In Her Dream, Heaven Looked Like a Beautiful Golf Course

Her late father gave her a comforting glimpse of life after death.

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Posted in , Jun 24, 2022

An illustration of a lush, green golf course; Illustration by Makoto Funatsu

Dad had what you’d call a big personality. Larger than life. He could charm a whole room in minutes. Holding my newborn son in my arms I wished, not for the first time, that the two of them could have met. We’d named the baby Stone, which was my maiden name, in honor of his grandfather.

Dad had died just a couple of years before Stone was born, but I was determined he would know him, if only from my stories. “Today’s Saturday,” I said as I rocked Stone to sleep. “On weekends your grandfather always played golf. He just loved being out on those rolling green hills. When he came home from his golf game, he got busy in the kitchen.”

My mouth nearly watered remembering Dad’s Cajun cooking. One day Stone would get to taste the recipes Dad had passed on to me, but my son would never hear Dad's happy voice on the phone saying, “C’mon over and get yourself some of this jambalaya!” Or gumbo. Or redfish court bouillon. My sisters and I grew up eating like Cajun royalty in Dad’s house.

Often, after a meal, Dad and I would sit and talk. The two of us shared a love of technical details. From the time I was little, I was interested in how things worked, and Dad, an engineer by trade, was happy to explain. How a clock told time. Why rain fell from the sky. The odds of hitting a hole in one.

“I wish you could have known him,” I whispered as I laid Stone in his crib. Describing Dad wasn’t the same as being in his company, for Stone or for me. Dad was far away now in heaven with the angels. Things were different there. Could Dad be different too? Would I even recognize him?

The thought weighed on me as I got into bed that night. If Dad were alive, I might have brought the question to him. I had no way of knowing the answer. But that night, I dreamed.

I was in a room surrounded by windows, though all the curtains were closed. I was sitting on a couch. Directly across from me, on another couch, was Dad. The two of us were in the middle of one of our intense, technical conversations. Dad was explaining, patiently and in great detail, exactly what happened to us when we died. I was mesmerized, leaning forward on the edge of my seat as I took it all in. At the end of his presentation, Dad stood up, walked over to the windows and swept open the curtains. I gasped. The room was surrounded by a glorious green meadow. A big blue sky hung over miles of green pasture. The earth seemed to be carpeted in green. Almost like…a golf course! The biggest, most beautiful golf course I’d ever seen. It seemed to go on forever. I stared at the shining sun and listened to birds singing outside. This is what heaven looks like.

In that instant, I woke.

I thought back on my talk with Dad, how his long explanation had made perfect sense. In the dream. Now I couldn’t remember a word of what he’d said. But that was okay. I wasn’t meant to know what happened after death. Not yet. What I was meant to remember was that vision of heaven—Dad’s heaven. A place where he could play golf. A place to sit and talk for hours. No doubt there was a kitchen for making gumbo too. My stories about Dad were as real now as they were when he was alive. One day Stone would be old enough to hear all about his grandfather. The big personality who was waiting for us in heaven.

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