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Original fic: After Life

Something completely different for me.  In memory of my mom who passed away 11 years ago tomorrow (August 19).

After Life
by jennickels (aka Jen Connelly)
original
Jean, Laney
569 words
rating: PG
WARNINGS: talk of death and the afterlife

What happens when we die? Jean was pretty sure it wasn’t supposed to be like this but her family will help her to find her understanding of it all. Dedicated to my mom, Glenna Jean, who left this life too early on August 19, 2000, at the tender age of 51. I hope she’s found some peace in the afterlife. Written for challenge #28 at fictionland.

don’t own… wish I did, but I don’t. No infringement intended.

This isn’t how she imagined the afterlife to be. Or maybe it’s because this is really hell and no one is telling her. She never believed in a literal hell. Except for child molesters and rapists. Maybe people who talk at the movies. No, hell, wasn’t a tangible thing to her. Heaven… she always thought that was whatever you wanted it to be.

This was not her idea of heaven.

She watched with a heavy heart as her husband and children tried to pick up the pieces of their lives, to go on living with the big gaping hole in their souls. It was painful. She cried for them and their children. And for herself because she was missing it all. The ache grew to something almost unmanageable but she had to go on. What else was there to do now?

“Jean?”

She turned to see her sister watching her with a puzzled look. That was the one good thing about this place, this afterlife, she thought. Laney glided forward, smiling brightly. She was just as Jean remembered—young and vibrant and with all her hair—not the shell of a person cancer stole from her ten years earlier.

“Is this hell?”

Laney let out a full bellied laugh. “Of course not.”

“Then why?”

“Why, what, honey?” Laney slid an arm around her baby sister.

“Why can we watch but not interact? Why does it have to hurt so much?”

Laney’s face fell some. “It’s hard to let go. I know. You’ll understand some day.”

“Explain it to me.”

“It’s not something I can explain; it’s something you have to learn for yourself.”

Jean sighed. “I don’t want them to be alone.”

“They aren’t. Every time you think of them, watch them, you are with them. They will feel it even if they don’t know it’s you.”

“I miss them already.”

Laney hugged hear again. “I know, sweetie. I missed you, too, when I first left but then I got to watch you grow and get stronger and go on living. And now you’re with me again.” Behind them a man, tall with dark hair and a gentle smile, approached—Kyle, Laney’s husband. He embraced his wife, his smile growing wide.

“It will get easier,” he promised. The two left arm in arm. Jean couldn’t remember them looking happier. A lifetime together and, apparently, the afterlife, too.

Her thoughts turned to her own husband, James, curled in his bed alone, trying to hide his tears from their children. She missed him so much it hurt. She wanted nothing more than to curl up next to him, to hold him until he could rest. Her hands twitched at her sides to touch him but all she could do was hug herself tightly.

It’ll get easier, Kyle had said. She supposed she’d have to take his word for it. In the meantime she’d have to find some way to ease the homesickness. She turned to see her family, all those that passed before her—her mother, father, brother and sisters—watching her with understanding looks. Together they opened their arms, and for the first time, she felt a spark of belonging. She went to them, letting them ease her pain some. She knew some day she’d stand with her husband and children again. She’s sooth them much the same way. Maybe then she’d understand what Laney had tried to tell her.

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