98: The Telephone

98: The Telephone

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven

The Telephone

A sister is God’s way of proving He doesn’t want us to walk alone.

~Author Unknown

“Sue, listen to me.” I pleaded with my twin sister. With tears in my eyes I took another sip of my strong hot coffee and tried to convince my sister once again to contact my neighbor, Nellie.

I leaned forward in my chair facing the floral sofa where Sue often sat when she stopped by for morning coffee. “Remember when I told you about my neighbor, Nellie? Please,” I begged. “Go see her!”

Morning conversations with my sister were nothing new. We had been doing this for years. We lived in the same town. So getting together for coffee in the morning was easy.

Many times after taking my children to the bus stop in the morning, I returned to my house and would hear Sue’s cheerful voice leaving a message on my answering machine. “Hey Donna, just put the kids on the bus. Thought I’d stop by for a cup of coffee. Give me a call.”

We cherished our morning chats. We talked about our families, faith and current events. We shared recipes, home decorating ideas and any concerns we might have. We gave each other advice and comfort.

One morning I shared with Sue an amazing story about Nellie. My friend Denise had shared the story with me. Sue was fascinated. But now she didn’t seem to remember Nellie or the story at all.

Sadness filled my voice. I took a deep breath and reminded Sue again, “Denise told me when her mom passed away after a long illness that Nellie, our neighbor, whom I had never met, called Denise on the phone late one night. Nellie said, ‘Denise, your mom just came to see me. She wants me to tell you, thank you for taking such good care of her.’ Denise told me Nellie was a medium.”

“Sue, are you listening to me?” But of course I only heard silence. How could I know if Sue heard me or not when she had passed away two months ago?

I thought back to the morning when Sue phoned me early, canceling our coffee date. “Hey Donna, I’m not feeling well today. I have a bit of a headache. Let’s catch up later.”

But we never did. Within the hour Sue had a massive stroke and passed away a few days later.

Now I sat alone in the family room and drank the last drops of my coffee. I felt foolish sitting there and talking to an empty sofa and yet I had so much to say.

“Suzy, I miss you so much,” I said aloud. “I have so much to tell you. We finished the bathroom upstairs. Remember I was decorating it in a Bermuda beach theme? It’s pink, bright and beautiful! I wish you could see it. You would love it.”

I continued. “I bought Stephanie a heart locket for her birthday. I had it engraved with ‘I Hope You Dance,’ your favorite song.” Sue had three young children. Stephanie was the oldest who had just turned sixteen. I chose a gift that I imagined Sue would have selected for her if she could.

“I wish I knew if you could hear me!” I began to sob. “Are you there? Are you okay?”

I did not mention to anyone, including Denise, that I was begging my deceased sister to go to Nellie. I really wanted to appear strong for my family and friends. Yet privately I continued to send up this prayer of desperation. My faith had always been strong, but now I needed some confirmation. I needed to hear from my sister!

Exhausted, I got up. I wiped my tears, picked up my coffee mug and placed it in the kitchen sink. I walked through the house and gently picked up my sister’s red and black sweater that I kept on my chair. I gave it a hug. It gave me comfort. I could still smell her Vanilla Fields perfume. “I wish you were here, Sue,” I whispered.

Later in the week, I was resting on my bed. It had been another rough day of dealing with my grief. “Please God,” I prayed. “Help Sue connect with Nellie.”

Suddenly the phone rang. “Hi Donna, this is Nellie. You don’t know me but I’m a friend of your friend Denise.” My heart leaped!

“Oh yes, I know all about you!” I said. My heart was pounding.

“Do you know about my gift?” Nellie asked cautiously.

“I do. Denise told me how her mother came to you. I totally believe in your gift!”

“Well that’s good because your sister is driving me crazy.” She laughed. “For the past few weeks she has been asking me to call you. I wanted to check with Denise first to see if it was okay. I was planning to call you later today but your sister was pleading with me, ‘Will you please call my sister now!’”

Nellie jumped right into sharing Sue’s messages. “Sue is showing me a bright pink room. She says to tell you she sees it and it’s beautiful.”

Ah, the new bathroom. I smiled.

“Your sister is also showing me a locket and says, ‘Thank you.’”

My heart filled with joy thinking of Stephanie’s birthday locket.

“One more thing,” Nellie added. “Your sister is showing me a red and black sweater. She says it is meant to give you comfort.”

This message really got to me. Sue was with me when I was holding her sweater.

Finally Nellie said, “Donna, your sister wants you to know she loves you, she’s proud of you and is always with you.”

I did not hear from Nellie again until the late fall. She phoned me one afternoon with another message from Sue, one I did not understand. “Sue says go ahead and honor her.”

I told Nellie I had no idea what it meant. “Honor her? Sue was always so humble.” Nellie assured me, “Donna, tuck this message away for later. See what happens.”

In early December Sue’s husband Bill and I were talking. “The funeral home called. They are having a memorial service for those who have lost loved ones this past year. The kids can make an ornament to honor their mom and place it on their Christmas tree.”

Bill was concerned. “Do you think the kids will be okay going back to the funeral home for this memorial?” I remembered Sue’s words, “Go ahead and honor me.”

I turned to Bill and smiled. “Let them. It will be okay.”

The children went to the service and honored their mom. It was one of many steps in their healing process.

I called Nellie to thank her for using her amazing gift to help others. Nellie responded with a humble little laugh. “Donna, I am just a telephone that connects family and friends with their loved ones in Heaven.”

Yes, I thought, a telephone… with a great connection.

~Donna Teti

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