Our instructor pulls back from his lectern and steps down toward me.
“What is it you do not understand, dear one?” He approaches, holding his hands in front of himself as if holding something, then, suddenly, he’s holding a purple box. “What is causing you tears?”
He tugs on a tissue, popping the blue sheet out of the box. He taps the outside of my eye with the tissue before handing it to me.
“Why does this death hurt you so?” he says, more as a rhetorical response than anything.
That one, gentle and softly spoken question lets loose a flood of silent tears. “I know he’s in a better place, but why does it hurt?”
“You are human, my dear. Of course you are saddened by a passing. You have no idea if you will meet again. You are saddened by the eternal loss you believe is yours.”
I crumple to the ground as the tears ravage me. I hadn’t allowed myself to fully feel my pain until this moment, but now that he put words to my thoughts I couldn’t deny their truth. Yes, my old friend is in a better place; yes, my old friend no longer feels pain and no longer has to suffer the indignities of an infirmed old age. Those truths cannot be denied. Teacher has justified my guilt over feeling sadness at this passing. No longer will I compare his passing to the passing of young souls as being preferable because of the length of his human experience.
Huddled into myself, I feel arms wrap around me, but they’re not arms. What I feel feeding me a kind of spiritual joy is strong and reaches around my shoulders from the small of my back to the top of my head. It is soft, yet firm. When I turn my face slightly I imagine soft feathers tickling my cheek.
“Do not feel guilty, dear one. Allow yourself to feel. That is, of course, why souls incarnate.” A warm, silken voice triggers more sobs from the depths of my soul. Eventually, though, curiosity slows my mourning. I must see what is wrapping me in a cocoon.
I pull back. Strong wings as white as freshly fallen snow slowly unravel themselves from around me to reveal their owner. My eyes lock into a set of eyes as blue as the sky on a cool winter’s day.
I wonder where teacher went, but I can’t tear my gaze away.
“We are always with you,” the angel says before wrapping me within his wings again. He doesn’t let me go until the pain has dissipated.
I apologize, dear friends. This event has caused me much confusion. I will never fully rememember or completely understand what happened that day. I just know that I was in pain and my angel took care of me.
I have always believed in angels, but I assumed I would never really see mine — after all, I am a strong woman. But I guess even the strong need to fall sometimes. How else will we truly learn?
Yours most sincerely,
The Dragonfly’s Student