Darren and I dug his sister DeAnn’s grave in a lovely meadow near a pecan grove at the back of the ranch. She died in a car crash as leaves were turning colors that autumn. Donne Sue wanted her daughter buried near us.

It was the most difficult hole either my son or I had ever dug, and in ground made hard by summer and circumstances. DeAnn’s son, Skylar, my grandson, was four-years-old and followed me wherever I went. He was at that stage when death has no real meaning, other than it was somehow frightening and had taken his mother away.

Donna Sue is absolutely the strongest woman I’ve ever known, with that inner strength that goes beyond mere beauty. Her parents were dead, along with her brother, her only sibling. Her first husband drowned; her second husband died of cancer. Now her daughter.

Skylar begged to see where his mother was going to be. Donna Sue walked him across the meadow in the yellow autumn sunshine, holding his hand and letting silent tears fall down her cheeks. Darren and I were at the bottom of the grave, completing the excavation with picks and shovels. Not saying anything to each other. Busy with our own thoughts and grief. Merely accomplishing what had to be done.

Suddenly, Skylar’s little head appeared over the side of the grave, looking down into the pit.

“PaPa?” he said. “Is this where you putting Mommy?”

Unable to respond for the catch in my throat, I climbed out, picked him up, and walked away with him.

“PaPa? I not want you put Mommy in a hole.”

How do you explain such things to a four-year-old?

Hadn’t God created the universe and admonished us to go out and subdue our world—and solve its mysteries, if we could?

From Devoted To Fishing, devotional stories for those who love the outdoors, by Charles W. Sasser. Available on and, in paperback and Kindle ebook.