4: Amazingly Fun

4: Amazingly Fun

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven

Amazingly Fun

While we are mourning the loss of our friend, others are rejoicing to meet him behind the veil.

~John Taylor

Like many teens, Kyley used the word “amazing” to describe everything, from the chili cheese dog she had for lunch, to the bright pink shoelaces adorning her sneakers. What was different about my daughter was that every time she used that particular word, you knew she wholeheartedly meant it.

When Kyley died in a car accident five days before her seventeenth birthday, it was almost incomprehensible to me that someone with such a huge presence, someone who lived life with such enthusiasm, with such wonderment, could be gone so suddenly.

I took great care in planning a funeral service that reflected exactly who she was; it was a perfectly joyful celebration of her life and the tears were saved for later.

When the time came, I selected a headstone and began the search for the perfect inscription. My husband and I selected a poem for the back, but I wanted something more personal for the front.

I imagined asking Ky about Heaven. “How is Heaven, Kyley? What is it like?”

“Oh my gosh, Mom, Heaven is AMAZING!” would be her exuberant reply. And I had my inscription: Heaven is Amazing.

Shortly after her death, my husband and I both had very vivid, life-like dreams of Kyley. She’d appear, tell us how much she loved us, and then she’d be gone again. We came up with a way to describe the difference between the dreams we had of her. Standard, run-of-the-mill dreams were called “regular dreams” and the life-like dreams were referred to as “visits.”

Although the visits were few, they sustained me during some of my darkest hours. So when one of her best friends called me unexpectedly months after Kyley died, I was excited to hear that she, too, had received a visit. I listened closely as she expressed her amazement over how real it had seemed. “It was like she was right there with me!” I smiled. I knew what she was talking about, and it made perfect sense to me that Kyley would visit the friend she loved so much. I was anxious to hear what my daughter was up to and I hung on every word her friend spoke.

“Before she left, I asked her what it was like. . . you know, in Heaven.”

I caught my breath. “What did she tell you?” I asked, eagerly anticipating her obvious reply.

“She said it’s fun; it’s a lot of fun.”

I thanked Ky’s friend for sharing her dream as I felt my excitement give way to surprised disappointment.

My husband had been sitting next to me in eager anticipation. He looked at me, patiently waiting for the details of our daughter’s visit. I shook my head. “It wasn’t a visit, just a regular dream,” I informed him. After all, if Kyley had actually been there visiting with her friend and answering questions about Heaven, would she really have used the word “fun” to describe her life there? I mean, if I had to think of a word to describe Heaven, “fun” didn’t seem like it would be my first choice. Not coming from a sixteen-year-old whose favorite adjective was “amazing.” It had to have just been a regular dream.

Days after her burial, my husband and I received a phone call from Kyley’s father informing us that his son, Kyley’s half-brother Luke, had been diagnosed with a rare, inoperable brain tumor. Nine months later, ten-year-old Luke was nearing the end of his journey and preparing to join his sister. My husband, who I married when Kyley was only a baby and who legally adopted her, made the trip to the hospital with me for one last visit with Luke.

My husband and I visited with Kyley’s father in the sitting area of Luke’s hospice suite while her stepmother sat at her son’s bedside in the adjoining room. We shared our experiences of Kyley’s visits to us in dreams. I hoped it might somehow comfort them. I hadn’t planned on it, but I started to relay the dream Kyley’s friend had shared with me and I ended it just as she had, by telling them that Kyley had said Heaven is fun.

There was a sudden commotion in the room next to us and I heard Kyley’s stepmother’s voice. “What did you just say?” She appeared in the doorway and asked me again. “What did you just say?”

Startled, I answered her. “Kyley told her friend Heaven is fun... in a dream.”

Luke’s mother was excited as she talked. “Luke told me that Kyley came to him in a dream. He said it felt real, like she was right there with him. He said that his big sister told him not to be afraid. . . . Heaven is fun.”

I caught my breath once again, this time in humble gratitude.

Luke and Kyley are together now, laughing, playing, and having so much fun.

~Melissa R. Wootan

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