quite frankly, on most days he was more of a grandfather to my kids than their own.
And so, I decided that since Quinlan knew he was sick and still often mentioned him when we talked about my mom, it was only right for me to tell her.
Except, how exactly do you tell a child about a lost loved one, particularly when you're trying to keep heaven, Jesus, God, and any other specific religious connotations out of it?
I decided that angels are indeed good company for our special people when they leave this earth, whevever they might be. I know they are fairly religiously related, but I could at least avoid the heaven conversation, something for which I'm not ready to delve into with my 3-year-old.
"Do you know who else is with the angels, Mommy" she replied, matter of factly.
"Who?" I asked.
"GAWD" she said, in a very knowing voice.
"Well then, I suppose that's a very wonderful place to be."
It's the best that I could do. Religion or not, here's hoping that in one way or another, I'm not that far off.
You'll be missed, Poppy Bill.