Mysterious Ways: A Letter-Perfect Gift for a Cancer Patient

The beautiful necklace turned out to be an encouraging sign from above.

Posted in , Jul 29, 2021

A necklace with beads reading R, F and H

My husband’s leukemia—which we’d hoped was in remission—was back. Russ had undergone chemotherapy immediately after his diagnosis 11 months earlier and done so well. We’d even been making plans for a getaway. Now he had to go back on chemo. If only I had a sign—something—to assure me that God was still with us.

Brrring! The phone rang. I worried it was the doctor, but it turned out to be my friend Roberta. She’d found a necklace at a vintage boutique. Knowing my penchant for anything monogrammed with an R, my first initial, she couldn’t resist. “I’m leav­ing it in a gold box on your wel­come mat, Rita,” she said.

“That’s so sweet,” I said but then changed the subject. Roberta was a nurse. She didn’t yet know about Russ’s relapse, and I wanted to get her advice.

“How’s his appetite? Energy?” Roberta asked. “How often is the chemo?” She reassured me about Russ’s course of treatment.

We got off the phone. Not five minutes later, Roberta called back. “I don’t think that necklace was for you after all, Rita. I can’t shake the feeling it’s R for Russ.

That’s strange, I thought. Russ wasn’t big on jewelry. But Roberta was adamant.

She dropped off the necklace that afternoon. I showed it to Russ. “Love the R,” he said, admiring the gold initial encased in a delicate glass bead with matching trim. Then he looked closer. “Check out these other beads!” he said.

I could see that two of them also had a letter on them. There was an H, like our last name, Hodges. It was the other one that gave me pause. F.

Russ’s middle name wasn’t common knowledge. It had always been a bone of contention in his family. You see, when he was born, his mother named him Russell Franklin Hodges, in honor of Presi­dent Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But Russ’s father, who was no fan of FDR, crossed out the name on the birth certificate.

The ink made it through most of the letters but not the F. So Russ’s middle name ended up simply as F. There’s no way Roberta could have known that. Yet here it was, a necklace with Russ’s initials: R.F.H.

A sign meant for us. Right down to the letter.

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