The rhythmic clatter of the steel train wheels came to an abrupt stop, jolting each passenger forward slightly, and then back. They all exchange questioning glances towards one another as if to say, “Why did the train stop? Could it be? Have we arrived?”
There’s a stillness in the air, a silence of nature. This peaceful feeling speaks louder than words, as if a whispering wind began revealing secrets into the ears of the passengers, and they all knew at once what was happening. They nodded solemnly toward one another and gazed onward, awaiting instruction.
This was not the end. Their destination wasn’t meant to be reached yet. This was a pit stop. A mere blip in the journey for these passengers. But to the loved ones they left behind, this stop was pivotal and of utmost importance. They couldn’t proceed to life beyond without first acknowledging the life they left behind.
This was the funeral day. The day all the family and friends gather to honor and say goodbye to their loved one who was taken too soon. This is the day that those who have been left behind will struggle to remember but also strangely never forget. A blur of a day, a spectrum of emotion, an event so surreal, we all wished it were just a bad dream.
Let’s take a moment and zoom in on the girl looking out the train window, with a teardrop falling slowly down her soft angelic face. She is a blue-eyed, rosy cheeked, silhouette of a girl with long chestnut brown wild hair, bright classy clothes, and the sweetest face you’ll ever see. This pit stop is hers. And she knows it. She’s ready.
Yesterday, her loved ones buried her ashes in a garden cemetery surrounded by chimes and doves and heavenly voices begging for answers while crying out in disbelief. White roses and wood carved hearts. Her name written in drift wood and her song sung in unison. Saxophone playing and birds chirping. People hugging and the trees listening to the heartbeat of grief. A solemn moment frozen in time by a family robbed of their joy.
Shyra was right there the whole time. She doesn’t know how it happened, but one moment she was on the train bound for glory, and the next minute, she was seated next to her mama, her tiny hand resting on her mamas shoulder, as she watched her mama cry like never before. Shyra wiped her mama’s tears and tried to speak words of comfort, but she had no voice. Her voice blended with the wind and echoed with the chimes. So she spoke louder and the chimes rang louder. She moved from loved one to loved one, comforting, holding, and wiping each tear from their eyes, as they stared blindly ahead, unbeknownst that Shyra was right there all along.
“I am here”, she said with the wind. “I see you”, she echoed with the chimes. “I may be gone, but I’m not far away”, she chirped with the birds. “You think I’ve left, but truth is, I’m here to stay,” she tried to say. “God answered my prayer and gave me wings for when you need me, I’ll be right there”, she promised.
That was yesterday. Today is more difficult. A bigger crowd. A final goodbye. Friends she hasn’t seen in years. Today there are more tears and more memories. More tributes and more outward emotion as the reality begins to sink in. Today, that blue-eyed, rosy cheeked, silhouette of a girl with long chestnut brown wild hair, bright classy clothes, and the sweetest face you’ll ever see, walked into her church as an invisible presence, watching and listening to her loved ones speak about her life and her legacy. She wanted to scream “I’m not dead! I’m very much alive”, but no one was listening. They couldn’t see through their tear stained eyes and they couldn’t hear through their deafening grief.
Shyra saw the tears and met them with tears of her own. Shyra heard the cries of her family and cried right along with them. Shyra watched the stories be told and told stories of her own. Shyra felt the loneliness of every person in that church, and she put her hand on every hand in hopes they would feel a little less alone. Shyra witnessed for the first time how much her life had mattered, and she smiled in hopes her memories being spoken would make others smile too.
It wasn’t easy being unseen at her own memorial. But Shyra knew her fate and sought comfort in knowing that she could always come back to those she loved, as long as they continued to say her name. Her name carried a different weight now. It was eerie in a way, but also magical. And Shyra was okay with that. Each time she heard her name, a warmth emotion of security and love washed over her.
But as she stood and watched her own funeral, the spotlight faded, and she could hear the sound of metal beating against metal as the wheels of the train begin to move again. “Wait!”, she said. “I haven’t said goodbye!” But the train was on its own timetable and Shyra knew it was time to go. She took one last look around the church and into the faces of her family and friends and she realized she wasn’t the only immortal in the room. There were a handful of angels that had gone before her. They were standing throughout the room, holding hands and all had complete peace written on their faces. Their presence was comfort during such a difficult day. One in particular reached his hand out to Shyra as if to say “Let’s go sweetie. It’s time. Your future awaits”. This was her Papa. She didn’t want to leave, but she trusted her destiny, and took her Papa’s hand. As the train began to leave the station, she stood on the side step and said in a voice all the passengers could hear,
*“I am thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle morning rain. I am the soft star shine at night.” And then she said to all of us in the church, “Please do not stand at my grave and cry. I am not there. I did not die. Be happy. Be kind. Be you. I am very much alive”. *
(*^quoted excerpt from the Netflix show, “After Life”)
Shyra made her peace with earth and her life before and now she’s ready for her life after. This train is Heaven bound with beautiful souls ready for eternity. The tear stained face is of the past and this blue-eyed, rosy cheeked, silhouette of a girl with long chestnut brown wild hair, bright classy clothes, and the sweetest face you’ll ever see, has excitement written all over her. This is the moment she’s been waiting for her entire life. Her faith is finally proven to be real and she’s on her way to meet her Creator, the lover of her soul.
The train faded away as it entered into eternity and Shyra was gone. I knew she was at peace but why did I feel so empty? My heart felt like a sinkhole of dark loneliness. Will I ever be the same? Probably not. But oddly enough, in a way I can’t really explain, she is more here now than she ever was. I may not be able to see her or hear her, but one thing I know for sure, is that this blue-eyed, rosy cheeked, silhouette of a girl with long chestnut brown wild hair, bright classy clothes, and the sweetest face you’ll ever see, is still in our daily lives as the Girl, Invisible.