Celebrating life stories...



Memorial created 01-26-2005 by
Terrie Whiteman
Joey Marshall Whiteman
September 8 1980 - September 3 2002

Joey loved Roses

The Other Side of the Door
It looked like an ordinary, wooden door, unique only in the fact that it had no
knob. As I saw him walking toward it, my hands turned clammy with fear.
He must have seen the shadow across the door, but carried on, undaunted.
Looking back over his shoulder, he tossed me a small, wistful smile.
It was hauntingly familiar, that smile, and strongly reminded me of another time
and another door. . .

It was his first day of school, and he had been childishly insistent
that I stay outside the classroom door. I tried to argue, but he was firm: "Go back, mommy," he said, "you can't comewith me. I'm a big boy now, and I'm going to be just fine." He was only five, but so
fiercely independent. Much too young to leave me, of course,
but I had to let him go.

As I stole a last, brief hug, he smiled at me; a brave, wistful smile
that tugged at my heartstring.

A moment later, the door swung shut behind him. Against my better judgment,
I groped for the doorknob. There was none. It must be on the other side. To
discourage over-protective mothers from following, I thought wryly to myself.
Standing hesitantly before the door, my eyes were suddenly drawn to the tiny,
rectangular window near the top. How could I have missed it?

Cupping my eye with a trembling hand, I peered in. It was a delightful room.
Large, colorful, animal and bird posters lined the walls. The desks were shiny, blonde pine, and blue nap mats were scattered across the floor.

In a far corner of the room, open cupboards were laden with blocks and toys.
Along another wall, sturdy oak shelves groaned beneath their burdenof brightly colored children's books. My heart lightened. I knew my child could be happy in that room. To reassure myself, I shifted my
eye a fraction of an inch to expand my vision.

There he was, his little hand firmly clasped in his teacher's hand. She steered him toward a group of noisy, laughing children, and as I caught a glimpse of his eager, animated face, I knew he was going to be
fine; just as he had said. In time, he would undoubtedly welcome me to his classroom, eager to show off his new friends and share his newfound wisdom and knowledge.

In good time. I could wait. . . now that I knew he was happy!

And now, another door without a knob. Far more terrifying!

The wistful smile lingered in the air as he walked through the door and out of
sight. It swung shut behind him with a final, dull thud. He was only twenty-one; much
too young to leave me, of course.

I lunged at the door, but it wouldn't budge. I frantically groped for the knob;
then remembered there was none. I was momentarily stunned, but anger soon came to my rescue.
I began to hammer at the door with my fists. The knob must be on the other side;
Someone was bound to hear me.
Nobody would keep me from my son.

In what seemed like another lifetime, I had read King David's chant in the Old
"I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." David had deeply mourned the
loss of his child, but took great comfort in the fact that one day they would be
together again.

I could not exist on this side of the door if my child was on the other side;
therefore, I would go to him! I would hammer my way in. Bargain my way in. Weep my way in. Whatever it took. My knuckles became raw with effort, but I welcomed the pain. It was nothing compared to the pain I felt
inside. I would break down this door if it took my last ounce of strength. I continued to pound, to bargain, to weep - without response.

All too soon, I found myself slumped against the door, physically and
emotionally spent.

Wearily, I examined every inch of the door. It was still impenetrable, but in my
anguish, I had overlooked the tiny, rectangular window near the top. Or, perhaps it hadn't been there
before. Whoever had created the door was surely capable of adding a window whenever He thought the time was right.

I straightened up, and peered through the thick, opaque glass.

If it had been any thinner or clearer, the light from within would surely have
blinded me. As my eyes adjusted, I gaped in wonder.

Golden sunlight rippled through a meadow of waving, blue flowers,
like the shimmering ebb and flow of ocean waves. Walking toward me - without
crushing a single petal - were two men dressed in white.

It wasn't difficult to ascertain the identity of the One;
His entire Being was encompassed in brilliant, white light.

Neither was it difficult to ascertain the identity of the other,
for I would recognize my son anywhere. But, oh! He was so changed.

Always handsome, he was now radiant; dazzling. His eyes, almost as vividly blue
as the flowers beneath his feet, brimmed with love and compassion.

Stretching out his fingers as though to brush away my tears,
he spoke with infinite tenderness: "Go back, mom," he said gently,
"you can't come with me. I'm a big boy now, and I'm going to be just fine."

He turned away and firmly clasped the hand of his beloved new Teacher.

Together, they disappeared into the glorious, blue meadow.
I felt an indescribable peace descend upon my heart. I knew my child could be
happy in that place. In time, he would undoubtedly welcome me to his kingdom,
eager to show off his new friends and share his newfound wisdom and knowledge.

When the door without the knob would open for me. In God's time. I could wait. .
. now that I knew he was happy!

Written by Lili Kehler



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