“And God bless Papa in the sky.” I finished my prayers, then snuggled beneath my covers.
My brother, Jimmy jumped on the bed to kiss me good night. Mom kissed me and tucked me in.
The wind blew the curtains gently. As she reached for the light switch, I asked, “Who is Papa in the sky?” I call him Papa in the sky because he died before I was born. I see pictures of him around our house. He had a round, friendly face with a wide smile. His eyes smiled and they glistened through his eye glasses.
“He was your Grandfather,” Mom told us.
“I have another grandpa?” I peeked over at my brother with glee.
“Yes. Everyone has two grandpas.” Mom sat in the rocking chair.
Jimmy and I settled down on my bed and wondered. “What was he like?”
“He liked to make things grow, like flowers and his tomato garden.”
“Did he like dogs?” Jimmy asked.
“Yes. He liked baseball, too.”
“What else?” asked Jimmy.
“He sat in the same chair each night for dinner.” I nodded and smiled.
Mom rocked back and forth as she told Jimmy and me about Papa in the sky. “He liked spaghetti and meatballs, and he ate it every Sunday and Wednesday.
"I like spaghetti and meatballs."
"Me too." Jimmy giggled.
Mom looked at both me and Jimmy. “Papa would have loved you both very much.” she said.
I smiled and nestled back under the covers and Jimmy layed across my bed. He folded his arms under his chin. “Why do we call him Papa in the sky?” Jimmy wondered.
“Because some people believe that when we aren't alive anymore that our soul rises up to the sky and into the heavens.” Mom said.
“Can we visit his soul?” I asked.
“We can’t.” Mom shook her head and looked sad.
“Where are the Heavens?” It sounded familiar.
“The moon and the stars are the Heavens,” Mom replied.
We raced to the window. “Can Papa see us?”
“Perhaps,” she whispered from her chair.
Jimmy and I scanned the stars in the sky. “I don’t see him,” I told her.
“It’s ok to believe in things can’t see,” Mom said. “Papa now only exists in my memory. I can no longer see him or talk to him. The only way that I can keep Papa alive is by sharing his memory with both of you. Think of Papa as your special star. Like those twinkling stars out there, they watch over us and Papa is always twinkling around. You may talk to him, if you wish. That’s what makes him so special.”
“Are there cell phones in Heaven?” I wondered, still watching her face.
“No. It’s very quiet there.” Mom looked out the window.
“Ah! Like the library?” Jimmy said.
"Exactly." Mom chuckled,
“What do you think Heaven is like?” I asked.
Mom thought about this, then spoke. “I imagine Heaven to be a glorious table with many chairs around it. Seated at the table would be all our relatives that have gone to heaven before us; great aunts and uncles, grandparents, cousins, and even dogs and cats. Then I picture Papa at the table scooping up spaghetti and meatballs for everyone from a big bowl. He passes the plates along to make sure that everyone eats. They are all happy. Over at the far end of the table there is an empty seat for anyone new who comes into Heaven, because eventually someone will.”
“Because everything that lives, dies.” Mom said.
She squatted to our level. “Papa can send you a message from the sky if you really want him to. He can make your heart smile.”
“How?” I asked.......