Heaven Isn’t So Far Away by Harly Didawick

Gretchen threw her dirty dish into the sink and returned back to playing video games. “Honey, you need to stop playing video games and do your homework.”

“Why dad? It’s pointless. I am just going to be a professional gamer girl.”

“It doesn’t matter, go do your homework like I asked you to.”

“You are no fun! Why can’t you be like my friends’ parents who are cool and do not care what they do?”

“You need to do your homework, NOW!”

“I hate you dad!” Gretchen stormed off towards her room and slammed the door behind her. 

The beige room that was once her safe place no longer surrounded her. A beautiful glimpse of the pearl gates were staring her directly in the eyes. Surrounding the gates was a thick layer of fog that smelt as if she was in an orange grove. In the distance she heard the sweet sound of birds singing. She began to spin in circles trying to wrap her head around what was going on. “What is this place? Why am I here?” 

“Why do you think you are here?” a soft, angelic voice whispered behind Gretchen. She slowly turned around to find a beautiful blonde dressed in a flowy silk white dress. The goddess-like figure had massive wings, a glowing halo, and was floating effortlessly in the fog. 

“Are you an angel?” 

“Yes, I am your guardian angel.”

“So are you like my dead aunt or something?”

“No, I am actually your sister.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“Our mom was pregnant with me three years before you were born. At 8 weeks she miscarried. Three years later she found out she was pregnant with you. Mom and Dad could not contain their excitement. Gretchen you were their rainbow baby. A child is all they wanted in this world and you made their dream come true. I was sent by God to be your guardian angel.”

“Well why did I end up here?”

“You are not thankful for everything God has blessed you with.”

“This is stupid, I want to go home.”

“Just trust me Gretchen.”

           The gates gracefully opened as the angel flew upon them and golden fingers of sunlight quickly appeared. A pathway outlined with freshly bloomed flowers appeared and butterflies fluttered around the glistening sky. Confusion took over Gretchen’s face as dark wooden stakes began to appear on the sides of the flowery path. Written in black script were the last names of families. A rather familiar name appeared in the next stake; Watson. 

“Wait!” Gretchen said with a demanding tone. “That’s my last name.” The angel glanced over at her and gave a soft smile. 

They turned down the path marked Watson and the angel lowered herself to the ground. “We have arrived at the place that will form you into the purest soul.”

“Um, what are you talking about?”

“This is heaven!”

“WHAT?”

“God brought you here to reunite with your loved ones who have passed away in hopes to strip you from your ungrateful ways.” 

“I get to see my GG again?” Gretchen said with her voice quivering. 

“Yes!” Gretchen placed her face into her hands and let out a soft sigh. She lifted her head and tears were nearly overflowing her eyes. A feeling of warmth and richness suddenly came upon her as the angel placed her hand on her shoulder, almost as if honey was being poured all over her body. The pair continued walking down the path while Gretchen admired all of the names of her family members marked on each wooden stake. By each stake was a door like each family member has their own room. Gretchen walked past every stake and gently laid her hand upon each one and smiled. 

Finally reaching the end of the path they saw a wooden stake marked “Margaret and Bill Watson.” The angel stopped and smiled at Gretchen. “We made it.”

“Am I supposed to go in?” 

“Yes” 

“Can I hug them?”

“You can hug and talk to them!” Gretchen nodded her head and slowly turned the cold, golden doorknob. The door creaked like an old staircase and slowly revealed the beautiful scenery. A massive log mansion appeared in front of her. The water sparkled as the gold ray of sunshine hit the lake. Butterflies danced around in the flowers, birds sang their beautiful song, and deer happily played in the fields of wheat off in the distance. 

She cracked the cheesiest smile as she shut the door behind her because she knew this was always her grandparents dream to have a big lake house in the mountains. It was their favorite place. Every summer they would take the grandkids for a week and enjoy the lake. Sadly, that all stopped when they tragically died after being hit by a drunk driver. Their whole family was devastated as they were the puzzle piece that kept them all together. How was their family supposed to go on without the keys to their hearts? 

Gretchen had a special bond with her grandparents, but especially her GG. They were two peas in a pod. She visited her GG almost every day and when she did not she felt lost. When she passed away that is when Gretchen’s behavior took a turn for the worse. She started acting out in school and began to treat her parents horribly. Her GG was truly the one who kept her pure and safe. Yes she had her parents, but they did not have a bond like she did with GG. When she was alive, she always reminded Gretchen that in order to be successful in life you always have to stay humble and kind. That phrase left her mind when GG passed. 

Off in the distance Gretchen thought she heard someone say her name. It sounded like it was coming from the front porch of the house, so she went to see. Stepping up onto the final step Gretchen slowly turned her body to the right to see her GG sitting on the porch swing drinking ice tea.

 “GG is that you?”

“Yes sweetheart.” Tears began to stream down Gretchen’s face as she took off running towards GG. 

“GG I miss you so much!”
“I miss you too, but I am very disappointed in you.”

“Why?”

“You are not acting like how your parents and myself raised you to act. What has gotten into you?”

“Why are you lecturing me? Can’t you just be thankful you get to see me after all these years?”

“I’m gonna wash your mouth out with soap if you don’t quit talkin like that.” 

“Sorry GG.” 

“It’s disrespectful, young lady.” Silence fell upon Gretchen as she stared at the deck panels. “You need to learn some respect. Gretchen, you never acted like this when I was alive, why all of a sudden are you acting like a spoiled brat?” 

“Well GG, ever since you passed away life just hasn’t been the same. I started acting out because you always wanted to hangout and do fun things with me. You were my best friend. I always thought why do I need other friends when I have my GG, but when you left it was like my whole world was in shambles.”

“Even though I am not physically with you, I am always here in spirit.” 

“I know, but I felt resentment towards God after you passed because he took the most important thing away from me. Why would he do such a thing?”

“It is hard to understand now sweetheart, but God makes everything happen for a reason. He has a big plan for you and you may not see it now, but it will come together. Remember my favorite Bible verse?”

“Yes, how could I forget?”

“Proverbs 3:5-6; Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” GG began to cry as she remembered the times when she first recited this verse to Gretchen when she was a baby. 

“You need to tell yourself this verse when times get tough. Yelling at your mother and father is doing you no good. In fact it is only making matters worse.” 

“I had so much anger built up inside me because I blamed your death on God. You reciting that bible verse makes me put it into perspective that I would not have visited this angelic place if you did not pass. I acted out, but then God led me here to you. GG you have taught me so much in life. When I return back home I will always remember to live by that bible verse.” 

“I will always be watching over you and sending you signs that I am with you.”

Gretchen and GG sat on the porch swing and watched the sun sink behind the mountain. The overwhelming sound of grasshoppers filled the air. A strange light came flying towards the house. It was the guardian angel. She was ready to bring Gretchen back home. 

“It is time to go home, Gretchen.”

“No, I want to stay with GG.”

“It is okay darling, go back home and be the young lady your parents and us raised you to be.”

“Okay GG.”

“Remember one thing, always stay humble and kind.” Gretchen stretched out her arms and hugged her GG tight. They shed all the tears they had left and it was time for Gretchen to return back home. The angel guided her back out onto the flowery path. In front of her was the thick layer of fog like when she first arrived. 

“Gretchen, to return home just jump through the fog and you will return to the exact place you were before God instructed me to bring you here.”

“Um okay.”

“You will be okay, I promise. I am your guardian angel so I will look out for you and guide you safely back home.” Gretchen moved closer to the fog, but before she jumped she turned around. “Thank you sis!” The angel smiled back at Gretchen and then flew away. 

Gretchen leapt through the thick fog and immediately landed directly back into her bedroom. She flung open the door and the loudest bang echoed through the house. Rounding the corner into her kitchen she saw her dad standing at the island. “DAD!” Gretchen screamed as she tightly wrapped her arms around his body.

“What do you want?”

“Nothing dad why?”

“Since when do you scream my name and give me a hug when you don’t want something?” Gretchen looked up at him and smiled. “I love you dad.”

“I love you too sweetheart.” She laid her head back into his chest and squeezed him as if this was the last time she would see him.

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