"Mommy, can I take my blanket with me to heaven?" His face is snuggled into his blue blanket, satin and plush, the love of his life for nearly six years now.
"Well, when you get to heaven, God will give you a new one, if that's what you need."
He ponders this. He studies his blanket, threadbare and stained.
"Will the new one have stains? Because I have these two stains from juice and hot chocolate."
I think of the many things I'm told will be spotless, without blemish.
"It will be perfect. No stains."
He thinks more on this. Traces the stains with his long fingers.
"Mommy, I don't want a new one. I want this one. Can't I just take this one?"
I have to be honest: we were nearing bedtime, and I was painfully aware that if I told this child God would not allow him to bring his blanket into heaven, neither of us would get any sleep tonight. Also, I would give my son a portrait of a jealous God who is unforgiving and without grace for the items of comfort in our lives.
So, I reminded myself of all the things I don't know. And maybe all those who say "you can't take it with you"... maybe they don't know either. Maybe Tyler will look down at his new hands, and he'll see his beloved blanket, stained and loved. I don't know. Maybe.
Maybe he'll be 95 years old by then, and he'll search his memory for why this blanket mattered to him in the first place. I don't know. Maybe.
If I were a legalist, I would say absolutely not, and you must not sleep with your blanket for 40 nights because obviously it has become an idol in your life.
So, good thing I'm not a legalist, then. That's a lot of sleepless nights for everyone involved.
The question behind the question is actually, "Mommy, will I feel safe in heaven?"
"Sure, buddy. You can take it."
"I can?!? I can take this blanket to heaven?" He holds it up to me, just to clarify. This blanket. This one, right here.
"So, Mommy," again, just to clarify, "when Jesus comes down on a cloud of angels, I can run and get my blanket?"
God knows his heart - and mine. And I think when it comes time to prove who was right or wrong, we'll have greater things on our minds.
When I had a beloved pet pass away growing up, I will always remember my wise mother's response to this same question:
"If you need him in heaven in order for it to be heaven for you, then he will be there."
Your posting struck that deep down nerve that I have tucked away....Please tell him, he can take his blanket to Heaven. My mother-in-law did. Two years ago my mother passed away, but three years ago, by mother-in-law did. Sick with Lymphoma and a brain tumor, she raced home to Heaven in just a nine month period. In California now, my husband travelled in between Philadelphia over the course of those months to see her through brain surgery, treatments, and then hospice. His brothers and sisters travelled home quite often from around the country. Their time together was precious. The last time my mother-in-law was coherent, I was set to travel home to say good-bye to her, but at the last minute decided to give my ticket to my brother-in-law so he could see his mom one last time. I missed my chance to tell her I loved her and what she meant to me.
At the funeral, I sat back thinking about her and thinking about that one "last good-bye". Only those experiencing the grief of a loss loved one could know the pain. I looked up from my tissue one last time as the casket was closed and noticed a crocheted blanket that I had given to my mother-in-law....it was being laid across her lap for all eternity. She was telling me "good-bye"; she understood, she was thinking of me......my sister-in-law told me this was her request....to take my blanket with her........My mother-in-law served as a wonderful pastor's wife for 30 years; if anyone knows about "taking blankets to Heaven", she must have.......
Tricia- I've been reading your blog for quite some time now (about a month after your loss). I don't think that I have ever commented on your blog. But I want you to know that I say a short prayer for you almost every time I read your posts. This story about Tyler's blanket is very touching. I think that you handled it perfectly. Well done Mom!!...There is so much that we don't know about heaven, and what it will be like when we get there. I just wanted to stop "lurking" and finally say something to you. 🙂
Betsy- Your story about your mother-in-law made me cry! Thanks for sharing that! It was so very touching!!
Well said, Tricia. Hallelujah and Amen.
Wise words from a wise mom.