The hustle and bustle of the blinding white room assault his already raw senses. Eyes squinting to keep out the light that seems to be coming from every which way, he shuffles forward behind a seemingly endless line.
“Passport,” a gruff voice intones from somewhere to his left.
Risking a wider glance, the man twists himself slightly toward it. “Excuse me?”
“Your passport, sir.” The disembodied person says a little softer, the edge gone.
“I …” The man pats his body, searching for anything that might be on him and comes up empty.
“No,” the entity slowly steps forward and it appears human except for the extremely large pearly white wings at his back, currently pressed into his frame.
The wings look like they are made of thick, ten inch feathers, that cascade down the length of the tall figure, the very tips brushing the floor. The curved cartilage of the top wingspan appears strong and unbreakable, and the man can’t help but stare in awe, reining in his desire to reach out and touch them.
“Am I … is this a dream?” He asks so softly he doubts the figure can hear him.
The entity before him takes a step forward and the aura around him engulfs the man, relaxing him immediately.
“No. You have died, sir. This is the receiving line for entrance into the best after party this side of the universe,” the angel jokes.
The man looks on stunned, his mind immediately reeling from the revelation and then quickly shifts to the other horrific truth. His family. His family has lost him and he has lost them. An ache begins in his chest and spreads outward, overwhelming him.
The second they enter his thoughts, he is whipped away and appears randomly in a room he recognizes well. It’s his bedroom at home and he is lying in the center of it. His face looks so serene as if he is only asleep, but the people around him are reacting quite differently.
His eldest daughter is bent over the side of the bed, tears streaming down her face as she repeats over and over, “I love you, Daddy. I love you so much. You have suffered enough, go in peace. I love you, I love you. I already miss you so much.”
His middle child, the one most like him, sits stoically at the edge of the bed beside her, holding his hand, whispering the same words.
His baby, the youngest of his three is lying alongside the man, hugging his body and crying so hard he gently rocks the bed.
The ache in his chest grows, and he turns to look for his wife, who is at the foot the bed, sobbing and speaking in their native tongue. Her loving words and pain seeming to travel through the veil and striking his heart full force, so harshly he actually gasps out loud.
A loud whoosh and he is back, standing before the angel, the male features softer. “There will be time for that, but now we must get you processed. I need your passport.”
The lump in his throat makes it difficult for him to speak, but the angel notes the confusion on his face and adds, “I must see your soul.”
“How .. how do I show you my soul?” The man’s raw emotion in every word.
“Just, open up. Let me in,” the angel prods.
The man’s eyes widen slightly as he feels the slight pressure all around him. At first he tenses up, but the words ring through him and he begins to let go. Let go of the shell that encases his soul.
A blinding light encompasses both of them, forcing the man to slowly close his eyes, a warmth beginning in his toes and working its way upward slowly until he feels like a star on fire.
“You lived a good life, Manuel. You honored your wife. You loved without question. You worked hard but took pleasure in the small things that mattered. You gave selflessly and reared three beautiful children with hearts that match your own. Your small sins have been greatly outweighed by your overabundance of virtues and you should be happy and proud of the life you lived, Manuel. Your children and wife will have a long road ahead of them, but you have given them the greatest gift they will ever need to battle their grief. Love. Unconditional and powerful. You can rest in peace that they will be okay, and one day … before you even realize it… you will see them again. You were and are loved.”
The angel steps forward and places a large hand upon Manuel’s forehead. Closing his eyes, the angel opens his magnificent wings and wraps them gently around the man known as Manuel.
The peace fills Manuel immediately, followed by that loving warmth. The angel whispers gently, “you can now rest in eternal peace, Manuel.”
(The above is dedicated to my father, who passed away June 9th, 2016 at 3:53 PM. I love you so much, and miss you every single day of my life. It hurts so much sometimes that you are not here by our sides. I do not think this ache will ever ebb away).