Friday, February 13, 2015


My Mother on her 86th Birthday


The day my mother passed away peacefully in my arms just a month after her 86th birthday, was one of the most anguishing days that crushed my heart. I had been her caregiver in the last years of her long and meaningful life. I had become very close to my mother in my mature years and learned to appreciate all that she was.

The day of her funeral was a blur with so many people attending. In her 87th year, that is a remarkable thing when so many come to say goodbye. She had left an indelible mark on all those she had touched. She loved and was loved as the gentle kind woman who gave so unselfishly of her being.

It was a cloudy day. The grey skies matched the somber mood during the funeral mass. Afterwards, people returned to the house for the reception, As my brother and I joined others in the garden and on the balcony we looked up. A strong beam of sunshine smiled on our faces directly over the house. In all directions, those impenetrable clouds surrounded the one spotlight from the sun that shone down on the little home that my mother loved. It was a surreal moment that took everyone by surprise. That was the first sign. I took it as mother's way of thanking everyone for their kind words and thoughts on this the celebration of her life.

Mom Rests on Bench at Front Door
For anyone who has lost a loved one knows the pain after the mourners leave and move on with their lives as it should be. It is such a desperately lonely moment left with our grief. Whether or not you believe in spirits or are Doubting Thomas's, this next unexplained occurrence might sway your beliefs in the hereafter.

It was roughly two weeks after the funeral when I cried myself to sleep hugging my mother's robe. At exactly 3 am in the blackness of night, I was awoken to a voice coming from within the bedroom closet. I recognized the voice as I raised my head from the pillow, confused but strangely not fearful. No, it wasn't a voice from the grave entirely. And no, I wasn't dreaming it. It was my aunt's voice and she is very much alive. Strange indeed but I will explain.

Years ago it was popular to give greeting cards with a recorded message inside. When you opened the card up, it played the message. My mother always held onto special cards she squirreled away as keepsakes. She only kept this one particular voice card with a cheery Merry Christmas message from my dear Aunt Nancy. They were very close and not just as sisters-in-law but more like siblings. The message recorded was: "Hello Barbara, (my mother's name) I'm wishing you a Merry Christmas." Then the tune would start..."We Wish You a Merry Christmas....."

At 3 am that morning the card began to play the recorded message. I noted the time by looking at my alarm clock. I rolled out of bed and went to the large walk in closet in search of the voice. After lifting several boxes of clothes, personal papers and the like, I came to the closed lid box that contained my mother's greeting cards. Digging through the pile of cards I finally laid my hands on the card repeating the message from years ago. I was curious but had a suspicion that it was my late mother's doing.

I returned the card back into the plastic box in which it was contained and piled the other cards on top of it. All the other boxes were stacked over it in their original order.

Then on the same day, at exactly 3 am a week later, that same card woke me from my light sad sleep. "Hello Barbara" it began again.... This time I dashed out of bed and ran to the closet. I threw all the boxes off and rummaged through the one containing that particular card. It was still playing even though it was closed shut and not triggered to play by physically opening it up. I spread the covers of the card open to allow full volume of the voice message that was drawing me closer. It was the first time I had smiled since the funeral. There was no mistaking it. I was convinced my mother was trying to send me a message that she was very happy in her new eternal life and wanted to make certain I got it. I looked up at the ceiling and said "OK mom, I know you are with me. Thank you for letting me know."

Several months later as I told this story to a few close friends they thought it was somewhat creepy. Many asked if I was at all frightened. I emphatically told them I wasn't. I was at peace and not in the least afraid. I decided to collect the box that contained the voice card and show them. As I opened up the card, no sound came forth, then, or ever again. Coincident. I think not.

I believe that sometimes we receive subtle messages to ease our sorrow. These moments can give us inner strength knowing that good souls watch over us.

Sherri, myself, Barbara Hosken, Connie
our Friday luncheons