The sudden darkness hit her like an overwhelming force of nature and seemed to envelope her all at once. Suddenly off in the distance, a small speck of light appeared. It drew her in as if calling her by name saying, “Ariella, follow the light. It will guide you on your new path.” So she did. As she went, she soared through the air like a majestic eagle.
The light grew bright and more vivid as she drew near. It started to reveal what looked like a giant white door with solid gold trim. Her approach to the door was quite uncertain. Her uncertainty was written upon her Snow White face. Somewhere deep within her the bravery appeared. She said, “No matter what’s behind that door, I will be ok.”
Her delicate hand shook as she lifted her arm. She put it on the golden door handle and turned it ever so gently, so hesitantly, unsure what the outcome would reveal until it could no longer rotate. She was as timid as a church mouse peeking his nose through a hole in the wall as she slowly pushed the overpowering door before her. At first, she knew the door would be impossible to budge but soon found out, with much relief, that it was as light as a feather. Even though the door could be easily opened, she did it with slow uncertainty. Then in a flash, the door flung open, like a hurricane type wind had taken over; although there was no evidence even a breeze had been present.
The brightness that came crashing through the open door took her by surprise. At first she covered her eyes by the overwhelming brightness. Something within her, maybe curiosity or plain flat fear, had her peeking through her fingers like a child who wanted to have a quick peek at what mommy and daddy were surprising her with.
At first, she could see nothing, as all was too bright. She slowly removed her hand and her eyes started to adjust to what lie before her. As far as her memory would allow, she had never seen a sight as beautiful and awe inspiring as this.
The path before her was made of gold brick pavers with sterling silver grout. Every building she saw was made of bronze, silver, and gold and all the trees filled with an abundance of fruit. It seemed as though there was a plethora of everything a person could ever need or want. In other words, this place looked perfect.
What she noticed next were the people. At first it seemed odd yet pleasantly surprising. Everyone was happy. No anger. No sadness. No frustration. No fear. Just utter contentment. She’d never seen this before. It somehow warmed her and made her feel at home. Yet through all of this, something felt off, like something was missing.
Then off in the distance she noticed a figure that seemed to be floating her way. At first, she could not tell who or what it was, but as it got closer, the figure appeared to be a woman. She didn’t have wings but seemed to be soaring through the air. Ariella took a moment to look around and saw that everyone seemed to be floating or flying around her. Some had wings while others did not. She also noticed there were no children. Not one single child was present. She thought this seemed strange but disregarded it for now.
When Ariella looked back towards the woman, she now stood in front of her. She didn’t know how she knew this woman but somehow she did. The woman started to speak, “Ariella, I am so happy to finally be able to meet you for the first time. I have been watching over you since the day you were conceived. I know you don’t know me as we have never met but I am your Great-Granny, your mother’s grandmother. You may call me Granny. I have loved you since the day God blessed your Mommy and Daddy with giving you life. I am here now to welcome you to Heaven.”
To Ariella’s surprise, she fell into her Granny’s arms. She relief washed over her. Suddenly, sadness grabbed her. It became written upon her face and her body became tense. Granny stepped back as she could feel the change within her.
“Ariella, what’s wrong? I can see and feel your sadness.”
“Granny, where am I at? Where are my Mommy and Daddy? Why aren’t they here with me? I miss them so much.”
“Sweetheart, you died down on Earth and have now become alive and reborn up in heaven. You live here now with your Heavenly Father.”
In a raised voice, “What do you mean I died?” And then it hit Ariella like a ton of bricks. She became suddenly ill from a mysterious illness. She remembered her Mommy and Daddy being there by her side the entire time.
Then in a sudden flash she saw her Mommy holding her tight as she sobbingly cried and her Daddy with his arm around her as well. Her Mommy whispered in her ear, “Mommy and Daddy will be ok. It’s ok to leave. We will miss you so much. Know that we love you but it is ok to go. We will be reunited someday soon.”
Her Mommy continued to hold her until she took her final breathe. Her next memory is seeing the light bringing her to the door of heaven. Her sudden realization that she would never see her Mommy and Daddy again brought about a deep sense of loss and despair and was written upon her face.
Granny took one look at her and understood Ariella’s realization and said, “Sweetheart, don’t be sad. You will be only temporarily separated from your Mommy and Daddy. In what will seem like only an instant in heaven, you will one day be reunited again as this is not forever but only as a short separation here in eternity.”
With that, Ariella gave Granny a great big hug. Pure relief wash over her, “Thank you.”
Suddenly Granny knew what would help her to feel better and said, “Ariella, I want to take you some place special. I go there at least once a day if not more often. It’s a place that brings me utter joy and happiness and I know it will do the same thing for you as well.” Ariella the excitement rushed through her veins as she anxiously followed her Granny.
As they started to proceed forward, Ariella realized for the first time she no longer walked but soared about a foot above the ground. She then realized not a single soul in heaven walked. Those with wings flew and those without soared like she was doing.
She stopped and asked Granny, “Why am I not walking? Why is everyone soaring through the air?”
“Sweetheart, no one walks once they come to heaven. Those with wings are God’s angels who have been here watching over us since the beginning of time. All of those without wings have died down on Earth and have been reborn again up here in heaven with their new heavenly body. Would you like to see what you look like now that you are in heaven?”
Ariella was unsure if she did but her curiosity got the better of her. “Yes I would.”
So with the snap of Granny’s fingers, a full length mirror appeared in front of Ariella. Her appearance shocked her.
Excitedly squealing, “Granny, is this really me?”
“Yes, sweetie it is. You no longer are eight years old but are now all grown up. You’ve probably noticed there are no children up here in Heaven. When a child dies on Earth, they are reborn in the adult body they would have grown into. You no longer have autism but are now perfect up here in heaven. There is no more disease or disabilities. Everyone is perfect in their heavenly body.” Ariella stood amazed and grateful to God for allowing her this new heavenly body. She wished she could thank Him in person.
In an instant, a man with a divine glow appeared before her. Somehow he did not frighten her and she became instantly at peace. The man started to speak. “Welcome Ariella. I am Jesus. I wanted to tell you how very proud I am of you. I have loved you since the beginning of time as you are one of my cherished children. I love you my child and I have always wanted the best for you.
“I am sorry that your time on Earth may have seemed short. Just know you filled your purpose there. One day soon you will be reunited with your Mommy and Daddy. For now, I still have much planned for them and they are not done with their purpose yet. Know they will always love you and miss you very much while the three of you are apart. Thank you for loving me and welcome to your new eternal heavenly home.” He reached out and gave Ariella a hug and a kiss on her forehead. Then, just as quickly as he had appeared, he disappeared as well.
“Wasn’t that the neatest experience you’ve ever had being able to meet our Lord and Savior?” said Granny.
“Oh my, yes it was. I never truly understood who Jesus was because of my autism. I am so thankful he understands not everyone can get to know Him while on Earth but allows us to get to know Him up here in heaven.
“Granny, will you please take me to that special place you were talking about now?”
“Well, since you said ‘please’,” with a small mischievous twinkle in her eye.
They quickly soared through the air to a place that somehow had Ariella’s name above it. It seemed to be so empty yet completely full at the same time. There were no other angels or spirits around her. Just what looked like big fluffy clouds that were flat in the front.
“Ariella, what is your greatest hope, your greatest desire?”
“Well, to be with my Mommy and Daddy again,”
And just like that, what looked like a movie started to play in front of her on those clouds. Her Mommy and Daddy sat at home before her holding each other. This was the very night Ariella passed away. Mommy sobbed while Daddy had stunned shock written upon his face.
“Granny, what is this?” asked Ariella as it sadden her to see her parents this way.
“This is your special place where you can come and watch over your Mommy and Daddy. You can come here as often as you want to. I have one too. We all have one up here in heaven to look in on our own loved ones we left behind on Earth.
“Think of this as being a way to guide, protect, and watch over your loved ones from far away. Not that we can change their course in life as only God can do that. However, it is a way to send them encouragement and let them know we are somehow watching over them until you are all reunited again.”
Ariella rushed over to Granny and gave her a hug. “Thank you Granny. This is better than I ever could have imagined.”
“Sweetheart, you are more than welcome, but I am not the one to thank. It is our Heavenly Father who has done this for us. Know that I am here for you if you ever need me.” Then in an instant, Granny too had gone. She now stood all alone in her own special place.
She looked back at her parents and then floated over to the clouds. To Ariella’s amazement it’s like she could touch them for real. She decided to spread her arms out and put them around her Mommy and Daddy to send them a big hug. She also whispered to them these special words:
“Mommy and Daddy, I love you both so much. I know that you miss me and wish I was still there with you. I wish that too. Just know I am in heaven and have my own special place. I am going to watch over you constantly sending you my love. In those sad moments just look up to heaven as I am here taking care of you until we can be reunited again. I will love you always. Your Baby Girl.”
With all of that said, Ariella released her heavenly hug and stepped back. What she immediately noticed was her Mommy had quit crying and they appeared suddenly at peace.
“Honey did you just feel that? It was like Ariella just gave me a hug. It’s like she’s watching over us,” said Mommy.
“Yeah, I can’t believe you felt that too. It was simply unbelievable.
“Baby Girl, we just know you’re up there watching over us. Know how much we love you and miss you.”
Ariella lifted her head and said, “Father in Heaven, thank you so much for everything.” For the first time in her life, she knew God heard her. She went on watching her parents, taking care of them until they could be reunited again.