One year ago today, at just about the time I’m writing this, I had just landed in Los Angeles, California. I was with my son and three grandchildren. We had just arrived back from being in Texas for my daughter-in-law’s funeral. We were all raw and exhausted. I was trying to be strong for my son, who had, just days before, buried his wife and for my grandchildren who still did not even remotely comprehend what death really was.
As soon as the plane landed, my son’s cell phone rang. The call was for me. They’d been trying to reach me for hours, but I had no cell reception in the airports or airplanes we’d been in all day. My younger sister, my only sibling, had died very unexpectedly that morning. I think I may have cried out in anguish before the sobs started. I know I had to hand the phone back to my son because I couldn’t speak any longer.
Blessings started to happen for me shortly after I got off of that plane. We got the luggage and I helped my son get his three kids and all of the belongings to the car in remote parking. Then he drove me back to the airport, where I called a dear friend, Sandy for help. She did not hesitate. If it had not been for the kindness and generosity of Sandy and her husband, Tony I would not have been able to return to Texas for my sister’s funeral. I can never repay the debt of gratitude I feel for them. I was booked on a flight in a couple of hours.
I was able to talk to family members and friends while I waited for the departure time. It was amazingly comforting just to hear their voices. Then, a man sitting next to me told me that he had over heard my conversation and he wanted to tell me that my sister was OK. That he had had a heart attack a few years back and had seen “the light” that we often hear stories about. He said it wasn’t frightening at all. That he felt amazing love and he had not wanted to come back to “life”. He told me that he was sure it would have been the same way for my sister. That was a great comfort to me. I don’t even know the man’s name, but we talked for quite a while. He was very kind.
I got back to my own home around 1 or 2 am, I think. I don’t really even remember. I do know that I was up and on the road down toward Houston early the next morning.
I needed to be with my mother and my sisters’ husband and her three children. I don’t know why our families had to lose these precious women while each was so young. I don’t know why we had to lose them so very close together. It was almost more than we could bear and it was definitely more than we could understand, but we have all survived it.
This last year has been difficult, as you can imagine. It’s been varying degrees of difficult for each person on each day. Life has changed for the spouses, the children, my momma and myself. I’m sure it’s changed for extended family and friends also because I’ve lost friends and I know it does change you. I hope we’ve come through the worst of it, although I know that there will be other rough days and we’ll never get totally over their loss. We will continue to survive and even thrive.
One thing that has helped me personally through the last year is finding the heart-shaped rocks (and seeing heart-shaped clouds). You may think I’m totally nuts, and you are entitled to your opinion, but I do think that my dear sister Teresa’s spirit showed each one to me. I felt love when I found them. Most of the times that I found one, I had either been thinking of Teresa, talking out loud to her or I had just done something related to one of her family members (like the day I forgot to mail her son’s birthday card and made a second trip to the post office just to get it in the mail — my oldest granddaughter has that rock, it’s not pictured). All of the rocks in this photo are ones that I’ve found in the last year. All but one was found in the walkway from my house to my car. My grandchildren found three of these I think, one of them being the rock that says dad.
I have felt the love. I’ve felt it from friends who helped us in so very many ways when we lost Misty and then again when we lost Teresa. I’ve felt it from family. I’ve felt it from my sister. I’m sure of it.