Now I knew my daughter was safe.
Jun 25, 2012
It was just a ringing telephone, but it filled me with dread.
As I reached out to answer it, I remembered the phone call I’d received only weeks before. The phone call from the hospital telling me my daughter Ashley had been in a terrible car accident.
Whatever this call was about, it couldn’t hurt me. The worst had already happened. Ashley was dead.
Back in my kitchen, I lifted the phone off the hook. “Hi, Karen. Something just happened down at Roy’s Market.”
Kim was a good friend of mine. Roy’s Market was the store down the road, the one that sat beside the cemetery where we’d buried Ashley. I barely followed what Kim was saying.
I could barely follow anything these days. I had a husband to take care of, and two younger children. Now I also had Skyler, Ashley’s baby, who, at only six weeks old, had survived the accident.
Everyone said it was a miracle, and I knew I should be grateful. But I couldn’t think about anything but Ashley. She’d been taken so young. I tried to picture Ashley in heaven. How could I be sure she made it there safely?
God, I need to know she’s with you.
Kim was still talking. I forced myself to make sense of her words. A woman had come into Roy’s Market—a stranger. She heard everyone talking about Ashley and was moved beyond words. She wanted to pay for the tombstone.
“Just take her phone number,” Kim said gently. “You can call her anytime.”
I wrote down the number and hung up. I didn’t want anyone paying for my daughter’s tombstone. I’d already put a down payment on it. I wasn’t sure how I would pay the balance when the stone was finished.
For now I just had to struggle through the day. It was all I could do to get dressed.
My sister-in-law, Becky, came by to help with the housework. When I told her about the call from Roy’s Market, she decided to check it out. “What would make a complete stranger offer such a kindness?” she wanted to know.
While Becky talked on the phone, I dwelled on my worries. God, where is Ashley? Is she safe?
I don’t know how long Becky spoke to the woman on the phone. Tears streamed down her face.
“Did the woman know Ashley?” I asked when she hung up.
Becky shook her head and told me the story. “Driving past the cemetery, the woman noticed fresh flowers on a new grave. A group of people filed up to it. At least she thought they were people. As she got closer she saw…”
Becky paused. “What?” I said.
“Angels. A community of angels surrounded the grave.”
The woman had to stop the car to pray. Even though she had no idea whose grave it was. Afterward she stopped in Roy’s Market. The folks there were talking about Ashley’s accident.
The woman asked where she was buried. To describe the exact spot in the cemetery. It was the grave the angels had visited.
For the first time since her death I cried tears of relief. Ashley was in heaven with God and his angels. If she couldn’t be in my arms, at least she could be in his. I could hold tight to my grandson, grateful that I still had a piece of Ashley with me on earth.
The tombstone was finished weeks later. The balance had been paid anonymously. But Becky and I knew who was responsible. She dug out the number and called to thank her, but the number no longer worked.
I didn’t need a phone number to thank God for her. One of Ashley’s angels, sent to bring me comfort.