October 4

By: Jane

Mar 09 2011

Category: Grieving



“Your mother is at your grave again.”

Michael looked up at the angel with a somber expression. “I know. I’ve been watching. Do you think she’ll start to feel better soon?”

Angel looked over Mike’s shoulder down into one of the portals that allowed citizens of heaven to look in on loved ones who’d been left behind. Hoping to encourage the young man, he replied, “If you look into one of the PaxTerra portals you can see down the timeline and know how it will turn out for her. We know that she’ll be here when her time is over.” He smiled and patted the shoulder of the slight human who was once again leaning over the NuncTerra portal to watch his mother.

The portals are round disks, much like a glass table top, with room for numerous beings, human or angelic, to sit or stand around the perimeter and gaze down at earthly events. Each individual is able to see whatever or whom ever it is they seek. The portals can be found in various places all around heaven, but they are always arranged in groups of three. NuncTerra portals allow one to view people and events as they are currently happening – earth’s present time. PaxTerra portals allow the viewer to see “further down the timeline” as Angel put it; to see events that have not yet happened in earth time. On earth, this is called the future. Completing the set are the FacTerra portals, for viewing events that have already occurred.

FacTerra portals were particularly interesting to Mike, because he could actually watch his own funeral. [Something he’d already done several times in the few short earth weeks he’d been there.]

“She looks so sad,” he remarked, with regret.

“She is, for now,” Angel replied, “but strange as it may seem, she has peace.”

Michael looked at his new friend with a grateful smile. He had inadvertently caused his own death, and was still learning that he didn’t have to live with guilt which no longer existed.

In earth time Mike had only been gone for three weeks. It was a terrible time for his parents and brothers, and he wished that they could see the wonderful new place in which he lived. He wished they could see it right now.

Everything Jesus had said about heaven was true. Parts of it were still under construction, but every time a new resident arrived they found that their home had been completed right on schedule. When Angel unlocked Mike’s door for the first and last time, Michael was amazed at how perfect the place was for him. Mike was now living in the perfect place, and his heart was not troubled. He didn’t want his family’s hearts to be troubled either.

He could see in both the NuncTerra and PaxTerra portals that his parents visited his grave regularly, and would continue to do so. Every Sunday they brought fresh flowers, cleaned off the marker with his name and picture on it, clipped the grass and talked to him. He wished they could hear him answer when they said things like, “We’re here, Mikey,” or that he could grab and hold his mother’s hand when she would kiss her fingers and brush them across the picture of his face.


Angel’s voice brought him back from earth. “They will be alright. For them it’s only been a few weeks. They’re still adjusting. But Father has sent some special gifts to help them while they’re getting used to this.

“Like what?” Michael asked.

“Well, for starters, did you see the number of people who turned up for your funeral? And not just for the service…. People came out of the walls to bring food, cut the grass, run errands. Your brothers were never alone… your friends came and slept on the living room floor. They brought pictures and made displays out of them for the night of your viewing. Your friends actually kept your parents company!”

“Do you think my parents will know that all of that was a gift from God?”

“Let’s go look into the FacTerra portal.”

Mike was never sure about looking into the portals with Angel. He didn’t mind seeing what he wanted to see, but he didn’t always enjoy watching what Angel wanted him to see. Still, he was learning that nothing in heaven would harm him, so he went along with it.

“I want you to see that night as your mother experienced it.”

Michael faced Angel and replied, “I can’t.”

“Yes you can. Just remember, there is no guilt here. Only growth.”


“Your parents aren’t angry, Mike.”

Mike looked at Angel for a long moment, considering. Then he turned and lookd down at the FacTerra portal, which had gone dark. Slowly images began to emerge from the darkness…. bunk beds. Lots of them. Mike remembered that his mother had been away at a retreat the night of his death. He frowned as he peered into the darkened room. Most of the bunks were occupied with sleeping bodies. He couldn’t see her clearly, but he sensed that his mother was not asleep. He remembered that when Angel had come to get him that night he’d asked Mike if he’d like to say goodbye to her. So they’d visited that room. From the portal he could see Angel hovering near the ceiling as he kissed her goodbye. She opened her eyes.

“I have to go now Mom.”

Her eyes were open, but she didn’t answer.


Mike saw himself look up at Angel, who shook his head slightly. “She can’t hear you.”

Michael frowned. “Why did you bring me here, then?” he asked sharply.

“Because weeks from now, when she is drowning in grief and needing help and encouragement, she will remember that she couldn’t sleep tonight, and she’ll know that it was because you came to say goodbye to her. Humans need to say goodbye.”

“But why can’t she hear me say it?”

“You know the old story. Long ago, earth time, your original ancestors took away your choice. By choosing for themselves they decided for all mankind to separate from God. They took their own perfection, their perfect world, their perfect relationship with Father, and threw it away. By being disobedient to His specific instructions, because it wasn’t what they wanted to do, they put an abyss between heaven and earth. The only way you can cross the abyss is by dying, and once you are across, you can’t go back. The curse of death is what they brought on their entire race, and the curse is that death separates you from those you love. For now, you are apart. You can’t go back, and that’s why she can’t hear you.”

Looking into the FacTerra portal Mike saw himself and Angel disappear from the room just as the door opened. In the light from the hallway stood a woman with grave concern written on her face.


His mother lifted her head.

“Steve is here. He needs you to come downstairs.”

He could sense the fear in his mother. But as she rose from the bed, another figure quickly jumped from a top bunk on the other side of the room. He recognized Melanie instantly. They’d just talked the other day, sitting at the kitchen table. Mike loved Mel and her family, and he was relieved to see her there with his Mom at this critical time. He turned his head to look at Angel.

“Another gift, right?”

“Yep.” Angel nodded.

Mel followed Mom out the door and waited at the top of the stairs. At the bottom step Mom pushed open the door. Framed in the doorway stood Mike’s father. He almost looked like a ghost himself. With his dark clothing and the pitch blackness behind him, his face was all Mike could see.

“You need to come with me.”

“Just tell me.”

“Mike’s gone.”

“You mean he’s dead?”

“Mike’s gone.”

“He’s dead?”

“Yes. He’s dead.”

“What happened?”

“There was a party….” Dad’s voice trailed off.

“I’ll go get dressed.”

As the door closed Mel ran down the steps. “What’s wrong?” she asked.

“You’d better sit down,” Mom replied. Mel obediently sat down on the step.

“Mike’s dead.”

He couldn’t help wondering why she wouldn’t soften the blow as his dad had, using the word “gone” instead of “dead.”

Melanie gasped and said the first thing that came into her mind:

“God must be saving him from something far worse in the future.”

Up at the portal Angel remarked, “Those words didn’t just pop into her head. That wisdom will be a comfort in time to come.”

As his mother climbed into the car with his father, Angel spoke without looking up from the portal. “It will be Mel that gathers up all of her things and drives her car home. By the time your parents get home she’ll be there with the coffee brewing.”

The scene in the portal was now the inside of his father’s car. Mike wasn’t sure why neither of them was crying.

As if reading his mind Angel said, “They’re numb right now. They’re in shock. Tears will come later, as they’re ready to let reality in, bit by bit.”

In the car Mom asked again, “What happened?”

“He at a party”Dad said. He took something… a drug. I don’t know what it was. Ray called me. He was hysterical on the phone. I met them at the hospital. I saw them bring Mike in on a gurney. They were giving him CPR. I knew then that he was gone.”

Mike shifted his weight as he leaned over the portal. “My Dad is so strong. Thank God my mother wasn’t home that night. These memories would haunt her forever.”

“Gift,” murmured Angel.

It was as if Mike was in the car with his parents as his dad parked. They got out, and as his mother took the arm offered by his father he almost fell onto the smooth disk, reaching down to touch them.

Chip met them at the door of the emergency room. He was an old friend, whose sons had grown up with “the boys”, as Mom called Mike and his brothers – Ray and Stephen. Now Chip was one of a large group of friends who had gathered at the hospital to pray and offer support.

Everyone looked up as they came into the waiting room. Michael marveled at the number of friends, young and old, who’d come to plead with God to allow him to stay.

Mike heard his mother speaking to the hospital chaplain. “How does he look?” she asked.

“He looks alright. He just has a tube sticking out of his mouth.”

“I want to see him.”

Stephen stood up. “I’m going with you. I want to see him too.”

“Alright,” replied the chaplain. Just give us a few minutes to cut the tube so it doesn’t show.”

As it turned out, the whole family went into the small curtained area where Mike was lying on his back on a gurney.

“We have to ask that you not touch him.” said the chaplain, “because there will have to be an investigation.”

No one answered. For a moment everyone just stood and looked down at the handsome boy on the gurney. His eyes were closed, his color was good and he looked as if he was sleeping. His mouth was slightly parted, just enough to show his straight, white teeth.

“Wake up, Mike” Stephen called to him.

He did not stir.

From the portal in heaven Michael could hear his mother’s voice as she leaned as close to his ear as she could.

“I love you, Mike. I love you.”

Mike was still watching through the FacTerra portal when his parents arrived at home from the hospital. It had now been more than five hours since the death of his human body, but he continued to watch without hunger, without fatigue. He could eat and sleep if he wished in heaven, but he didn’t need to.

He was also able to arrive anywhere he wished in the kingdom, simply by thinking of the place he wanted to be. The only place he could not go was back to earth.

As his parents moved wearily up the walkway to the house, Mel opened the door for them. They didn’t appear to be surprised to see her there.

“I need to put on a pot of coffee,” Mom said, laying her coat over the stair railing.

“I already did it,” replied Mel.

“Small gifts,” thought Mike, up in heaven, “are one of God’s ways of helping them through this. Thank You, Father.”


13 comments on “October 4”

  1. It’s amazing how crystal clear it remains. One small gift of mine was that my husband (then boyfriend) came to visit me at college the night Gary died. P.S. – I think I’m hooked on your blog. I love reading your words.

    • It is amazing how certain things get etched in your mind. But I guess it’s not so surprising that THAT night in particular would remain in detail. I think it really was a gift for you that you were not alone that night. And, as difficult as the next weeks, months and years may be for J, she’s not alone either. She’s got at least 4 of us that I can think of who’ve been down this road.

      You know, I think I write a whole lot better than I talk. I just can’t think fast enough to say what I really mean when I’m talking to someone….and especially if there’s more than one person at a time to talk to. I hope this can fill in the gaping hole that FB is going to leave in my life! If it works out the way I hope it will, I may not have as many people to talk to, but the ones I do I’ll REALLY get to talk to and know.

  2. Jane,

    Your writing is absolutely beautiful. I will miss your FB presence.


  3. Well don’t be a stranger Kel! I miss your presence in my classroom! Good times. :0)

  4. I agree with Beth, you have a way with the written word. Keep blogging.

  5. I’m so sorry about your son. What a terrible thing! I will pray for you.
    I don’t talk about this much but when I was in a car accident with my brother, I couldn’t breathe-I could only inhale. I had injured my back and possibly had air trapped in my lungs. Anyway, aside from the pain, I was somewhere dark-felt like I had one foot on life and one foot on death-but I had this wonderful feeling of peace-no cares, no worries. I thought it was what it felt like to be dead-not sure. But I remember thinking that if I did die, I wished my parents could feel this wonderful feeling-they would be so happy for me. Hope that helps.

  6. Btw, the post was beautiful. I almost feel like I was there.

  7. That does help, Holly. And I thank you for the prayers. Comfort is often needed suddenly, and at the most unexpected times. :0)

  8. Wow! God was taking care of you. I realized I hadn’t heard from you in a while and thought I would see what was going on at your blog and realized that I had not subscribed. God must have had a hand in that.
    How is your hand? Do you live in California? I was trying to figure out by the places you were naming.

  9. I live not too, too far from you, in south eastern, PA. My husband is from California, though, and we have lots of friends and family there.
    I’m going to see 2 doctors this morning. The hand just keeps slowly getting worse, so I hope one of them will be able to figure this out.
    Hey, thanks for subscribing!
    I’ve been thinking about your car accident a lot. That story has been comfortingbto me this weekend, not just because of Mike, but because this hand situation is just so scary that I’m actually thinking that, without treatment, it could ultimately be that bad. What was it that caused you to be unable to exhale? How long ago did it happen, and how long didi it take you to recover. Hey…you could do a post about it!

  10. Hey Jane,
    I know I haven’t answered this comment. I’ve been thinking about doing a post about it-sort of painting a picture of what happened.

  11. […] 4Thirteen years ago our youngest son died tragically and suddenly.  It took years to move forward without him, but in the early days after his death we were made aware of God’s presence with us by some of the special things He did to comfort us and assure us that our son was with Him. […]

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