Heaven is us.
A few years ago, the family dog passed away. Chelsea was, quite simply, the most wonderful dog in the world, and we all loved her dearly. At the time, we had three children, and I was great with child #4. Telling the kids was the hardest part, of course; the 5 year old took it the hardest...he immediately burst into tears and had many questions about why and how and when and where. The 4 year old was matter of fact. "That's OK; we'll see her in heaven." End of story. The two year old...well, she was two, so if it wasn't about her, she wasn't interested.
A few weeks later, I was walking up the hill to pick up the 5 year old from Kindergarten. I was walking with my four year old, hand in hand, enjoying a rare moment with just him. We weren't talking about anything, just walking. Out of the blue, he says to me, "Mom, I know where Chelsea is." And when I asked him where, he just put his hand over his heart. And I said something like, "Yes, honey, she's in our hearts." Pause. Quiet walking. And then my son: "Heaven is us."
I come back to this story frequently. It brought me up short and made me see my son with new eyes, realizing that he hears and listens and makes connections and understands the world so much more than I know. I try to remember that he, and all of my kids, and all children, have the ability to be open to the world and to know beautiful truths like that one.
We were all children once. We once knew exactly where -- and who -- heaven is. And if we are lucky, we get to have children to remind us.