I believe in heaven. It is the only comfort and constant I have come upon in my life. It is reassuring to know that when I leave Earth I will not evaporate entirely from existence.
My brother died at age eight after six years with Leukemia, and I was almost four years old at the time. The day my brother died my world collapsed: I lost my best friend, my protector, and my life as I knew it. After my brother’s death, my parents brought me to Tyler’s favorite beach and explained to me that my brother wasn’t going to come back.
It was hard for me to grasp that I would have to live in a world without my best friend, but that night I sat nestled in my mother’s embrace in the sticky summer air of our backyard, and my mother explained to me that Tyler is in heaven which is all around me. My mom said I could pick any star in the sky and that would be Tyler’s star in heaven. From that day on I have been a true believer in heaven.
My vision of heaven shifts over time as more people are added and my ideals evolve, but I still believe that my brother and grandfather are in their own world happy and healthy, spending the entire day at sea. Heaven is a place I find I drift to in times of uncertainty, not in a morbid sense, but as an escape from reality; I have my own imaginary world where everything is perfectly cliché and stress and worry are not even afterthoughts.
Without heaven, I fear I would forget the archive of memories I have stored away in the idealistic portion of my brain. I am a realist, and I do appreciate that life is imperfect and in constant motion, I generally find the imperfection to be the most exciting part of life, but there are times when it is comforting to know that everything will remain the same and everything is in my control — that is heaven. Each person has their beliefs that are as essential to their existence as their individual DNA, but in that set of beliefs, a large portion of the population has gives at least some thought as to where people go when they pass away. For some it comes early in life and for other it takes time to cultivate a belief, but death is so amorphous and enigmatic that the human brain needs a concrete definition to hold on to.
For me that definition comes from an imaginary world that exists between the tangible earth and the infinite galaxy above. I believe that my brother is not gone forever and that someday I will not be gone completely, I will just be in a new and more ethereal world.
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