died very suddenly in 1997. She was 62 years old. There was
no accident, no lingering illness, no strange happenstance.
She just went to sleep one night and woke up in the loving
arms of God.
so bitter that I blamed everyone. How dare God take my mother!
To my shame I turned from my prayers and my faith for quite
some time. But no matter how angry I was, I always felt the
presence of God because I spoke to him often. I would say
things like, "If you cared about me, you'd send me some kind
of sign." For this sign, I waited and waited.
was always close to my children. She was your typical overindulgent
Grandma. As a matter of fact, she was sort of the "Grandma"
figure to many children, not just her biological ones. I should
have been looking for my signs in these children because not
only were they there, they fairly screamed in my face. But
I was angry that those signs were not directed at me and so
I just didn't notice them.
my daughter and I were sitting in my kitchen. She had some
sort of crisis that she was telling me about. She had been
crying and was very upset about this particular thing when
all of the sudden she stopped in mid-sentence and took a deep
breath. Her tears stopped and she looked me directly in the
face and said, "Mom, its gonna be okay, Grandma's here. Smell
her?" Sure enough, I took a deep breath and all I could smell
was my mother's rose-scented perfume. Of course, I looked
for the obvious explanation: nearby rose bushes, an air freshener,
etc. There was nothing. That's when I started listening to
what my children and the others who thought of her as "Grandma"
were saying to me.
my Mother had loved her gardening. Her favorite flowers were
yellow roses. My brother had set out several rose bushes for
her before she died, bushes which had never bloomed. But the
year that she died, there were 62 blooms on the rose bushes,
a bloom for every year of her life! My nephew told me not
to be sad anymore. He said, "Aunt Katie, you know that Grandma
died on Nanny's birthday. [Nanny was my mother-in-law.] They
were such good friends that God gave Nanny a birthday present."
now, I can look out my kitchen window and see a spray of yellow
roses that no one planted, on the other side of the fence.
At the worst possible times in my life, I hear her voice softly
speak my name. Just a whisper, but in my heart I know it's
there. I feel her presence all around me, urging me to do
the things that I should and not to do the things that I shouldn't.
I thank God every day for the signs that I didn't see.
upon you and all who read this letter.
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