“This will get us there, you’re sure?” Avery asked the Captain. Her hands shook and sweat beaded on her forehead.
” Yes Madam, as I’ve told the other passengers, who are equally as persistent, this will take us to the first step.”
“The Stairway to Heaven? I can’t believe it. It’s for real, isn’t it?”
“Well, Madam Avery, that’s what you paid all your money for. This is the only ship that can take you there. We’ll arrive shortly. Ask a flight attendant to give you some pills to calm you down. Soon, you’ll never need medicine again.”
“But, what’s at the top of the Stairway? Streets filled with glitteringgold? No more crying and no more pain?”
“When we’re there you’ll know. Have faith, Madam.”
Avery looking pale and feeling dehydrated suddenly fainted. The whole idea of reaching Heaven by space ship seemed unimaginable.
When she woke up she was lying on a soft bed. There was a gate formed of pure gold and silver. Two regal guards stood nearby.
“You there, both of you, where is this? I was supposed to be in Heaven I paid a great deal of money to get there, ” Avery said.
The guards chuckled, “Madam Avery, don’t you know the Stairway and Heaven itself cannot be bought by humans.”
“But what am I doing here?”
“Quiet now. You’re in processing, they’re trying to decide about you,” one guard said.
“If somewhere deep inside you know Heaven was purchased for you long ago. If you know who bought it,” the second guard replied.
Avery stomped her foot, “I deserve what’s coming to me.”
The first guard shook his heads,” Wherever you end up, Madam Avery, you can be sure of that.”
A few months ago a dear friend passed away at 98 years old. She was a grandma, my great godmother, and in these last few years, a genuine friend. I miss her very much and writing her letters to mail with a poem or small story. It was our thing and I visited her as much as I was able. The last time I saw Evelyn we visited a few hours in her room. Then, I was leaving and I couldn’t get out the door to reach the elevators. Finally, I got to the elevators went out the front time and stopped.
I looked back at the wonderful care facility she’d been staying in these past three years. She was in her own home until she was 95. I had this strange feeling that I woldn’t see her again. I gazed back deciding all I could do was hope that in a month or two, she would still be alive and well. I do wish one more visit might have been possible.
She was a wonderful, outgoing, and opinionated person. She demonstrated great care with people and her hospitality is/was famous. She even drove big trucks and was a mechanic in her day besides working at the Woodwards Department store for many years. For much her life, she was a single mother. Evelyn had many talents, her cooking, her unpredictability, and a spirit that kept on shining and pushing through life’s miseries.
R.I.P Evelyn. I’ve been trying to finish this last poem for you for a few months. It’s taken me awhile to get right! I’m so happy you are with our Heavenly Father and no longer suffering in any way.
A monument falls, crumbles,
Although, she was strong.
An impenetrable force,
A spit-fire, a trail blazer.
You can press your hands against thick steel, rock, or concrete,
Wonder how such monuments are designed,
Buildings of beauty, fortified through time;
How could they fall?
Then you realize that soft skin isn’t stone,
And a woman isn’t a superhero.
When you gaze into the past, into beloved photographs,
You see how smooth marble crinkles,
As fine lines, directions on a map.
The most elegant calligraphy,
Words muted in the unforgiving sun.
And photographs appear in memories,
The warming light of conversation,
Over hearth: satisfying food and laughter.
Yet, still I attempted to see how her puckered lips,
Were once plump, young, and beguiling.
Long gone are her cherubic child’s lips,
Nearly a century ago.
And flawless cream skin is marked,
Lines settled in, can be followed,
A pattern of an Autumn leaf.
No monument left to be seen, no eyes sparkling,
With a smile uniquely hers,
Never to be repeated;
Only in whispers of genealogy.
A monument stood and —
She was significant.
Someone who was seen and not afraid to be,
A grandma who paraded around,
In forty two pairs of shoes — probably more.
Her body could be strengthened with steel,
Knees and hips better off with fabrication;
The real ones worn out.
Do stone monuments feel the pain of lost children?
Of polio’s grasp, sucking the life out of a small boy.
Of a little girl who passed away a whisper.
And of one child who survived,
A reader, a teacher, a traveller, a builder.
One who is imperfectly perfect as her.
My godfather with his wife,
My godmother, both I adore.
Yet, the stubborn cheerfulness,
Of this monument lives on in her family,
In her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren,
And beloved relatives and friends;
Partners who marked her life, always leaving early.
Sisters and brothers, marrying others becoming new brothers and sisters,
How she adored and missed all them all,
Passing away before she could blink.
For the most part, she was unsurpassed in years,
She mourned her family and friends gone first,
But reunites with them now.
And when she fell, the monument’s pieces scattered,
Although all feels lost,
She needed her relief in heaven.
And no one ever thinks that day will come,
Until it crashes upon those left behind.
Monuments fall, it happens every minute of every day,
For every type of personality,
To each person someday;
Special and authentically themselves.
It’s okay to morn the monument’s empty place,
To hunger for her caring advice,
Her kind words.
The silence is hard, her not being,
In her home or in her room.
Now she’s aged, is dust of the earth,
She is the ideal of herself, the creator’s perfection.
Her life was imperfect, as we all are,
It was shadowed by pain and misery;
Yet her optimism always pulled her through it.
Remembering her and taking comfort within,
Her greetings to all those she meets again.
The suffering and sorrow has ended, so do not cry your tears.
For every monument is eclipsed,
Heaven’s radiant light filters into the cracks,
Rebuilds the rubble.
Her figure of faith and grace.
The love she had, that does not die,
But multiplies in eternity,
Waiting for her family someday.
And for her her dear friends.
When we arrive,
She’ll wonder what took us so long.
Offering a piece of pie, uncooked fresh blueberries in a crust,
With soft dollops of whipped cream.
Her timeless love in cooking, baking, hospitality,
“THROUGH me you pass into the city of woe: Through me you pass into eternal pain: Through me among the people lost for aye. Justice the founder of my fabric moved: To rear me was the task of Power divine, Supremest Wisdom, and primeval Love. Before me things create were none, save things Eternal, and eternal I endure. All hope abandon, ye who enter here.” – The Divine Comedy, The Inferno (Canto III. Lines 1 -9).
“Abandon all hope? How can this be right? I didn’t kill anyone and I was no pervert. I stood for my political office. I did what I had to do,” Ker said.
“How do you know it was the right cause?”
“Well, I just do.”
“What about those you hurt along the way? Your wife, Meredith, who now rests in Heaven’s fold? You’re here at the gates of Hell at the river Acheron for a reason,” the wise Charon told Ker.
“I didn’t mean to hurt her, to use her to get where I needed to go. I loved her, but I didn’t mean to leave her. I prayed and I apologized. I admitted my sins to a priest in confession. Yet, here I am in Hell at the Traitors’ Gate, why here?”
Charon sighed and whisked the regretful Ker’s soul into the boat. “I wonder Ker, where Midas will send you? Will you be in the eighth circle as a corrupt politician or the ninth circle for being a traitor to your wife, to your family? Will you spend eternity ‘a Judas?'”
Ker shook his head, “This is nothing but a dream. Dante’s Inferno does not exist. I won’t abandon hope, I won’t. Meredith is not dead and I’m not really here.”
“But you did stop hoping and you’re a traitor so now you face the Traitors’ Gates. You are one of them and that’s why this gate is where you will enter into the ninth circle of Hell.”
“What?! I’m so sorry, I mean it. I repent. I’ll do better and change my ways. Tell me this is just a dream, let me have another chance.”
Charon chuckled and shook his head wearily.”It seems someone up high is fighting for your soul, Ker, I don’t why because your soul is pitch black. Yet, you will have another chance. Remember you won’t get another.”
Ker awakes suddenly whispering pleading prayers in words of Latin and Ancient Greek. He doesn’t know why he understands these prayers to God, but he does. Ker attempts to pick up his smartphone nearby but feels terrible pain whenever he moves.
Then, his beautiful Meredith walks in the hospital room door. “Meredith? I thought you were dead. That you would never speak to me again. I thought you were in Heaven and I was in Hell, I dreamt it.”
Meredith smiled at Ker with love despite how he had treated her recently: “Who do you think asked God to give you a second chance? I gave up eternity for a later time, hoping you will be there with when I return. Now you must fulfill your promises made in front of Charon.”
“So, can you change, Ker? Can you stop being a traitor and fight for ‘the good’ in this world? Can you fight for me, for us, for our family?” Meredith asked.
Ker was just grateful to be alive. He swore to do better in life, in love, and he did.