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Column - Who makes breakfast in heaven?

My youngest child attended his first funeral this month, yet as much as I tried to prepare him I couldn't have imagined his reaction.

For a 5-year-old, everything is a proclamation and that's been how I've learned, bit by bit over the past two weeks, Jack's feelings about life and death.

I sat him down after receiving a call from his teacher and said that the wife of one of our school helpers had died and everyone at school would be going to the funeral the next day. "Funerals are when you say goodbye to someone who has died," I added.

He immediately wanted to know how they would get there - there being heaven.

That's when big brother Adam rolled his eyes and assured his brother you can't go to heaven when you are alive.

Jack stood up, put his hands on his hips and questioned how they can say goodbye without going to heaven.

"When you die your talking gets quiet, you close your eyes and then you disappear to heaven,"?he said.

A lengthy exchange of "no you don't" - "yes you do" continued until finally Jack shouted, "THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED TO YODA!"

All was quiet because even a 9-year-old knows you don't question Star Wars.

Jack met me at the door the evening after the funeral, proclaiming they went to a funeral for school and there was a big box in the church.

Then he scowled, announcing they wouldn't let them look in the box and he had no idea what was in it except that it was heavy.

I asked how he knew that.

Because, he said, it was on a surgery cart and covered with a towel.

And he walked away.

The next morning Jack told me I was wrong about funerals. In preparation, I had suggested he might see people he knows crying and that was OK. He announced that only one person was crying and he was sad because he had no one to fix his breakfast anymore.

"You know," he said, "when people love you they make you breakfast and if they die, they can't make you breakfast anymore."

And that was it.

Two days later I heard him shouting from the basement - "Mama! What do they do with that box?"

With no boxes anywhere near him, I had no idea what he meant and I said what box, to which he answered that big box and I said what big box and he said the box from the church. I think my blank stare irritated him because he took my hand and spoke loudly and slowly - "the... fune... er... al... BOX!"

The words "too much information" flashed through my brain as I asked what he thought. He suggested it might contain toys or books or even cereal.

At that, he suggested that someone might have to go to Alexandria to get more cereal because he didn't think all the boxes at the Osakis grocery store could possibly fill that big box.

After thinking about all that cereal, he asked for a bowl, some milk and the Cheerios. As I watched him eat, he told me how much he loves cereal. It's the best thing, he announced, way better than a funeral.

We sat quietly for a moment enjoying that bowl of cereal as I waited for the question I knew was coming.

"Mama," he asked, "who makes breakfast in heaven?"

I smiled and answered, "What do you think?"

"It's Our Turn" is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

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