heaven is "so beautiful"

I shared last week that I’d discovered a treasure. My grandma loaned me the memoir her mother, Helen, wrote for her in 1967. It’s a black book with a red spine that says “RECORD” on the front cover. She glued several pictures on the pages scrapbook-style, including a few of my grandma as a gorgeous little baby (and I am not one to throw that word around to any baby I see).

I haven’t read the whole book yet, but I already love it like crazy. The funny parts are some my faves–I love that my great-grandma had such a sense of humor. But my very favorite part so far is pretty serious.

Helen had an older sister Edna who died when she was 10 (Helen was 8). She writes a lot about her sweet sister (and I’ll share snippets) and then tells the story of her death (I’ll share that whole thing). It’s sad but beautiful. Encouraging. Comforting. Filled with hope.

I’ll let Great-Grandma tell you herself.

To me, my sister Edna was wonderful. She always took such good care of me. When I started to school, we had quite a ways to walk. Especially on cold winter mornings. We had to go up a hill where the cold wind was almost as much or more than I could take. Edna had a heavy brown wool coat with a medium long cape. She put her arm around my shoulder and put the cape over my head, and we trudged up the hill together…

Edna was such a dear little Christian. She loved to read her Bible and commit to memory portions of her Bible and many verses…

Edna was such a healthy little girl, rosy cheeks, big brown eyes, dark brown hair [my dad has an 8 x 10 picture of her]. The year she died of leukemia, she gradually became pale and weak. Leukemia was a very rare disease at that time…

A few days before Christmas, Mother, feeling that Edna might not live until Christmas, took her gifts to her bedside, to give them to her. I went with Mother. It was hard for me to stay away from Edna. She thanked Mother, but told her to give them to someone else, as she would soon be with Jesus. Though many years have gone by since then [69], I can still remember what the gifts looked like.

On Christmas Eve she grew worse. Grandpa Cooke drove his horse (Maude) to Huntsville to get Dr. Montgomery to come. (We had no phones then.)…

We were gathered together in the room where Edna lay. She asked Aunt Ida to sing her favorite psalm, “I shall be satisfied when I awake in Thy likeness.” Aunt Ida was so filled up, she just couldn’t sing. Father sang it instead. Edna sang a few lines with him, but her voice gave out. Father sang the entire psalm. He said he didn’t know how he did it, but with God’s help he did. Then Edna wanted to bid us all goodbye. She knew us all…

Shortly after this, Edna’s face lit up, and she tried to tell us what she was seeing. She kept saying, “Oh! It’s so beautiful. I wish you could see it. I just can’t describe it.” Someone asked, “What is it you see, Edna?” “Oh!” she exclaimed. “It’s Heaven, and it’s so beautiful.” Then she told us all, “You all shine. You’re so bright.” One could see the light of heaven shining in her eyes. Dr. Montgomery came to her bedside. She said to him, “Dr., you are so bright, you just shine.” (He was dressed in a dark suit.)

She seemed to see right through people. Mother couldn’t keep from crying, so she got behind some others. Edna said to her, “Don’t cry, Mama. I’m happy. I’ll soon be with Jesus.” She went to sleep then. Mother send Annabel and I to bed. I supposed she was dead, but Aunt Ida told me sometime after that, she awakened about 2 o’clock in the morning, and it took two of them to hold her in bed. She died then on Christmas morning.

Dr. Montgomery said afterwards that he had been with a good many of his patients when they died, but never have I witnessed a death as beautiful as Edna’s. It’s been many years since Edna died, but I can see it so plainly yet. I don’t think anyone could witness a scene like that and ever forget it. For it’s very rare. I was 8 yrs. old then. No one can ever tell me that Heaven is not beautiful. We missed her so, but knew she was happy with Jesus.

I can’t wait to go to heaven and see Great-Grandma Helen again. And meet my Great-Great-Aunt Edna. And see my Grandpa Yoder. And my Grandma Figley. And Gabe’s Grandma Marilyn. And my uncle Greg. And meet Gabe’s Taviano grandparents I never knew.

And Angie’s Audrey. And Jess’s Cora. And my Amy’s sweet Abigail.

And oh, so many, many others.

Who are you most looking forward to meeting/seeing again in heaven?

36 thoughts on “heaven is "so beautiful"

  1. Holly V.

    My daddy. Sweet Emma Claire, the 4 year old miracle of our best friends.

    And the sweet babies that all my friends have lost.

  2. Carrie

    This is so cool – you should definitely publish her journal!!! What an amazing treasure!

    As far as who I’m looking forward to seeing/meeting in Heaven – I never met any of my great-grandparents, so definitely them, and Joel’s grandpa, who died before we were married.

  3. Jen Griffin

    I love the stories you are sharing….so personal and insightful. What a wonderful heritage you have from God. Her words and they way she writes is so beautiful! I’m sure your passion for writing has come from this wonderful lady…and many before her! I think it would be awesome for you to write a book with this journal…just a thought.

    I cannot wait to see my grandpa again. I miss him every single day.

  4. Crissy

    What a beautiful post!

    There are so many I can’t wait to see, but most of all my first baby that I never got to meet.

  5. Jen L

    Thanks for sharing such a touching story, Marla! I’m looking forward to seeing my grandma and grandpa (my mom’s parents), and I am hoping that I will see my other grandparents (my dad’s parents…we’re not sure if they turned to Christ before they died). I also want to meet and hold my friend Kelly’s sweet daughter, Thea, who was born into heaven 2 days after Christmas last year.

  6. Kelli

    What a beautiful and sweet treasure to have. I sometimes think that future generations won’t care about my stories and my grandma’s stories. But clearly that is not true, you are treasuring these stories!

    I would want to meet my Uncle Tim, Chris’ grandpas (Doc and Pop) and see my grandmother again and hug her sweet neck!

  7. Lee Detrick

    I want to see Jesus first of all; then my little son, the eight children I lost to miscarriages, my mom and dad, my brother, my two sisters, and unnumbered other relatives.

  8. Kat

    Oh – I want to see my grandfather! He meant a lot to me. I would also like to meet my natural mother. She doesn’t want anything to do with me here (she left when I was 4) but maybe I can meet her in heaven one day!

  9. Brian

    What an awesome story Marla … thank you for sharing. What hope we have!

    I can’t wait to see my dad. He died 3.5 years ago. Thankfully, he gave his life to Christ six months before passing.

  10. Denise

    Uh-oh I had one more – I didn’t mean to his submit.

    The other one I had is my friend Chantay. She was killed in a car accident in 2001. I miss her so much and I still wish I could have told her so many things. See, about a year before she passed she and I went through a big fight. We stopped talking and finally the summer of 01, we had worked through all of our issues and were finally talking again and back to old times. I went off to college and was actually visiting home the weekend she died. I had a lot of regret after he death. Regret that I never told her how much I loved her and how important she really was to me.

    I truly can’t wait to hug her in heaven. I have a picture of her in my car that is on my visor. And I plan to use her middle name for my future daughter’s middle name.

  11. Denise

    Actually I have several – hope you have a moment for me to share.

    1) Stanley and Lorena Northern – these are Drew’s grandparents that he never really knew. My engagement ring is Lorena’s and I am even thinking of name a daughter (if we have one) after her.

    2) Steve – Drew’s brother. I just so much want to know him. I know he had so many medical problems here on earth, but I can’t wait to meet and know him in heaven.

    3) Danny – He was our associate pastor of my church I grew up in. He died suddenly on Easter morning 1998 while prepping for our sunrise service at church. He and his wife, Marilyn, were very much like another set of parents to me. I miss him and I hope and pray I have made him proud!

  12. Jane

    Well, first I want to make a loooooong therapy appointment with Jesus to go over some issues. 🙂

    After that, or maybe during, I want to have a long talk with my guardian angel.

    From my own family, I want to see my daughter Emily Rose again, and my grandmothers so I can tell them how much they’ve influenced me now that I’m an adult.

    And also high on my list,I want to go talk to Rich Mullins and thank him for the music.

  13. Kaye

    My parents, grandparents I knew and the ones I never knew will be the first family members I’ll seek! Oh what a glorious day that will be.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful story with your readers.
    Miss you and pray all is well with all of you,
    Matthew 21:22

  14. sarah g

    i can’t wait to see my babies, maggie lee and michael dean. thank you for sharing such a wonderful part of your history with us marla!

  15. Morgan

    this is beautiful…i now have tears….thank you for sharing these amazing writings….i’m looking forward to seeing my Grandpa Hollywood, and my dad’s birth mother (he was adopted).

  16. Aunt T

    Thank you for sharing this awesome story from an 8 year old point of few….heaven !!!! looking sweeter everyday. I can’t wait until I reach that gate either as long as my loved ones come with me. (my extended family too) Also, to teach the little ones all about HIM and HIS love for them.

  17. Leica

    How beautiful! Thank you for sharing! I have some family to meet too, and some to reconnect with! What beautiful thoughts to open the day with!

  18. Megan@SortaCrunchy

    Well, wow. Way to start my day out with sobbing, Marla! Really though, this is gorgeous. What a beautiful account of the glories of heaven.

    I can’t wait to see my beloved Grandpa again. He was just the best, best man. I miss him dearly and I am so sad he didn’t live to see any of his great-grandchildren.

  19. Valerie

    I want to meet our babies….all 7 of them. And I can’t wait to see my Margie again who I’m sure is taking care of all of my little angels. I’d also like to get to know my baby brother Kevin, he was stillborn when I was 9. I got to hold him but we never got to know each other and I’d like to know him.

  20. Lisa

    I can’t wait to see my Uncle Vance and my dear friend Dr. Sam. Uncle Vance visited me in a dream once not long after he passed, and, in his customary, no-frills way, told me that Heaven was too nice a place for him, but that he was wanted there, so he had to go. Before he did, he took me to a grave and showed me a picture of a dark haired boy on it. He said he took care of him, and while he didn’t tell me, I had the feeling the boy was disabled. I told my parents about it later, and they couldn’t believe it — Uncle Vance had a disabled brother who died young, and Uncle Vance was extremely protective of him. They’d never told us about him.

    I’m filled with such incredible peace right now. Thank you for sharing such an intimate family memory with us! I will never, ever forget it.

    Love and blessings,

  21. Liz

    I am looking forward to seeing my wonderful grandma again. She went too soon as far as I’m concerned, just on time as far as Heaven is concerned.

    I am also looking forward to meeting the baby I lost to miscarriage in 2001.

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