The moment I became aware, I knew that I was in heaven. The clouds all around me were a dead giveaway. Everything Looked so clean. Dropping dead on the streets of
New York was a messy experience, from what I can remember. I know I landed in a pool of something far beyond the definition of puddle. This was all so white and so fluffy. For as far as the eye could see, it was all I could see. Where was the welcome wagon and St. Peter? Where were the embracing hands and greetings from my loved ones? Where was Jiffy, the Poodle I had as a boy? High into heaven, even more clouds hung from a ceiling, a ceiling of more clouds and then more clouds. As above, so below. Somehow I could walk on them, run on them. They were barely even there but I stood firm and safe on a mat of puffy white. I was alone and I soon realized that I had no idea what to do. Which way is the right way to go when all ways are the same?
I half expected the Pearly Gates to pop up out of nowhere, but they didn't. I waited and waited for a guide or an angel or even a direction sign to tell me where I was supposed to go. Eventually, although I had no physical need, I sat down on a patch of heavy cirriform clouds and I began to ponder the situation. If this was heaven, was I the only one that was ever allowed in? Where was Jesus? What about Cookie Roberts? I even looked around for Vladimir Putin, but I guess he hadn't arrived yet. He was really the only person I desired to see in this state, but I suppose he belonged someplace else. It gets boring sitting on the side of the clouds with nothing to do but think. I asked myself so many questions, I ruminated with much speculation, but there was nothing but marshmallow after marshmallow staring me in the face. Although I was sure I no longer needed to eat, I didn't even have a match for roasting. I concluded that heaven looked like the Stay Puff marshmallow man had dropped a few pounds all over the place. As I waited, my thinking process corrupted itself.
It was stark and grim to linger. I even wondered if I was in Limbo or Abraham's bosom. I was uncomfortable with the idea. To be forced to spend eternity surrounded by fluff was almost as bad as having to watch an episode of The Bachelor. As what I thought was time passed, I realized how screwed I really was. Fortunately, certain more mammalian traits had been left behind. I didn't need to go to the bathroom. I tried to sleep several times, but I guessed that this was something I had also discarded. I was never hungry or thirsty even though I really could have used a drink. I'm unsure whether my ability to procreate had been affected as I decided not to look. All the primal, all the tactile experiences of being human had become irrelevant. There were no mirrors to confirm it, but I could tell even I looked different. I hadn't had that much hair on my head since public school. The major scar on my foot had just disappeared. As I pointed out, I neglected to examine my centre square, but I suddenly felt au naturel. Slowly, I could feel myself lightening. I seeped like a balloon would, but you couldn't smell anything. It was as if the wind within was released in tiny breaths. The longer I sat, the more I returned to my life on earth. It was like reading from a book that flipped page after page in my noggin. My life passed before my eyes and I never once had to take a pee break.
It's strange the things you remember when memory is all you have left as a form of entertainment. You remember both the good and the bad, the happy and the sad. You also see things clearly, without the emotional attachments one had as a human being. It started as vision from when I was a lad. I saw the death of my Great-Grandfather and the moment that vicious dog attacked me. It was like I relived falling down that flight of stairs with my new 450 pound metal friend. I saw the entire time I was in high school, rehashing every mistake I made, every error in judgment. I saw the blood flow and the pills consumed and I saw myself wake up every time. I witnessed my days at college and university. I met my wife all over again, for the very first time. I watched her die again, for the very last time. I had to stop myself from reeling only to notice even now she was nowhere to be found. I could see my second wedding and have much hope that you will be alright. I saw such awful, despicable things that I did but I also saw the wonderful, lovely moments that I knew. The beauty of a sunset over Sandbanks beach and the pristine climate for a sunrise at the Big Sur. My first memory of my mother and my last memory of my father. I heard all the laughter, the joy I often took for granted in my mortal form. I saw the pain, the confusion, the knowing I was not good enough in God's eyes. I remembered telling myself that I was somehow beyond forgiveness.
I always thought of dying as a trip into the wild blue yonder. There was no blue here, not a speckle of color, only all the white. I started to consider that hell may be painted over in oyster or chalk. The sky had never been and the ground below was gone, if it was ever there at all. I was left all alone in an endless weave of only me and these tufts of rain yet to be. The isolation, the desperation all painted over any sense of joy that came with me. At one point, everything started to twist in my head. The flashes started to speed up, each zipping past my mind's eye like a Madonna video. I became sad at all I had left behind. I was more concerned that there seemed nothing else ahead. I stood frozen as the pictures moved faster and faster right in front of my face. These were not only the grand moments, in fact they were things not even worth the mention on an ordinary day. Every mundane experience raced together to fill in all the spaces. The time I spent sleeping, or going to the bathroom, or watching television, were strung together without a musical bed. At one point, I had seen more than enough and I tried to turn it off. I couldn't turn it off, it just went on and on in a constant motion. When it finally did cease to play, I was met with a sense of completion. Every part of me had been exposed.
At times it was like dancing on the clouds. At times it was hollow, depressing and uncomfortable. I wasn't sure how long the journey was which had been cast upon me. I wasn't even sure that time applied in this place. All I know is that I saw it all. Everything was clear and concise. In a way, it became more like watching one very long movie than flipping through pages in a book. It was like a puzzle coming together, each piece seemed to find its proper place. The best part was there were no commercial breaks. The worst part was there were no commercial breaks. From the day I tried to join my first wife to the day my second wife walked off that train and into my life, I finally understood the path I had lived. I had spent the latter part of that life examining me, but I never was able to really see. Now I stood before myself. I was wicked and careful and kind. I was cursed and I was blessed and I just was. Somehow, some way, I still was. I still existed. Nothing had been able to take that away from me.
I don't know what eternity feels like but I sure have a good idea. The process to re-examine my life seemed to take longer than my actual life did. Most of it was rather boring, a feat I always failed to achieve during my humanity. The longer I sat waiting, the more benign I began to feel. My shell hung on me, I experienced it, it was heavy and harsh. I was overcome with such grand emotions. It was bittersweet to have to say goodbye. There were no voices to usher me forward but I swear I could hear them. Somewhere in the everlasting white came a sense of pulling, a draining of everything I ever was or should have been. For the first time in my existence I was whole, every part of me ready to face this new day. At this point, I started to disappear.
Softly the clouds appeared to draw towards me. Gently they whipped around my frame, caressing me, touching me and calling me. I looked down and my feet began to melt into white. My flesh turned into gossamer which began to circle my calves and then my knees. I did not collapse under my weight as there was little weight left of me. My waist, my hands then my chest morphed into cotton balls of heavenly bliss. Each stretched out and blended with the others. I became one with the swirl until I swirled about myself. Soon, there was nothing left of my human remains, nothing but the mind that speaks to you now. My last effort was to reach out and try to help you understand. My last thoughts are of you. I pray that somehow this reaches you.
The last thing I can tell you, the very last thing I have to share, is not from a tale of woe ending badly. Underneath this blanket of snow, there is love and beauty in all I have seen. This is the voice and I now follow. I am floating here, drifting on by. Remember, we are clouds and on the other side, the blue.