We’ve been talking about heaven around here

We have been talking about heaven this week.  It’s not a frivolous topic, so I am going to try to rein myself in and be a little concise.  We got word that Great Grandma Rose passed on, but this post isn’t about her, because it’s too close, and too soon to write about her.  We haven’t even begun to start our remembering and celebrating her life.


Thank you to Matthew K., Second place winner (ages 5-7 Division) Draw Heaven Contest. Just lovely.

But it is about heaven, because the next morning after we got the call telling us Rose was gone, the kindergartener came downstairs, still a little sleepy eyed, sat on the bench at our dining room table, and said this:

Great Grandma Rose is up in heaven, but she can still drop cards on our roof, right?

I went over to sit beside him. “Well, not exactly.  But we can always still talk to her.”

Does she have a phone up in heaven?

“I don’t know about phones,” I said.  “But I meant we can still talk to her because she’s right here in our hearts.”  I put my hand on my own heart.

She lives in our heart?  That’s weird.

“I don’t mean she lives there, I just mean . . . Here . . . ”  I take his hand, place it over his heart, and hold it there.  “Now.  When you put your hand here and you think of Grandma Rose—”

I am about to ask him do you feel anything there? Because even though I feel things there, it may be different for him.  But before I get a chance to say the words, he gently closes his eyes and says (his voice that same content purrr he uses when Grandma Susie puts essential oils on his feet to calm him down before bed):

That feels gooood.

He nods his head slowly, eyes still closed.  We sit like that for a moment, our hands on his heart.  He has a calm sweet smile.

And I say, “Let’s call Grandma Susie and Grandpa Arnie and tell them that the first thing we talked about this morning was Rose.”

* * * *

I have wanted to talk a little about Heaven ever since I posted the My Sweet Lord clip from the Concert for George.   But I haven’t because I don’t know how to talk about heaven, not really.  Although my husband and I had a really great date night a couple of weeks ago, where we tried to talk about it.  Things like, What did you believe when you were little?  What do you believe now?  

I still don’t know how to talk about it, just like I don’t know how to talk about spirituality or Christianity or many other things along those lines.  I just wish more of religion could be about the feeling I get when I hear this song.  It’s something transcendent.

Maybe another time I will say more about this song  (why this version, with Billy Preston, why not a version with George Harrison still here on earth singing it) but today I want to share just this, my one true thing:

I needed to hear this song with my mom and share this video with her our last Christmas together.  She had a very deep faith which she lived, and didn’t speak of much.  I suspect because there are no words for it when it is something deep and true.  But still, we try.

I needed to listen to this song with my mom when we were still hopeful she would live, but there was no knowing.  We watched it together on a laptop, there on the small love seat in the living room of the home we shared for the last 34 of our 39 years and 12 days together.  I needed to sit with her and see all these beautiful people coming together to sing, as my way of sharing, without words, this:

I’m not sure what I believe, Mom.   I’ve always wanted to be more Christian, a true believer, and to embody your graceful shining spirit.  I don’t want you to be disappointed by anything, ever, especially this, but I can’t yet claim a single, certain belief like that for myself.  But I want you to know I am searching, I am asking deep questions, and this song helps me.

If you have a song that transcends words that matter deeply to you, I would love for you to share it.



9 thoughts on “We’ve been talking about heaven around here

  1. Wow!

    Talking Heads – Heaven

    Everyone is trying to get to the bar
    The name of the bar, the bar is called heaven
    The band in heaven, they play my favourite song
    Play it one more time, play it all night long

    Have one on me Rose and Elmer – Hope its a good Polka Band

  2. This is a lovely post. A bunch of songs come flooding into my mind. That gorgeous version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow by the Hawaiian singer, Joan Osborne’s “One of Us,” Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” So many. Love this post, Ally. (Try my church sometime. . . you might like it. First Universalist, at 34th and Dupont.) XO

    • Thank you dear Alison. It means so much to me that you read it, and shared these songs with us too. We will likely listen to them tomorrow. (I remember you talking about loving your church, which means it must be a “non-churchy church” . . .right up my alley.)

  3. Very nice stuff, Al. Thanks for reminding me that I’m not the only one around here searching…

    Love Love Love that picture of your mom!

    • Thank you, dearest. I’m glad you love the picture–I do too. It’s from our last Christmas together, 2003. She was physically so weak, but still just beaming with love and grace and something words can’t capture. I don’t have many pictures from those last five months . . .this is perhaps my favorite.

  4. Your taste in music is impeccable! The concert for George is one of my favorites and love to play the Uke on Something. Come over and we’ll share a glass of wine and watch start to finish….

    • Your comment made my week, Jaybird! I was just saying to Jeff on the way down here (we’re in WI for the “remembering party” for Great Grandma Rose) that for as much as I love love love the Billy Preston clip, I have never watched the entire Concert for George. I can’t wait!!! I’ll bring my Uke and you can teach me a few notes. xo

  5. What a beautiful post and sentiment. We are really lucky to get to read this and share in your thoughts. You are a deeply spiritual and soulful person. It doesn’t have to have a lable to be real, my friend. I love “Teach Your Children” – CSNY, because my mom always sang it with us kids. And a duet from The Marriage of Figaro called “Sull”Aria”. The words (in Italian) are not the impactful part. Just the sound. Reaches right inside of me. Thanks for the special post.

    • Thank you for sharing–I love CSNY too, and will Google the Sull Aria. Yes, the music is the impactful part more than the words for me too, even with My Sweet Lord. I don’t know what they are singing at the end, (Hari La La stuff) and don’t want to know in case it ruins it for me. That’s a perfect way to put it–the sound reaches right inside of me. So glad you liked the post b/c you are my hero too! xo

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