A Pathway to Heaven.

Brian put on his very best thinking cap and mustered all his concentration. As golden rays of sunlight beamed through the clouds, he could see heaven. Surely, if he looked hard enough, he would find Mother.

Moreover, in his nine year old mind, it wasn’t a huge leap of faith to believe an angel might bring her back. That just like Lazarus, Mother would miraculously rise from the dead.

His faith was bigger than a mustard seed.

Yet, Mother never came back. The gates of heaven stayed shut.

That’s when Brian stopped looking at the clouds.

There were no dreams.

Rowena Newton

This has been another contribution to the Friday Fictioneers . This week’s photo prompt comes from our host, © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.


The inspiration for this story, comes from my late Father-in-Law whose mother died when he was nine years old. He grew up in Penguin, Tasmania and we spent a few days there while we were in Tassie recently. We visited his old school (which now opens on Sundays for a market) and I looked through the windows to the clouds and thought of him grieving through class and missing his Mum.

After his mother died, family took in his sister and his Dad went away to work, leaving the two boys to fend for themselves. At 12, Brian left home to join the railways, despite being a bright pupil.

Brian died when my husband was 16. So, we’ve never met and we know very little about him and while I’ve used a real name and situation, it’s a purely fictional account of his response.



29 thoughts on “A Pathway to Heaven.

  1. Dale

    This was well done, Rowena. It’s never easy losing a parent. When they are super young, they won’t remember the parent, but by 9, the hurt must be huge.

  2. Barbara In Caneyhead

    Very sweet and touching. My daughter was was less than 5 when we lost her Granny. One day she colored a beautiful page for her Granny. Later, she went outside. I looked out the window to see her throwing the paper into the air over and over. When I asked her what she was doing, she said that if she could throw it high enough, Jesus would catch it and give it to Granny.
    Barbara from Life & Faith in Caneyhead

  3. gahlearner

    Sweet and sad. I think this might just be what the grieving child was thinking, tied in with the real backstory, this would be very likely. What a hard life he had.

  4. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover

    This was beautifully written, I am heartbroken that he is so lost.

  5. michael1148humphris

    A sad story made sadder by the real history behind this story. I am so glad you wrote it, for me bringing history to life is a great gift. You did well

  6. Rowena Post author

    The death of Geoff’s grandmother still resonates. While we were down in Tasmania recently, we were able to go inside the flat they moved into after her death, which was above the local bakery. That was so powerful. Of course, with my own health problems, losing mum has been very close to home but fortunately I’m now doing really well.
    Hope you have a great week, Clare.
    xx Rowena

  7. Rowena Post author

    Thank you very much. Geoff’s Dad went on to get married and had four kids but losing his mum and his father’s subsequent difficulties, had a toll. His Dad was very reliable but not a risk taker and I think that grew out of this childhood tragedy.
    Thanks for reading!
    xx Rowena

  8. Rowena Post author

    We visited where he went to school recently and I was looking through the big school windows and there was a bright blue sky and white clouds and it was so pretty. I thought of him looking out the window and thinking of his mother and hoped he had a lovely teacher who understood. Provided comfort and didn’t just expect him to take it like a man.
    Hope you have a great week and thanks for popping by.
    xx Rowena

  9. Rowena Post author

    Faith during times of adversity is a tricky one. Speaking personally there are times my faith has been bolstered by it and others, where is all but been shattered.
    Although I never seen to find the answers, that still hasn’t stopped me from asking and struggling with the questions.
    xx Rowena

  10. Rowena Post author

    Thanks very much, Rochelle. Some times people’s faith in prayer and healing can over-ride the unfortunate truth that we each must die.

  11. Rowena Post author

    That’s such a precious story and it’s interesting to see how kids react to death. My son was about the same age when my 95 year old grandfather died. When he saw my aunt crying, he said: “why don’t you just dig him up again?” There’s such a simplicity to their thinking, which is so precious.
    xx Rowena

  12. Rowena Post author

    Geoff’s Dad died when he was 16 and never had the chance to talk to him about losing his Mum. He was a very quiet man. I can’t help feeling that he shut down in some way. I still have both my parents so I’ve been rather spoiled and haven’t had to deal with this, although my own health has been precarious so we’ve had to look at it from the kids’ perspective.

  13. Rowena Post author

    Agreed, Magaly. I’ve known this story intimately for 15 years or so and it still moves me very deeply. I wish I could hug those three children and be there for them.

  14. ceayr

    Sweet, powerful, tragic.
    Cool tale.

    PS Do you realise that your replies are not attached to the original comments?

  15. Rowena Post author

    You’re welcome and thank you for popping by and commenting. Hope you’ve been having a great week.
    xx Rowena

  16. Rowena Post author

    That’s weird. I’ll have to look into that. Thanks for letting me know. I hadn’t realized. I’ll look into that.
    xx Rowena

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