Wednesday, September 21, 2016

“To Heaven and Back" - Auntie Doting's Story

Dr Abe V Rotor 


Towards the Light, painting by the author. Concept of the way to Heaven
based on Christian teaching

This is a true story - the story of Auntie Dorotea who went to heaven and returned for a second life.  

This is not an unusual story.  Many people I am close with have a story to tell about close encounter with death.

How close is this encounter? It is leaving the world of the living and going to the world of the spirits, of the saints and angels for those who led a life worthy of a place in heaven. In the process the traveler encounters a mysterious scenery, a realm strangely beautiful.  The spirits are simply suspended in place, they appear weightless, and have no mass at all.  Angelic notes pipe through the calm and fades out into the din. There are no boundaries, Nothing moves except the travelers, in slow animated pace, all toward the source of light. They are all in white, flowing white. They seem not to know each other as they traveled on the long, long road. 

Finally Auntie Doting reached the source of light.   It is a kingdom different from any kingdom. She saw her son who died when he was a young boy. She saw uncle, her husband.  She recognized others, relatives, friends, neighbors. But they simply look at each other. And nothing more.

"Did you see my mom?" I ventured to asked.  To which she readily answered, yes. I felt happy mom is in heaven, even if I knew by religious belief.  

I allowed her to enumerate all acquaintances she saw in her sojourn. I was expecting a very important name. My father’s.

She paused and thought deeply. "No, I can't recall," she said. She was drawing in the air  with her fingers.an imaginary map.

"Try to remember, Auntie," I pleaded. 

Silence. 

Auntie Doting and my dad were partners in business for years in Ilocos. When I went to college in Manila Dad entrusted me under her guidance, together with my two cousins who were then high school teachers. Had it not been for them I would not have made it to what I am today. I was a wartime baby, and mom died when I was two. Dad never recovered his health although he lived to a ripe age. 

As a farmhand I used to tell dad, "I can't leave you alone, I can help you manage the farm."  Dad would just remain silent. Dad graduated from De Paul University in Chicago during the Great Depression. He was among the bona fide balikbayan.  He returned and put up a mechanized furniture shop and bought some land.  Then the war broke, my mom died, so with my baby sister.  Slowly dad manage to put back what was left in his business which enabled us his three children to go through with our studies.  

Although I was the youngest I insisted to stay put on the farm.  Dad finally confronted me, "Is that  all you aspire in life?" Finishing a college degree was far from my dream. That was the time he sought help from Auntie Doting.   

Remembering the good old days and thanking people for all the good things they did, is perhaps the best offering one can give to someone who had "died, and came back."  It is a special way of expressing how grateful I am to my Auntie Doting. 

Days passed, Auntie's condition was fast deteriorating. At her deathbed she held my hand and whispered, "I saw your dad." ~


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