Death wasn't that bad, really. He died at a ripe old age, 87, and passed away peacefully in his sleep. His family, though saddened, did not face his loss without expectation.
But after he died, Jacob awoke to a world of spirits. All around him, spirits moved to and fro, busy on some errand.
One, a woman, approached Jacob. "Hello."
"Hello. I'm dead, aren't I? It seems all like a vivid dream."
"It'll seem like that for a while, then it wears off. You're getting used to being dead during that time."
"What should I do?"
"Anything, really. Short of whatever requires a body."
Jacob laughed. "Yeah, I guess that's out of the question... say, I figure I'll be meeting with my relatives soon enough."
"Right you are. I'm your great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother."
"Wow. Yeah. Well, what about meeting some of the great people of history? They're dead, right?"
The woman laughed. "Which history do you want great people from? The history of the living tends to glorify the ruthless, the ones with great public relations teams. We have no respect for the likes of them here. They're still focused on their material gains, you know. Totally unable to adjust to the spiritual side of things."
"Well, what about the great men of peace?"
"They're here, but why not meet the people that they look up to?"
"Who would they be?"
"The great people of the history of the dead. There are people who have been dead for thousands of years whose thoughts are truly amazing. And to think that many of them lived lives of complete degradation as slaves, women, those who died as children... the world had no respect or thought for them, but here, among us, they can truly show their gifts. They teach us all lessons of love and compassion we never knew while alive. It's amazing."
Jacob smiled as he moved with his ancestor towards one of the great teachers of the dead. He'd already learned what success in life truly was made of.
by Dean Webb