Arthur and I were in the car waiting for Henry to get out of his kindergarten class. The minivans and SUV's were lined up obediently. Henry was ushered out of the building, his eyes toward the ground he nodded imperceptibly to the teacher as she complimented him on his hard work that day.
He got in the car, placed his canvas school bag on the seat next to him, buckled himself up and leaned over to his brother.
"Arthur, when are you going to start using the toilet?" he asked.
"When my daddy gets back," Arthur answered.
"Arthur, Daddy is dead. It makes us all sad. I still cry about it sometimes, but he is on Dog Mountain now. And also in the dining room-in that thing on the shelf-you know. So he isn't coming back, Arthur. But you still have to use the toilet."
Arthur answered simply; "I know, Henry."
Glancing in the rear view mirror I saw their two blonde heads leaning towards each other. Both sets of blue eyes gazed out their own window. Henry sounded as if he had been thinking about the conversation for days and had chosen his words carefully. Just as his dad would have done.
At the time Henry shared this straightforward bit of advice with his younger brother he was six years old. Arthur was three and their dad had been dead almost three years.
Their dad, my husband, died early in the morning on March 29, 2004
This is our story.