In their darkest hours, divine mystery brightened their path forward.
Posted in , Mar 25, 2021
Marti Fox from Corona, California
Flipping through TV channels late one night, I stumbled across a documentary about the rock band KISS. I set down the remote. KISS had been my late son Brian’s favorite band, but I hadn’t thought about them once in the six years since Brian had lost his battle with colon cancer at just 41 years old. I missed him every day.
The music clips were familiar. Brian used to blast the very same songs from his bedroom from the time he discovered the band at seven years old. They were the soundtrack to his growing up years, and I had always wondered how he could concentrate on his homework with the songs blaring. “Turn that music down,” I’d call out to him above the din. He’d comply—a little—but he had kept up with his schoolwork, and I had learned to live with KISS.
Wishing my spirited son were here to watch with me now, I turned up the TV volume and settled into my armchair. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the pair of battery operated candles Brian’s fiancée had given me on his last Christmas. They looked pretty on my hutch, though I never used them. But while I watched the TV program, I noticed one candle click on by itself, casting a warm glow over the room.
I sat there in awe as the light washed over me, KISS playing in the background, Brian’s presence undeniable. The documentary ended and the candle clicked off , but Brian’s light lingers.
Luanna Cheney from Northfield, Minnesota
The phone rang. I picked it up to hear my brother on the other end. “It’s Mom,” he said. “She died, Luanna.”
It wasn’t a surprise. Mom had given her all in a long, brave fight with cancer. Still, I was overcome with grief. I went out for a walk, despite the cold and cloudy day. Such a contrast to my mom’s cheerful personality. She’d always loved summer and sunshine and flowers. She’d adored sunflowers because they were yellow, her favorite color.
I headed for a house a few blocks away, one with a big, beautiful garden in the front yard. Seeing it always made me feel better, no matter what.
I arrived to find the house under construction and the garden demolished. My heart sank. So much for that, I thought. Just as I turned to leave, the clouds broke. A beam of sunlight landed like a spotlight on the one flower that was still intact. I hadn’t noticed it before, but now I couldn’t take my eyes off it: a big, bright sunflower, its yellow petals gleaming. Then came a voice. “Luanna, don’t mourn for me,” it said. “I am happy here.” Mom had found a way to cheer me even now.
Lynne Keltner from Santa Ana, California
I was getting ready for bed, exhausted after a long day hosting a memorial party for my late husband, Mark. He’d died after a courageous six-month long fight against cancer. It was his final wish that I invite over all our friends and family members for a party in our backyard to celebrate his life. Some 100 people had come to share food and their good memories of Mark.
I walked across my bedroom and gazed out the sliding glass doors onto the deck. Mark had built it by hand. It was our favorite spot to sit and enjoy coffee together in the mornings. It held a special place in both our hearts. It’s why he wanted his final send-off to take place there. I miss you, Mark, I thought. I hope the party was everything you wanted.
Drained, I crawled into bed and turned off the lamp. Suddenly a brilliant golden light filled the room. What was that? The walls in the backyard were too high for any passing lights to shine through, and no one was out there. I should have been scared, but there was something so comforting, so familiar about it. And it was coming from the deck. I watched, awestruck, as the golden glow danced across the length of our bedroom wall, then vanished. Instinctively I knew.
“I’m glad you liked your celebration, honey,” I said with a smile and drifted off to sleep.
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