Remember I had seen the feather? I got my message.
Yesterday after work I went to Kroger to pick up my husband’s meds. While waiting, I picked up a book from a nearby shelf and began to thumb through it to kill some time. The title was catchy, but several paragraphs into it, that’s where it ended…. still,bored without other options- I read on until my name was called. Eager to be on about my way, I hopped up and rushed to put the book back on the shelf. When I did so, another fell and hit the floor. Harried, I bent to pick it up and in doing so saw the title and the author: unfinished business by James Van Praaugh- What the Dead Can Teach Us About Life.
No doubt about it- that was a sign, so I decided to keep the book.
When I got home, I laid the book down and set about making dinner. My husband likes to spend time together at the end of the day and because so much of it gets eaten up by work, school and writing – I try to go out on the boat, go fishing or watch some TV with him after dinner. As fate would have it, the weather was not conducive to outdoor activities and nothing descent was on but guy shows–so I made him a deal. He could watch his “guy” shows, if I could read my new book. His only request was that I do it on the couch next to him. Done deal, I began to read. Hours later I was tired and so carried myself off to bed. As usual, I wished Charley a good night and then in keeping with the reading material- I looked at the photo of my parents on my nightstand and secretly told them I loved them and that I missed them terribly- especially my mother, as I had been feeling so disconnected from her for some time.

Last night she came to me in a dream. She told me about her heart attack and how she was unable to control the time and could not wait for me to get there at the hospital before she had to move on. She told me that she knew how hard I had tried to get there- that she loved me- that my father was fine and that I should forgive myself for not being there at her side. We spoke of other things and then she kissed me goodbye and was gone. Following the advice in the book from the night before about dreams ad messages from afar- I got out of bed and recorded the events, then went back to bed and tried to recapture her in another dream.

For years I have been beating myself up for those 31 minutes that kept me from my mother’s side at death. For weeks I have been beating myself up for not knowing how best to begin the book. Not that I don‘t know what the story is about- that’s not the point. It was the opening that had me stalled and that I was still uncertain of the voice. Should it be written as historical fiction, a thriller or should I just write the truth and let the chips fall where they will? Today I found the perfect voice and it is my own. Had my mother not come to talk to me last night, I might never have gotten the right words to start.

Tonight after several hours at the laptop, I sat down to read more of my new book. I began by finishing the chapter I had fallen asleep during the night before and then turned the page and smiled. Why? Because, the words on the next page were the very same words my mother had used in her visit, when asking me to forgive myself for not being at her side when she passed. I read the remaining pages with tears in my eyes and thought about the fact that I had used my connection through Charley to heal both my mother and myself of a terrible regret. Confident now in my path for the book and grateful that a weight had been lifted from my heart, I whispered a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to my darling mother who I know hears my every word.
A Gardenia for you mother darling.
I love you…and dad…and Charley.
Good night.

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