As sunbeams danced across the ground, my heart felt like doing anything but dancing. This occasion was much too solemn for the sky to smile so brightly, it’s sun casting warmth on my face. If others glanced at me, they would surely notice my puffy, red eyes. Not as visible was the singular question roiling my stomach. Looking back now, I understand it somewhat more. It was so unexpected, as death often is. And for a six-year-old girl, well, just plain confusing.
My father had a far off look in his eyes that my little mind could not quite comprehend at the time. He shed no tears that I could see. Some may have perceived that as callous denial, but his strength impressed me. Inside he knew that there were no words at that time to comfort me. His strong arm around me did that. Only later could he try to explain in some way the loneliness that had invaded our lives.
One evening soon after my mother’s funeral, my father came to my door. I had sprawled across my rumpled bed with Molly, my beagle.
“Wanna take a walk on the beach with me? It’s perfect weather and Molly could use some exercise,” he offered.
“Yeah, I guess so.” An imperceptible smile crossed my face as I pictured Molly chasing the waves.
So we went, silence consuming all but the crashing surf. Wispy gray clouds partially obscured the twinkling orbs I so loved. In a moment they reappeared, dotting the sky. The question re-entered my mind.
“Dad, are we ever going to see Mom again?”
He hesitated at first. “Well, I’m glad you asked, honey. I know you miss her. I do, too. You see those stars? They shine constantly, even when we can’t see them during the day. And you know what? Just because the clouds are covering them doesn’t mean they aren’t there anymore, does it?”
“No,” I said.
He continued, “Just because we can’t see Mom right now doesn’t mean she doesn’t exist anymore. Our souls, unlike those stars or even the earth, will live on forever. Remember what we’ve been talking about? About how if we believe in Jesus and ask Him to save us from our sins, He will take us to heaven when we die?”
“Yes, Daddy. I believe.” Then Daddy led me in a prayer that changed my life forever. From then on, every time I looked up at the stars, I thought of her. And of the day when I would see her again.