52: A Walk with Thelma

52: A Walk with Thelma

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels and Miracles

A Walk with Thelma

The best reason for having dreams is that in dreams no reasons are necessary.

~Ashleigh Brilliant

“You look radiant,” I squealed, locking my arm through Thelma’s as we strolled down the cobblestone sidewalk. “Look at you. You don’t seem ill at all — you positively glow!”

Like a couple of schoolgirls we giggled and caught up on the past few years. It felt incredible seeing Thelma again. Thelma was eighty-nine, decades ahead of me, but our age difference didn’t matter. Our friendship had blossomed from the moment we set eyes on each other.

As we walked, I felt so relieved that Thelma appeared healthier than ever. “You know, Thelma,” I said, “yesterday, I had the strongest feeling I should phone you.”

Although the cozy little shops beckoned us, window-shopping could wait for another day. We were too enthralled, asking questions, and catching up with each other. The path that had seemed so long suddenly ended and we found ourselves standing alone before a green pasture.

“It’s that time,” Thelma announced.

After hugging, we clung to each other, our eyes full of tears. I wanted to hold her forever. “I know you know, that even though I don’t call as often as I should, I love and miss you a lot,” I said, embracing her once more.

“I do know you love me,” Thelma answered softly. “I love you too.”

“We’ve got to do this more often,” I cried. “I promise I’ll come see you soon.”

I’ll never forget the love on Thelma’s face. Her expression reminded me what I already knew in my heart, that there wasn’t going to be another visit with her. Thelma’s misty eyes gleamed as she grabbed my hand one last time and then gently let go as she faded away into the light.

And in that instant I woke up, brushing the tears from my face, knowing that I would never see Thelma again because I had received a call from her son, earlier that same morning, informing me that Thelma had passed away.

Upon hearing of Thelma’s death, a feverish guilt consumed me all day. If only I’d followed through with visits or heeded my gut and called her the day before she died. “There’s always tomorrow,” I assured myself, but Thelma’s tomorrows had run out and I hadn’t even said goodbye. When I needed her most, Thelma’s love reached me in my dream so that I could try and move past my guilt.

~Jill Burns

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