What Does Heaven Look like?

I had a lot of conversations about death with Emilie before she died.  After she lost her Grandpa, she had lots of questions she came to me with in trying to fully understand Heaven.  I tried to answer as best as I could, but the truth was I didn’t have all the answers.  A few months later, after Emilie was killed, my mind once again swirled around the same questions about what Heaven looked like to me.  Since then I have thought a lot about Heaven.  What does Heaven looks like?  What are our loved ones on the other side are doing?  How involved are these sweet angels in our lives?  I have read so much and experienced so much and I have been so uplifted by the shared experiences of so many.  There is power in storytelling and sharing experiences and I have been so thankful for those that have shared those experiences with me.  

For the first time, I want to pose a question to all of you who read my blog.  I want to know what your feelings and experiences are with Heaven.  Do you believe in Heaven and why and what do you think it looks like?  

Until now I have not allowed comments on any of my posts, but I wanted to turn the comment section on just this once.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, since it is near and dear to my heart.  Thanks so much!  

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120 responses to “What Does Heaven Look like?

  1. Hi Alissa, first off I must say your posts are so meaningful and honest. I could not imagine what you must feel everyday and to have the courage to share with the world those feelings makes you on of the strongest mothers I know. Thank you. Heaven….I have a 7 year old daughter and a 4 year old son. My son has not asked yet, but my daughter Mya has asked me what happens in heaven. I tell her that I believe its a place where we come together with those we have lost and with Jesus. Everything is peaceful and we are able to keep the loved ones we left behind safe since we become Gods Angels. When I ask her she tells me that heaven is in the clouds and that is where we go. I think I will take that answer for now, feels safe and happy. I hope my heaven will be with my family. Please take care and thank you for allowing us to talk to you.

    • Alissa, I have read your posts and I have grieved with you. My son died suddenly of a heart attack he left 6 children the youngest was just 6 years old. I not only grieved for myself and my husband, but for his wife and children. I didn’t know anything could hurt so much, so you and I have in some ways have gone down the same road. You know and I know that we will be with are children again. I have thought a lot about where Steve is and what he is doing. President Henry B Eyring spoke at his funeral. He assured his wife and children he would be aware of them and help them, but he said he would be very busy for there was so much work to do. One time as I was wondering about this I had the distinct impression that he and my two Brothers and my Father who have all passed were missionary companions I could see them as clearly as if they were in the same room with me. There was a talk given at Education week by Brent L Top “WHAT IS THING THAT MEN CALL DEATH’ LDS Teachings about the Spirit World it was given in 2010. I have read it and reread it, it has given me a better understanding of the Spirit World. Thank you for your blog, and may the Lord bless you and give you peace.

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  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I definitely believe in heaven and anticipate meeting my deceased loved ones again. I think they are with us and give gentle signs if one is open to seeing them… a song, a bird, an awesome sky. In one sense, I believe they live on within us. I believe goodness triumphs, though evil surely exists. God bless you.

  3. Alissa, Thank you for your posts and transparency. While the situations are very different, you really helped my through the miscarriage of my first child last November. I read the novel “Heaven”, by Randy Alcorn after my husband and I experienced our loss. It was life changing. I pray that you will take time to read this, and in doing so will give you the most BEAUTIFUL picture of Heaven I have ever read– your sweet angel right in it all. You and your family are always in my prayers. “What we love about this life are the things that resonate with the life we were made for. The things we love are not merely the best this life has to offer—they are previews of the greater life to come.”-Alcorn “Heaven”

    • Alissa,
      My mom too has read this book and it has given her such a peace about Heaven. She had always had that “floating in the cloud playing a harp” kind of thought of Heaven and that idea made her no where near excited about one day going there or our loved ones that have passed away being there. But the guy who wrote this book usues what scriptures there are about heaven ( mom said after reading this that there were way more scriptures about heaven than she knew about previously) and then he paints a picture of what he thinks heaven might look like based of of that. Really cool! I haven’t read it yet bust she has shared different things here and there which has made me want to get a copy for myself.

      Alissa, thank you for your willingness to share your a d your families story. I know it has brought many people comfort as they too have suffered loss. You are such a strong woman of faith! May God continue to mend your hearts and remind you of the happy memories your family had and will continue to have!

  4. Hi Alissa, first of all, I read your blog ALL THE TIME and look forward to your updates!
    When I was little, I use to dream that Heaven was this bright, beautiful place – picture the most fullest of gardens – flowers, green grass, free flowing water, park benches, birds, butterflies. Everyone wore white, and they were always happy.
    I still picture Heaven the same today, a very peaceful place. Full of light, and love. A place where everyone knows the other, they are kind to each other. Past loved ones are happy.

  5. Alissa – first let me say how much I look forward to your posts for their insight and strength, and for how they connect so many of us in a prayerful and meaningful way. I believe that our loved ones are with us in a different form (in Spirit) and that Heaven is another dimension that allows our loved ones to be present with us in Spirit form. I believe Heaven is beautiful, peaceful, loving, and safe, and that we can communicate with our loved ones through our thoughts and emotions – even if we can’t “hear” their response with our physical ears. Heaven is where we go to continue our spiritual journey. Our physical bodies may not come with us on that journey, but our soul – the essence of who we are – is reborn into the Spirit world to continue our soul’s purpose. I believe that Heaven seems far away to our physical minds, but our soul knows differently. The joy, the peace, the beauty, and the love Heaven embodies is what we all strive for. As I tell my children, do not ever fear death because you are reborn into the Father’s loving arms. For those of us still here in the physical world, Heaven seems so far away, but it is our reward for a life well lived, and our loved ones are waiting for us to join them. Thank you for allowing us to share our thoughts with you. I am sending you love, light, and continued strength on this journey.

  6. First off, thank you for always sharing. We all may not know exactly how you feel, but you open that window and allow us to experience the joys and the pains that you have. That may sound weird, but it really helps us we go through things in our I, part of the world.

    For me, I remember when I first realized that thereweren’t going to be oceans in heaven. That seemed like a big deal, even though I’m an adult! 😉 ilove going to the ocean, I love watching the sunrise and watching the sunset. God’s creation is the most beautiful thing I can imagine. But that’s just it, isn’t it? My imagination, while some will attest to the fact that its huge!, is nowhere near the size of God’s.
    There are more colors than we can imagine, in heaven. Something that is huger, and more incredible than the ocean or seeing the Sun Rise, or set, is awaiting us in heaven! I can’t even wrap my mind around it!💗
    I believe that those who have passed before us, are in paradise. They are enjoying more then we could ever think. And someday, we will join hands with them and walk into heaven together. I can’t wait for that moment!!! 😊 💜
    Until then I will try and be patient. I will still enjoy all that God has for me here. For example, right now I’m listening to the chirping of the birds. I hear the hum of someone’s air conditioner, and children getting off their buses. I’m watching the clouds go by, and imagining different shapes. I am missing my son, who just went off to college, but I am feeling blessed that God gave him to me for awhile. 🙂 and I’m actually looking forward to seeing my 14 year old daughter as she comes home and complains about school! 🙂
    I am reveling in the knowledge that I get to pray for others, and God is hearing my prayers, and others are praying for me.
    Even people who have never met.. ❤ ❤ ❤

  7. I love the book, Guide Me To Eternity by Christine Tuttle Monson. It talks about just how thin the veil can be and gives a beautiful description of heaven. I think you would like it! Thank you for your wonderful posts. I think you are a beautiful person and I admire how you have handled this trial. As a fellow mom, I definitely hurt for you.

  8. I definitely believe in heaven.
    I believe that the place God prepares for us is made up of bits of who we are–the parts that make us feel most alive. For instance, I love photography and ballet, so I believe that there will be moments all over the walls and that I can dance and it’ll be great.
    I believe that feeling you get when you feel most alive is barely touching the surface of the euphoria we will feel being there.
    I believe those we love who are already there wait for us on bated breath and will be there when we get there, excited and welcoming.
    I believe our pets are there. There was someone in a hospital, and right before they died they were moving their hand next to them. Someone in the room asked what they were doing and they said they were petting their dog. They named the dog, which the person recognized to be a dog from their childhood. This makes me really excited.
    I believe there are sort of ranks in heaven. That the people who get in “by the skin of their teeth” on their deathbed or whatever are there, which is better than hell, but that the people who have devoted their entire being will have a higher sort of rank while there. There’s a scripture to this but I don’t remember where it is off the top of my head…
    I see it as really open, rather than levels. That it’s vast but nothing is far. That we are all young and able-bodied.
    I believe there are colors and sounds we could never even imagine. (My friend from Bible school visited heaven twice and he told me about this. It was really cool hearing it from him. He also said that the first time he saw where he’d live, but was told it wasn’t his time yet. And the second time he was shown the same, but it was bigger, and he was again told it wasn’t time yet.)
    I have questioned the same since I was a child, and God has spoken to me all my life. I don’t know if I’d say specifically about heaven and the logistics behind it, but about life and the purpose and why I’m still hear with each person I love that isn’t and that list continues to grow (at an alarming rate.) I believe they know what is happening in our lives and desire for us to live our lives the best we can and that they are rooting for us.
    I look forward to the day I get to know it all for myself. A great mystery full of hope and anticipation.

  9. Thank you for your beautiful posts. I pray for you and your family often. I’m a devout Catholic but have gone through periods of grief and searching for answers. I know faith should be enough, but I’ll admit that I’m a doubting Thomas and have been comforted by having received clear signs and shared stories with friends and family whom have also received signs from loved ones who have passed on. At one point, I voraciously read books by psychics/mediums George Anderson (love him!) and Sylvia Browne. Sylvia Browne paints a vivid picture of heaven as a physical place, sort of a Utopian city, where those who have passed on have important jobs helping those of us who have not — and aiding in the universal war between good and evil. I don’t know if I agree that heaven is a physical place where we have physical bodies, but I think it may be beyond our human comprehension to understand a non-physical place, so the description of a Utopian city helps us visualize something we can’t understand until we get there. I also love Sylvia Browne’s idea that each soul has a job and a purpose. Our work doesn’t end when we leave earth. It makes sense to me that heaven would be the same as earth in that way — I think we all feel best when we lead purposeful existences. Sending love to you! XOXO

  10. Dear Alissa,
    Ever since the tragedy happened I feel connected to you and to beautiful, precious Emily through your beautiful blog. what a step you took… to allow comments. I feel so humbled by it. As to you question: I do not believe in God, I am a very secular person. I was born and raised in Israel. My grandfather was a rabbi that became a secular zionist. I think that heaven was our world when Emily was alive. I think heaven is still our world, because emily was in it. and because you and your beautiful family are in it. Heaven is a place where grace and generosity exist. receiving you blog posts and being exposed to your beautiful generosity is a piece of heaven for me. and if i may say so, I love you.

  11. Ahhh Alissa. This touches my heart. JoAnn (Charlotte’s mommy) and I have this conversation a few times. Thank goodness we can share the belief that no matter what Heaven “seems” like it may be, we agree that we will once again, be united with our loved ones who have passed on. That, in and of itself, is what keeps the heart going. That our spirit is what lives. Eternally lives on. An ability to believe that we will raise our little ones,….keeps us going, as well. We are but just visitors here on earth,and that Heaven is “the real deal”. A place of pure serenity and no problems. No earthly appetites or concerns and like you wrote “…a very peaceful place. Full of light and love. A place where everyone knows the other, they are kind to each other.”

  12. I believe that Heaven looks like you want it to look, and it is filled with the people that you want there with you. I believe that in Heaven, no one is sick or sad, and all are at peace. I also believe that God sends a Cardinal when he wants me to know that he’s around, as for me, cardinal red is the color symbolic of the blood of Christ and the hope gained from his resurrection. I immediately think of my late Grandfather and others whom I have lost in my life whenever I see a Cardinal. Thank you for allowing me to share.

  13. I, like you, don’t know about Heaven.I would love to believe in it but I don’t know if I do. It’s not out of anger or love or anything else….I just don’t know.

  14. Alissa, thank you so much for your posts and sharing your memories of Emilie with us. I think heaven is what you feel in your heart. I believe our loved ones are there with Jesus and they’re happy and healthy. I also believe there’s no remembrance of earthly pain or struggles. Thank you again, Alissa. Wishing you and Robbie peace and love.

  15. With all my being I hope their is a heaven because there is so much love we have for certain people in our lives and so much injustice in the world. There just has to be a place where that love is made whole again. But I struggle with heaven. The bible talks about it as a place with no more pain, suffering and tears, but I just feel that if I were separated from my family, even if I was in heaven, there would be tears. I would miss how we had interacted. I would miss what we did not get to experience. I would see my family suffering on earth, or even moving on without me, and it would pain me so I don’t know how this would be resolved. And what if the person I loved never made it to heaven? How would I ever feel no pain, suffering and tears for the loss of that person for all eternity. Alyssa, I pray for you and your family all the time, but I often don’t know what I could possibly pray for that could even begin to answer your prayers on earth. I can’t even begin to allow myself to believe that there is not a heaven though because then life would just be too incredibly sad to go on, so I just hope. I always hope that in heaven I could go back in time. I would like to re-live some of the moments in my life slowly again. Moments in time I can barely remember. Those days I would spend with my mom as a young girl. What did my mom look like at the time, my siblings, things I can sort of picture but not quite recall. Friends I use to have back in my past that I have never seen again. I’d like to even go back in time and watch my parents as young children, my grandparents too, what were there lives like. I’d like to be able to see it all again and slowly take it all in. I’d like to think that the time that our loved ones spend in heaven without us, seems only like a day to them, and when we come home to be with them they would hardly have had a chance to miss us at all!

  16. Thank you for your posts, Alissa, I appreciate the honesty of your writing. As far as heaven, I am not sure what to expect. But after working in an inpatient hospice unit and sitting with my mom the last few days of her life I feel quite comfortable with the idea that whatever is after death, is peaceful; even the most fitful deaths I witnessed ended in peace. My mom seemed to wander between lucid moments with each of us and then at times with previously departed relatives — talking to her sisters and father. In those moments she was happy and at peace. It was comforting to have a glimpse of her transition from life to death/next life and see her happiness.

  17. I believe that heaven is a peaceful place, but at the same time a very busy place! I think that our loved ones who have gone before us are diligently teaching the gospel to those who didn’t have the opportunity to hear it while on this earth. I believe that heaven is full of love, that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ personally dwell among those who are there. I think it is a beautiful place. I believe our loved ones are watching over us and anxiously awaiting our time to come and join them! Families are forever!

    Thank you for sharing your story and your thoughts. I have a little girl who was Emilie’s same age when Emilie’s life was taken. I have been so impressed with your strength and the tremendous grace you have shown.

  18. Alissa, first and foremost, thank you for sharing your feelings, your heart with us. I have always imagined that Heaven is a beautiful place where everyone is happy and our loved ones are looking over us. I once read this book called The Shack by William P Young. While it was a gut wrenching story in the beginning it really showed the love of God, how to cope with loss, and how to forgive. I myself, almost didn’t make it past the 1st couple chapters, but I am glad I did because the guidance and lessons were amazing. I lift your family up in prayer and continue to hope for peace in your lives.

  19. I never said a proper “good bye” to my mother. I was ashamed that I had avoided that painful exchange. When I was cleaning out my mother’s house I came across a lot of depression glass that I knew my mother’s friend loved. I called her up and asked her to come over. I told her I wanted her to have the glass. I could see the struggle in her face; kind of desire mixed with embarrassment that she should want the glass so much. I said to her, “Audrey, my mother would have loved for you to have the glass”. I said that with absolute truth, kindness and sincerity. The moment the words were out of my mouth I noticed something odd about Audrey’s face. Suddenly her eyes were so much like my mothers and I thought, “Hmm….I never thought they looked so much alike”……and the transformation continued to spread to her brow and hairline until I knew in that moment I was looking into my mother’s face. Her eyes were filled with a joy and love beyond worldly expression. There were no words but I knew in that moment that she was in a joyful, loving place. This only lasted for seconds before Audrey was once again in front of me but I know I had caught a glimpse of heaven.

  20. Hi Alissa, I believe there is a heaven. In heaven you will meet your loved ones which includes your pets. The feeling in heaven is so loving and peaceful. When you look at heaven it is so beautiful like nothing we have seen on Earth. Everything is bright and colorful. There is music playing that is so sweet. The feeling you experience makes you want to stay.You are greeted by so much love. You are able to look over your family and friends to protect them . You become an angel

    I read your blogs! I am so sorry for your loss. I do not understand the choices people make. Emilie was so lucky to have a great mom and dad who loved so much. She is watching over you and your daughters.
    Thank you for allowing us to share with you.
    Sincerely yours,
    Jackie

  21. Alissa, like others, I would like to take the time first of all to say that your blog is one of the most beautiful I have ever read. Your words are so well chosen, and your memories so precious. Thank you for sharing them, all the beauty of Emilie’s life and all the pain of her loss, with us. You open our eyes to a reality that, until recently, most of us could never even imagine. I still pray for you, the other families, and your sweet children.
    I believe in Heaven, but not in the same way most other people who will comment do. In my religion, Heaven is a resting place where all souls, except the very darkest and the very brightest of us, go. It’s a light that takes us when we close our eyes for the last time, warm arms that surround us and carry us across the river, to the Next Place. Heaven is bright like the stars. There are fields that stretch beyond sight, streams marking their boundaries, and the memory of a child’s laughter in the air. It’s quiet – just the flutter of wings, and the soft breathing of our loved ones as we hold them again at last.
    For me, the song “Into the West” from Lord of the Rings tells it best…
    May you have the strength and the faith you need on this journey. From one human being to another, I wish you and your family all the best.

  22. Hello Alissa,

    I’m not a deeply religious person but I can tell you know that heaven is real. I have had many experiences from friends and family that have passed away. One such experience was when my grandfather passed away suddenly, it left us all in a state of stock. Before he died on New Year Eve of 2000 i had promised him at 12pm i would drink his favorite beverage with him.Sadly my little boy was really sick and i never got that drink with my grampy. On the day of his funeral, we all went to the family pub for the gathering and i decided to have that drink for him. My sister i both had lockets which belonged to my Nanny (his wife). My sister had the one he gave my nan when he returned for her after WWII and I have the locket he gave her on their 50th wedding anniversary. I took the drink to the table and my sister left for the bathroom. When she came back she was crying, her locket had opened and the picture of my grampy was missing. We searched everywhere and couldn’t find it. So we sat back down and when i went to raise my glass – Sitting right next to my drink was my grampy’s picture and i physically felt him touch my face. I was shocked but i also knew it was his way of letting us know he was fine and with us. I have visited a medium and my grampy always comes through, the funniest part is he alway said he was an atheist. I guess he and I learned that there is something beyond this life. What that is, is not know now but one day we will meet again/

    I hope that one day you have signs from your your sweet Emily, just letting you know she is still there. Your blog has been heartbreaking and healing, and even though this is a hard journey for you and your family, please know there are many of us that support and pray for you all. Sending brightest blessings and love to you all.

  23. Dear Alissa: Firstly, I began to follow your blog in Dec. 2013 when I was bedridden with a pretty rotten case of Pneumonia. I had lots of time to read, think, and … wallow. And it was so painfully moving to me what that same month had meant to you and your sweet family. My family to yours, we are so sorry and grieve with you, even still. Just know that your posts had uplifted me immediately! I felt, and still feel, privileged to be allowed a glimpse into what you think, feel and say – things good, bad, terrible, and extraordinary. Thank you! Secondly, I too have lots of questions about what Heaven is all about. Despite all that my LDS faith offers me, I truly believe that Heaven is a little bit of a custom deal for each of us and therefore it possibly contains people whm loved in this mortal life that have also passed to the other side and things we enjoyed and loved. The whole idea of Heaven, to my belief, is that it is where we go to allow our soul to receive rest, to receive Godly and Angelic love, to rejuvenate and feel pure Joy. It is a place where our souls must learn and grow so we can progress toward a higher level of Joy and Knowledge. Then it is also a place where we interract with others within whatever capacity we are tasked and we do works of love and mercy for those on both sides of the “veil.” Heaven is where souls go to rest, grow, learn, to give and to accept love and feel joy, then to give all of these things to others. Alissa, I imagine that with children who depart so young, whether in illness or tragedy, like Emilie, they are translated in a twinkling of an eye to their Savior’s loving arms. He and His angels then nurture, teach, cherish and grow these precious young souls. They are enveloped in love, light, knowledge, and joy. And I believe 100% that they look over their earthbound loved ones and are aware of every one of our spiritual and emotional thoughts, feelings and actions. They know us from a deeper perspective than they did when they lived among us. And they are here, all around us. With love to you and your family, Alissa. Gina. aka “MommaGina”

  24. My 14 year old son is in heaven and I believe heaven is a fabulous place, my reasoning is that we are living in this beautiful world which is a miracle in itself and I truly believe that we will be reunited in an even better place, that’s my hope that one day I will be reunited with my son, and it will be even more beautiful than in this life, I follow your posts and they give me comfort x

  25. Alissa,
    My husband and I talk quit a bit about what we think heaven is like. I think heaven is a place where the sick are well, the old are young again and where you are with your loved ones in peace forever.
    My Mom was an orphan at the age of seven – losing her Mother when she was four and her Father when she was seven. Seven children were orphaned and separated. When my Mom passed away my hopes and prayers were that she was reunited with her parents, the two young children and grandson she lost and that they are together waiting for the rest of us to arrive.
    I believe with all my heart that they are in the best place and that we mourn for the joy and happiness they brought us – but we will one day feel more joy and happiness than we can now imagine when we are reunited!
    Thank you for allowing us to read your thoughts, you are an amazing Mom and person.

  26. When my father died, I was 42. I woke up the night he died and saw what I later realized were scenes from his life. At the time, I thought it was a nightmare. The dream ended with my father, who lived in Florida, walking away from me on the beach. I could hear birds. This whole experience was so weird that I didn’t mention it to anyone. However, several weeks later, my oldest daughter, then in college, said she had a dream about her grandfather and saw a beach and heard seagulls. Now fast forward to six years ago when my granddaughter was 2. My daughter took her with her when she went to meet a friend for lunch. The friend had had a near accident and said her guardian angel must have been looking after her. Grace, who does not regularly attend Church, said “I see Angels. They are in our house”. My daughter asked her what they looked like and she answered “seagulls”. Heaven is your happy, peaceful place.

  27. I most certainly believe in heaven. Growing up catholic I always posed tough questions for my parents, for which they referred to a Catholic children’s book series that explained death, heaven, sin etc the way a child could understand. I don’t exactly remember what the answers were but they seemed to satisfy me at the time. As I grew up the idea of heaven evolved in my mind. To me, heaven is a place where no one feels pain or sadness. Heaven is a place that we reconnect with our loved ones, no matter what species, and we are at peace. If needed, we give signs and make connections with those still living life on Earth, to make life “livable” for those who were left behind. I have had many signs from my dear Uncle who died suddenly when I was in high school. Whenever we would see a dime (there was significance of dimes and my uncle) we would say “Uncle Mark is here”. No kidding, I found a dime during every pivotal moment in my life. After graduating college and moving to another state, unsure if it was the right thing to do, there was a dime at the door of my new apartment. When my husband was stressing about matching for residency, near tears when he thought he would not match at his top choice (he did) I found a dime next to his side of the bed as he sat on the edge and I comforted him. These are just a few of the MANY encounters I have had with my Uncle. Any sign you ever question is from Emilie, most certainly is. Thank you so much for allowing us to comment on this post. Your passages are inspiring and I strive to handle difficult situations with grace like you have. You are a role model for your girls and Emilie is most certainly proud. God Bless.

  28. Dear Alissa, first I want to say that your writing is profound. You have a beautiful talent for expressing your emotions through your photos and the written word. I feel honored to read your posts and am grateful that you share them. The few times I saw you and your husband at the Y, after Emilie died , I wanted to talk to you, tell you how much I felt for you, thought always of you and your family, but never wanted to invade your privacy. So, thank you for allowing comments here.
    In terms of Heaven, I also think about it a lot and have many conversations with my kids about it. I lost my Dad and other close family members all in a surprisingly close time frame. I’d like to think there is a place, an actual physical place called Heaven, but I don’t really believe that. I do believe there is a God, a higher power and that our spirits live on and there is an energy where they exist. Maybe that is Heaven? Too many people have told me too many personal experiences they’ve had with their deceased loved ones not to believe that. I have also experienced that feeling myself in one way or another. I do think in some way we are reunited with our loved ones, in some capacity and that must be our heaven. I pray that it is true.
    Please keep writing your thoughtful and emotional posts. Know that here in CT your family and all the families are still in our prayers and our hearts.

  29. Hi Alissa, First I wanted to say thanks for making this blog and giving the public a chance to see your family’s journey through this tragic event. As to the question of if I believe in heaven, I do believe in heaven. Don’t know exactly what heaven looks like, but know that it is real.
    When I was a young kid riding the bus home from school, I always figure heaven was just above the clouds and that my grandmother (who was taken from my family by a evil person) was sitting on them looking down at me.
    One thing that I am sure of is that heaven is where we will meet all of our love ones, who have passed on in this life, and be able enjoy enternity with them.

  30. First, I want to thank you for keeping your posts real. I can’t imagine the pain you have gone through/are still going through. I admire your posts.

    Second, I do believe in heaven, and I believe it looks how everyone describes. I have had two visitations from deceased people and both times they fade away into a white light when their visit is done, and I believe they go to that wonderful place.

    Take care, Alissa, and keep writing! I know it must help you, and I thank you for your posts.

  31. Hi Alissa,
    You have been such an inspiration as you have shared with us on this blog. Like you, I have three daughters. My youngest, who is now 9, asks me a lot about death and about Heaven. So many questions… and of course I don’t have many answers, since the Bible doesn’t give us many. I haven’t read Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven, but a friend told me that there is one for children, too, and I should check that out. In the end what I tell my daughter is that I trust Jesus with all my heart. Not that it’s not OK for us to have doubts sometimes… but Jesus has given me reasons to believe and trust in Him. To me, nothing else makes sense. So I don’t have to know the answers about what Heaven is like to know that it is real, because I trust Jesus. I believe that Heaven is, in some way that we don’t understand yet, a reunification with Jesus, in a new earth… and yes, it has to be a reunification with our loved ones. There is reunion, there is redemption… and I know that it will be wonderful beyond my imagination. Keep walking with Him, sweet Alissa.

  32. I believe in Heaven because I believe the Bible. I can’t see Jesus, but He is very real in my life. I think Heaven is so beautiful that we would find it difficult to describe, even if we could see it. I don’t believe we become angels after we die. I think we are the same as we were here on earth, but in different form or bodies. My husband went there a year ago. I think he’s enjoying being with his family that passed before him, and is in the wonderful presence of God, just like your Emily. God bless you and give you comfort.

  33. Dear Alissa. This morning I was in the cemetery with my grandma, visiting my grandpa’s grave, and she asked me the exact same question. My grandpa died a year ago, and this morning she told me that the hardest part was not knowing where he was, if ‘he’ really was somewhere, what he’d do, if he could feel that we were there visiting him, etc. So many questions in her mind, and in the mind of everyone who has lost a dear one. I didn’t know what to answer. Who does?
    I personnaly don’t think they are “physically” somewhere, but I think their souls are still there, in a way we cannot understand because there are so many things we can’t understand yet in the universe. I think they can communicate together, and we can feel their presence sometimes. In my head I picture them with their living bodies because I don’t know how to picture it else. When my grandpa died I prayed for him to say hello to Emilie and other people I knew that had died before, to tell them they were loved. And since then, when someone I know and care about dies, I ask him to welcome that person with love in the souls’ land.

    Two days ago two friends of mine burried their son who tragically died in mountains last week. I thought about your family, and wish you all strength.
    Sending you lots of love from France,
    Isabelle

  34. Hello Alissa and thank you for all the stories and photographs that you have shared of your journey. I am not a very spiritual person yet I have had very spiritual experiences oddly enough. Many of the events that happen in our lives leave me with more questions than with answers. This is certainly true with the horrors that affected you and your former community. When I make the trip to Connecticut to visit friends and family, I can not help but feel the warmth of love that surrounds me when I am there. When I take my children to the parks, when we are dining out, when we are enjoying the company of others there is a sense of peace and relief. It’s not fair that you can not feel this way too. And who am I to say you never will again, I don’t even know you but I feel like I somehow do? Yet, while I feel so hopeless because of our past, this special place offers so much promise. We love you and will always feel deeply connected to you and all of the families whose lives changed forever one cold day forever ago. Peace always, Matt.

  35. Hi Alissa,

    I’ve always pictured heaven as me in the happiest state imaginable. I try to think of it as the location that I’ve been the happiest surrounded by all my loved ones (and pets!). Generally I imagine that I’m in a large home with my family and we are all sitting around talking, eating and laughing.

  36. Hi Alissa,
    I want to thank you for your blog and I have followed you from the very start. I want you to know I prayed for you and I cried with you. As a Christian, the Bible tells me that in 1 Corinthians 2:9 – But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. The Bible also tells us in John 14:2 – In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. It is a beautiful place and there is no more sickness, nor sorrow and no more death (God has wiped away all tears). The scriptures speak a lot about Heaven and in Revelation 22:1 “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. Revelation 21:1 talks about 12 gates and every single gate was of one pearl and the street of the city was pure gold. The Bible tells me that if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I personally realized I was sinner and confessed my sin and one day I will meet my love ones who have gone on before me (husband, grandbaby and others). I will continue to pray for you and your family.

  37. Dear Alissa
    Thank You for sharing your family life with us during a difficult time.I believe that Heaven is a beautiful place noone is sick or in pain.You are with those who went before you.You are with GOD and helping him and others.Bad people do not go to Heaven only the good are there.I know it sounds a little naive but I have to believe this .My husband passed away this January so I believe He is there and I will look up and talk to him .It gives me a little comfort.

    Thank You again Laura

  38. Alissa, your blog has been both uplifting and inspiring and your words are always reminding me of what faith and love are. Thank you for sharing your heart.
    As a child I always believed Heaven was full of angels with wings, playing amongst clouds and existing in the happiest and most loving sphere. As an adult I believe the same but the angels have faces and names and are watching over all of us; our guardian angels.
    The Heaven I see now is more colorful with flowers and clouds; with butterflies and sweetness. God is watching and guiding us all and your sweet Emilie is singing and drawing as she watches over your family.
    I have ‘visitations’ (for lack of a better descriptive word) and with each one my faith grows stronger. I know for certain that Heaven is real and that everyone who has gone before me is waiting there. I know they are whole and not in the physical pain they may have experienced on this earth.
    If I didn’t have this faith and belief I don’t know how I could take another breath in this life without being frightened immensely. I think there would be far more trepidition in everyday life if I believed that this was all there is. I would be afraid to die.
    God bless your family and thank you for sharing your heart with us.

  39. Hello Alissa,
    I have been so touched by your beautiful blog and gorgeous pictures that you share, and have prayed for you many times! I know that Heaven is Real. Each of us has an important mission and purpose in this life and whether our turn is long or short it is still just as important to fulfill that mission. I also believe that we are helped many, many times by our family who are in Heaven-we just don’t always realize it. I have felt my mother’s help and I also believe that she is helping my children–her grandchildren through this difficult time on earth. I know that Love stretches and I still feel my mother’s love even though she has been in Heaven for over 12 years. Thank you for sharing your experiences-it has strengthened so many!

  40. Hi, Alissa!
    Please know that radiant and joyful Emilie will never be forgotten by any of us! She must be so proud of her family! Such an inspiration! You are all always in my prayers. Thank you for your profoundly beautiful and honest blog. Please continue to share Emilie, your beautiful family, your journey and your thoughts with us.
    To me, it just makes sense that Emilie is somehow with you all the time. Heaven would not be a glorious, perfect place if it meant children could not be with their parents in some way, or if parents in heaven could not be with their children. As others have said, I think heaven is tailored to whatever its angels love most – and filled with indescribable colors and music. More fancy than our little minds can ever imagine!!
    I’m glad that Guatemala is a special place to you – it is to me as well, because my daughter was adopted from there. She’s now an elementary school teacher.
    I hope your family feels Emilie’s joyful and loving presence every day – her light still shines on all of us!

  41. Hello there,

    I like to think that Heaven is where all of our loved ones go after they pass away. I believe with my whole heart that Heavenly Father reunites us with our loved ones, pets, friends and allows everything that was questioned to be answered.

    Not that He has to answer to us, but rather things/questions that we may have struggled with in this life are revealed to us.

    I imagine it as a place where there is no more hurting, no more sickness, no more sadness. A place where everything and everyone is perfect and where everyone can fully honor and glorify Him for all of eternity.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story on your blog. I have been a follower of it from early on. Please know that you, your family and all of the families are and will always be in my daily prayers. You may not think so, but you are all an inspiration to so many. I pray for peace for all of you.

    Godspeed.

    Marilyn Parrott, Massachusetts

  42. I do believe in heaven, I do believe we see our loved ones again. I believe heaven would seem to each of us whatever would be most beautiful to us. It is not to me so much what it would look like but what it would feel like. We would feel the love of our loved ones, we would feel their love for us and we would be together again. Heaven doesn’t have to look like anything in particular because it would feel so wonderful. And the pain that never fully goes away ( from losing our loved ones) would be gone because we would be with them again.
    I enjoy your posts. I cry for your loss and I truly believe you will be with your beautiful daughter again. And I also believe she is always with you out of sight. out of earshot but close enough to brush your heart

  43. I went to Thanksgiving Point in Utah for lunch yesterday with my husband and we sat outside overlooking the gardens. It was breathtaking and I told my husband, “This is what my heaven will look like”! It was really pretty. I’ve had some very tender spiritual experiences with loved ones who have passed so I firmly believe that they are close at hand and they help orchestrate things in our life. They also help to protect and defend us against the adversary. I’ll share with you my favorite experience– It was a dream that I had of my Grandma a week after her passing. Beyond our family ties, my Grandma & I are kindred spirits. Loosing her has felt like I lost a part of myself (I’m sure you can surely relate). She appeared to me as a younger version of herself and she was in all white- she glowed and looked beautiful. She gave me comfort & council that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Another tender experience involved my 2 year old son (who’s now 8). He could only speak 2-3 words at a time and he was sitting at my feet playing as I got ready for the day. He appeared to be having a conversation with someone and I laughed and asked him, “Who are you talking to?” And he looked up at me and said, “Uncle Phil”. Uncle Phil was my Grandma’s son and he died 2 years before I was born. I had never even mentioned Phil to my son b/c I never even knew him. That was super cool that Uncle Phil was hanging out with us that day! Based on things that my Grandmother told me in my dream and also having Unvle Phil chatting away with my 2 yr old, I know our loved ones are around us always. Even when we feel alone, they are not far off. I don’t know you but I love you. I’ve prayed for you and your family. Endure to the end until you hold your sweet Emilie in your arms again!

  44. alissa, to say i haven’t been commenting all along is untrue. little did i know you would not ever see them, but i trust that the words i spoke, from the heart of God, were able to touch your heart…in whatever manner our Lord chose to get them to you..as they are His to begin with!! i could spend much time on speaking of Heaven. there is so much that i know, there is so much that i think i know, and the more of it all, the less i know at all. but what i am sure of is that it is real…it is as real as you and i are in the flesh. it is as real as that precious little girl is in all of her perfection. it is as real as there is day and night. it is as real as a moon and a sun and millions of stars and and and….but do i know much about it??!! should i??!! should any of us??!! Just a couple of thoughts that i have gleaned in my wise years on this planet. i think we lose sight, or forget, that our lives are a gift….and that gift is given to us for a time…and “time” is an even greater gift..as we are in the realm of “time”….for when our physical lives cease on this earth we are blessed with the transformation into Eternity…and Eternity HAS no “time”. also, while we are in these fleshly bodies, we have been some amazing insights: be they feelings, emotioins, knowledge, sights, sounds…soooooo much. think of the most beautiful things that you’ve seen while you’ve been here. rainbows, and butterflies, and sunsets, and the sky at night, and the aurora borealis, and the millions of different flowers, and the same with the fish of the ocean, and the beautiful creations He has blessed us with to protect in all their expanse and and and… there’s a lot of that “and and and” when i speak of the things of God because there is SOOOOOO much more awaiting us in the realms of Heaven…and as our Creator has taught us, we save the best for last. do you think we’re clever enough to have thought that up??!! so He gives us a taste of what the beauty of Heaven will be..but ONly a taste, as we could not handle it. just as the moment you saw your little emily for the first time…you knew you already loved her. as she grew in your womb, put together delicately by the Hands of our Heavenly Father who so intricately creates….but what were you able to feel/speak/emote when you laid your eyes on her..the eyes that GOD chose to be her mommy…for the first time??!!! i bet you could barely stand it. but you had to. there was no option…but the even MORE magnificent part…you didn’t WANT to not stand it…for she was your precious little baby…hand picked by the One who made allllll exist! can we imagine what Heaven will be like??!! a little bit…our brains …our limited human brains..could not TRULY “handle it” so He’s only given us little glimpses….that’s why we will need new Heavenly bodies….(and the brains to go in them)…cause these are not created to “stand it”. but the new ones will!!!! just as your eyes/brain etc could not handle what God has called emily into Eternity for, or how she looks now, or what she is surrounded by!!! but as beautiful as she was in this human flesh, she is now perfect!!!! (being a mom, we already feel they are perfect..in our eyes….for sure!!!) reality speaks that she is to the whole of Creation now…and surrounded by alllllll the beauty of THE Most Magnificent and His idea of perfect beauty. and the music??!! can you just imagine the music??!! we try…the most magnificent orchestras we’ve heard on this planet don’t even touch it….the joyful resounding at the holidays barely touches the immensity of the emotions we will have when we finally hear the Heavenly band and choir and the stars singing out..and ALLLLL of creation singing their songs!!! Emily is there….in her perfection…able to take in all of the perfection of what God has made Heaven to be….for Eternity!!!! and she is checking on all the doggies and kitties and beautiful furry loved ones we had in the thing called “time” and checking in on all the human loved ones that also are checking on everything that God has prepared….because there are some more coming….the table is set!!! the Wedding Supper of Lamb is almost prepared…and she has a part in making sure all is perfect for your arrival!!!! THAT’s what Heaven is….perfection!!! no more pain, or hurt, or tears, or longing, or grieving, or good byes..or even see you laters. but best of all??!?! there is no more TIME!!!!!! we will be there…forEVER….with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lord…the Great I AM…the Living Word…the Alpha and Omega..and and and…..and special ones get to see it…FIRST!!!! God’s blessings on you, alissa..and to your family. make God continue to give you the strength and conviction and knowledge to finish your “time” here, doing what He has called YOU to do…until you hear “welcome home, alissa. well done!! thou good and faithful servant!! i have someone that’s been here waiting for you…but she’s been so busy in these “few glips of forever” she doesn’t even remember that “time’ ever existed for her! welcome to FOREVER, my precious child. enjoy!!! ” i can’t wait! tara

  45. Hello Alissa,
    I look forward to your post. I lost my son 13 years ago he was 17. I find I still struggle and I guess I always will in some way. Anyway I always felt when you dies and you entered heaven your family that already passed are waiting there for you. I feel it’s a place of total peace and happiness.
    About 14 years ago my husband had to have his aortic valve replaced, during surgery he flat lined and then later that night in ICU he flatlined again. Anyway I remember when I went into see when he came out from surgery he still had tube down throat so he couldn’t speak but he kept looking over my shoulder and trying to say something and I realized he was saying momma, his mom had time many years ago, anyway he was really become upset because he couldn’t talk so I just told him yes your mom is here watching over you. Two days later when he was put in a regular room he to,d me that when he died during surgery he saw his brother Frank and Frank was yelling at him to go away,no don’t touch me go away behinfd his brother was his mother she was standing there with open arms but also was telling him he needed to go back and all around him was his other brother and his sister he can’t remember if they said anything but when he woke up from surgery and he kept looking over my shoulder he said his mom was standing right behind me. I still get goosebumps whenever we talk about this. Thanks to my husband near death experience I know that heaven is just the way I imagine, with your family there waiting for you. I look forward to the day,whenever that will be, to walking into my sons open arms. It’s what keeps me going everyday. So know that Emilie will be front and center when your time comes just waiting to hug embrace her mommy again.

  46. I absolutely believe in heaven! I have often wondered what it looks like too. I think it is beyond my imagination though, so I won’t try to describe it. But I truly believe it is beautiful and peaceful and full of love. I also believe it is around us. A few years ago, my grandpa died. I was in Logan Utah when I got the call that he was passing. I raced to Spanish Fork to be by his side. By the time I got there, he had slipped into a coma like state and was unresponsive. I thought I had missed my chance to say goodbye. As the afternoon wore on and more people showed up we were sure it was only a matter of minutes until he would go. But he held on. My uncle (his oldest child) hadn’t made it yet and it occurred to us that he was waiting for him. Not long after my uncle arrived, my grandpa seemed to come to life again. He opened his eyes and began talking to us. Even telling us jokes like normal. Honestly, we started to think he would pull through..I mean how often does a person come alive on their death bed? But he kept saying one thing, over and over. He kept saying ‘I gotta be out of here by midnight.” The afternoon turned to night and people started leaving. By this time he had slipped back into sleep. And we knew it was getting close. I was determined to be there when he passed. Something inside me needed to stay. So I stayed. My cousin, uncle (the one we waited for) and myself stayed by his bed. I was on one side holding his hand and my cousin was on the other. As he took his last breath in and out, I was very aware that we were not alone in the room. The room felt thick, heavy..full of people. I was very aware that the people in the room were familiar to me, yet I didn’t know who they were. Except one. My grandma. I had never met my grandma, she died when my dad was 14 (he has an amazing story of her passing and the power of prayer that solidified my testimony of prayer and heaven as a child, but I won’t share that now). But I have always felt her spirit and presence in my life. At that moment, when my grandpa took his last breath, I was very aware that she was right there in the room, at the foot of his bed. I don’t know if my mind played out their reunion or if I actually saw it, but it is something I hold very sacred and dear to my heart. My experience with heaven is limited, but I have no doubt that when we leave this world we are welcomed into the loving arms of our family members. We leave a world of sorrow and tears and enter a world of peace and love. Thank you for your strength and beautiful words. You are always in my thoughts and prayers.

  47. I have often pondered this same question. I do believe without any hesitation heaven is real and all around us. I picture it kind of like the earth we live in, but only the good and beautiful parts. The morning sunrises, flower meadows, green rocky mountains, blue oceans, colorful sunsets…the part about heaven that I think always makes me the most happy is the peace I believe is felt there. No worry and pain, away from the evil and confusion of this world. Peace and contentment are hard to feel sometimes these days, heaven must be wonderful.

    I like many others have enjoyed your posts. I appreciate you sharing your feelings more than you know. Especially as a mother, I feel your insights have helped me to try and keep life in perspective, how short life can really be. You writing to help with your emotions and feelings have helped me. I think oftentimes it is easy to watch the news, turn it off and try not to think about the terrible things people are dealing with. I don’t want to do that, not all of the time, I feel like it is only fair if I can cry with you and try to empathize with a pain I can not imagine. I say this not just because you opened your blog up for posts this time, but because I truly mean it, I still pray for you, I don’t know you, but I have cried with you over your loss, I have begged for you and your family to feel some sort of peace, the peace I imagine you feel in heaven. I have not forgotten about your Emilie and the others lost that same day. Please know as the years pass I will still remember, I won’t forget, I will continue to think and pray for you.

  48. Hello, I want to tell you how much I admire you and your family and also to tell you how much I look forward to your posts. I have prayed for you all and will continue to.
    When I lost my Mom, I keep thinking I would see a sign and just know she was still with me. Just a day later I saw a huge double rainbow. It gave me peace knowing that I saw a small portion of how beautiful heaven was for my Mom. I knew it was a sign from her and God that she was fully healed and happy in her beautiful new home. I see heaven as our earthy over the rainbow. Love, prayers and rainbows, Cheryl

  49. I have been thinking about this topic a lot this month as one of our beloved family pets passed away in July and my girls have been asking many questions about heaven. My mom passed away when I was 17 and I tried to come up with many answers since then. I’ve also been reading many books and talking to people. It seems like many people I love are there (both my parents included) and I want to know so much what they are doing. I sometimes want to go there just to see and be with the ones I miss SO much. I always imagine it a beautiful place with all the answers that we are looking for. Obviously timeless so people and pets would be something more than their physical bodies. And that the ones we love are integrated into our everyday in ways we can’t yet understand. I don’t believe in coincidences but rather that there is something deeper there. I just wish I could get some sign. When I mom passed away I thought she had gone to the moon (that was my way of coping as a kid). Coincidence that my cat (who I loved so much) passed away July 31st on a rare blue moon 🙂

  50. Hello Alissa,

    Thank you for your sharing your unimaginable grief and spiritual healing since you lost your beautiful Emilie. I often think about Emilie, the other children and educators who were taken away, much too soon, from their loved ones that terrible day. I believe your blog has helped people not personally effected by the tragedy better understand the emotional impact of such a senseless act of violence.

    I truly believe there is a Heaven. I believe our loved ones are there, waiting for us. I believe they are happy and healthy. I believe they are no longer suffering. I believe that even with the vast beauty of oceans, forests, and mountains we are privileged to enjoy here on earth, Heaven is a place so beautiful, it is beyond description.

    I often think about my grandfather who passed away when I was 11. Although I love my life and know how blessed I am, I also know that when I have lived my life, my grandfather is the one person I am the most excited to see. I also have no doubt I will be seeing him again.

    Heaven is about reuniting with those we love the most. There is nothing more beautiful.

    Please know I often think about Emilie, your family, as well as the other families in Newtown. Although I do not know the depth of your pain, I do know I felt a tremendous loss that day. You are all in my prayers.

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