Monday, April 18, 2011

(My Ideal) Afterlife

I got an unexpected phone call from my good friend Diana today, asking for a favor.  She needed someone to answer a survey about the "Afterlife."

I quickly agreed without inquiring what the survey would entail.  Soon I learned that I got myself into more than I bargained for.  The survey asked me to answer questions based on the most recently deceased member of my family.

What was this person like?
Were they expecting an afterlife?
What are they doing in this afterlife (recreation, entertainment, etc.)?
What is different about their afterlife in comparison to their life on earth?

Obviously, I chose to write about Pop.  45 minutes and half a tissue box later ... this is what I came up with:

My grandfather, George Creighton, was a working-class male from the midwest.  He worked nights to care for his wife and four daughters.  Moving from state to state throughout the midwest, he finally settled his family on the East Coast in New Jersey where he earned the title of Manager at a local bowling Alley.  
Not much of a church-goer, Pop’s house was well-known around the neighborhood as the Christmas Eve party house. Drinking, dancing, and having fun were the ways he chose to celebrate this traditionally pious holiday.  His carefree charisma and unusual sense of humor made him popular amongst his acquaintances and friends alike.  “Mr. C” to his friends, but “Pop” to his seven grandchildren, George Creighton was a loyal friend, companion, and guardian. 
Pop surprised us all in the last two years of his life when he chose to start going to church most Sunday mornings.  Although we thought it peculiar, we joined him and never questioned his unexpected new tradition. I can still feel the familiar squeeze of his chilled, manicured hand one Sunday afternoon when he whispered in my ear,
  “Marg, I hope I make it to heaven."
I believe Pop made it to Heaven. Not because he started going to Church, but because of the amazing person he was without a scripture telling him to do so. My grandfather is enjoying an afterlife I’d like to call Heaven.  I know he is enjoying his new place in heaven more than anyone up there. Pop could have a good time anywhere he went, and there is no question in my mind that Heaven isn’t any different. 
 If one thing is different, it’s this: he’s healthy.  Heaven doesn’t require oxygen machines, and it doesn’t allow limps.  I’m sure Pop feels lighter than ever without the heavy weight of the oxygen that was a literal ball and chain on his once active life style.  He’s the same old Pop when it comes to cracking jokes at anyone who walks by, and he’s probably still the only one sincerely laughing at them. I hope the other angels in Heaven aren’t quick to get defensive; dirty jokes may be less acceptable in Heaven than on earth... but I don’t think even the most religious Angel beyond the Golden Gates could change his sense of humor. 
 If there are fish in heaven, you better bet he’s caught them all already, with his favorite fishing rod in one hand and a Michelob in the other. His diet isn’t an issue in Heaven; he can drink all the beer he wants and eat salt until his face is as puffy as his over-sized Chicago Bears coat.  He’s wearing his favorite baseball cap and cheering on my intramural soccer games (even if they mean nothing in college life, they sure do mean something to him.) He’s probably shouting down at my oldest, recently engaged, cousin about the perks of single life, but secretly praying his oldest grandson has the wedding of his dreams.  Knowing he is living in the afterlife impacts my family because of the influence he without a doubt has upon us: Aunt Georgia continues Pop’s noon “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” tradition because she knows Pop is watching too, Aunt Doe is planning a second wedding despite a lack of desire to plan so her Daddy can have a front row view of the marriage she deserved the first time, and Billy won’t ever take the nail clippers out of his bowling bag in fear of the warning Pop will send down from Heaven if he dares eliminate the integral piece of the Creighton Emergency Kit that is a bowling bag.  
Reunion is the most highly anticipated aspect of Heaven. Pop will reunite with the brothers and sisters he has lost, and most importantly, with his wife.  My Mom-mom will be there to greet him (and scold him for the things she’s seen from her view in Heaven) with arms wide open. 
The countless hours of hard work and over-time hours Pop tirelessly labored will be rewarded in Heaven.  If I could give him one piece of advice, I would tell him to accept those rewards.  He was never the type to think much of luxury (why go to NYC for dinner when there is a Denny's right down the road?) I want to tell him to put his feet up, relax, and enjoy the luxuries Heaven can offer which he was too blind-sighted by hard work to accept and appreciate.  

I miss him more than my rambling words can say. At least I know I'll see him again, maybe share a beer and talk some sports. 

1 comment:

Ashley Alyssa Photo Blog said...

What a tear-jerker! Beautiful, Mag. I loved reading this!! Xo

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