Our daughter Eleanor died on 21st April of this year. She left me the soft toys she used as puppets in her stories for children.
E: I saw you using my animals yesterday for your zoom worship…
M: It’s true I felt close to you….I don’t like doing that stuff alone, it was more fun with the two of us… what did you think of it, by the way?
E. It was a disgraceful surrender of the serious task of teaching children about their eternal salvation, while substituting a piece of knockabout comedy. And all the better for that!
M: It really is you! You haven’t lost your sense of humour. It’s been a while, my dear, I don’t quite know why….
E: You’ve been sad, sadder than you were right after my death, why’s that?
M: Because, as time goes by, days, and weeks, I’ve realised you’re not coming back. You won’t suddenly be here again, for the next part of our story…
E: But soon enough, you’ll be here for it. You’re an old fart, remember
M: Are you allowed to swear in… in…?
E: We’d agreed to call it heaven and the answer is yes, as long as it’s done with affection. Or did you have a sudden thought I might be in what you people call the other place?
M: No. But I do remember the story of the believer who goes to heaven, and asks for cigarettes and is told, sorry they belong in the other place. And he gets the same answer when he looks for booze, and night clubs and the bookie’s: sorry they belong in the other place. Exasperated he questions St Peter, what’s going on, pal, all the good things of life are missing here, but available in the other place!
E: I’ll do it: Sorry, says St. Peter, it’s just the way it is, everything’s gone to hell since the Tory Government got in! Ach, there’s nothing like the old ones. Fortunately, heaven is not much like the stories…
M: No golden crowns, no sea of glass, no harps?
E: No space, no time..
M: So when we say you’re in heaven, what are you in?
E: Love. We’re in love.
M: Ach child. Are you happy?
E: All the barriers to learning how to be happy have been removed; so, I’m learning. In life I didn’t learn it. But you haven’t learned it either, have you?
M: What d’ye mean?
E: You haven’t learned how to be happy.
M: You didn’t help much!
E: I hope that’s not bothering you too much. I’ve forgiven myself for my mistakes.
M: I thought God does the forgiving…
E: Yes, but if you really believe that, you then have to forgive yourself. Have you done that, for your mistakes?
M: No, that’s why they haunt me. And yes, I made … mistakes.. with you. Have you forgiven me?
E: Certainly not! In fact I’ve a long list of them with appropriate penalties for each. Yes, of course I’ve forgiven the mistakes and given thanks for all the things you got right.
M: That’s a relief..
E: Everyone thinks living in love would be easy. It’s not. For a start you have to unlearn all the protections you built against hate. And failure.
M: Can you still fail in heaven?
E: If you can learn, you can fail.
M: That’s good. I believe in love and forgiveness but I don’t want everything done for me. I want to achieve something.
E: You want God to mark your jotter and say, well done, don’t you?
M: I guess so….
E: Well I can’t tell you things you don’t know, but I can tell you, it’s better than that.
M: Why can’t you tell me things I don’t know?
E: Because I can only work to the limits of your imagination. That’s how we meet.
M: So maybe I’m just making all this up to comfort myself?
E: Is that what you think, that I’m figment of your imagination?
M: No, I don’t think so, I hope not.
E: Hold on to that hope. Try to learn some more happiness. Love to mum. I’ll always be here.

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