Jadzia loves to be outside. It makes no difference if it’s hot; or if she has eaten; or if she’s wearing pajamas; or whether it’s raining. Under almost any conditions, Jadzia would rather be outside.
Of the many things we do outside, one of her favorites is to walk up to “the school.” This refers to Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, which is just down the street from us.
(BTS was created from a merger of six parishes, including Saints John and James. The “new” parish uses the old Good Shepherd for its church building, and the old John and James buildings to house the school. My dad attended John and James elementary school when his family lived in Ferguson long ago.)
The school has some decent playground facilities which Jadzia could spend hours playing on. She isn’t especially physically active on them. Instead, the structures become her “kitchen” or her “store” or whatever. She is also prone to carry a baby doll with her to the school, or to push her play stroller.
When we were going to the school yesterday, she told me “We’re going to see Adam.”
I thought she was pretending about someone from the Bible, which she often does. (The list of characters she pretends about has expanded to include Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, Elizabeth, and Jacob)
“Yeah, we’re going to see the tree,” she continued.
Wait a minute. I realized she was talking about somebody else entirely. It was a boy. I had forgotten his name, but not Jadzia. She remembered.
At the corner of the soccer/baseball field nearest the school buildings is a tree.
Months ago, Jadzia noticed under the tree a stone marker with a boy’s image etched into it.
Jadzia asked who the boy was. I read the words carved in the stone and told her that this was a memorial to a boy named Adam who had died in 1998. He had been a student at John and James.
Death is not a totally foreign concept for Jadzia. Every time she gets into her car seat, she points out the assorted dead “bees” right underneath the rear window. I’ve shown her dead earthworms on hot sidewalks. Occasionally when looking at photos of relatives who have passed, I might mention the fact to her.
I explained to her that I didn’t know what happened to Adam, but that he had died and now he was in heaven with Father God. All of us are going to die someday, and we never know when God might want to bring us home, whether we’ll be young like Adam or very old.
She seemed to listen intently, and wanted to look at the marker. I have no idea how the information was processed, because she was quickly onto something else and moving on.
But she never forgets that marker.