wings and things

I’m glad I believe in Heaven

on September 4, 2017

I’m glad I believe in Heaven, Anthony, because you weren’t so sure yourself but apparently the gates were wide open anyway and there was a big crowd waiting to welcome you. As you walked towards them, your back straightened, and your grin returned, and your voice came back. When you reached for my hand, and looked for Ming, your mother explained that we weren’t there yet, your brothers and sisters embraced you, and my dad introduced you around….

In the twelve days since Anthony died, I have woken up each morning, forgetting that he is dead, and even forgetting that the funeral has happened. The empty feeling inside me is like an icy wind tunnel and I cannot seem to get warm. My mother and I went to the grave-side a couple of days ago and yesterday, Father’s Day, Ming and I thought of going but didn’t. The impulse to go and see Anthony in the nursing home comes and goes constantly as I forget, then remember again. The many, many messages of condolence have slowed to a trickle, the beautiful flowers sent to us are now wilting, and whenever Ming leaves for work I almost say, “Can you go and see Dad?” And yesterday my mother was undone when, after church, she had to head home instead of to the nursing home.

On the day of the funeral, Ming and I had arranged for a viewing – just for the two of us. My only reason for this was totally irrational; I just wanted to make sure Anthony was really dead. And even when I kissed his cold forehead and lips I kept expecting him to open his eyes. He didn’t.

Ming and I had picked wormwood from Anthony’s favourite hedge to be used instead of rosemary sprigs, and a melody Ming had composed played as people placed these on the coffin around the branches of camellia trees we’d also picked that morning.

My feet seem to have grown bigger because they fit perfectly into Anthony’s ugg boots which I am wearing now. I keep watching the funeral dvd over and over and over again. So this is the grief I have anticipated for so long, raw, relentless, like a terrible storm.

But gradually, softly – away from that person sobbing – I am picking myself up. The special camellia tree Anthony bought me began to flower the day after the funeral, the dogs are constantly by my side, and Ming is here.

I’m glad I believe in Heaven.


31 responses to “I’m glad I believe in Heaven

  1. Ms. Boice says:

    Sending you a hug. This is a achingly beautiful post, Julie. I’m glad you believe in heaven, too. You’ll get to see him again. I don’t just believe that, I know that. Families are forever.

  2. Vicki says:

    I hope your sadness (including Ming’s) softens as the days pass. Grief is not an easy emotion to chart.

    The important thing to remember is to let it ebb & flow as the tide. It can surge in, rolling & crashing with each wave, or trickle out like the calm before a storm. Whether its the tides, the sun, the moon or the weather. Take what comes and let Grief rise and fall as it wishes.

    I’m sure Anthony is looking over you and keeping an eye on you. From your descriptions over the years, I can imagine his smile and farmer’s gait shutting the gates after the milking and heaving the milk churns into order. I can see him mucking out the cow yard and coming in for a ‘cuppa’. I can even hear his raucous laughter as family and friends gather for a party (as you’ve described him so many times). I almost feel as though I met him once and never forgot his huge personality.

    His Humour and Spirit will always be with you.

    Death is not the end, but a closing of one door and the opening of another. Just like the sun that shines each day, Ants will always be there and and his Love will keep your shared memories close to his heart.

    I know you will (hold those memories too).

    Vicki xx

  3. I glad too for you Julie..and that I believe in heaven … I read something once that expressed how when we’re in our mother’s womb.. that is our world and we like it and not really wanting to leave, as we don’t know what to expect when we’re born… And so this body that we get quite comfortable we kind of want to stay here because we’re not sure about when we die and have to leave…. I imagine because of my faith, that it will be one more change to another way when we die, we will be surprise and find it more beautiful that we can image..; and we will see the believers, our loved ones and friends again….

  4. Anonymous says:

    Dearest Julie, allow yourself all these feelings, talk to him, tell him how you feel. I remember longing to dream of my loved one, but it was a few months before I did. Why, I don’t know, you will always feel him near you and Ming. I am certain in heaven he is restored to good health and body and that’s something to rejoice about. Much love , Moira xxx

    • jmgoyder says:

      I saw you at the funeral, Moira, but not sure if I got a chance to hug you. Thank you so much for your compassion and yes I would love to get together with you and J soon xxx

  5. susanpoozan says:

    I, too, believe in heaven. Hang in there and you will come through. Your use of words is most moving.

  6. mimijk says:


  7. I feel like I got to know him, too, so all your readers are missing him and thinking about you. A lot.

  8. Midge Aldam says:

    Oj, Julie, the warmth will return. Ants does not want you to feel cold. Warm sunshine, a pup and a hot water bottle will help you plus blankies, roaring fire and some good reading (or start painting – I have a canvas – looking for cheap, but strong easel!)
    Take care!

  9. Writer Lori says:

    Your grief is as deep as your love, Julie. It will take a while to find your equilibrium again, but you will, and when you do, it will be memories of the many, many happy times you and Anthony shared that will sustain you. Sending strength and warmth…

  10. ksbeth says:

    beautiful post, julie and i’m so happy about the tree beginning to bloom again. it is his gift to you. thank you for sharing him with us over these years, that was a gift to us.

  11. Thank you Julie. For all that you and Anthony shared with us. I’m sorry for the sorrow you feel now, but so grateful for the love that created it. ❤

  12. misifusa says:

    Sending you infinite hugs Julie. I believe in Heaven too. xoxo

  13. Ann Koplow says:

    I’m glad and sad, Julie. Here’s a phrase that’s helped me during times of deep grief: The pain of a loss is a direct reflection of the importance of the connection. Thanks for sharing this beautifully written post with your grateful readers. Much love to you and your family.

  14. Tears are falling for you. Such beautiful writing even though it’s sad. I know it sounds trite, but remember that what you had with Anthony, many people can only wish for.

  15. Sending love. Thank you for sharing all you did: so raw, so much tenderness, pain, and love. A deep love that communicated to this heart of mine. And I also am so sorry for your sorrow. ❤

  16. lensgirl53 says:

    Jules, it is the hardest thing to wake up to the ever fresh reality of loss, anticipated or unexpected. It hurts.

    I pray for God to gather you into His loving arms to sustain you and give you assurance every single day of the heaven that awaits. Heaven is not only a perfect beautiful place but most of all the love of God illuminates and penetrates His beloved children who arrive in their forever home. Think on these things to get you through those stark joyless ‘mournings’ and darkest of nights. God bless you, friend. xo

  17. I’m glad you believe in heaven too, Julie. I do as well, I will see my dad again! I totally know that ‘I forget he is gone, then I remember again’ feeling. It’s brutal. ♡
    Diana xo

  18. Laura Giumelli says:

    My condolences to you and Ming.
    Losing a loved one each day we learn different ways to cope. I send you both strength and love. X, Laura

  19. Me, too. Without hope, the darkness and pain of this world would be too much to handle. I had an aunt and uncle who did not have faith, and when their 12-year-old son suddenly died, the loss was devastating. My aunt was laying in her bed mourning, and Brian walked into the room. Was it really his spirit or a vision, I don’t know, but my hard as nails aunt who is not prone to emotional outbursts, exaggerating, or over spiritualizing told how Brian asked her if she would meet him there in heaven. That is when she became a Christ follower. My mom also had an experience after dad died where he came to her. He was happy and pain free. So, yes I believe for many reasons, and the hope it gives will carry you through the pain.

  20. Am hosting a private spirit circle/ medium reading this weekend for about 10 of us with a wonderful medium – so wish you could be here – you are so much on my heart all the time – sending you love and strength through this time. Hold on to all the beautiful memories.

  21. tootlepedal says:

    And I am glad that you have found some small comfort.

  22. Believing in heaven must help, I also believe in heaven and have faith that when my time comes I will have my love ones waiting for me. I also believe that Anthony is still with you watching over you and Ming till the time comes when you are together again.

  23. aFrankAngle says:

    Hugs, peace, and strength to you …. and hoping you take a walk on the beach.

  24. Judy says:

    Julie, I’ve been wanting to write to you and feel a loss of words. For years I’ve been reading your beautiful blog and I feel like I know you, even though we’ve never met. All the anticipatory grief couldn’t have prepared you for this. I do believe you’ve grieved so much already and hope you have a softer landing now as you process the unbelievable fact that he is gone. Your post was aching and tender – even knowing he’s in heaven waiting, still leaves you shaking your head and wondering how to live a new life now that he’s gone.
    Slowly you will take your steps into a new life. Baby steps. We’re all here to comfort you and support you. So glad you have Ming and your mom to be there for you.

  25. Hugs to you Julie! Am not on computer as much these days and am so sad to hear of the love of your life’s passing. You seem to be doing well considering–my thoughts and prayers are with you and Ming.Words do not always properly convey feelings, but know that you are loved, being watched over, and that there definitely is a heaven! Saw the pics that you shared with us–such a vibrant and lovely family!

  26. The way you described Anthony on the other side is how I imagined my mother after her death. Healing.i also remember how I would be thinking about something and would think “I must remember to ask Mom.” then “oh, she’s dead.Then I would switch to asking my Dad. “Oh, he’s dead too.” Then I would experience that drop of feeling, the loss but would get on with things after I had “my moment.” There will be so many of these moments the first year with every anniversay but I am so glad to see that you are writing. i know that our hearts are with you.

  27. He is watching over you everyday. 🙏🏻

  28. dogdaz says:

    How wonderfully you write. Believe and you will make it so

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