by cheryl coder
There was a whispering among the wind about the changes that were coming. Little footsteps clamored daintily above the clouds in the darkened sky as nighttime arrived. Nervous little giggles and the flapping of excited wings alerted all the others that the little ones were running to the edge of the darkened clouds. They delighted in the fireflies dancing in the mist below, waiting with the eagerness of their innocence. Their joy to welcome the one who was about to arrive was not lessened at all. Their time on earth had been brief and through the pain of their passing, they only remember the comfort of loving arms pulling them into a new world full of wonder and love.
They weren’t sad at all because they hadn’t had the chance to live their lives to see what they would miss. All they knew was what they learned in the short time of their lives.
Their little heads bobbled as they whispered among themselves. Someone was going to join them. That’s all they knew and they eagerly anticipated the arrival. For them, this was a heavenly place where everyone laughed and played and love was the only word whispered in their ears.
But there were melancholy whisperings within the wind as well. Those who had lived well beyond the years of the little ones, softly hid their sadness. They knew the heartbreak that was coming for the ones left behind on earth. There would be shock and anger, confusion and complete devastation. These were the elders whose job would be to protect, comfort, and help with the healing of those left behind. But with all their joy and eagerness, the little ones understood that they had to delay their welcoming joy to the ones who didn’t have time to prepare. For these were the ones who came suddenly, without warning.
Family and friends of the loved one coming had arrived years ago and were waiting to welcome the one some had never met. Even through their sadness, everyone understood that once the disbelief of the new one was tempered, the sadness and anger that life on earth was cut short, he would soon welcome the absolute serenity that this heavenly place provided. Family and friends would then surround him with warmth and gently pull him into the world above. The little ones would clamor around, and in time, the rules would be explained. For even in this perfect place, certain rules had to be followed for the ones on earth, or the universe itself could be affected.
The elders who sailed to earth to help those left behind knew this would be a complicated task. There were many families who would grapple with their anger yet eventually come to a decision that would help them through the shock, the heartache, the denial and somehow make it through. Although they would not accept easily, they were willing to step into a new tomorrow, with trepid steps and a hopeful heart. It is a belief held deeply that life, as difficult as it was to wake each morning and continue to breathe, would go on in a new bewildering world. They would be at the precipice of life and scream through the desire to die. Somehow, they realized that if they just took one breath and get out of bed, they could begin the journey of living for their loved ones here on earth. They would embrace the memories of the one who left and bring them each day into a different future than the one anyone had always feared. Each day they lived, every breath they took here on earth, was a breath they took for their loved one. Carrying that in their hearts would give them the courage to remember and share and laugh and live each day as the in the moment. That was the best and only choice they had. They would learn that it was a good one for themselves and the ones left that they loved here on earth.
But there were many as well that would go to the edge of the abyss of the heart, completely ready to jump into the absolute comfort of nothingness. The elders understood all too well their breaking hearts, because they themselves had experienced the loss themselves. They knew they had to pay special attention because these aching humans were the hardest to protect. For they stayed in a place of anger (understandably so) fraught with a fear and a void so deep that left them feeling abandoned and alone. So the elders were the whispers in their dreams at night, sending words of hope and reminding them that their loved one was still in their hearts.
So the wind wept quietly as the anticipation of little children blended with the sadness of the elders. The dawn was blinking through the heavens and it was only a matter of moments before the new one would come, and shatter the hearts and lives of those still left behind.
The little ones waited behind wisps of lightened clouds as dawn began to break. They never understood this part, but they knew it was not yet the time to celebrate. That would be after he was welcomed and their wings flapped gently, causing their own little breeze that smelled like freshly falling snow.
It was a mixture of joy and sadness that the families welcomed the youngest son of a good family into this remarkable world. They watched him realize what had just happened, waited for his surprise and anger to melt into confusion. In that moment of clarity, as the grace surrounded him, they embraced him carefully, comforting his tears. He watched his mother below cry out to the universe in a voice no longer human. They felt his heart ache with sadness for her, and they swooped him up into the heavens and softly explaining that it was his heart, even though he was only twenty-six years old, this was better because in an instant they showed him what could have been in his future and that passing up to them while he thought he fell asleep was actually the prayer most people asked for. They helped him understand that for him, this was best and his tears would become sprinkles in the mist of the early morning and cause a rainbow to appear.
The elders below immediately surrounded his mother and then his father as they called 911 and tried to revive what she already knew in her heart. One elder sat down beside her as she slumped against the wall, speaking with the medic who had called the time of death. Another sat next to the father as he made the phone call to his other son. The others drifted throughout the house, lingering near his room, watching his light rise above. The mother had seen it as well, before she left the room and she knew he was at peace.
The house was full of elders as they walked among the living, felt but unseen. They stood by the phone as friends called and muffled the words of courage and sorrow as people left words of courage and prayers.
Someone saw the rainbow as they entered the house, and the mother, father, brother and his wife went outside to gaze up as it slowly flourished above the house. Instinctively they saw, they felt, and they understood.
The elders would be there through the night and stay well into the days and weeks to come. They would be the ones who would encourage them to remember and to grieve. It would be their whispers that let them know that the appearance of a rainbow, the suddenness of a butterfly, a license plate in front as they are driving with a name or number, and even a foul ball at a baseball game on his birthday that landed squarely at the feet of his father, were all signs from their loved one. This is how the loved one shows that they are all right. They will be watching over their loved ones on earth as fiercely as they were once loved.
For the one now above, playing with the little ones, listening to the elders and hanging out with grandparents or siblings they had never known, would be able to help them get through this. They would send dreams, or signs or songs, or a foul ball to remind them that love knows no boundaries. Love, just as life itself, goes on.