Journey along with mother and child as Laura Lynn Sargent shares her story about her son, Eric. Eric was ornery and silly, loving and affectionate; he was also brave. Eric was born with severe congenital heart disease. Time and again, he boldly faced medical giants and won the battle. Eventually, the disease took its toll, and Eric died when he was six.
Eric was precious in God’s sight. During his last heart surgery, he underwent a procedure called circulatory arrest, which left him with no heartbeat or oxygen for just short of an hour. Three weeks later, Eric told his mommy about going to heaven. In heaven, he had a new body without scars. He also described the four living creatures around the throne of God and the noise they made, but he wouldn’t describe God. He said, “You’re not supposed to know.” In 2 Corinthians 12:1–4, Paul describes a similar visit to heaven, where he “heard inexpressible things, things no one is supposed to tell.”
<[>Eric died of heart failure five months after his last surgery. Losing Eric left a gaping hole in Laura’s heart. The road to healing was long and exhaustive; over time and little by little, God’s comfort and compassion gently wiped away her tears.
God put a call on Laura’s life to write Eric’s story—her story—more than thirty years ago. Being a recent empty-nester, her home is quiet for the first time in thirty-eight years. Thus, a perfect scenario to write Eric’s Heart … When a Mother Grieves.
“Mommy, where does Jesus live?” Eric asked.
“In our hearts and in Heaven.” I answered.
“Well, where’s Heaven?” he asked.
“I don’t know, Eric.” I replied.
“I do, I’ve been there.” he said.
He said Jesus came to the operating room, took out his IV and respirator, they went out by the elevators and “went up from there.”
“We flew.” he said.
“Did you fly in a space ship like Star Wars?” I challenged him.
“No, like when Jesus died on the cross.” he said emphatically.
I took that to mean they ascended. He told me about gates made of pearls.
“Were they pearls like mommy’s ring?” I asked.
“No, silver pearls.” he said.
He offered to draw a picture: he drew arched open gates of pearls and he used a silver marker. I’ve always heard that the colors in Heaven are illuminated – pearls could have a silvery cast if they’re illuminated. He also spoke of golden streets.
I asked his Sunday School teachers, Bible School teachers, all of his grandparents if they’d talked to Eric about Heaven and everyone gave the same answer, “no.” Not only was I unable to find anyone who’d told Eric about Heaven, every detail of his story matched the Bible’s account of Heaven. Nothing countered scripture; I couldn’t shed doubt on anything he said.
What Eric told me next completely convinced me that what he was telling me was true. Remember, he was six years old. He had had four heart surgeries, his body was covered with scars from his neck to his ankles, I called them battle scars. He said he had a new body without scars. Eric had never ever mentioned the scars on his body and yet he noticed his new body in Heaven without scars. That convinced me.
Laura Lynn Sargent resides in Indianola, Iowa, with husband, Steve. They have three grown children: Jordan, Lindsie and Brody and two granddaughters: Guinevere and Lucy. They actively attend the Indianola Grace E-Free Church.