What Heaven Was Like
Mysterious Ways|October/November 2020
What Heaven Was Like
“What was it like when you died?” my friend Olivene asked me. Her voice was surprisingly strong, given how frail she looked propped against the stark white pillows of her hospital bed.
Beth Ruff 

Her question caught me off guard. I’d never mentioned my near-death experience to her directly. But I shouldn’t have been surprised. In our small, tight-knit church community, news spread fast.

Olivene was dying. At age 98, her body was giving out. But she took the news in stride. She had lived a long life, she assured me. If it was her time to go, then she was ready. I was happy to share my story with her. I pulled my chair closer to her bedside.

“Well, you remember when my husband, Paul, and I went on that cruise last February to celebrate our twentieth anniversary,” I said. Olivene nodded.

Paul and I had desperately needed an escape. His brother had recently died, and the loss had hit him hard. The milestone anniversary seemed like the perfect reason to get away, relax a little and reconnect. Until it all went wrong.

“On the second day of our trip, I blacked out in our cabin,” I said. “All I remember is feeling faint. Then… nothing. Darkness.”


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October/November 2020