80: Heaven’s Mail

80: Heaven’s Mail

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven

Heaven’s Mail

A dream which is not interpreted is like a letter which is not read.

~The Talmud

I dialed the phone while wondering if it was too early to call. My sister, Jennifer, was away on vacation with her family and might not like my 8 a.m. interruption.

“Hello.” A groggy voice answered.

“Jennifer, it’s me, Joanne.”

“What’s wrong?” she asked, sounding more alert.

“Nothing is wrong,” I assured her. “Sorry about calling you so early, but I thought the kids might have you up by now.” My little sister was used to my pushy nature. Being the oldest of our four siblings, I enjoyed teasing them and pulling the bossy-older-sister card from time to time.

“None of us are up. The girls are still in bed.” She sighed and continued, “I don’t know about them, but I had a hard time getting to sleep last night. Lots of things going through my head…” She trailed off.

My sister was struggling to come to terms with our mother’s death months before. After a two-year battle with cancer, Mom left our world for Heaven at the age of fifty-four. We were still reeling from the shock of her illness, and the fact she wouldn’t be there for us to lean on, or to watch her grandchildren grow up.

Two years had been a bittersweet gift for me. I took advantage of the time to talk with Mom about as much as possible, including her death. I could see how it helped to speak with her, about things like what songs she wanted played at her funeral and how certain possessions needed to go to specific loved ones.

Sadly, my sister had none of these conversations with her. For two years Jennifer had been in denial.

Sure, she sat by like all four of us did and watched cancer transform our beautiful homecoming queen mom into a hollow shell of a person, but sadly, she never once spoke with her about dying. Mom worried about my sister and her anxiety about the whole situation. And in sparing her second child the tough conversations, Mom stunted grief’s healing process.

I went on, “I have to share a dream I had about Mom. Now that I have you on the phone, it seems quite silly.”

Actually, I’d debated about calling at all. The dream was so random it was borderline ridiculous. But it had been so vivid, so real, I felt compelled to share it.

I had Jennifer’s full attention. “What did you dream?”

“Okay, well…” I hesitated, feeling kind of foolish. “Mom walked up to me and was smiling. She looked beautiful. She said just one thing: ‘Tell Jennifer I loved what she wrote.’”

I rattled on, “I told you it was silly. Pretty out of the blue, huh? She really seemed to want me to give you that message.” I softly chuckled, and then realized there was only silence on the other end of the line.

“Hello, Jennifer, are you there?” I pressed the receiver against my ear and heard a soft hiccup and gentle sobbing. “Are you okay? I’m so sorry. I should’ve waited to call you later.” I figured my dream touched a tender place and quickly regretted my call. “I know you miss her, Jennifer.”

“It’s not that…” She sniffled and hiccupped again. “You’re not going to believe this, Joanne.”

Now she had my full attention.

“Last night I was having such a hard time falling asleep. I was tossing and turning, thinking about Mom and how I’d never talked with her about the important things.”

I stayed silent, letting her get out whatever it was that had her so upset.

She went on, her voice thick. “After Mom died, I wrote her a letter. I really poured my heart out to her and told her how sorry I was about some things. On the day of her funeral I placed that letter inside her coffin.” She softly blew her nose and continued. “Last night before I fell asleep, I prayed she could somehow read the words tucked away beside her.”

Tears ran down my cheeks as my dream came rushing back to me. It all made sense now—my mother’s gentle smile, her pleading eyes and request that I pass on a message to my little sister. I realized my mom’s words were far from random, and now it was me who was sobbing.

“Tell Jennifer I loved what she wrote.”

My mother’s message to her hurting child—a bittersweet gift spanning eternity and inspiring hope in both of her children.

~Joanne Kraft

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