25: Heaven Sent

25: Heaven Sent

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels and Miracles

Heaven Sent

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.

~Maya Angelou

Cuddled on the couch, I wrapped my arms tightly around my preteen daughter, Amber, as she sputtered through gasps and sobs about Grandma Grace. “I just want to see her again. I want her to cuddle me. I want to hear her say that she could just squeeze me to bits.”

My teenage son, AJ, was observing with a numb look on his face. I guessed he needed to get away from the overwhelming sadness because he slowly walked upstairs.

My husband, Randy, sat near us, searching my face for signs of how to fix this. “Kleenex,” was all I could whisper through the lump in my throat.

He jumped at the chance to help.

Colbie Caillat began singing “Brighter Than The Sun” on the TV in the background. Amber lifted her head and calmed to listen. “Grandma’s favorite Colbie song,” she said.

The TV turned itself off and back on. The overhead lights dimmed slowly down while the dishwasher droned on, uninterrupted in the next room. Amber turned to look at me, her red, puffy eyes wide. “Grandma?”

Mom had officially died at 11:11p.m. on 11-11-11. She had waited until the only day when all five of her children were home and by her side, to pass. Her timing was extraordinary, almost orchestrated.

Eleven became a phenomenon following her passing, showing up repeatedly in bizarre ways. My toddler niece removed batteries from a clock at 11:11, and it stayed stuck. My sister lent out my mom’s ski jacket to a friend, and found an 11/11 lift ticket still attached.

Besides elevens, there had been several other oddities lately. Lights went on in the middle of the night, there were an abundance of butterflies everywhere, and random orbs appeared on home videos, darting sporadically in all directions.

I wanted to believe that Mom was around, but thought I was being silly. Perhaps I was so desperate to know she was okay that I mistook the hard-to-explain occurrences for spirit signs. My whole life I’d been taught that souls went to Heaven, never to be present with us until we passed ourselves.

Later that night, Randy and I discussed the possibility of an odd power surge at the very moment Amber had calmed . . . which only affected that room . . . and had never happened before. The theory seemed far-fetched, but so did an actual spirit sign.

The next morning, with the family off at work and school, my thoughts replayed the anomalies I’d encountered for months. One or two might be explained away, but there were literally dozens of peculiar instances. “Mom, it seems impossible that you’re really here,” I said out loud as I tidied up my house. “Please send something so obvious that I can’t deny it.”

I opened the dishwasher prematurely and steam rose, then disappeared. I knew water particles were still around me, just in a different form. I contemplated Mom’s new existence, one I could recognize without seeing.

Cleaning off my nightstand I found The Third Jesus, a Deepak Chopra book. A friend had lent it to me before Mom died, and I had only read a few pages back then.

I felt strangely compelled to open it again. The subtitle of the bookmarked page where I’d left off read, “Live with Grace.” My mother’s name. I was intrigued.

The second paragraph said, “Therefore the best way to live at this very minute is with the knowledge that grace is real, even if that knowledge is not truly present without a shift in consciousness.”

I reread the sentence three more times and put the book down, dumbfounded by its relevance. The key words replayed in my mind. Grace is real. Shift in consciousness.

I retrieved my cell phone from the kitchen to snap a picture of the sentence. The text message screen was up and words had been mysteriously typed in the box, “Kiss Kiss.”

Although it felt like another incredible sign, I considered logical explanations. Something must have hit my phone and auto-correct changed the words. But, no, the phone had been face up on a counter and it would take several taps to type something even close to “Kiss Kiss.” I hadn’t touched the phone in hours, and no one else was around.

Still, “Kiss Kiss” was not something my mom often said. Possibly never. If she was going to type something in my text box, surely she’d write something more recognizable.

The microwave made an unusual beep, pulling me from my thoughts. I looked up to see its clock flashing 11:11. It blinked on and off.

Things were finally too outlandish to explain away. I didn’t know what “Kiss Kiss” meant, but the flashing 11:11 told me I’d better pay attention.

I couldn’t wait to share my stories with my family. But at after school pick-up, both of my middle schoolers were overflowing with news about their day. Amber spoke first. “We had to do a district test today and write about a time we overcame something. I wrote about losing Grandma.”

AJ chimed in, “So did I.”

“Really? Seventh and eighth grade had the same prompt?” I asked. “Has that ever happened before?”

The kids said that it hadn’t.

“I cried when I was writing it,” Amber whispered.

“I did too,” AJ admitted., “I had to put my head down.”

My heart broke on the drive home as the children paraphrased what they had written. I wondered if Grandma had seen them writing and struggled herself, helpless to console them.

At home, I got out of the car and stopped for a group hug with my kids. A monarch butterfly fluttered nearby.

We walked as one toward the house. Amber leaned in, clasping her arms around my waist. AJ tilted his head onto my shoulder. Squeezing my kids, I leaned left to kiss AJ’s head and right to kiss Amber’s, and then stopped in my tracks, remembering “Kiss Kiss.”

“Did you take your tests at around eleven o’clock?”

“I think so — just before lunch.” AJ said.

“Yeah, mine was third period,” Amber added.

I closed my eyes and silently told Mom I finally believed.

I leaned left to kiss AJ again and then right to kiss Amber.

“Kiss. Kiss. Those are from Grandma.”

~Jeannie Powell

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