OK, I'm going to tell you exactly what happened. I came back to life.
I'm prepping you for the take off—the journey home.
So, fasten your seat belt,
sit up straight,
stow away your personal belongings,
ensure all electronic devices are switched off.
What I've noticed these past forty-nine years is that life is goddamn messy. I need to get real here. How would you feel, knowing you were the one that ended the love of your life?
Lazlo. He will forever be my one true love. I forced him off the edge of a cliff for Heaven's sake. I'm not proud of it. It's unfathomable really. The one man I thought was my soul mate decides to become a saint. He sacrificed himself for me. Talk about having the last word!
What I noticed following my near-death experience was that I wasn't looking up. I didn't see the signs. I was too busy looking down, drowning in the weight of my own story.
The twelve months that followed my one-minute journey in Heaven revealed that all of us have the power to create Heaven on earth.
The moment has arrived to reach up.
I'd spent one minute in Heaven and was guided to an eternity of miracles. God presented me with a stairway into my soul— a climb toward peace.
~ One Minute in Heaven
Chapter 1: Defibrillated
This is your time to live, Lil, so make it the life you've always imagined.
Lazlo's final words pierced my side like a hot blade. Scarring. They seeped deep into my soul. Imagine? I don't want to imagine a life without him.
The fluorescent lights above my hospital bed hummed. A bitter wintry hail pummeled the glass. I cradled my hands in my face. Tears were streaming down my chin, my head was spinning, my heart was searching.
Where do I go from here?
Can I do this on my own?
How do I find the courage to be who he wanted me to be?
Everything in my body ached. My doctor said I was lucky to be alive—apparently, someone up there was fond of me. The rental car was totaled beyond recognition. A sporty FIAT. It took Fire and Rescue three hours to pull me out of that carnage.
I peered over my shoulder. My body was hooked up to tubes of varying shapes and sizes. A clear liquid dripped into my veins, my insides twisting with heat. I glanced down, gulping in horror at the sight of my scarred body. Look at me. I'm a goddamn mess.
I couldn't sleep. I was afraid of closing my eyes. Fearful of what I might see. I glanced out the frosted window. My expression chilled. A weighty silence in the room. Deafening. I was haunted by Lazlo's final act. His sacrifice. The push up. His words enduring.
“Reach up, Lil—”
“Reach up, you're almost there.”
The day was grey. Streams of hail battered the window ledge like angry bullets. The sheets of my hospital bed scratched like sandpaper. A car backfired in the street. I shuddered, my heart racing with a loneliness of loss. Scenes of Lazlo stretched out on the edge of a cliff made my soul ache.
I gasped, my teeth chattering with the incessant pelting of hail. I couldn't dodge the vision; two paramedics pounding on his chest—attempting to defibrillate and revive his soulless shell. Hopeless. I shook my head in defeat, hoping to steer away the pain.
The scene bored into my mind like a drill. Will I ever be free of it?
Grief. Forever engrained in my soul. My insides twisted with fear. Inconceivable. I refused to gaze into a mirror—afraid of what I might see. I glanced down, my knuckles white with frustration.
God, what have I done?
Was my life more important than his?
Why does life have to be this hard?
A wounded thought chilled like frostbitten glass. Mom said I can remain in Heaven, that I have a choice—that life is a choice. So, why didn't I fight harder—choose to stay in Lazlo's arms?
A thought jangled in the back of my skull. Everyone I had ever loved was waiting for me at the end of the line.
Little Samil; my unborn son.
My stomach churned. Damn you Lazlo for leaving me here, isolated and alone. I peered over my shoulder. Grey skies hovered over the Manhattan skyline. A bitter wind howled around and through the chasm-like canyons between the skyscrapers. My brain muddled.
Was it all dream? Am I going mad?
I shuttered—my emotions jumbled. How do I honour them—their gift of life, my life—the one I'm supposed to notice?
A glacial pain bored deep into my ribs, invading every thought and cell of my body. An ominous silence. My emotions spiralled. I can't do this. I don't have the strength. I glanced down at my heart, longing to hear the whisper of my soul.
Why can't I hear her?
My wise inner ninja—she never stopped bellowing. Now, when I need her most, she's nowhere to be heard. She used to annoy the hell out of me, so I chose not to listen. She was the light and the sword. She helped me slash through my demons.
I want her back!
A cough rattled on. I felt as hollow and dank as a stone cellar. I glanced down. My eyes narrowed, searching.
What happened to her?
Did she die in Heaven?
Is she still with me?
Is this another goddamn lesson—a second chance at life?
The ceiling lights hummed. My eyes flickered across the hollow-white walls. Another unwieldy thought thumped in my heart.
What is the life I'm meant to live?
A shimmer of light gripped the corner of my eye. I veered, my body tangled in a web of wires. An old woman hovered the edge of the doorway, wearing a white lab coat. She turned and faced me, her eyes disarming. They glistened divinely under the fluorescent bulbs. She cast me a reassuring nod, my insides stirring. I know her—it's G!
I rubbed my eyes. A silent keen of defeat. She was nowhere in sight. The wind thrashed the window. I whipped around. Disheartened. My heart tensed. I noticed a construction tower in the distance. Alluring. It seized my gaze. The steel tubular crane pierced the heavens like a pointed arrow. A banner flapped in the wind. I squinted. A sign?
I could barely make out the words. Focus Lil, you can do this. Without warning, a gale-force wind ripped the banner away from the crane. It flung itself dizzily into the Manhattan air like a flailing kite. A familiar whisper drifted in the stillness of the room. Peace. Calm. The banner smacked into the glass pane. I jolted back. My voice straining at the phrase.
Rebuild it and SHE will come.