No Halloween, no Christmas

My little boys found out about baby Jack yesterday before school. Hans read the obituary and his big eyes filled with tears. “I thought he was doing better! I thought he was going to make it.” Hans and Xander put their little blond heads together and read it aloud.

“Poor little Jack– he didn’t get to dress up for Halloween, he doesn’t even get one birthday, one Christmas, one Easter! He’ll never learn to walk or go to school…” They named off Jack’s many losses one by one and then they cried aloud, “Poor Roger!”

Roger is Jack’s grandpa and our dear neighbor. Very much a kid himself he is always creating fun for the boys. He invites them to basketball and football games, takes them for rides on his tractor and stops to throw snowballs at them on wintry days. Ben and Stefan mow his lawn every Saturday (he overpays them) and he provides them with drinks and snacks and always, always a bit of U of U/BYU rivalry. Roger, in fact, single-handedly turned my boys into BYU fans. We were pretty apathetic about the whole Ute/Cougar rivalry until Roger made my boys take a stand. Last fall, when things were a bit bleak around here our happiest pastime was teasing Roger about the U’s losing football season. When BYU won the rivalry game we decorated his porch with blue and white streamers, replaced his Christmas lights with blue bulbs and created a huge “Honk if you love BYU!” sign and put it in front of his house.

This has been a difficult neighborhood to move into. Roger’s family is the oldest and most established in the area and yet he and Jane are also the friendliest and most welcoming to newcomers. He has been a huge contributor to our happiness here.

Jack is Roger’s first grandson (he has a darling little granddaughter) and my boys knew how much Roger loved him– and how much Roger needed a playmate. As Xander said, “Roger needs 100 grandchildren!”

The discussion continued until I threw them out the door for school. “You can make cards when you get home!”

Gabriel looked at me at said, “But how could a little baby die? People don’t die until they get old.” I told him little Jack’s heart was broken. “But I thought broken hearts were for girlfriends and boyfriends?” 🙂

I wasn’t home when Hans and Xander came home from school. I drove Stefan to a friend’s house and we got hopelessly lost. We were about to give up the search when we saw a little old man out mowing his lawn. I was afraid he might not appreciate being interrupted but when he saw us stop he quickly turned off the mover and practically ran to the side of the car. “Please, do you know where Farifield Circle is?”

“I don’t but I’ll go get the phonebook and look it up for you.” Before we could object he hurried to the house. Truly, the man was at least 90 years old and only 5 feet tall! He came back a moment later and helped us find the circle. It was so remote! We would never have found it without his help. Stefan and I were both astounded at his kindness and thanked him over and over.

By the time I came home Hans and Xander were putting the finishing touches on their notes and pulling out the ingredients to make blondies– our favorite treat. I read their letters and bawled while they cut out paper hearts. They were so, so sweet. In the Mormon culture we talk a lot about how it’s OK when someone dies because we know we will see loved ones again after death. And while that is absolutely true, it hurts to lose people we love! We want to keep our babies and our friends and our grandpas and grandmas here with us. Hans and Xander expressed both ideas– yes, we will see Jack again, but he will be missed every day until then.

October 19, 2007
October 22, 2007