above the Clouds
by Marta Felber
Where were you when you heard the news on 9-11? We all remember. I also remember that, six days later, I was sitting near the phone when it rang. By the tone of my niece’s voice I knew that something was terribly wrong. “I’m so sorry to tell you that your sister just died."
My niece did not need to give a name because I only had one sister. She was sixteen years older than I. In fact, she and my father were the only ones present at my birth to help my mother. There was a snow storm, and the doctor had not made it in time. Sis, as I called her, became my second mother, as well as my sister.
So soon after 9-11 it was easy to book an early morning flight for the following day. I was surprised, however, to discover that there was only one other passenger on the flight. The two of us decided to sit in the middle of the plane, across from each other, and each with a window seat. The plane interior seemed so big and so empty, but so was my heart. Sis was gone from this earth.
My plane companion, a handsome young business man, began to quip and make jokes. I thought it better to tell him the reason for my trip. Immediately he became solemn and briefly told me about his father’s recent death. “I won’t talk unless you feel you want to,” he kindly said. It was just the response I needed granting me permission to keep my silent vigil.
The plane took off in complete darkness and climbed through the thick bank of clouds. I was conscious of my body being pulled with it. Suddenly we were above the clouds and the sun was just starting its day. It began to send rays in my direction. The colors were soft and gentle, flowing all around me. Their gentleness led me to what was to come.
The sun kept climbing and its rays turned to gold. There was a path of gold to the sun! I wanted to step out and walk straight into its glory. I was part of what was happening all around me. Then the colors began to gradually fade and, by the time our plane descended for the next flight, the sun and clouds had arrived at daytime viewing.
But I had been there! I had experienced sunrise with my sister on the first morning of her new life. It was a gift in the midst of my sadness. I had not cried. I could not. I could only rejoice, with her.
Notes from Marta:
Close your eyes and think of a loved one who has died.
Take an imaginary flight; let the plane pull you above the clouds.
See the sunrise; surround your loved one with beautiful and loving thoughts.
Decide when you are ready to return.
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