After filling her parents in on her childhood, her college years, her failed marriage, her quiet existence over the last decade and finally her latest adventures in this alternate world, she told them of her sibling’s lives. Throughout, they shared laughs and tears. Ember was breathless after all the remembrance. She let out a long breath and leaned back on the bench to look at her parents. She wanted to pinch herself to make sure this was real. Who knew talking could be so exhausting. She felt as though she had just run a marathon, and yet she was exhilarated at the same time. God, it was good to see them. It was to touch them, to hear their voices, to just be near them. It was what every orphaned child dreams of and never thinks will actually come to pass. This was a gift. As she sat watching them, she realized what a gift it was and how that had changed something in her. It made her more aware of herself. Grant smiled at her; that knowing, proud father smile. It was infectious. She looked over to see her mother was also smiling. She realized her cheeks were sore, because she had been smiling the entire time.
Several moments of silence had passed and they still all sat contently basking in each other’s presence. Marissa squeezed Ember’s hand and they both glanced down at their entwined hands and laughed. Neither had let go the entire time. Grant leaned forward and placed his hands around theirs, “I wish we could hold this moment for eternity. Unfortunately for your mother and me, your time here will end soon. You will have to continue your journey. There is so much out there for you to experience and learn; and then there will be much for you and your siblings to do. Their world is about to change and they will need you to lead them.”
“Wait…lead? I’m not a leader. Flossy, she’s always the leader. And Wyndel, he would be a great leader.”
“Ember, you are a leader. You just haven’t embraced that part of yourself.” Marissa stated. “Each of you has an element at your core. You are fire! That influences your gifts but it also is who you are. You are the embodiment of passion,” she paused and smiled, when Ember blushed. “Yes, our little firefly, you possess passion in the physical sense, but passion rules many things, as does your fire. You have the ability to engage others. You can sway people to your causes and your beliefs because your passion seeps out and they get swept away. This is a wonderful gift, but if not tempered can harm. In your work, you help people. You are able to calm them because you care. Because you want to help them and make their life easier, better. That is one of your passions and they feel it even though they don’t realize it.”
Grant continued, “You have a strong gift with animals. Normally this is a gift only possessed by those of the earth element. It has developed strongly in you because your love of creatures is so strong. They feel it and are drawn to be near you. Although you tend to hide yourself away, people have the same reaction to you. They are drawn to you, yet confused because they feel pushed away at the same time. This is because you don’t embrace that part of yourself. You are not yet comfortable with all the attention that can bring, so you send mixed signals. You must become comfortable in your own skin and let go of your fears. This is your destiny. You can change the world. You will need to change the world for it to survive and flourish. That is why you are here.”
“What if you are wrong? What if I fail? What if I don’t want this?” Ember had stopped smiling for the first time.
“It is not up to you or about what you want. This is your destiny. This is what all your previous lives have been leading up to,” her mother explained.
“Whoa! Previous lives? What previous lives?” Ember shook her head in denial.
“Your soul is very old, in human terms. Your consciousness has existed for an eternity and will continue on for an eternity unless your fire is snuffed out. We do not die, except in our physical form. There is no beginning and no end. It is all a journey. Death is an illusion; merely a transition to another state. But there is a force that is trying to create true death. This cannot happen or we all cease to be. That will be your ultimate battle. Our family was chosen a very long time ago to wage this war. You, your brother, your sisters and your aunt are the warriors that must save eternity. Without you, there is nope hope and hope is everything.” Grant had gotten solemn as he told her these things.”
He continued, “You must learn how to open yourself to your passed incarnations and your future lessons. Then you must help your siblings embrace their gifts and help them open up their potential. You are all like pieces of a puzzle. Together you make each other whole. You balance the universe. First you must obtain that balance in yourself as they must. You must help them find themselves and what their gifts are and how to use them. You must learn to temper your abilities. They are part of your essence but you can't rely on them too much. They make things easier and it will be tempting to always fall back on them, but part of this journey will be learning when to use a gift and when to push through and use other ways.”
“Sometimes that even means accepting defeat and failure,” Marissa added. “Do not fear these, for they serve a purpose as well.”
The weight of what they were telling her was hard to comprehend. She wanted to ask questions. ‘Like why me?’ yet was unable to ask anything. Her mind was trying to wrap around it but it all seemed so vague. What did it mean? She liked answers, concrete, ‘this is what it is’. How could she put this in her little categories, her boxes? Part of her wanted to cry. Part of her wanted to scream, ‘NO! I want to go back to my simple little boring life.’
“My dear sweet girl, I know this is overwhelming even incomprehensible right now. You will understand as you go forward on this journey. Things will fall into place and you will be fine. Better, you will become your destiny. I see it,” Marissa stated, with tears filling her eyes. “That is one of my gifts. Don’t let these silly tears alarm you; they represent the pride I have in who you have become and who you are yet to be.”
Ember realized that she too had tears leaking from her eyes. Her father caught one as he stood and pulled her into his arms.
He whispered, “Pumpkin, I believe in you.” He kissed her forehead and opened his arm to gather Marissa into their embrace. They held on to each other for a moment, before Ember pulled back slightly.
“It’s time, isn’t it?”
Brushing her daughter’s hair away from her face, Marissa said, “It is. I hope that we will have another time together, but for now you must continue on.”
Grant added, “There are so many things I wish I could tell you. I wish I could watch over you on this journey but my place, our journey is to help those here. Our hearts and our thoughts will be filled with pride and occasionally worry, because you are parents. This time with you has been a gift to us. If we are so blessed, maybe we will hear of your travels and triumphs.”
Marissa chuckled, “Your father will live vicariously through his imagination of your journeys. As rewarding as helping others through their time here is, it is often times not as exciting as he would have it. Just remember who you are and embrace it. If you must be sad after you leave, let it be for only a moment, for you carry a part of us in your heart and you will understand all when the time is right for you to. Come, we will walk with you to the edge of the Dew.”
With her father on her left and her mother on her right, they began to walk. Ember wanted so desperately to say something, anything, but her mind was spinning and would not allow the words to come. As they walked, she noticed shapes of people and animals would come into to focus. Some seem to pass them or cross in front of them. Some seem to appear and then fade away. It was like walking in nothingness. It was neither dark nor light. It just was which confused the senses. They held hands as they walked in silence, just enjoying each others presence. After a time, they touch seemed lighter, and as Ember looked down at their hands, she noticed that theirs had become somewhat translucent. Alarmed she wanted to stop, but her feet kept going.
“No. I’m not ready yet.” As she thought the words, she realized that she was alone. She looked to either side but could not see them. In her mind, she heard them say in unison, “We love you, Ember. There is no goodbye.”
Still her feet kept moving. It was mindless motion that propelled her into what seemed like nothing, yet she was beginning to understand that soon she would be at her next destination. She smiled, not because she knew what that place would be, or that she understood any of this. She smiled because she knew they believed in her, so she would bravely take on … whatever was coming.