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Finding Heaven

(by Taylor) It was the normal world. But it was the exact opposite of the normal world, in all the right ways.

I had died. I couldn't believe that I had died, but was glad that I died. Very glad. I'll tell you the story of why I'm glad I died in the year of 2007.

It was a nice, sunny, warm day. A normal summer day in New York. The date was July 24, 2007. The cool thing about the date: It was my birthday. I turned thirteen today. It was also my mom's birthday. She turned thirty four.

I woke up and was happy to have a normal birthday morning: me and mama opening our presents and cards.

I was alive. And naive. And innocent and sweet.

See, I was your normal teenage girl. I knew only that the world was a great place, and I had a great family and great friends. The world couldn't be better! Or so I thought. I took the whole world for granted; thinking every person on earth had it as good as I did. I thought earth was heaven.

Half way through my birthday, my mom and I went to the city. We were walking across the pedestrian walk and that's when it happened. I died.

At first I didn't know what happened. All I saw was white. No pain or anything. Just white. Then things came rushing through my mind: images, knowledge.

This was how to get into heaven. The gateway to heaven. I didn't know any of this until later, of course. I didn't really think, it was more like everything came to me. I'll tell you what I learned while not thinking; I'll tell you how to get into heaven.

I learned every cruelty of the world I had just left. I learned every single horrible thing a human being could do to another living thing. I saw trees being cut down for green pieces of paper. I saw tigers being shot and killed to be sold for a man to become wealthy. And then I saw even worse.

I saw what human beings could do to other human beings. I saw rapes, murders. I saw suicides, homicides and people skinning each other alive. I saw a man cut up his wife while she was screaming for him to wait until she had the baby that was still in her stomach. I saw hate crimes and racists kill because someone else was different. I saw gays killed because they didn’t like the same people that straight people did. I saw every single human sin imaginable.

And then it was over. Everything was white again, but now I could think. I thought of all the things I had learned.

Then I learned one last thing: how I had died.

I had died because a drunken man had been barreling down the road, asleep at the wheel. He’d killed five people, one of them being me.

Now, you have to think. How would you feel seeing all of these horrible things that really happen, everyday, in your head, on your birthday, dead, when you think the world is sweet and wonderful? How would you feel knowing you got killed because of one man's stupidity? How would you feel thinking you wouldn't see your parents ever again? And how would you feel knowing that the thing you thought was heaven really never existed in the first place? I'm sure you would hate everything, and really feel what the word hate means. You'd think Why me? and wonder why you had to be shown this. Why you couldn't just die thinking the world had been perfect? I, of course, thought all of these things.

That's when it happened. The white disappeared and I slowly started to see things.

I was in an exact replica of the world I had lived in. My family was here, just as usual. There were streetlights and driveways and people I knew. There was school and I went on with life after I died.

But this was a completely new world. I only knew this was a whole new world because of what the gateway to heaven had taught me. This was a new world because none of the people were bad. There was no forestation. There was no such thing as poachers. No such thing as murder. No hate crimes. No humans being touched by others in a harmful way. Homicides and murders and suicides ever happened. There was no such thing here.

That's when I realized why I had been taught of cruelty before I got to go to my new heaven. Because this world was just like I thought my life was before. Except before, I had taken everything for granted. Now I knew of all the cruel things that used to happen, things I never thought possible.

I'm so glad that they're gone, and I know I really am in heaven.

Oh, yeah. And I learned that what I used to think was heaven, really wasn't. It was Hell.

Now, in heaven, I am not alive and I am not naive. But I am dead, smart, aware, innocent, and happy.
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