Writing has always been something that has been one of my hobbies and has included vast subjects and experiences. I have written papers, essays, articles for Odyssey, and research papers which I thought would never be completed. My closest friends have always mocked me for being able to “crank out” a paper for a class in an hour or two tops while they spent days and weeks just preparing for the paper. I never understood that writing could be so difficult for some when it seemed to be second nature for myself.
Like I said before, my writing endeavors have included many topics, subjects, and difficulty levels. Every time I have written one of these articles I have tried to make it meaningful for others and even myself. Personally, I think it is easier to write when you are trying to impact someone else or express what is heavy on your heart. For weeks and even a few months, I have been on a writing hiatus for the Odyssey. Although inactively writing, my mind has been circulating ideas for my next article, although I had no intentions of knowing when I would write another article—it has been a hectic and stressful semester to say the least.
I knew that when I made my return to writing weekly articles, I knew what my next one had to be.
Everyone has someone they know in Heaven, and I am sure everyone has someone they love in Heaven. I am no exception, in fact loving someone in Heaven has been one of the most inspiring, heartwarming, but also heartbreaking experiences I have ever had to do.
I know that I previously stated how easy it is for me to put my ideas on paper and to type out an article, paper, essay, etc., but as I started to construct this essay, I found myself a bit tongue-tied and ultimately at loss of words. Writing this up I had a constant fear of leaving out the most intricate details and missing the true and meaty importance of this article. I felt like I might slight my people in heaven for who they were and what they truly meant to me to my readers.
I especially love two people in Heaven and I am sure it is a common pair for many people. They are my “Nana” and “Poppy Rhiney.” Although it has been years since seeing them, there has not been any time since I have loved them.
So, what is it like to love someone in Heaven?
It is hard.
Each morning I start off my morning complaining that I must start the morning. I am not a morning person; could you tell? After I moan and sigh that I must get up and complete the tasks the day sets before me, my mind wanders to both of my people. This thought is a happy one simply because I love them and I know they love me. However, as my day progresses there are thoughts of “what ifs” and wondering of what days could be like if they were still here. I can guarantee that not a single day goes by wondering what it would have been like to have them at my graduation, my All-State Choir performance, or for them to simply come visit me at my dorm. More so, I wonder what it would be like if I could go visit them, if I could call them. There are not enough words that I could ever express to make any reader ever understand the magnitude I feel through my body wanting to make a phone call with them on the other line or to be able to drive and visit them.
I often find myself making up scenarios. Since I have been able to drive, I have wondered what it would be like to drive a 10-minute commute to pick up my never licensed Nana and take her for lunch. Where would we go? What would we order? Would we get ice cream afterwards? I know that these scenarios may seem strange to some, but they give me odd solace to what probably would have been.
It is sad.
About a year ago, my parents, brother and I sat together and watched old family videos. People always say that the first thing you forget is someone’s voice; they aren’t wrong. When videos with my people in Heaven came up, their voices seemed unknown and even strange. Like I said, it is common to forget your loved one’s voice. It is sad to hear it, too. Watching home videos can be funny, silly, nostalgic, but can also be weird and uncomfortable when there are videos with people who have passed.
Although there are many feelings tied to watching these videos as a last resort and reminder of what it used to be and who they were to you in that moment, there is a smile that arises amongst my face. This is a smile that gives solace and comfort for a moment but doesn’t last very long to say the least. Ultimately, we can re-watch these videos over and over and over and over, but at the end of the day, I can’t call or visit them over and over and over and over. Time is limited, cherish it.
There are times harder than others to stomach what it is like to love someone in Heaven. Sometimes, it isn’t as sad as it could be, but sometimes the sadness takes you under its wing and you remember just why it is so hard to live a life without the people you love. Stories don’t always trigger a smile, no matter how funny they may be. There are still tears after all of these years and the wounds are fresh, every time.
It is comforting.
Ultimately, I always revert to remembering how lucky I am. Some people never had the grandparents I had. Some people don’t even have people alive that are as incredible as my people in Heaven. For that, I am thankful, but also comforted. Tears can be often or they can be rare, but ultimately, when I lay down at night, and say my nightly prayers, there are moonlit conversations I have with my Nana and Poppy Rhiney as well. To me, this is the best way to end my day and say goodnight while looking forward to another morning of a fresh start. I know that they cannot talk back and I have never been under the assumption that they will, but I do know that they listen without reservations and without judgment.
I could tell anecdotes about them all day long. It wouldn’t bore me, but it would probably bore you. My favorite times were those at the crack of dawn being dropped off for the day to be watched. I hated being up this early and I didn’t think it was much fun to sit around with my grandparents who did not have internet. Looking back, it warms my heart that my Nana was up and ready to enjoy a day with me at the earliest hour for my parent’s convenience. The “dippy eggs” were made and the tea was poured. I only used to eat the yolk of the eggs for my toast, hence why we called them “dippy eggs.” However, now, since moving to college, I eat all the egg. I dip my toast and then make a sandwich out of the leftover egg whites and toast. I can only imagine their faces when I first started this. Probably a loud roaring laugh from my Nana and a big belly laugh from my Poppy Rhiney as he always ate the leftovers that I would not eat. It is silly stuff like this that really makes me yearn to call them and laugh.
Loving someone in Heaven is more than sadness and comfort. It is more than just teary eyes and moonlit talks after prayers. Loving someone in Heaven is what I do every day. Loving someone in Heaven is my reward to cherish every moment I get with the ones I am surrounded by. A few years ago, my aunt took me to a Christmas music show as my Christmas gift. Still to this day, I remember that concert and cherish it. She told me that growing up she did not always realize it, but the best gifts she ever got were the ones that involved spending time with people. She was right.
Again, these years later, I remember what was most important. What was most important to me were the mornings spent upstairs in my Nana’s bed watching cartoons and bugging her to take me to the store down the road for ice creams and lollipops, probably hours before they even opened. Still, she had enough patience to allow me to root through all her jewelry, her closet, her drawers, and anything else I could get my tiny, innocent hands on. It makes me laugh how qscatterbrained I was and how genuinely patient she was.
They are easily, some of the most influential people to ever impact my life. Through them, and other than my parents, I learned what true unconditional love was. Especially, I learned that blood relation is not always a determining factor of how much you can love someone. Now, I find myself a person who gives and loves others with 100% of myself and I have never regretted it. I have been burned by people and I have had friendships end in front of me, but that has never stopped me from loving. “Loving” is a gift that I was given to share with others with no reservation as I was shown it for the entirety of my life.
Although each day is not always “easy” without them, each day is rewarding knowing that there are two people who I still have a strong connection with to this day regardless of their inability to be physically present in each day. This is reward enough that I am lucky enough to not have to feel badly or sad about what time was like with them on Earth; it was wonderful. It was filled with love, laughter, the meaning of family, and what is means to be humble and to live by God. Ultimately, they don’t need to be here to carry that legacy. But, at the end, I miss them with each passing day, a little more, and love them even stronger than that.
Loving someone in Heaven is not meant to be easy. Loving someone in Heaven is demanding and is heartbreaking almost every day. However, somewhere along these tired lines of saying it is “heartbreaking” and it is “sad,” I must find a silver lining. And there is a silver lining. Being negative about missing someone only brings more sadness and negativity that your person in Heaven never wanted for you in the first place. Rather, finding the silver lining that they are now in a place better than your best day on Earth is rewarding.
No, they did not get to hug me after graduation, or see me through my music festivals, or see me through my first year of college. I did not get to call them after winning karaoke, because I know they would have laughed and gotten a “kick out of that,” as my dad says. I don’t get to take them for lunch or randomly visit them. And although all those realities do break my heart and they do hurt my feelings, loving someone in Heaven who was worth these moments and who would have been there if it was possible, is worth all of it.
Like I said, this article was hard for me to write. I felt scatterbrained and unorganized writing it because I did not know how to get all the right words. I feel like I shorted them, even. However, it doesn’t bother me that out of all the people who will read this might not know how wonderful my Nana and my Poppy Rhiney are. The people who did know them, will understand how heartfelt this article was for me. They will know how much this article would mean to them if they were alive in the present rather than spirit. And ultimately, this article means most to me knowing that I never must prove how much I love those in Heaven, because I just do. There is no rhyme or reason to why I do. I love them, because they love me every day, without reservation, and without any questions asked.