CHAPTER SEVEN

Death is not the horrible thing everyone thinks it is. You are not punished for your sins; you do not suffer because of your mistakes. There is pain - the pain of the actual, physical death, the pain of leaving your loved ones. But this pain is not forever. I found this out one day about six years after my death.

My father, looking just like he had when I was young, came walking out of the clouds. "Daddy?" I whispered, unsure.

"Hello, my little Harmonica," he said. My father had died peacefully in his sleep. "Dance with me, sweetheart." He opened his arms, and for the first time since I'd died, I was enveloped in the warm folds of my father. We danced underneath the heavenly stars all night long.

Later, he explained his death to me. It had not been harsh or painful like mine. He'd known it was coming - he said good-bye to his family that night, resigned to the notion that he was going to die. He fell asleep peacefully, with a sense of warmth and serenity covering him like a blanket. He awoke in heaven, but he was not startled or afraid - he knew just what to do. And he came straight to me.

Everyone wants to die in their sleep, and I know, now, that it is so much easier.

Watching Chandler became more of a casual hobby than an obsession as the years wore on. I read his articles in the newspaper and laughed at his sarcasm, which, when honed, added to his talent as a writer.

Chandler did not date for a very long time after my death, but concentrated became a very successful writer. He was content with his life being his writing, his friends, and his family. A year after my death, he and his estranged father got together and worked things out. He also spoke to his mother more often.

The few dates he went on were very difficult to watch. His first was with Janice - yes, I said Janice. They bumped into each other at a grocery store in Chelsea five years after my death, and got to talking. She and Gary had divorced a few years before and she was a single mom again. They went out for dinner a few times and ended up in bed. I was almost sick with jealousy - Janice was making love to my husband. But for a while, she made him happy. And I guess that matters the most. They only went out for a few months before deciding to go their separate ways.

Chandler dated a few more girls that Joey set him up with, but he did not enjoy them, and soon gave women up altogether. He was not, as some people claimed, gay - he simply chose not to date anymore. I felt bad for him, sometimes, because he never again felt the love and passion we'd had. But sometimes that's just how things work.

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Twelve years later, I smiled down at my friends as they ate Thanksgiving dinner and Ross and Rachel's house.

Rachel and Ross got married, and before long, Rachel was pregnant again. They had two more children, both girls, born three and six years after Emma. They were named Brittany Monica and Juliana Jordan.

Joey and Phoebe also wed, two years later, and Phoebe had twin boys seven months later, Joshua and Jason.

This Thanksgiving, my friends were 43 or 44. Emma was 13, Brittany, Josh, and Jason were 11, and Juliana was 7. So many years had passed, so many important events, so many births and weddings and deaths.

Everyone thought I had missed it all. They were sad that I had never known my nieces and nephews, that I hadn't been part of their weddings. But I had not missed it. I had watched them through every moment of it. I cried when they had troubles and laughed when they were happy. I was as much a part of their lives as when I was alive - they just didn't know it.

I sat with my father and watched on this particular Thanksgiving. The clouds in my heaven had reappeared for the first time since my father's death, and I was worried. Something was going to happen today.

After they ate dinner, they all sat down to watch football. The men were cheering and drinking beer, and the kids were playing on the computer or watching with them.

Suddenly, Chandler's face changed. A tinge of blue appeared, and he clutched his chest. His muscles all seized up.

Emma was the first one to notice. "Uncle Chandler?" she said. "Uncle Chandler, what's wrong?"

"I can't breathe," he said. Everyone turned to look at him, and Rachel dove for the phone and started calling 911. "My - my chest hurts."

"Everything's going to be fine, Chandler," Phoebe said, taking his hand. "Just breathe deeply. There you go."

But Chandler couldn't breathe. His heart was slowing down - he was having a heart attack.

My mother took the kids out of the room, and my friends all stayed with Chandler and talked to him, comforted him, during his last seconds. The ambulance arrived minutes later, but he died on the way to the hospital.

Rachel, Ross, Phoebe, and Joey watched numbly as they covered my husband's body with a sheet and wheeled him away. Joey yelled out and reached for his best friend, refusing to accept he was dead. He collapsed into Phoebe's arms and sobbed, "He'd only 43... 43 year olds don't die of heart attacks..."

Once the shock had worn off, my friends realized it was time to tell their children. None of them had experienced any deaths except my father's, and most of them had been too young to really understand.

However, they had heard stories of me - beautiful, brave, sweet Aunt Monica. Their parents had all told them stories about me, about how I acted and how I lived and how much I would have loved them. They had given Emma the letter I wrote her on her thirteenth birthday. Chandler had even told her and Brittany about how we had hooked up, and they laughed for hours.

That day, Ross and Rachel brought Emma, Brittany, and Juliana into a waiting room and sat them down.

"Girls, we have something to tell you," Rachel began, trying to keep her voice steady. "Uncle Chandler had a heart attack and he... he..." she broke off, and Emma and Brittany, old enough to understand, looked terrified.

"He didn't make it," Ross finished for his wife. Brittany started crying and Emma sat back in shock.

"He's - dead?" she gasped.

"Yes, honey."

"What do you mean, dead?" Juliana asked, furrowing her brow.

"He's not coming home, Jules," Ross said, taking his daughter in his lap. "He's gone to sleep forever. He's in heaven now."

"With Aunt Monica?"

Rachel and Ross smiled, and I felt my heart jump.

"Yes, sweetheart. With Aunt Monica."

My friends would go home that day, trying to keep up a brave front for their children, but inside they would be crying - for they were once again grieving for their best friend.

I felt none of their pain. I bustled around heaven, as excited as I could possibly be. I even, for the first time, tried to make my outward appearance look good.

Because that's when he arrived.

I'll never forget the moment I saw my wife again. She walked up to me, grinning from ear to ear. I had just experience a whirlwind of events, and was utterly confused. But then, there she was. Glowing, literally shining.

Monica was an angel.

"Hi," she whispered.

"Hi," I said. "I thought I'd never see you again."

"You didn't need to worry," Monica whispered. "We'll be together forever." We kissed, for the first time in twelve years. "I've been watching you. Ever since I died. Whenever you felt me - I was really there. Watching you. From up in heaven."

"I love you, Monica," I whispered into her ear.

"I love you too, Chandler."

THE END

A/N: Thank you all for reading! I hope you enjoyed the end. I never considered bringing Monica back (those of you who read Lovely Bones know what I mean) but I thought this was a nice way to end it. I think I ended it well enough, though. Please give me your opinion, and watch for another new story that will hopefully be out soon! Thanks again.

Luv ya all,

Jen