Here is a short story I wrote based on some experiences I’ve had. Enjoy!
As she rode in the back of the black limousine she was uncomfortably reminded of the first time she had been in such a vehicle. She had been just 6 years old and didn’t understand what cancer was; all she knew was that it could take someone you love out of your life forever. The big black car came and took her and her father to the cemetery, where she saw all the relatives she usually saw only at Thanksgiving. She asked her father where her mother was. “She’s in Heaven, child,” her father replied, choking back tears.
At her home, after the funeral, she asked many of the people eating sandwiches where Heaven was, but everyone gave her different answers. Curious, she decided to find out for herself. She chewed a handful of tablets from the high cupboard; the tablets that her mother always warned her never to eat, and fell asleep. She awoke to find herself being held by loving arms and surrounded by an intense white light. She gazed into the soft face of her mother. “Mommy! You’re here! I missed you!” she cried and tried to reach out to hug her. Her mother smiled, but there was sadness in her eyes too. “No, my child. It is not your time. Go live your life, and do not grieve for me. Someday, you’ll understand.” Before she could question her mother about Heaven, she felt herself roughly pulled back into her body. She awoke in the hospital, her father standing over her. He looked sad.
As she grew, she was still curious about death and where a person went when they died. When she was 15 she went to sleep one night and heard a baby crying. Without thinking, she flew out of her bed, through the walls of her house, down many streets, until she came to a dumpster. The baby was wailing, inside, alone, and it was dying. She tried to pick the baby up but her hands passed through. The baby looked at her for a moment, then stopped crying. She saw its soul leave its body and felt it pass through her. A feeling of contentment settled upon her. When she woke that morning from her strange dream, she was surprised to read in the morning paper that a dead baby had been found in a dumpster just a few blocks away from her home. A chill passed through her.
When she was 17 she woke one night to find herself hurtling through the sky, being pulled along by some invisible cord. She careened through trees and streetlights, and was even yanked through a brick wall. Inside an old apartment building, she saw an old man lying in a bed, and he was moaning. She got closer and saw that his face was horribly burned. He reached out for her and she recoiled from his touch. He croaked, “Help me…” She gasped and found herself back at home in her bed. But no sooner did she close her eyes than she found herself hurtling back through the night sky. This time she journeyed faster and found herself back at the old man’s bedside. “Please… help me. I don’t know what to do.” She looked around the room and saw a bright light swirling in the corner. As she walked closer to that light she could feel warmth, security, and love. And she remembered how she felt when she saw her mother that day in Heaven. Instinctively, she knew what had happened. “Sir, I think you’re dead. You need to go into this light.” But the old man shrunk back against his covers and said, “No, I am scared. I can’t!” She took him by the hand and pulled him from his bed. Together they moved towards the light and she told him to simply stretch out his hand and all would be well. He touched the light tentatively and a smile came to his frightened face. He was absorbed into the light. She wanted to go too. She remembered how peaceful it was in the light. She inched towards it and felt its loving tendrils grasp her wrist. As she tried to step in, however, she was repelled by an invisible force. She tried to shove past it, but it was too strong. “Take me too! I want to be with my mother!” And then a woman stepped out from the light, but it wasn’t her mother. She was dressed in simple white robes that seemed to shimmer with a thousand lights. An angel.
“Why do you seek death, my child?” the ethereal woman asked.
“I, well, I miss my mother. I’ve got to know where she is. I’ve got to know what happens when you die.”
The angelic being said, “You will know soon enough, there is no reason to rush these things.”
“No. You don’t understand. My mother, she hurt so much before she died. And there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t comfort her, I didn’t even understand what she was going through.”
“She was going through a transition. For some people it’s easy, and for others it is harder. Take this man you met tonight, for example. His eyes were focused only on his physical existence, he couldn’t see or imagine where he needed to go next. But you helped him. You helped him find the door to the next world and you helped him on his way.”
She considered the angel’s words and said, “What about the baby? It was sad, alone, it had no one.”
“Yes, the baby was alone, until you came. You gave it comfort which allowed it to see where it needed to go. People are afraid of death, but they have no reason to be. It’s just a step on a very long journey. Because you have been to the other side before, your soul remembers its way back. You are uniquely qualified to help people make their transition.”
“Me?” she replied. “Is that what’s happening to me? Is that why I was drawn to the baby and the old man?”
“Yes,” the angel said. “You are sensitive to the call of the soul when it is passing.”
For a moment she felt awe and wonder. Then she remembered how she felt about death, God, and Heaven. “But I’m angry. Angry at God or whoever for taking my mother from me when I was just a little girl. Why did she have to die?”
“Because it was her time, my child. She had fulfilled her purpose here on Earth and it was time for her to move on. That’s how life works. The hardest part for people is making the transition. Most people die with fear in their hearts. Part of my duties are to help people make their transitions and to ease their fear.”
She pondered the angel’s words. “Are you some kind of Angel of Death or something?” She felt old anger, resentment, and sadness building inside her. “Are you the one who took my mother from me?”
“No, of course not. But I did ease her passing and I helped her find her way to the light. And she was grateful. Remember how you felt when your mother held your spirit in the light?”
She nodded mutely, remembering that feeling was the most comforting feeling she had ever had in her life. She would give anything to feel that way again.
“That’s what we do. I gather up the souls of people who have left their bodies but are afraid to step into the light. I deliver them to their loved ones waiting on the other side.”
“Were you there when I… when I tried to…?” she stuttered.
“No,” replied the angel. “Your mother caught you before you could pass forever into the light. But she brought you back because you needed another chance to live. To understand life before taking the next step.”
“Why me? Why did the old man and the baby call me to them when they had died?”
The angel smiled, “Well, it’s very simple, really. You were drawn to them because your soul could hear them. You were able to answer their call for comfort. Some people hear the call but don’t respond. You, however, did. You have a great deal of compassion inside you. Don’t forget to give some to yourself, child.”
Before she could ask another question, she felt herself being pulled backwards through the night. She awoke with a feeling of unease and wonder.
When she was 19 her father had a massive coronary one morning while the two of them ate breakfast together. He died so suddenly, there was nothing she could do. She clutched him, crying, begging him not to leave her. And then she saw his soul leave his body. He smiled down at her and said, “It’s okay, my child. I am safe. What you hold is just my shell. I go now to be with your mother. I love you. Live well. We shall meet again.”
And she finally understood. Many things.
When she was 21 her soul spent every night traveling to the side of people on the verge of death. She spoke to them, though only a few could actually hear her. She helped some cross over and others she merely watched as their souls left their bodies and moved to the light. She learned that if she peered very carefully into the light she could see the waiting arms of loved ones ready to embrace their dearly departed. A few of the souls required special handling for they were very afraid of death. In time she decided that this was her calling, to help people make their transition.
When she was 23 she let the angels know she was ready. Quietly, in the night, with no pain at all, and with no apparent cause, her body shut down. She stretched forth her hand and peeled herself away from her shell. Standing before her was the light, but near her bed, she saw the angel she had met before.
“Do you understand what it is we ask of you?”
“Yes,” she replied.
“Do you accept your appointment?”
“Yes,” she whispered.
“Come to the light and let it embrace you. There are a few people inside that I’m sure you’d like to see again.”
Into the light she drifted and was immediately embraced by her mother and her father. They all laughed and drank in each other’s warmth and love. She was home. She was happy. She felt wonderful.
A short while later, she began her official duties. Sometimes she was called to the side of babies who simply did not know where to go. Other times she was there to help an old soul remember where it truly belonged. Sometimes she was urgently called to the living who were about to die suddenly; those were the ones who often refused to believe they had passed on, the ones she had to explain things to.
And so it was today, as she rode in the back of the limousine with a middle-aged businessman barking orders into his cell phone. He had no idea the numbness in his arm was serious. He sat ignoring the pain in his chest so he could command his people to buy a thousand more shares of something unimportant. But she could see his soul, and it knew what was coming, even if he didn’t. It took just a few minutes for his life to fall aside. She caught his soul in her arms and began to explain. To his credit, it took just a few minutes for him to accept his situation once he understood what had happened to him. He thanked her, looked sadly at his body in the back of the limousine, uselessly clutching his cell phone, and moved on into the light.
She smiled, content, and made her way to her next appointment.