97: A Heavenly Message

97: A Heavenly Message

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels and Miracles

A Heavenly Message

Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality.

~Emily Dickinson

My mother died in 2005, but she continues to visit with me very frequently. She suffered an agonizing death over five months from the effects of lung cancer.

After her diagnosis I spent time with my mom every day until her passing. During this time we made promises and gave one another comfort, shared laughter, tears and memories. We went through drawers and closets and turned trinkets into treasures and artifacts into legacies. We talked about life and we talked about death and the possibility of an afterlife. Mom promised that she would visit from that other world.

“But how will we communicate?” I asked.

“Our bodies are just pulses of energy; paranormal experiences are just pulses of energy that manifest themselves in some way through networks,” was her explanation. “I think we will be able to communicate through all things electrical,” she whispered through quivering lips, her eyes welling with tears.

A friend of mine, whose sister had succumbed to cancer the previous month, came to visit my mom. “Do you think your sister knew when she was going to die?” my mom queried.

“Absolutely,” he replied. “The day before she died, my sister asked her husband to call their children and tell them to come to the hospital as soon as possible. When the family had gathered my sister closed her eyes and passed away. She definitely knew when she was going to die,” he explained.

As happens with stage 4 cancer, my mom’s health deteriorated very rapidly. She was bedridden and she could not eat as her mouth was filled with thrush. Frail as she was, she continued to be an emotional paragon of strength, dispensing kindness and wisdom.

“It’s a funny thing, this life,” she said. “We started out so very poor, but your father and I worked, scrimped and saved. Now I have this big house and I can only exist in one room. The refrigerator is full of food and I cannot eat. I have a new car in the garage that I can’t drive and money in the bank that I’ll never spend. It’s not what you accumulate in this world that is important, it is how much we love one another that counts. Have no regrets, my darling,” she rasped.

As I sat holding her hand on December 31st Mom whispered to me, “Sweetheart, I think it’s time for me to change my address.”

Did she know that death was imminent? I could barely speak, trying to choke back tears as I made the appropriate phone calls to the necessary medical agencies to get Mom to the hospital. The stretcher service arrived and with decorum and grace my mother bade her home goodbye as she was wheeled out into the waiting van.

Mom remained lucid and interacted with us for a couple of hours after her arrival at the hospital and then quietly slipped into a very deep sleep. At midnight, fireworks rocketed across the sky and welcomed 2005. The window of her hospital room provided the perfect vantage point for the shimmering explosions of color and light as they burst into the midnight sky. In her slumber, I knew she could not see the symbols of gaiety and hope. My fingers encircled her soft, limp hand as I watched the sky alight with glimmering streaks of gold, silver, green, red and blue. I wished that the comets could whisk her skyward to heaven and bring a painless peace for her soul.

When my sister came to relieve me from my watch, I went home and had a fitful sleep. My deceased grandma and grandpa came to me in my dreams. Did they come to comfort me or was I thinking of them because I felt impending death? Were they letting me know that they were ready to welcome their daughter to heaven? Was their visit a premonition, or was I simply having a dream?

I got out of bed, and welcomed the new day—the New Year—with a shower. Then I brewed a pot of coffee and put a bran muffin into the microwave oven to defrost. I keyed the appropriate buttons, and suddenly, there was a short burst of flames and a puff of smoke inside the cavity of my two-month-old microwave oven. The flame vanished and the smoke dissipated. Then the microwave oven ceased to operate.

Moments later the phone rang. My sister sobbed on the other end of the line. “She’s gone.”

The day my mom died, I plugged a miniature candle-shaped night light into an electrical socket in my bedroom. It illuminates when the room is darkened. After getting into bed and extinguishing my bedside lamp, I would watch its steady glow and feel my mother’s warmth envelop me. It glowed steadily in the darkness for about one year. Then it stopped lighting in the darkened room.

Soon after, it began to flicker in the dimly lighted room, just before I turned off my bedside lamp. I would watch it for extended periods of time and as soon as I turned off the lamp, the flickering ceased. I would turn the lamp back on and the flickering resumed. Was my mother trying to communicate with me? How could I possibly interpret the intermittent flashes of light?

One evening, I was having dinner with my father-in-law who had been a Flight Lieutenant in the Armed Forces. One of his “secret missions” was working out of Duluth, Minnesota, following up on reports of UFO sightings. Although he could not share any details of his mission, the conversation turned to the subject of Morse code. He joked that perhaps the aliens would communicate with us in Morse code. I didn’t know much about Morse code, but he explained to me that it was used to communicate information as a series of on-off tones, lights, or clicks. Each letter or numeral was represented by a unique sequence of dots and dashes.

Using my computer I researched Morse code. For months I studied the series of dots and dashes until I understood the sequencing. Then, for days I watched the tiny electric candle flame flicker in my dimly lit bedroom. Finally, I was able to follow the flickering with some semblance of order: “.. .-.. — . ..-”

I copied the signals onto a notepad and after several attempts realized that I was writing the dashes and dots over and over again in the same pattern. I studied the pattern, trying to find a beginning and an end. “I-l-o-v-e-u” — the symbols repeated over and over again. I leaped from my bed and put my trembling fingers over the flickering light. I love you too, Mom.

~Sheryn Smith

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