This is a blog written from the perspective of a loved one gone to heaven. I have written it from the heart of a young person after illness, but I hope that you can apply it to whoever you have lost in your life, from whatever cause, who will not be here to share Christmas Day with you on earth.
My angel would have turned 19 today. Instead she is forever free at sixteen.
Know that no matter what, they are here with us, and we shall see them again one day.
As I rest here in the clouds, gentle and quiet, my lips begin to quiver. A breath, fluttered blinks. And now a single star falls from my lashes and into your lap.
You don’t know what to do with it. You have been carrying this star for some time now. Only, it isn’t a star. It is grief, raw and wild. Uncontained. They say that with time it will stop hurting. Perhaps enough time hasn’t passed yet. Or perhaps they lied. But it doesn’t distract you from the desperate, tragic truth.
You are there.
And I am here.
We are only angel wings apart. And yet that is the greatest distance of all. It is the gap between a breath and complete still. The echo of a heartbeat, and the silence that fills the room in sobbing gulps. The space between here and there.
You can try to measure the gap. The years, months, weeks, hours, minutes and seconds since my life faded into the next. A bauble hung upon the tree for each Christmas I spend among the clouds. But grief and loss is not quantifiable. And yet, I see you try all the same. My anniversaries are painted in butterflies upon the calendar. You are acutely aware of how many times you have walked into my bedroom, your fingers frantically searching for any trace which could serve as proof that once I was there in your world, and in your life.
I hear the sobs in the shower that you ask the drain to swallow, and I see your face break as a long lost friend asks you how I am going. I feel your finger pads tap their dreaded dance upon the dining table, as you debate how many places to lay out this year.
And I feel the ache in your heart tonight, as you slowly take the green mile to your bedroom.
It would be ironic if it weren’t so sad. But I know that you are dying a thousand deaths.
I only had to die once.
It is this word which sits fat, poking and hot. You can throw various euphemisms around. Passed away, slipped away, moved on. I use them too, when speaking to the other angels. It doesn’t seem right for sadness to be mentioned in a place of such beauty.
But it doesn’t change the one thing that we wish it could.
That I could be alive, and that we could share the morning together.
By the time you awake tomorrow morning, your heart will be so heavy you may wonder if gravity has thrown itself into your soul, and concreted you to the dusty earth.
You are going to wake, and I will not be there with you.
Or so you think.
Tomorrow morning, I need you to wake. Feel me will your lashes open. I know they are red and raw. So you will rise. And you will head to the bathroom. You will splash cold water upon your skin, and it will shock you.
You can feel this because you are alive.
And I ask this of you because I need you to feel. Feel everything. Feel the pain, the racking sobs, the shock of the cold spat from the pipes.
Feel everything. Feel it for me.
The loungeroom will soon come alive with morning excitement. The lights upon the tree will still be twinkling, and at this I want you to smile. Know that you are now seeing my new home. Know that it is even more beautiful for me. I have a view of the entire earth. It is not lonely, but rather the earths sky is cloaked in peace and warmth. It is a lookout of the highest point, and the beauty is just for me.
And now I need you to laugh. I need you to feel jealous of me, of the view which was only ever intended for me.
Everyone is going to bounce back in shock. They will not be expecting you to laugh, which is exactly why you must do so. Fill your lungs with round after round of the deepest of laughter, let it fill you in every ache, and the whole while know that I am laughing with you.
There will be gifts. There will be none for me, nor will there be any from me. But you needn’t weep. I have no need for gifts anymore. I am now free to enjoy every moment. I can laugh, I can run, I can dance in the rain and roll around on the clouds in wicked hysterics. It doesn’t hurt anymore. During my last Christmas on earth, I was not free to do this. My body was hurting, I was too tired and weak to unwrap my gifts. I could feel everyone eyes upon me, and we all knew what we wished we didn’t.
But we don’t need to think about that anymore. Because my gift is the gift to be free. There is no aching, no medications and no machines. I am just me, the way that I was always supposed to be.
And this is also my gift to you.
You have lost more than what can ever be placed into ink and scribbles. But know that you have gained as well, despite it all.
You have gained the knowledge that I am free to enjoy this Christmas, and that it is more beautiful than you could possibly imagine.
At the Christmas table there will be an empty seat. I once sat in this place. Now I sit in the stars instead. Perhaps you want to feel my absence acutely, and in that case, leave my seat bare. Think of the gap that I have left in your lives, and shed a tear for the gap between my heaven and your hell. But also know that I filled your life, just as you filled mine. Let my photo take the place of where I once sat, and raise a glass to me, wherever I may be.
Tomorrow morning you will wake.
And I will not be there to share it with you.
But you needn’t sob, nor need your heart ache
Because deep down, we know it to be true
That I forever live through you