Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Vision (08/03/06)
TITLE: A Visitation From Sally
By Deborah Bauers
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In the first few weeks after our 18-month old daughter died, my husband and I spoke very little and grieved apart from one another. Our little girl died suddenly and traumatically, at the age of 18 mos. For the most part, I recall that time, as though looking through at an old and faded film. There are moments, though, when a smell or a sound will trigger some poignant memory and for a brief time, I am back there, again. It is then that I recall the immense pain, like the crashing of ocean waves, breaking in upon my spirit, and the inevitable ebb that left only emptiness and exhaustion in it wake. I remember aching arms that longed to hold my little girl; arms that would wrap themselves around my own frame, seeking some measure of comfort; mostly feeling, rarely thinking. Much later....years down the road...I would come to understand that grief is not logical and a grieving mother keenly feels the violation that accompanies the sudden death of a child with something akin to having the heart ripped into shreds. During those moments, though, when I actually allowed myself to think, the same questions haunted me over and over...
"Oh, God, who will rock my baby girl in heaven? She is so little and she still needs her mommy so much! Who will cover her with a warm blanket? What if she is hungry, Lord? Who will hear her cries of need and give her food?"
When the miracle came, I was not asleep; slumber never came easily. I lay on the living room couch, as I often did, marking time until I could go to bed and hope to fall into a senseless slumber. It was early evening; dusk was gathering. There was no feeling of anticipation; no sense of any foreknowledge that prepared me for Sally's arrival in my room. How does one, after all, get ready to see a ghost; especially when one doesn't believe in ghosts? But there she was; Sally, our Youth Minister's young wife who had been dead for almost a year, was standing next to me. I must pause in my narrative to share the significance attached to her visitation. Sally had died of cystic fibrosis at the young age of 24 years without ever realizing the greatest dream of her life; that of being a mother. Yet there she stood gazing at me with such compassion in her eyes that it caused my own to fill with tears. She said nothing; she merely lifted her arm and pointed, toward the ceiling above my head...and she was gone.
Then...like a projector shining on particles of sunlight. I saw the most amazing moving picture. My living room was transformed into a field of glistening, white daisies that seemed to be washed in a soft, incandescent glow. Unable to take my eyes off of the scene, I gazed, transfixed, as Sally walked into the middle of the field and knelt amongst the daisies. She held her arms wide as a little girl with raven hair ran headlong into them and nestled there, in her embrace. The field of daisies spun slowly, as if on a stage, until the little girl faced me. Sally was holding my little Tabitha; my own baby girl who had been snatched away by the jaws of death just a few weeks before. As I watched the tender love that was given to my baby, a tremendous burden was lifted from my heavy heart. I realized that God had not, somehow, overlooked the entrance of one little child, into heaven; that I could be comforted in the knowledge that Sally was taking care of Tabitha. I lay there for some time, absorbing the significance of all that I had seen. At some point, I fell into a deep sleep, and awoke to birdsong and a keen desire to, after all, live.
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