Grandmother’s Trip to Heaven
By Carla Moore (Easter Sunday, 2005)
With her frail, boney, 96 year old finger, she aggressively points at her visitors and says, “Is your heart right with the Lord?” This little lady isn’t playing, she’s dead serious! Then you reply, “Yes Grandmother, my heart is right with the Lord.” She replies, “Well, it better be, because you don’t want to miss heaven.”
Grandmother suffered a mild stroke on Easter Sunday. When she began to recover, she awakened with such an excitement and joy, that we have not seen in her in many, many years. She talked, non-stop for 28 hours, about the beauty of heaven. Nurses came in, even on their day off to hear her stories. The hospital was buzzing with talk of Grandmother’s experience. After her talking marathon, she slipped back into the body of a person that had just suffered a stroke.
As the days went on, she regained enough strength to return home with my dad and his wife, Wynelle (I really hate the word, “step-mom”, because that word reminds me of Cinderella and the wicked step-mother and she is nothing like that, hmmm, maybe that’s another story.) Grandmother is Wynelle’s mother. Grandmother has good days and bad, but on the good days, she is still recounting her journey. We have recorded hours of Grandmother talking about heaven.
One day, while in the hospital, Grandmother was pointing at the ceiling with her index finger and waving with the other three fingers. Wynelle asked, “Mom, who are you waving at?” Grandmother responded, “Well, Jesus, can’t you see him?”. Wynelle asked, “Did he wave back?”. Grandmother said, “Of course!”.
I will try to convey her story of her journey to heaven as I remember it…
Grandmother remembers standing at the pearly gates. She was a little disappointed that the pearly gates were not snow white, but a soft gray. The wall at the gate was set with small pearls. She has a guide with her. It is a male voice. She never says who he is or what he looks like, since she only saw his hand and the lower part of his robe. He is there with her through the entire journey. In heaven, she steps upon the streets of gold. She says the gold feels crunchy under her feet like fresh snow. She is worried that she will ruin the gold so, she tells her guide that she doesn’t want to mess up the gold. He directs her to a curb and tells her to walk there. She talks about a building that is 13 miles tall. That must be some building! She talks about the Twelve Tribes of Israel. She tells us that the layers of the walls are inscribed with the names of the Twelve Tribes of Israel and each layer is a different precious stone such as jasper, rubies and diamonds.
As they walked along the streets of heaven, Grandmother heard the roar of a lion. The guide told her that the lion would not hurt her and as she turned to look at the lion, he seemed to smile at her and just walked away. The birds and the flowers were so beautiful and so many different colors and sizes. The grass was the greenest she had ever seen and no dirt anywhere. No leaves under the trees or petals off the flowers. Grandmother said when we all get to heaven, we will find her in the rose garden, working with her two sisters, Juanita and Vivian. At one point the guide took her to a pond. When they walked into the water, Grandmother worried about getting her robe dirty and wet, but, when they came out of the water, her robe was dry and spotlessly clean. Then she tells you about meeting Jesus. He is seated next to the throne of God the Father. She could not see the face of God, but she knew that is who it was. When she tried to look upon his face, it was hidden from view by a dark shadow. His robe was glowing white and he just seemed to disappear from view.
Grandmother sees many of her family members, that are already in heaven. She says everybody works all of the time, but they are never tired. There’s Aunt Juanita, she is busy sewing, she never looked up, but she knows Grandmother is there. (Juanita was a seamstress while she lived on earth.)
She sees her sisters walking around heaven. As they pass the tree of life, Vivian reaches up and gets a piece of fruit and eats it. Now, Grandmother isn’t sure if Vivian was supposed to eat from the tree of life, but she saw her do it.
She also talks about the circle of life. While I was visiting Grandmother, one of her home nurses came by to check on her. She asked him, “Is your heart right with the Lord?”. She was particularly worried about this nurse because she saw him in heaven, but the devil was right beside him trying to pull him away. Grandmother asked her guide if her family circle was complete. Her guide, with his finger, drew a blue circle in the air. Out to the side was written the word “Plainview”. This is the town where Grandmother lived most of her childhood and the family is all buried there. The circle was unbroken except for one little blip. She feels that this represented a nephew who was saved just before his passing. Then the guide drew another blue circle that was much smaller and out beside it was written Lubbock. He told her that was the family where she lives now.
Now Grandmother is told that she still has one more thing to do on earth, it’s not quite time for her to stay in heaven. She isn’t told what the one thing is, or if she was told, she doesn’t remember.
We may never know.
Before Grandmother suffered the stroke, my dads brother underwent open heart surgery. Now John was a big man, he was a gentle, giant man, with a wonderful sense of humor. Before he went into surgery, the doctor visited with him and said, “You know John, you are a very big man. This is going to be a very big job.” to which John replied, “Do I need to get a bigger surgeon?”. After John’s surgery, there were many complications. He suffered for about a month, trying to recover, but, heavenly intervention stepped in and said, “Job well done, my son. It is time to come home to heaven.”
So, you know what Grandmother said then??? She said, “John is such a big man. They will have to open those gates really wide for him to pass through. Maybe I can just slip in beside him.”. Well, it didn’t work out that way, Grandmother is still here on earth, telling everyone she can about heaven.
Family and friends gathered and said goodbye to our beloved, Uncle John. Although we know in our hearts that he is at peace now and can see us from heaven, it is so hard to say goodbye to the the earthly body. I treasure the moments that I did spend with my uncle, but regret that life got to busy to spend more quality time with my family.
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