Dial H for Heaven

Dial H for Heaven

From Chicken Soup for the Grandparent's Soul

Dial H for Heaven

Children are the bridge to heaven.

Persian Proverb

After my fourth child was born, distance and deteriorating health prevented my mother and daughter from knowing one another very well.

In the beginning, Grandma could make the flight from New Jersey to Colorado for a visit, but as time passed, the high altitude became detrimental to her well-being and she was forced to stop her trips.

So began a mailbox/telephone relationship for the two of them. Amy sent her special pictures to her grandmother and learned to dial the long-distance phone number. With some assistance, she phoned her grandma two or three times a week to chat, however brief it may have been. When Amy learned her letters, she also wrote short notes.

For a year, the pair enjoyed their unusual friendship. When Amy’s grandmother died, she asked a lot of questions. Several stood out.

“Where is Grandma? Why doesn’t she call? Isn’t there a phone where she is? Why can’t I call her?”

Of course I tried to explain death and its permanency as gently as possible and ended with, “Grandma went to heaven.”

It was hard to know if my little girl understood, but I felt I did my best.

One day while folding laundry Amy asked, “How do you spell heaven?”

Her tiny fingers struggled, and it did take her a while, but she wrote it down, letter by letter, as I told her.

She thanked me and scooted off.

Shortly after, while putting the clothes away, I found her in the bedroom crying.

Sitting next to her on the bed, I asked, “What’s wrong? Why the tears?”

Picking up the phone she said, “Watch.” I did.

Between her sobs she dialed: H E A V E N.

“There’s no one there. Listen.” She handed me the phone. “I even did her area code, like you taught me.”

I hung up the phone, wrapped my arms around my daughter and explained the best I could, again.

“There’s no phones in heaven?” Amy asked. “Then how do I talk to Grandma?”

The only answer I knew to give was, “In your prayers.”

“You mean like I do when I talk to God?”

I nodded.

“You mean Grandma is with God?”

I nodded again.

Amy wiped her wet cheeks, replacing them with a smile.

“That’ll work,” she said.

Helen Colella

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