“A simple Child, That lightly draws its breath,
And feels its life in every limb,
What should it know of death ?”
We quote others at time of tragedy, because the words don’t come…but we can try.
“Fill it up with potato chips and make it snappy”…That’s what he said whenever we pulled into a gas station, not with a smart aleck connotation, but with a warm sense of humor that pervaded everything he did. He was my little shadow, and I needed only to look at him, and we would laugh, for we were as one.
His world was a simple one, and because of its simplicity, a very happy one. Instead of taxes, inflation, raising a family and a million other adult cares his little mind was wrapped up in “Emergency,” “Star Wars,” “Popeye,” “Sesame Street,” “Kings Island”, “Fantasy Farm”, “Icee Bear” swings, slides, fire engines, bubble gum and toy racing cars. I hope they have all these things in heaven.
His excitement came from airplanes overhead, bicycle-riding and sirens. Little did we ever dream that the last siren would be the one that accompanied Ricky on that final life squad ride…to Children’s Hospital. Even when the doctors first said his survival chances were three-to-one, we never thought for a moment that he wouldn’t make it. There’s no way that the world could be without Ricky. It took days to realize that he was really gone. Heather, his three-year-old sister, tells everyone he’s in Florida. He loved Florida. I hope heaven is a lot like Florida.
“Heaven is richer” talk doesn’t really cut it. Nor does “He won’t have to endure all the suffering of life” talk, because by the same token, he never got to be a Cub Scout, never rode a school bus, never saw “Star Wars” for the second time, never rode a two wheeler, never graduated from high school andcollege, never married, never had a son or daughter, never played in a baseball game, never became the football player, fireman or disc jockey that he considered being at age four.
He and his Daddy talked every night at his bedside about teaching him to play baseball, football, racquetball, tennis, someday riding a motorcycle, driving a car. He said, “Daddy, I want be like you.” His dreams were his Daddy’s dreams. Nobody ever mentioned Reye’s Syndrome. I hope they have football fields, racquetball courts, motorcycles and Boy Scout troops in heaven.
When he got the chicken pox, everybody regarded it almost as a joke. His sister, Holly, had it a couple weeks before, and it was no big deal. When he became sick to his stomach, the pediatrician’s office sent over something to make him sleep. He went to sleep all right, and he never woke up.
Ricky was a strong, husky kid. Paul Brown(dear friend of the Kings from the Cincinnati Bengals) said he was already a prospect. But Ricky knew, even at age four, that little boys don’t hit little girls, and he was especially kind to his sisters. He never asked for just one thing; he asked for three, because Holly and Heather had to share his pleasure.
He loved living as much as any human being could, and he enriched the lives of everyone with whom he came in contact, because one sensed this immediately. He was a very special child. “What should he know of death?”
From my brother’s pastor in Maryland comes the best explanation: “Try to understand that your son died not because of any positive will of God but because of human frailty. Man ought to know much more about disease and its cures by this time, but man has too often been neglectful and sinful, and devoted his efforts too much to greed and selfishness–and war–and has not studied and learned as much as God intended he should.” “Thus God ‘allows’ these thing to happen and people leave this earth and come home to Him before He would wish.” What an indictment.
The letter continues: “Nevertheless God makes all things right…and Ricky is now happy with God forever.” Love is forever.
I hope He’s filled him up with potato chips and made it snappy.