Alia is four years old. Like other four-year-olds, she's excited about Christmas and is working on her Christmas list. Unlike other four-year-olds, she has a human cadaver on her list. You see, she aspires to be a forensic pathologist ("a doctor who operates on dead people's bodies to figure out how they died"). Yes, at age four. She's not what you'd call a typical child. I had to convince her that she'll have to wait until medical school for human dissection. She told me a trip to Disney World would have to do ... but that's another story.
And then our friend Sam died. Alia had all sorts of questions. The conversation went something like this:
Alia: What are they going to do with Sam's body?
Mama: You can't have it.
Mama: The doctors who tried to help Sam fight his cancer are going to look inside his body to study the cancer to try to figure out ways to help other people with cancer.
Alia: Oh, ok, that's a good idea. But that's just his body. His soul is in heaven, right?
Alia: So Sam is with God. I'll listen for him, then.
Mama: Listen for him?
|from Christmas Carols Old and New 1871|
Lets just say I remained speechless for quite some time after that, too choked up to respond. Alia never fails to astound me, not only with her precociousness, but with her insight and her spirituality. And there are many things I'll miss about Sam ... his tenor voice praising God through song is one of them.
From It Came Upon a Midnight Clear...
And ye, beneath life's crushing load,
whose forms are bending low,
who toil along the climbing way
with painful steps and slow,
look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
and hear the angels sing!