Land of Lost Socks is a story I wrote for my daughter Amy. Amy passed away from Multiple Sclerosis almost two years ago so the story is fiction. But, the amount of love I had for her is real.
Land of Lost Socks – Chapter 3
Amy was diagnosed with leukemia on her fifth birthday. After that time she seemed to become more inquisitive than ever. She wanted to know “just what happens” when someone dies. I attempted to answer her questions from a Christian point of view. I had always tried to pass my love of God on to her. Looking back now, I somehow think it was the other way around.
One day, as I was transferring laundry from the washer to the dryer, I noticed another one of Amy’s socks had been eaten by the machine.
“Jaws,” I remarked angrily.
“What is it Mommy?” she asked.
“This darned washer ate another one of your socks, Amy.”
“No, Mommy," she answered with a look of disgust at my ignorance of such things. “That is not what happened.”
“Well, Miss Smarty Pants, what does happen to all those socks then?” I asked, not expecting the answer I was given.
“I know where they go,” she began, looking at me with her big, chocolate saucer-shaped eyes. “They go to the Land of Lost Socks.”
“Where is this land?” I asked with sincere interest.
“On the road to heaven,” she answered with her hands on her hips as if losing patience with my evident lack of information.
I decided that we needed a milk and cookie break so we could discuss this further. At this point I wanted something much stronger. Her illness and these deep discussions had taken their toll on me. Sometimes I would sit and wonder how one five year old could make someone with a master’s degree feel so inadequate.
“You see, Mommy,” se began as she stuffed a cookie into her mouth. “The washer doesn’t eat the socks. They go to the Land of Lost Socks.”
“How do you know, Amy?” I asked.
Without missing a beat she replied, “Cause I have seen it. All kids like me that are sick see it. See, it’s kinda like dreaming but it’s not. You can’t see it cause you aren’t supposed to. God only shows it to kids like me so we won’t be so scared when we go to heaven.
She looked so innocent with her milk mustache. I was having trouble choking back my tears. I just wanted to let the dam break, but I could not and would not let Amy see me break down. I was wondering if she had been dreaming or if she really had seen and talked to God.
“See Mommy,” she continued, “It’s really neat there. There are socks of all colors and sizes. Each sock is in its own place. Maybe Uncle Jimmy’s football sock stands guard at the door so no shoes and stuff that don’t belong gets in. Little girl socks are flower petals and little boy socks are tree leaves. It is so beautiful Mommy. All the trees and flowers look like rainbows.”
“When we lose a sock, it goes there because God needs a replacement for one of the flowers or trees,” she continued with a smile. “See, God lets all the kids stop on their way to heaven to pick up the socks they have lost. God just keeps them safe for the little kids that go to heaven. You know what else, Mommy? When I go to heaven soon, God told me I get to go to the Land of Lost Socks to get my gold one. Remember, Mommy? The ones that Grandma gave me for Christmas last year?”
With that, as if that was all there was to discuss, she jumped down from the table and ran to her room to play. I could not hold back the flood any longer. I wanted to scream, cry, beat someone up. I tried to digest all that she had told me, but it just would not or could not soak in fast enough. She had said “when I go to heaven soon”. Did she know something I was not privy to or had her imagination just run away with her? Had the chemotherapy she was receiving affected her thinking? How soon was soon? She had not been with me long enough! This was not fair! Oh God, say this isn’t so!
Exactly six days after our lost sock conversation, Amy became more ill than she had ever been. She looked so frail and tired lying on the hospital bed. She tried to smile each time she opened her eyes and saw me, but it took all the strength she could muster to do that. I wondered if those were really rainbows I saw when I looked into her eyes or if the stress was catching up with me. Three days after she entered the hospital, on her sixth birthday, she began her journey to heaven, via the Land of Lost Socks, I am certain.
I was surprised at the composure that I displayed through it all. I know my family and friends could not understand why Amy was holding the gold sock in her tiny hands as we laid her to rest. I knew no one could understand me wanting her to have a pair when she sat in Christ’s lap for the first time. Somehow I knew she would be visiting the Land of Lost Socks to retrieve the one she had lost.
I no longer grumble when a sock disappears. I know it is in the safest place it can be, tended by God, surrounded by rainbows and angels, just like my Amy.