I lost my father six months ago, and life has lost it's meaning ever since. He had finally succumbed to a terminal illness that had plagued him for more than two years. The last two years of his life had been heartbreaking for my mom and I, and I had thought his eventual passing would lighten the grief. I was wrong.
"Junior, your father has gone on to be in a better place." My mother kept telling me, "a place where there is no suffering or illness. A place where there's peace."
I didn't believe her.
My father couldn't just be gone! Before the illness, he had been so full of life, bursting with energy. As a kid, he had given me rides on his shoulders, taken my mom and I to amusement parks and we had traveled to different tourist centers around the country. He just couldn't be erased from existence. It was impossible.
And so, I began my search. Christianity told us that we all had souls and the souls went to heaven upon death. Or hell. But my father was not a bad man, he was the best father in the world. So heaven would be glad to have him.
And that's where I started my search. For my proof of life after death. Proof that eventually, we would meet again. And together with my mom, we would be a family once more. I visited priests, pastors, Imams. I visited witches and wizards, voodoo experts and people who dealt in serious dark arts. I began to experiment. Going from shine to shine, in my search for enough power to summon my father and make sure he was okay, just one last time with him.
Eventually, I hit jackpot. I met a wizard who promised to open me a portal into the land of the dead.
"Will it take me to my father?" I asked.
"It will only take you to the land of the dead." He repeated, "finding your father I entirely up to you."
I agreed, I was sure I would see my father. Even if the dead were in millions and billions, my Dad would surely stand out.
The night before I was to walk through the portal, I went to sleep as usual. It became a deep sleep. And I found myself in an open place. It was like a desert but without the sun. Only the moon up above, shinning light and warmth in me. I looked around and realized I was alone.
"Hello!" I called, my voice echoed over the hills.
"No one can hear you here Junior." I heard the voice and recognized it even before I turned.
"Dad!" I cried and leapt into his arms.
"Oh Junior, I've missed you so much." He said as he pulled back from the hug.
My Dad was handsome. And he looked robust and radiant and in perfect health. Not like the empty shell he had been just before his death.
"Dad..." I could only mutter, unable to say anything else.
He smiled, his teeth, white and dazzling in the light of the moon.
"I heard you've been looking for me" he told me.
"Yes Dad, I've wanted to see you. Even if it's one last time to know if you're okay."
"As you can see, I'm in peace health. Come with me." He took my hand and suddenly, the desert and the moon vanished. Next we were in a garden with beautiful flowers and trees with succulent fruits. Birds flew in the sky, the water flow and sparkled, animals played joyfully, and the sun shone down, without it's heat and all of it's warmth and color. I saw people sitting about in clusters, eating, playing, drinking and dancing. There was joy and laughter in the air and no tension at all.
"Is this heaven?" I gasped
"No." My father replied, "this is the place before heaven. And the Angel's saying heaven is way better than here. Everyone is here Junior, your grandparents, granduncles, even your uncle that you lost ten years ago, look at him eating that mango."
I looked and saw him, I wiped a tear. "You're all here, and you're doing fine. There's truly is life after death."
"Of course. As a human, you might not know. You only find out for sure once you're dead. You were getting too close to the truth, I couldn't let you go through that portal. It would have you taken you to the wrong place and you would have gotten struck."
"Even dead, you still watch over me."
"Death cannot stop me Junior. So you need to go. You cannot stay here to long or your body gets cold."
He released me and we were in the desert once more, under the moonlight.
"So I'm not dead, right?"
"No. But you will be if you don't return to your body now."
"Can we do this again?'"
"No. I just want you to know I'm okay and when its your turn, I'll be waiting for you. Only when its your turn. I love you Junior, now go back and return to your life."
Everywhere went dark and when I opened my eyes, I was looking at the ceiling in my room. I turned in my bed as I began to cry. No longer in grieve, but because I was finally sure. That my father had found peace.