The final thought that I had when I took my last breath was how the stars would sparkle and the moon would hum when the sky turned midnight black. I didn’t think about anything other than the sheer beauty that I was able to witness every single night. You often assume that your life will flash before your eyes in your last moments. I always thought that too but its calm. Everything is calm.
I floated in a realm of nothingness for quite some time. All the pain that I had felt disappeared. Every tear, every piece of anger flooded out of me. I was healing. I was free. I was flying with the birds.
Then the stages began.
The sun was beginning to set and a mild chill filled the air. The breeze brushed past my lower neck and every strand of hair on my body stood up to greet it good evening. I leant over, facing the floor so my hair was covering my face. Delicately, I intertwined the hairband that was around my wrist through my hair and into a ponytail. I pulled my head back up, viewing everything from a different perspective. I didn’t have my hair to hide behind anymore. The candyfloss sky combined with warm orange and pastel yellow towered over me with its almighty beauty and power.
My favourite thing about sunsets was the way that every single one was different. Each spec of cloud and colour would vary depending on the weather. Like when it rained, a black grey would dance alongside the sun setting. Or on a summers evening, the cotton ball clouds would sit perfectly amongst the pastel blue sky until right at the last moment, when the gradient shades of yellow and orange would appear to say goodnight. I adored them. But it wasn’t until that moment, standing beneath that particular sunset, unlike any other, that I realised I had never truly understood just how perfect it was.
The ripples in the water, clear as glass, smoothly danced in time to the rhythm of my soul. The lake floated in front of me, never ending. I pressed my feet firmly onto the grass beneath me, I felt the branch coloured soil scatter itself around my heels and soles. I knelt down and smelt the earth.
Have you ever noticed how good the earth smells? Do you notice the mud, the grass, the residue of rain and sunshine, the billions of natural feet that walk upon the planet? Do you notice the scent of the bees, the flowers and the wind? I never managed to notice it until that moment but oh, how I wished that I had noticed it sooner.
I stood back up and made my way to the ocean I saw before me. Edging closer, I allowed the waves to rush over my feet. As I allowed the water to tickle around my ankles, I felt a sense of belonging. Watching my feet bathing, I saw different parts of my life: my first pair of ballet shoes, my new buckled brogues on my first day of school, and the muddy paw prints that trailed behind me wherever I went. I submerged myself into the water and embraced the rejuvenation that wrapped itself around me. I was cleansed.
There you were sitting there on our well used sofa. The buttery cream cushions had sunken into the shape of your back and you were sobbing uncontrollably. I could see the thick layer of empty mist in the house where you hadn’t opened the windows or let the daylight through. I could feel the stabbing pain in your chest, so I sat down next to you and took hold of your hand. I remembered the day that I had you and first held you in my arms. The second that I looked into your eyes, I understood for the first time what unconditional love felt like. I knew that I would do anything in the world to protect you. I would no longer want to put myself first, because you were now my everything. That love never changes. I closed my eyes and kept whispering your name because I wanted you to know how content I was. I wanted you to know that there was nothing to cry about. I sent your name into the breeze, hoping that it would reach you. After a while, your breathing had settled and the tears had calmed down. You stayed there in the wave of peaceful silence that I had created around us both. I was still holding on to your hand. I didn’t let it go the whole time you cried.
“Open a bloody window and get some air in here.” I repeated over and over. Eventually you stood up, took a deep breath and walked over to the window and pulled it open.
I didn’t leave you that day.
Did you hear me as you fell asleep? I was there. Did you hear what I said?
“I see you all of the time. I see you when you rest your tired eyes as you tuck yourself up in your duvet. I see you when you are sipping on your hot morning coffee. I see you when you cry, when you are frustrated and when things get tough. I am in the trees every time you laugh, swaying from side to side chuckling with you. I am in the glimmering sun, shining down on you when you sit in the garden and watch the birds glide though the sky. I am with you reminiscing every time you tell a story about us. I am there in the darkness, reminding you that the light will appear again. I am with you.”
The next stage was beautiful. Crystals. Stones. Rocks. All I could see were endless amounts of minerals: Quartz of all colours, Amethyst, Angelite, Moonstone, Calcite, Jade and Obsidian to name a few. I brushed my fingers through the never ending piles of stones, and the clinking sounds that reached my ears made me tingle.
“Feel good, don’t they?” I heard a voice behind me ask. Slightly taken aback, I dropped the crystals and turned around to attention. In front of me stood a handsome man in his early 30’s with thick black hair and piercing green eyes. He wasn’t like man on earth though. He was different; powerful and mesmerizing.
“They do. They look beautiful too. I’m sorry but I have to ask. Who are you? Why am I here?” I replied.
“I’m here to show you” he responded looking at me in the eyes intently. His voice was almost angelic. Like nothing I’d heard before.
“Show me what?” I asked.
With that, he took hold of my hand and began guiding me through the stones and up a long steep hill.
As he was walking in front of me, I tried to figure out what he was wearing. He didn’t have an outfit on as such, he was just glowing colours. I trusted him but I was still curious as to where he was taking me. “Where are we going?” I questioned.
“You’ll see” he said. And with that, we walked in blissful silence.
I’d like to say how long it took us, but time wasn’t a concept here.
“I never asked what your name was” I said to him as we made our way up the path.
He simply looked at me replied “You can call me whatever you wish.”
I felt as if no name would do him justice. So I silently agreed to myself that I wouldn’t address him by name. But for your understanding, I shall refer to him as Leo.
Chalk white snowflakes began to delicately fall around us. They felt like silk as they landed upon my skin. The air became colder and as we continued walking, a sheet of snow began to settle on the ground. I could hear the crunch of my footsteps as they were lost in white. The further we walked, the deeper it became. In the distance, a solitary modernised house appeared. The windows were misted up with condensation and lights glimmered from the inside, indicating that people were at home. We reached the door and Leo gently pointed towards the window. I understood that we were unable to go in to the house.
We were there to observe.
The kitchen and lounge were connected so I had the perfect view.
The television was flickering in the background and images of cartoon characters filled the screen. 2 young children, a girl and a boy around the age of 4, sat on the floor happily playing with their toys, oblivious to the sometimes harsh outside world. They were gorgeous kids.
It looked warm in there. Safe.
In the kitchen, heated smoke danced above the saucepan that sat upon the hob. I could almost smell the dinner cooking just by looking at it. Then, a beautiful middle aged woman made her way through the kitchen and sat on the sofa, talking on her mobile phone. She was laughing and it lit up the room. After a few minutes, she hung up the phone, stood back on her feet and picked up the little girl and gave her a kiss on the forehead. I felt an overwhelming sense of love rush through me.
Then you walked into the room.
You greeted the children with a kiss then grabbed hold of her and pulled her close. You looked so happy. You were smiling. You walked into the kitchen and got a beer out of the fridge. I placed my hand onto the window, my breath staining the glass. I felt so proud and overwhelmed. A loving tear began to roll down my cheek.
At that moment, you thought of me. You walked to the window and looked outside. I knew that you could feel me there.
Leo placed his hand on my shoulder and softly said “This is everything that you wished for. You created life, you shared love and you changed the world. You made an impact. And it’s not until this moment that you really understand what love is. It’s not until now that you realise how miniscule every external problem is. How life is full of joy and pain.”
I began to uncontrollably cry, replying “I am unbelievably happy but also extremely sad. Why is that?”
“That’s what life does to you. It takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions. It teaches you lessons for what comes next. You experience it so you genuinely understand how to live in a life full of love and peace on this side. It would be pretty overwhelming for somebody to feel such contentment if they hadn’t felt any pain. We have been on this journey for eternity. You just don’t remember. Earth was simply another stage. Now, we travel further. But first, you have to make your peace with your life by viewing the beauty that you have created through this window. You are never walking away from your family, nor will you forget them. They too, have been on this journey with you for eternity. You create a connection here, so you can always see and be with them whilst they are on earth. Then, when they reach this stage, you will be here to greet them again.” He responded.
“I don’t want them to grieve for me anymore.” I cried.
His sparkling green eyes looked at me empathetically. “But, they must. So they can learn too. Just like you did.”
I reached out and embraced him. “Thank you. Thank you so much.”
I wiped my tears away and felt a flooding sense of relief. Like the weight of the world had just been lifted off my shoulders.
Then I saw them. Mother. Uncle. Auntie. Cousin. Friend. I sprinted as fast as my legs would take me and dived into their love.
Leo smiled. “Now, we move forward.”