When my grandfather died, my mother told me he had to go away on an urgent mission.
I knew all about death and that everyone dies, sooner or later than we’d like, and that no one really knows what happens after.
But I also knew this was my mother’s way of making sense of the loss of her father, and so I didn’t interrupt her as she spun her yarn.
It was his job now, she said, to let the sun know every morning when it was safe to come out.
Grandpa surely knew a thing or two about safety. Judging by all the things he often said to me – don’t go too close to the edge, the knife is too sharp, the fireplace is too hot – I knew he was the perfect person for the job.
I often looked for him at his usual spot, on the bench by the lakeside, but it was only this morning that I spotted him at the break of dawn, scanning the horizon and waiting for the sun to receive his message.
We had the most delightful conversation and once again he gave me a crash-course on safety – never leave your drink unattended, keep away from lovers who take more than they can give, and always carry your pepper spray on you.
Later, when I told my mother about the encounter, she gave me a strange look and chided me for fibbing.
I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t believe her own story, but she only said it was one thing to wish for something yet quite another to really believe in it.