From behind her clamped hands a soft sob was heard. It was no use, she thought bitterly, despairingly. No matter how hard she pleaded, God would still not budge. And she knew this, for He had all the plans for the universe and they would not alter just because one little angel like her missed somebody and wanted that somebody to be taken to heaven for her own sake.
Frayed breaths still followed and later were replaced by small hitches and soft sighs as the angel got calmer. She took away her tear-soaked hands from her face and slowly put them flatly on the table. Looking around, she felt even more lonely and miserable. God, however, had answered her plea and made her think about why somebody had to remain on Earth. But she was not only to think. God had also asked her to write down the reasons.
“You might not know my real reasons,” God had said. “Or rather, you will never know them because they are the secrets of the universe. But you can think of them and how you would act--were you in my place.”
The angel had stood bewildered with eyes wide opened. And then she dropped on her knees, bowing deeply.
“I would not dare, my dear Lord. I would not dare to imagine being in your place.”
But God had only smiled.
“Of course. But how else can I make you understand this matter? I know you love your mother so much. I know you left her when you were still very young –"
"Three years old," mumbled Hannah.
“Yes, when you were only three,” said God.
Hannah’s jaw went slack, looking up for a brief second, and she bowed her head again. “I apologize for interrupting you.”
But God let it pass. He continued, “and now with the passing of time, I can understand that you miss her. Although you can see her, it is not the same as having her here, I know, together in my heaven with you, coddling you in her arms every night before you go to sleep.”
Hannah felt as if all her bones were dissolving. Her kneeling legs were almost not able to support her body anymore. All her feelings now turned to tears streaming freely down her cheeks, drenching her white, angel gown. Fortunately, her angel wings were on her back or they would have been soaked too, creating yet another problem.
God wanted her to scribble all the reasons why her beloved mother was still down there walking the Earth. Hannah was supposed to give at least 51 reasons, as many as the number of Earth years her mother had been living. Afterwards perhaps, Hannah would find it easier to comprehend God’s decision concerning her mother, and therefore not grieve so badly anymore.
And that was why she was here now, alone in the grand library of heaven, with thousands of shelves containing the Books of Lives. Tall and elegantly carved pillars supported the building, and rows of sculptured tables and chairs proudly lined its rooms, intimately bearing the delicate bodies of angels. They gathered here from time to time, taking care of the writing in the books or merely visiting the library for their own purposes.
But those angels were not here tonight. Instead, Hannah was faced with empty tables and chairs longing to be filled. Just like Hannah’s heart – longing to be filled with a mother’s love.
Hannah sat straight in her seat, eyes glimmering with joy, head dizzy with a sudden rush of ideas. Of course. She only needed to write about love, love, love, and she would come up with unlimited numbers of reasons. Hannah reached for the quill from its stand on the table, dipped it into the ink, and began writing on the parchment. She started with –
51 Reasons Why Mom Stays on Earth
Hannah sighed and began.
She loves me.
She kept me safe inside her for nine moths.
She allowed me to see the world afterwards.
Hannah stopped for a while, eyes wondering. If she allowed me to leave her body, thought Hannah, that would mean… She got back to her paper and scratched the words down.
She is not selfish.
Smiling contentedly, Hannah went on.
She took care of me.
She was up at night for me.
She fed me.
She changed my clothing.
She bathed me.
She played with me.
Without realizing it, tears ran down Hannah’s fair face. The memories were too thick. Too real. The pain of longing stabbed deeply into her soul. But she had to go on. Only one thing could cure the agony. Writing this down.
She smiled at me, Hannah continued.
She cooed me.
She cuddled me.
She stroked my hair until I slept.
Hannah sighed. It was another part of her past life that she missed so much. When it was time for her to go to bed.
She sang me lullabies.
She read me fairy tales.
She put me on her lap while she played the piano.
Hannah closed her eyes, picturing her soft but lively mother. Her mother was always gentle yet energetic.
She held me tight when we were swimming together.
She sat me on the bench near the tennis court while she was playing.
But Hannah knew her mother’s eyes kept straying to her, unable to concentrate. The angel giggled a little as she recalled her mother’s comic look when balls suddenly rained over her. Her opponent was so impatient that she called off the game and threw all those balls away.
She made sure I was kept fine.
She worried when I was a bit ill.
She hurried to the doctor when my fever went on.
She was relieved when the doctor told her there was nothing serious about my illness.
Hannah’s hand was slightly trembling. Oh, now she came to the difficult part. She truly wanted to avoid it but this was part of her memories.
She rocked me in her arms.
She never let go of me even for a second.
She called my name over and over hoping I would somehow open my eyes again to meet hers.
Oh dear God! She could not go on. No, she could not! She could still feel the warmth of her mother’s tears as they dripped onto her small, lifeless arm.
And she – she broke down. She kissed me and kissed me and kissed me. On my cheeks, my forehead, my lips, my hair, my body, my arms, my hands, my legs, my toes. (But during those times I kept still, unmoving. Dead.)
Oh Mother! Hannah wept bitterly now. She threw away the quill. The damned quill God had made her write all these – these things with! She could not carve down into parchment the memory of how her mother went deadly silent after all those tears. She could not write down the details about how hard it had been for her mother before, during, and after her funeral. She could not…
She could not write anything with her hands full of her face and her eyes full of tears. Her heart wept in sorrow but slowly she was reminded of God. And she began to pray. Pray for her own peace and strength. All these years she had been watching her mother from afar and was amazed at her strength to accept fate and to carry on living.
She visits my grave and prays for me.
She brings me roses.
She goes home and spreads happiness with her presence.
She takes care of dad, my brothers, my sisters.
She goes to the office and spreads happiness with her presence.
She takes care of her colleagues, her staff, her friends.
She needs people around her to help her carry on her life and she is needed by people around her to help them carry on their lives.
Hannah could not believe she actually had continued writing again and reading the last things she put on the parchment. She finally understood.
God had always been right in all His decisions.
March 19, 2004