At Heaven’s Gate

Today… chapel bells are ringing in California.

Pealing goodbye to one sister of my closest friends, after her long and valiant battle with cancer…and  childhood polio…and so many other challenging moments in her life.

I can’t be there, but in spirit I have flown out with all my friends who are her family… am there in the wooden pews, praying with them as one, remembering the last time I saw the light in Teresa’s eyes, heard the laughter in her heart.   That sun-filled weekend we all spent in Kentucky, celebrating her grand-nephew baby Liam’s baptism.  Winging her way thousands of miles there, because she always wanted to be part of bringing love to family moments, big and small.

Pictures I didn’t know I had stored in my memory are moving before my mind today, like slides in a projector… 

The sparkle in her voice when she delighted in the amenities found in her Kentucky hotel room. 

Her childlike glee when we came across iron horses in a nearby park, and the mischievous glint in her eye as she insisted on climbing atop one for a photo moment… no matter her walker, off to the side …

I remember her too, making the drive with  her mother to say goodbye to my mom…and the lovely words she spoke into my heart about how touched she was to see so many come to Mom’s funeral that day.

As I know the church is so-filled, for her, this day… just three short years later.

And suddenly… an old song I heard for the first time just a few years ago is filling my heart.  Words that tell the story of a tenderly-felt life marked by three chapel bells…

  • First bells… ringing the day “one sunny morn” when a new babe was born.  “And the songs that they were singing were all for (baby Trese)… Then the little congregation, prayed for guidance from above…’Guide (her) with your eternal love…'”
  • Next… the chapel bells were singing…some twenty years later… “for a great day in (her) life” when she became a wife…  “And the little congregation prayed, ‘Bless, oh Lord, this celebration, may their lives be filled with love…'”
  • And today… the last of those touching lyrics brush across my heart as I think of her, home – knowing ahead of us,  joy we have yet to see.  And I can almost hear the bell ringing out our prayers… our “C’ya in the morning!”…

From the village hidden deep in the valley
One day dark and gray
A soul winged its way to heaven
(Trese) had passed away

Just a lonely bell was ringing
In the little valley town
Twas farewell that it was singing
To our (dear old friend, Trese)
And the little congregation
Prayed for guidance from above
Lead us not into temptation,
May (her) soul enjoy the salvation
Of thy great eternal love”

-THE THREE BELLS (paraphrased)
Reisfeld / Villard

…For once again, I remember the lovely quote that meant so much to me after the loss of a loved one, for the beautiful picture it evokes of God setting a candle in the window of Heaven, just last week… for His beloved daughter, Trese…

The end of life is like blowing out the evening candle because the morning has come…

And I pray…

Lord, I thank you that you stood waiting to welcome Teresa home, Your arms open wide as You could hardly wait to see her delight in the joy of her new morning in You.  Be with her family and friends today…as they send butterflies of Resurrection promise up into the skies on the wing of their prayers.  Comfort and hold them, as only You can…whispering the great HOPE of Heaven into their hearts.  Because, even in our tears, we rejoice and know… THIS day… she beholds what none of our eyes have yet seen – or imagined – of what You have prepared for those You love.  (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his faithful servants. 

– Psalm 116:15


About Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

I love to hear your thoughts, even chat back and forth amongst comments.Won't you join the conversation? :) ..................................................................................................................... May my stories refresh you, like a whisper from our Father's Heart !
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10 Responses to At Heaven’s Gate

  1. Diane says:

    Pam, I’m so sorry for your loss and that you couldn’t be there with your family and friends. I send you my hugs. You wrote a glowing tribute, and we can only imagine what it was like for her to see her Beloved Jesus…Her pain and suffering is over. I pray The Holy Spirit comforts you, my dear friend.

  2. Thanks Diane. She comes from quite a large family, many of whom live here now, so they all left together to say their goodbyes. I think it is particularly sad for her elderly mom, but faith does lift us up and I pray they are upheld by the Holy Spirit today.

  3. Ohhhh Pam, add one more pair of wings to that lovely prayer of yours. I wish we could rise above the pain of loss knowing that a loved one departed to the Makers home to a bright new day which will never darken again….. no more pain, no more tears. Yet the void would linger in the heart of those who would feel the loss.

    Thanks for sharing “The Three Bells.” I know everyone will be ushered into the third bell ringing, in His time and according to His will.

  4. Yes, I think it was hard for her to accept “leaving” so soon (she was in her 60’s), but now I think her perspective must be one of joy we can’t imagine. Thanks, Lolita. That song was on an Andy Williams CD I bought… and he sang it so tenderly. Later I heard it by the original singers and it sounded a bit more hokey. But the words are moving…

  5. Hey Pam, sending love from me to you. I think this is so moving, your love in evidence through the gift of your words. May He comfort you and all who are grieving with love as only He can.


  6. Thanks, Claire! I appreciate your words…

  7. Anne Marie Quiroz says:

    Thank you, Pam! This is a very beautiful tribute to my Aunt Teresa! Thanks for being there in spirit with us!
    Hope to see you soon!

  8. You’re welcome – I’m glad you thought so, Anne Marie. Just remembering, and praying with all of you…

    Hope you enjoyed your birthday a few weeks ago, too!

  9. Mary Quiroz says:

    Thank you Pam. What lovely memories of Teresa. It was good for us all to gather together as sisters and brothers and remember the many times Teresa was there for all of us. Thank you for your prayers and your beautiful words!

  10. I’m glad you had that time together, Mary… and that you are touched by my words here. I heard someone say something beautiful last night: “Our loved ones who have left are not in our past… they are in our future… until the day we are all together again.”

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