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A grieving niece is unexpectedly shown the perfect way to pay tribute to her departed aunt.
Hi, I'm Edward Grinnan, editor-in-chief of Guideposts, with a true Mysterious Ways from Susan McCormick of Schenectady, New York.
Susan grew closer to my Aunt Helena in the last years of her life. Aunt Helena lived in South Carolina and Susan lived in upstate New York, but their calls and letters strengthened their bond. Each letter shared a memory: the carefree days Susan had stay with Aunt Helena when Susan was younger, going bowling with her cousins; her stories about growing up with Susan's mom during the Great Depression. Seeing an envelope with her aunt’s unmistakable handwriting on it excited Susan, because it meant learning something new or remembering something forgotten. When Aunt Helena died Susan wished she could’ve received one last message.
Aunt Helena's funeral was in Massachusetts, where she’d lived most of her life, so Susan got up early to make the drive. From the second she woke up, she had a feeling she couldn’t shake. She needed to read something at her service. But what? It didn’t take her long to come up with Psalm 23. She got dressed, put on my makeup and got ready to leave. But when she passed the cabinet where she kept family mementos, something stopped her. What about that poem Mom gave her?
Years ago Susan's mom had given her a copy of the poem Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep. It had moved her…maybe her cousins would be comforted by it too. She took the poem from the cabinet, folded it up and dropped it in her purse. They arrived at the church and Susan told the pastor she’d like to read Psalm 23 for her aunt. “I’m sorry,” he said, “but someone else is reading it. Can you read anything else?” The poem! After the service, her cousins thanked her for reading it.
A few weeks later Susan received a card from one of her cousins. “I was going through Mom’s personal effects,” he wrote, “and found this.” Tucked inside was a piece of paper. Susan opened it. It was the poem she had read at Aunt Helena's service. There was a sentence written across the top in that unmistakable script Aunt Helena used in all her letters to Susan: “I want this poem read at my funeral.”