58: Purple Roses

58: Purple Roses

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven

Purple Roses

The past is behind us, love is in front and all around us.

~Terri Guillemets

I have been fortunate to have not lost too many people to death in my thirty-three years. However, two people I was close to have passed away. And I know for a fact they each are watching over me, as they have sent me very specific signs.

My maternal grandmother Ida Weiss passed away at the age of fifty-seven from pancreatic cancer when I was two years old. I do not have any conscious memories of her, yet I feel now, and always have felt, an extremely strong connection to her. My grandfather had bought her a necklace when she was ill — a diamond studded chy, the Jewish symbol for “life.” When she died, it was passed down to my mother.

When I was twenty-six, I was struggling with my health. My mother gave me the diamond chy necklace to wear every day, hoping it would somehow help me heal. And I did wear it every day for a long time. Then shortly before my wedding, in the fall of 2004, I went to a woman who provided Reiki and acupressure treatments to people who are ill. She told me, prior to the session, that she was a “little bit psychic” and asked me if I wanted her to tell me if she picked up on anything. I agreed.

As she worked near my neck and head, while I had my grandmother’s chy on, she asked if my grandmother was still alive. I did not say yes or no, but “Why do you ask?” She said, “There is a middle-aged woman standing right by your head who claims to be your grandmother.” I was shocked.

As interesting, scary, confusing and wonderful as that was, she then asked if my father was still alive. Again, I did not say yes or no, just asked why. She said an older man, with gray hair and a beard, was there and calling me his daughter. She also said he was telling her there would be purple roses on my wedding cake. I laughed at that, because we had made it clear to the caterer and the florist that we did not want flowers on our wedding cake. So I blew that off. But on our wedding day, my new husband and I walked into the reception ballroom to check everything before the guests came in. The first thing that caught my eye, and made my heart leap and eyes water, were the real purple roses on every layer of our wedding cake.

I was not angry. I was a bit confused. The florist told me, “I usually give my brides their ‘throw bouquet’ for free. But since you aren’t doing that, I decided to give you free purple roses on your cake, as my gift to you.” It was then I knew those flowers were from Jim, my late father-in-law — his way of letting us know he was still with us, most especially that day.

As far as the “old man insisting I was his daughter” during the Reiki session, I absolutely believe it was Jim. The man she described matched how Jim had looked. And when I first met my husband, Jim was sick with cancer. I was blessed to get to know him and spend over a year with him before his passing. At the end of his life, when he was still speaking a bit, he said to me, “You have been a wonderful daughter.” I thought he was confused, that he truly thought I was his daughter. But when I brought it up with his wife, she said, “No, he was not confused. He knows you will end up with his son, and therefore he considered you to be his daughter.”

I am not sure what I believe happens after death. As a healthcare professional, part of me wonders if we die and that is the end of it. But part of me also believes in reincarnation — that each soul comes back as many times as it takes to learn the lessons it needs to learn before going to “heaven,” if there is a type of heaven. However after these experiences, I believe, no matter what happens when we die, the people we loved the most, who miss us and think of us, do stay with us. They watch over us, sometimes going out of their way to make sure we know they are still there with us.

Perhaps much of this was coincidence, or lucky guesses, or some other logical conclusion. It does not matter. What matters is that I believe with all my heart that my late grandmother and late father-in-law were with me at those times. I wish everyone “purple roses” from departed loved ones, for knowing they are still with us is the greatest gift in the world.

~Tracey Miller Offutt

Editor’s note: Unfortunately, Tracey passed away unexpectedly before the publication of this book. Her husband Jason reports: “Whenever I look at pictures of her on the computer, I get a cold, tingling sensation across my shoulders, the same sensation I would get when she used to hug me from behind, as I sat in the same computer chair.”

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