At the age of 4 1/2, Cole’s understanding of heaven was profound. We had glimpses of his connection before he turned 4, but it wasn’t until then that we realized just how strong his faith was. Cole’s papa lost his battle to cancer at the age of 53, when Cole was 4 1/2. One day as he sat on the staircase with his chunky baby cheeks beginning to droop, he said “Mom, I wish it was me that died instead of papa.” I, of course, was so taken back that I was utterly speechless for a few seconds. “Colton, why would you say that?” I asked. His reply, was something that I would remember forever. His reply, was something that opened my eyes as to what lies in store for each of us shall we choose to be saved by grace. “Mom, don’t you know where papa is? He’s in the most beautiful place ever. And he wouldn’t want to come back, even God let him.”
This was my four year old, blonde haired, blue eyed little boy, telling me about heaven. He was letting me know then, how beautiful and wonderful heaven is. He was letting me know then, that he knew, what heaven was about. I think he told me this then, to prepare me for now. Because if Cole really knew…then that means that Cole is in the most beautiful place ever, and he wouldn’t want to come back…even if God let him.
This was an epiphany for me. I had taught Sunday School, for years, and Cole, my son Blake, and my nieces and nephew were all in my class. I knew the bible stories, I knew about heaven, at least I thought I did. This day was the beginning of my new faith journey. Cole sparked something in me, and he knew it.
Cole continued from there to say things as a young boy that we either brushed off as “wow, what an imagination he has”, or things that really made us stop and think.
Cole was a very sick child since he was born. He suffered from repeated and frequent double lung pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, severe acute asthma, swelling and horrible rashes. He was a frequent patient in the ER room and he knew Children’s Hospital very well. When Cole was 5 years old, before he had to undergo surgery on his kidneys, we were told he had cancer. His body was over producing epinephrine and his levels were extremely high. In the middle of all of the blood testing and scans, Cole sat next to me on the couch one evening and said, “Mom, Jesus heals people” and then went back to playing.
Cole didn’t know what they were testing him for, he thought it was pretty routine to give blood and go through scans. For him to say this to me, at that time, was beyond insightful. So do you know what happened after they tested his blood numerous times, scanned for tumors and switched the type of cancer twice? His blood came back normal…the levels were down. I was told they couldn’t explain how that happened. We were told just to “watch for symptoms” again in the future.
These are just a couple of examples. Cole’s faith stayed strong throughout his life, and he wasn’t looking for approval from anyone, or recognition, he just truly believed and he wasn’t ashamed of it.
I look back on everything Cole has ever said about God and his personal faith, and it’s like he said it back then, to help me through today.
Cole’s connection continued from there. I will write more about his connection in a blog I am working on called “How My Son Taught Me About God”.
I love you forever and always Cole. I miss you beyond words.
– Gina Buehner
Cole’s mom forever