You can find Heaven if you open your “ojos” eyes…

I was reminiscing about a visit with my sister and my Viejita a little over a year ago. With so much going on in ours lives lately I thought it would be a nice memory to share with you.

So I went to visit my Viejita (Mom) and Sister over the Memorial Day weekend. My Sister was still nursing a torn ligament in her ankle and my Viejita continued to battle what she called “her annoying stomach ache” that in reality was the uterine cancer she was diagnosed the Spring before.

Late Saturday evening we were sitting in the living room reminiscing about our relatives and family members – especially one favorite Uncle and my Grandfather who have passed on.

My Mother who at 94 years of age tends to remind us jokingly and often (has for the last 20 some years) about how she’s “living on borrowed time”.. brought up the subject of “el Cielo” Spanish for - Heaven.

My Mom looked around the room and said, “You two need to realize that heaven is not exactly what you think.”

My Sister looked over at me and gave me one of her retired teacher raised left eyebrow gesture. After all, this was coming from a lifelong Catholic and I must add very devoted Christian lady.

We didn’t know what was coming next, so I gently took her hand and asked the inevitable question, “So Viejita (I’ve always called my Mom – my little old woman) what do you think Heaven looks like?”

She said jokingly, “Well I have had a lot of time to think about it, this past century. I know with some certainty that there are no golden escalators, like at that Mall where we sometimes go.. you know where you go up and up?

I also don’t think there is anyone peeking down on you from those big white fluffy clouds high up in the skies, no, no.. not even your favorite crazy Uncle” - she meant my dear Tío Alfredo.

She went on and in the next few minutes began to share her wisdom on her version of “el Cielo”, “Mijos (abbreviated for “mis hijos” – or my children) Heaven is taking this “borrowed time” and spending this special time – with everyone we Love”.

Looking around the room she said, “I think Heaven is here in this living room. Not there, as she pointed slowly to the window… on the outside of the house and peeking in the window”.

She then took a breath, and thought a moment and said, “Heaven is spending time in my garden and listening to my music (older ballads she tends to play loud because of her poor hearing) with all my Nietos (Grandchildren) or even listening to their loud “thumping and yelling” music they like”.

“Heaven I think is sitting here watching all my Grandchildren yelling and laughing as they watch los Vaqueros (Cowboys) on TV run around after each other all afternoon long on Sundays”. (She meant the Dallas Cowboys which we are all big fans of).

She leaned towards me and then smiled and said, “Heaven is going through our old boxes of pictures and almost feeling like we are there with all those people we took those pictures with.

My Mom thought for a minute as if searching her memory to find the next nugget and said, “Heaven is also about forgiving someone you quit talking to a long time ago, because… who knows why – it was probably something foolish anyway”. My Sister nodded for she had just mentioned a falling out with one of her daughters-in-law earlier.

“Heaven is the sudden arrival of all those birds (morning doves that she feeds daily in her backyard) when they come to visit me each morning”. She than added, “You know I don’t even mind those loud chirping crows”.

“Heaven is when I can pray peacefully in my favorite chair (she was joking about her wheelchair), or relaxing after a nice warm bath in my flannel robe”.

“I think Heaven is remembering loved ones at a moment that you were the happiest in life. Like when I first met your Father and raising all thirteen of you.” Today only eleven of my brothers and sisters are living.

“Heaven is thinking of them as if they were still the young (guapos) beautiful people that you married”. Then she added with her constant sense of humor… “Not fatter or with less hair on their heads as they look now – I will always love your Father, I don’t think real love ever grows old”.

“Heaven is having a sunny day so perfect that it warms up this cold house in December and you wish it would stay that warm forever”.

“Heaven is watching La Gitana (The Gypsy is a 10 lb. tabby) sleep. How I enjoy just watching her stretch this way and that.”

“I know Heaven is out on our front porch…as I sit and rock on that old rocker and watch the cars go bye”.

“Heaven is remembering all the good times we had as children – all those special Sundays with your Abuelitos, Tíos and Tías, brothers and sisters, primos and all our neighbors.”

She looked around and then asked us to come closer, “You know what I have come to know after all these years?”

She gently tapped my hand and smiled at my Sister and I, “God is a smart man, He has given us a small part of Heaven right here in our home, and he reveals “Los Cielos” to us one little piece at a time, if you just open your ojos”.

I gave my Viejita a hug… and told her that she was so right…

I am so glad she shared her description of heaven that day…

I think it’s easy to forget that we all have a piece of Heaven on earth.

Make it a great dia and an even better weekend!

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