In the brilliant book, The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom, the main character Eddie met five people in heaven after he died in a tragic accident while trying to save a girl. The five people explained to him why he lived and what he lived for.
I don't really believe in heaven. I have always thought that heaven is more of a fairy tale. But if there is really one and when I do die and if I get to choose the five people I'm supposed to meet in heaven, I'd choose my beautiful mum as one of them.
So this is how I want my own version of The Five People You Meet In Heaven to be:
"You have to live without love for many years, didn't you?"
I said nothing.
"You felt that it was snatched away, that I left you too soon."
I lowered myself slowly. Her lavander dress was spread before me.
"You did leave too soon mum," I said.
"You were angry with me."
Her beautiful eyes flashed.
"There was a reason to it all," she said.
"What reason?" I said. "How could there be a reason? You died mum. You were taken away from me. I didn't get a chance to thank you for all you have done for me. I didn't get a chance to take good care of you and give back to you. You were the only person I think of everyday since you were gone. You died. You lost everything and I lost everything. I lost my mum."
She took my hands. "No, you didn't. I was right here. And you loved me anyway. Lost love is still love. It takes a different form, thats all. You can't see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move then around a dance floor. But when those senses weaken, another heightens. Memory. Memory becomes your partner. Your nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it."
"Life has to end," she said. "Love doesn't."
I thought about the years after I buried my mum. It seems like only yesterday. It was like looking over a fence. I remembered my mum told me when I was a little boy, of another kind of life out there, even as I knew I would never be a part of it.
"It is so unfair mum. You shouldn't have gone," I said quietly.
"I know," she said.
"I miss you so much."
"I know." She nodded. "I felt it."
"Here?" I asked.
"Even here," she said smilingly. "That's how strong lost love can be."
She stood and opened a door, and I blinked as I entered behind her. It was a dimply lit room. There was no ceiling, only glittering stars above us.
"I was saving this one," she said.
She held out her arms. It was a small white tube that is roughly around a metre in length. The words EduScience was written on it. A telescope! It was the first telescope that my mum bought for me back then I was 12.
"I thought I will never get to see it again," I said.
"Well, you thought wrong. You did get to see me," she said.
"I never said this to you before mum but thanks for the telescope. Without it, I would have never grew up with a strong passion for astronomy. You know after your death, every night when I looked up at the night sky and when I gazed at the stars, it brought me closer to you. It's like you were looking down back at me, mum."
"Well," she whispered, taking my shoulder, "you always loved those expensive hobbies."
We both smiled.
"Can I ask you something?" I said.
"How come you look the way you looked like when you are young?"
"I thought you would like it this way."
I thought for a moment. "Can you change it?"
"Change it?" She looked amused. "To what?"
"To the end."
She lowered her arms. "I wasn't so pretty at the end."
I shook my head, as if to say not true.
She took a moment and then she changed. The web of lines beside her eyes, the thinner hair, the looser skin beneath her chin. She smiled and I smiled and she was to me, as beautiful as ever, and I closed my eyes and said for the first time what I'd been feeling from the moment I saw her again: "I don't want to go on. I want to stay here with you mum."
When I opened my eyes, my arms still held her shape but she was gone, and so was everything else...
Happy Mother's Day mum, wherever you are now. I miss you badly.