2: Make Sure You Come Too

2: Make Sure You Come Too

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven

Make Sure You Come Too

A little faith will bring your soul to heaven, but a lot of faith will bring heaven to your soul.

~Author Unknown

This story was written and documented during our daughter Susan’s illness and death years ago. Today I realize the impact these circumstances had on each member of our family. By faith we look forward one day to see Jesus, Susan and angels in Heaven.

 

•••

Our seven-year-old daughter Susan lies in the ICU drifting between some unknown place and reality. For a brief moment Susan opens her eyes, looks at me and asks, “Who was that man that was just here?”

“Do you mean Daddy?” I ask.

“No. Shhh, here he comes again.” Susan closes her eyes and again is gone.

When she comes to the next time, I ask. “Suze, what does the man look like?”

“Just see for yourself,” she says. “Here he comes again. I’m going back and fly.” I glance around the room. No one is in sight.

I run for help. “Something is happening to Susan,” I call out. “I think she’s dying.”

After taking her vital signs, the nurse says, “Look at her. Susan’s radiant. Her eyes are glowing. She is fine.”

Susan had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor several months before. I had fallen on my knees and prayed that night, “Are you there, God? If you hear me, please give our family strength for whatever we face.” Everything I had learned in church for years no longer mattered. I needed to find God for myself.

Leaving the hospital this Sunday afternoon, I sense maybe God heard my cries. Susan had given me a message.

“Your daughter may never walk,” the neurosurgeon tells us the day we take our little girl home.

In a few short weeks we watch Susan rise up to stand and practice taking one step at a time until she walks a straight line without help. Soon she pushes her crutches aside. “Get those things out of here. I’ll do it myself,” she shouts.

I sense my prayers are being heard. While bathing Susan one morning, she says, “Love is the splendid way of taking care of someone.”

Uncertain of what I heard, I ask, “What did you say, Suzy?”

“Love is the splendid way of taking care of someone.” Susan’s messages stymie me, but they have spiritual implications.

Susan’s physical body begins to fail after weeks of setbacks, but inwardly Susan grows more vibrant.

I search my grandmother’s old Bible for answers to questions about God. I read scripture to Susan in the morning. When I read that Jesus is the light, she says, “We’re following the light. Right, Mum?”

Are we following the light? I wonder. I continue petitioning God.

Weeks pass — weeks of treatments, germ-free tents, blood transfusions and a second surgery. Again Susan confounds the doctors by learning to walk once more. She never loses her ability to think or speak clearly. She appears well as she sits on the living room floor playing board games with her sister and brother. Suddenly she begins crying. “I want to go back and fly again.”

“You wouldn’t want to leave Michael, Kristen, Daddy and Mummy.”

“Yes, I would,” Susan says.

“But we would miss you,” I say, hugging her close.

“Okay,” Susan announces, hops up and returns to play. This idea of flying has never left Susan.

After twenty-one months of her illness, Susan’s body falters for the third time. She loses her sight and use of her right arm and leg and lies paralyzed, but speaks fluently and is overflowing with joy.

“Mumzy-Poo,” she shouts from her bed, using her favorite nickname for me and following it with a giggle. She raises her functional arm. With one pointed finger, she announces, “I’m having a birthday party soon. I’m inviting all my friends to my party next week. It’s going to be the biggest party ever.”

“It’s only June 18th,” I say. “Your birthday is July 3rd.”

“That’s too long to wait,” she says. I try to pretend I never heard her.

But the next message, I hear clearly.

“The angels were in my room last night,” she says matter-of-factly.

Trying to sound nonchalant, I ask, “What did they do?”

“They came down to me.”

Remembering Susan’s earlier claims of flying, I ask, “Where did the angels go?” Expecting a lengthy tale, I wait.

Susan smiles and points toward the ceiling. “They went up and were gone.”

Angels! How do they relate to Susan’s faith in God? The concept of angels in close proximity to Susan bothers me.

I justify Susan’s encounter by telling myself that God knows what she needs. Maybe cherubs floating around entertain Susan and help her. But she isn’t finished sharing with me.

“You know what, Mummy?”

“What?”

“I had a pair of wings once. They were orange. I’m getting a new pair real soon. This time they’re going to be yellow.” Light streams from her blind eyes. Does she expect me to receive this information happily? The idea of wings, flying, angels and any reference to these curious beings directly relating to Susan tear at my heart. Speechless, I hide my tears, but Susan senses my gravest fear.

“Come here, Mumzy,” she commands. Flinging one arm around my neck in the strongest of embraces, she whispers a consolation. “My poor Mummy. Don’t worry. It’s okay.” Silently I weep, comforted by my little girl.

On June 19th, I tiptoe into the bedroom. Susan appears to be sleeping soundly. She moves slightly. “Mummy,” she says softly. “When they take me out of here tonight, make sure you come too.”

“You’re not going anywhere, Suze. Mummy will be right here beside you.”

Her words hardly fade before she slips back to sleep.

I am awakened in the early morning on June 20th by a jolt. I glance over to see a contorted look on Susan’s face. “Suze? Are you okay?” I ask, lightly brushing her forehead. “Suze, I’m here. Mummy’s right here.” No response. Again her body jerks. “Susan? Susan?” With each call I grow more frantic. Taking her hand and falling on my knees by the bedside, I pray.

With the rays of early morning light beaming downward, I kiss Susan goodbye in the ambulance. I kiss her one last time before letting go. As I bend to step onto the sidewalk, Phil climbs up to meet me. “She’s gone,” he whispers, as if he had known how this trip would end.

“Yes.”

I wait on the pavement and watch Phil tenderly say his farewell to his precious princess before backing out to stand beside me in grief.

For days, weeks and years later, I remember Susan’s messages. Each carries a comfort. Susan was right. “Just see for yourself,” she had told me. God carried me through heartache, gave me strength and brought me to faith to see Christ for myself. He showed me a glimpse of what Heaven is like with angels flying.

Susan left us before her ninth birthday. I envisioned her enjoying her biggest birthday party ever with the angels. I think of her today with a new pair of yellow wings. I can almost see her face radiant, her eyes glowing in the light of the splendid love of Christ. Today I am reminded of Susan’s last words to me on earth. “Make sure you come too,” she said.

“I will make sure I come too, Suzy,” I whisper.

~Phyllis Cochran

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