Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hear (07/08/10)
TITLE: A Heavenly Voice
By Nancy Sullivan
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I looked longingly at the cell phone that sat silently on the small night stand. That tiny phone had been a constant companion to Mom over the past several months. The lengths of her visits were always determined by her measure of strength for that day, but even the short “Hello’s” were a bright spot in her small world. Mom’s cheery “How wonderful to hear from you!” surely added equal amounts of sunshine to the caller’s day.
Long days and nights of pain that had become increasingly difficult to manage were over. The peace that had filled her room when Mom quietly slipped into Heaven was now just a strange quietness and felt too empty for words. How I longed for just one more smile, one more “Love you” to end our day.
Mom had been my confidant. She was such a good listener and had acquired so much wisdom for someone whose world was encompassed in just a tiny speck on the globe. Her brown eyes held soft responses to my news of the day - whether happy or discouraging. When Mom spoke, her words were well thought out and delivered gently, and her hands held mine with a strength that had developed through many years of hard work.
Dad’s world was also small, but for a different reason. His Alzheimer’s disease had transported him to another world. A place with one key, and only he possessed it. Mom had gradually said her goodbyes, and her failing health had interrupted their daily visits.
I forced myself to scan Mom’s room for the medical equipment that needed to be returned. And the clothing ministry would surely welcome the sharp ensembles she had enjoyed wearing before her waning health required a complete wardrobe change to soft gowns and slippers.
I made a mental note to pick up an appropriate box to hold the countless cards and well wishes that had accumulated. Mom re-read them often. It was then that I noticed a plain white envelope with my name in Mom’s handwriting. A soft sob stuck in my throat and my hands shook as I reached for what must have been her final word to me. Was it a personal note? Did it hold instructions that had not been included in our many visits planning the completion of her personal affairs?
Carefully, I slipped my finger under the flap of the envelope and unfolded the paper inside.
“My Dear Marcie,” it began. “I’m sorry to have left you with so many details and loose ends, but I have only one more request beyond what we have already covered.
“You know that my cell phone has been one of my best friends these past few months. Just the sound of a friend’s voice or of one of my grandchildren’s has brought so much joy.
“I’ve spent many hours wondering how I could leave something special behind that would somehow brighten the days of my loved ones long after I’m gone, and when the idea came to me, I could have jumped right out of this hospital bed!”
When I had finished reading her letter and cried once again at her final request, I completed the assignment. By the next morning, Mom’s wishes had been realized. The note she left behind came straight from her heart:
“To my dear family and friends:
“Thank you so much for filling my days with your words of love and encouragement. Your calls made my days sweeter than I can express. A terrific invention, the cell phone. Who knew a device so small could hold hearts so big?
“While our ability to truly communicate has been temporarily put on hold, very soon we will have face-to-face conversations with each other as you join me with our Heavenly Father.
“Until that time comes, my last wish is to return the kindness of your phone calls with a message of my own. My cell phone number will continue to be available, along with my recorded message. At the end of that message, and ‘at the beep’ (smile), leave a good word for me. True, it will be a one-way conversation, but a response to an invitation given in love and gratitude for your faithfulness in my greatest time of need. God Bless.”
I slowly dialed the familiar number, then listened to Mom’s heavenly voice: “How wonderful to hear from you! How was your day? Remember, I love you and I’ll see you soon.”
“Love you, too, Mom.”
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