Absolute Blessings

  We lost our son, Pete, 15 months ago at the age of 33. Since then we have received many wonderful signs. When I was sorting out some of his belongings I heard him call me as clear as anything! No one was in the house. The night after he died I was lying in bed and every time I opened my eyes, I could see his face. It was surrounded by white light. When I would close my eyes he was gone. This happened about 10 times. My husband felt Pete touch his hand really firmly one night while he was in bed one. One day we took a picture of Pete’s son, Lenny, climbing a tree overlooking where his dad’s ashes are buried. When we printed the photo an amazing orb was in the photo with our grandson. When we showed it to him he looked at it and said, “Daddy.” I said, “What do you mean, Lenny?” He said, “Daddy made that rainbow circle around me when he was watching me climb the tree.” Another time during a Holiday we visited Buckfast Abbey which is the home of a Community of Roman Catholic Benedictine monks in Devon, England. We had just lit a candle for Pete and I was in tears walking around the gardens and grounds looked after by the monks. I suddenly looked down and saw a perfect heart in the lichen in the path where I was walking so I took a picture. I am sure it was a sign for why did I look down exactly at that time. I did not...

A Mother’s Gift

One evening right before Christmas my granddaughter asked me why we go to our family’s house for Christmas. I said to be with the people we love and who love us and that only one person will be missing and that’s her daddy, but he is with us in spirit. Well later that night around 2am my dogs wanted out so I let the first one out. When I went to let the other one out this was on my car hood. It was snowing and very cold so there is no way there was any heat coming off the car to melt this on there. I feel this was a sign my son was with...

A Name Says It All

Submitted by Lisa Watson November 2010 Every day we make choices in our lives. We choose what kind of career we want, where we live and even the friends we keep. We don’t necessarily choose who we fall in love with. A combination of events can sometimes lead us to the one we are meant to be with, however, we have no control over the circumstances. When Lisa found the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with, he came as a package deal. Tim already had a fourteen year old son, Josh, from a previous relationship. Becoming a stepfather or stepmother can sometimes be quite challenging. It is only natural that there will be conflicts and personality clashes until you reach a balance. In order to achieve that balance there has to be a great deal of love, patience, flexibility and respect for one another. In Lisa’s case she was lucky. It only took a few times of butting heads to begin developing their own unique relationship. Josh, or JT, as they called him was a great kid. He accepted Lisa and learned over time to respect and even value her opinions. It is never an easy task to take on the role of a parent with someone else’s child but Lisa loved Tim and grew to love his son Josh with an equal amount of devotion. Josh was your typical teenager, most of which are intelligent children but have other things on their mind besides school work. It is frustrating to see your child who you know has potential, but fails to apply it....

The Right Choice

Submitted by Kimberly Wencl July 2011 As Kimberly sat in the chair between her husband and her father she was completely numb. She could hear the words as the funeral director spoke. She could see his lips moving but nothing seemed to register in her mind. The whole situation was like a horrible dream that she couldn’t wake up from. Even something as simple as breathing was difficult. In the past twenty-four hours, life as they knew it had ceased to exist. Without prompting, her thoughts rushed back to the day their oldest daughter, Elizabeth, was preparing to leave home and attend college at the University of Minnesota. In spite of her mixed emotions about her firstborn leaving the nest, Kimberly and her husband Roger were very proud of their daughter. She had enjoyed helping Liz gather up everything needed to move out on her own, even though she knew how much she would miss her. Her daughter was so excited to be spreading her wings and venturing out into a new life of true independence. Finally the day arrived and she was off to face the world. Liz did well in school and before they knew it a year had already passed. Prior to beginning her sophomore year she and a few friends decided to move into a duplex that was only a few blocks from campus. Then tragedy struck. Kimberly and Roger received the call that all parents fear. Much to their horror they were informed that a fire had broken out at the duplex. Liz and two of her roommates had died from smoke inhalation. Devastated,...

The Letter

Kimberly stopped by the store on her way to work. She had been looking forward to this day for the past three weeks. She grabbed several copies of USA TODAY and hurried out the door. She couldn’t wait to get settled in at her desk and read the article. She had sent emails to notify all her friends and family, so she knew they would be reading it as well. All the excitement and buildup began when she received a phone call three weeks prior. USA TODAY had decided to run an article on off-campus fires involving students. During their extensive research they had acquired Kimberly’s name. It had been almost three years since her daughter Elizabeth, had died in a tragic fire. Liz was a student at a nearby college who lived in an apartment with several other roommates. The paper wanted very much to interview Kimberly for the article. After so much despair and grief she was relieved for something good to possibly come from her loss. She believed if she could help even one student avoid the mistakes made by her daughter and 61 other college kids who had lost their lives, then their deaths would not be in vain. It wouldn’t bring Liz back, but in Kimberly’s eyes it was a chance to honor her daughter’s memory. Flipping the pages she found the article and began reading. It only took a few moments for an overwhelming sense of sadness to fill her heart. She had mistakenly thought she could handle reading about her daughter’s death again. Even after three years it still seemed so senseless....

When All Feels Lost

Submitted by Vijayabanu Chandramouli For Vijayabanu, June 16, 2012, would be a day forever etched in her memory. Not because of celebration, or happy events but because of sadness, loss and utter devastation. She and her husband, solemnly summoned by phone to the city of Manipal, stood helplessly as the search was finally called off. Their son, Kiran, or Kiru as he was lovingly called, was missing. He along with two of his college friends, Nikhila and Sharavan had ventured out to Manipalla Lake in the early hours that morning. Finding a paddle boat docked at the lake the three decided to venture out onto the lake. Before long, panic set in as water began filling the boat. Unable to reach shore the boat succumbed to the weight of the water and capsized. Sharavan immediately began swimming back believing his friends were directly behind him. Once at shore it was evident something was very wrong. Kiran, was an excellent swimmer but, as later reported, Nikhila did not know how to swim. In an effort to save her, Kiran too was ultimately claimed by the watery depths. Not until the next day was Vijayabanu able to see her beloved son. His body was recovered from the lake and delivered to the police for investigation. Once released, his mother and father accompanied their son’s still, lifeless body home. Floods of emotion ravaged Vijayabanu. Guilt… she should have done this… not done that… said this… not said that. Despair…the light of her life was gone. And ultimately, grief… how could she carry on without him. This was her child. No matter he...