I’m back from an adventure on Still Meadows Farm, working the land, tending to chores, feeding the multitude of animals. Visiting loved ones and building memories. This morning is rare — no wind, no snow, no sun, calm and cool. I’m perched on my back step contemplating life.

There are so many mysteries in life, things we have yet to discover; life gets in the way when you’re busy making plans. When our time on this earth is finished, we never know — for some of us, it comes much sooner than we expect. I often wonder how old I’ll be or what will take me from this earth, and if I’ve done enough with my time here. Regret is just an expression I wear on my brow. At this point in my existence, family and dear friends are my priority. Reaching out, visiting, making that long over due phone call, traveling to spend what precious time I have left, in good health and good spirits.

For decades I’ve imagined what my death would look like, not the actual dying, but my entry into heaven. First would be a long corridor of white, a place where I would feel peace like never before. At the end of that corridor would be a lush green valley, rolling hills, sunlight and sparkling water. A bridge to paradise, where all my animals would come to greet me. One by one… like my first dog Max, (a chow chow), then my budgies that traveled north with me, who escaped one day and were never seen again. My first samoyed Boomer, and Ava, my German Shepard. Running through the tall green grass, we reunite on the far side of that beautiful bridge. My animals, my children, my greatest joys, gone but not forgotten… together again, never to be separated by time.

Following me with their unconditional love, we would walk, frolic and play. We would travel together till the end of the valley; a place I could return to any time I wished. At the end of that beautiful valley, St. Peter would greet me in anticipation, reaching for my hand. From him I would receive my long awaited wings. Hand in hand with St. Peter we would fly up into the cotton clouds to extravagant heights, as I waved good bye to friends and family I left behind.

This journey upward would be of joyfulness, happiness and celebration, the light would slowly fade to darkness. A piercing light would appear, and from that light would come my father in heaven, my maker, my creator, my friend. His arms spread open for the embrace I’ve been longing for my entire life. We would walk side by side, leaving footprints in the stars. God would lead me to a small quiet theater, a place where all my small treasures on earth that had somehow magically disappeared, to be found again and rejoiced over. The seats would be unbelievably comfortable, spaced perfectly apart, so I could still hold my fathers hand. We would sit together, laugh and talk as we watched my life unfold from conception.

God would explain everything to me, he would cry with me and tell funny jokes. Every moment would be as though time never existed, until my final breath; the show would be over. Only then would true understanding come. Then arm in arm, like lifelong friends, my father in heaven would lead me to my family, all of whom had been patiently waiting, as I have, to be reunited. First would be my grandmother Ruth, guiding me to the rest. Among my angels now, God would leave me and I could call upon him if ever needed.

I can see this journey so clearly, as if I’ve journeyed it once before. I have faith that day will come, for now I trudge the road of happy destiny. Don’t we all have questions as to when that day will come? 41 years I lived a different life, 4 years in my new. I like this new way of life — it’s so brand new, there is still sorrow yet they now have silver linings. Fear is not so scary and sadness never lasts long. Joy comes in small blessings, happiness for extended periods. Faith is stronger and hope exists.

Although we are all passing from this thing called life, for now I’m among the living. I wish to live a life of sobriety, connection and belonging. I figure either way I’m always going to miss someone, whether here or in heaven, and rather than wallowing in sadness and sorrow, I can choose to remember all the happy times, the laughs and comical moments. The first time I heard the saying “time heals all wounds,” I thought it was some type of joke, yet now I believe it to be true. I guess I’ve lived long enough to experience it.

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