How often have you asked yourself the question, “How did we get here? How did we end up walking this grief journey? Could I have stopped it? Was there something different I could have done?” As I’ve navigated this journey these are just a few of the questions I have often asked myself. In today’s post I wanted to share an excerpt from my book, Beautifully Broken: Finding Hope During Loss.
When I woke up on February 18, 2020, I had an uneasiness deep within me. We were scheduled to travel to Naples, FL that afternoon for a much-anticipated winter break. It had been raining for weeks and I couldn’t wait to feel the sunshine on my face and the sand between my toes. As much as I had looked forward to this vacation, I received some news a few days before that was like a sucker punch to the gut. My daughter, Melanie, who struggled with the disease of substance use disorder (SUD) had relapsed after being clean and sober for 18 months. While this was devastating news, I was also weary from all the ups and downs of dealing with the aftermath the disease of addiction can bring. I just wanted to put it aside for a few days of peace and quiet in the Florida sunshine.
I hit the ground running early as I took care of some last-minute work issues. While finalizing our packing, I realized I would need to make a quick run to Target after my shower to pick up a few things before heading to the airport. By this time, I had tucked away any uneasiness I felt in that secret place, where I had long ago learned to hide things in order to survive being the mom of a child with the disease of addiction. I focused on the tasks at hand, doing what needed to be done to stay on track.
At 9:45 a.m. I turned on the shower letting it get hot and steamy. Our shower is enclosed in glass and when I saw the steam billowing out from above that was my queue it was ready. A moment after I stepped in, I turned and looked outward into the bathroom when in front of me I saw my father – my father who had died 42 years ago! I looked at him, and quickly began assessing what was before me. He looked so much younger than I had remembered him to be, and his eyes though looking toward me did not appear to look directly at me. In hindsight, this made me feel better since I am, after all, in the shower. I literally closed my eyes, squeezing them tightly shut and re-opening them. When I did, he was still there. He was dressed completely in white, wearing a long-sleeve, white button-down shirt with a stand-up collar. The buttons were brown and were very small unlike what you would see on a shirt today. As my eyes began to follow his body downward, I didn’t see pants or legs but only what appeared to me as a very thick, heavy white coat. In this moment, I assumed I wasn’t seeing his legs because of the substantial steam covering the shower door.
All of this took place in a matter of seconds. After blinking my eyes, it didn’t take long for the reality of what I was seeing to hit me and when it did, I became filled with fear. I had once heard that when people are dying, many times their loved ones who have gone to heaven before them appear, to escort them home. Is this what was happening? Was I getting ready to die?
I immediately turned my back to him facing the corner of the shower and began to fervently pray. Any scripture I could think of that filled my mind came out of my mouth: “No weapon formed against me will prosper.” “I will live and not die and declare the works of the Lord.” “I bind you Satan in Jesus name. You will not have me.” After standing there praying for I don’t know how long, I opened my eyes and simply began showering. I’ve reflected back on this many times and not only did any fear I previously felt leave me, in fact I actually felt nothing at all. It was as if what I just witnessed never happened.
If that sounds unbelievable, I understand. It’s pretty incredulous to me, too. It’s not that I simply put what happened aside and didn’t want to think about it –it was as if it had been wiped from my memory. This encounter with my father was not brought back to my remembrance until 42 hours later. But I don’t want to get ahead of my story.
If you haven’t put this book down yet or had a moment’s thought that I’m crazy, you’re probably not human. Just joking – well, maybe only a bit. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before and I truly doubt it will ever happen again. I also seriously questioned if telling this part of my story was the right thing to do. However, I believe if I didn’t reveal this, I would have missed out on sharing one of the most profound parts of my story and that is, how God allows the most unbelievable things to happen because there will be no denying that He alone is the one who allowed it to be. As with most stories, before we can move forward, we need to go back for a moment.
Moment of Reflection: Has something seemingly unbelievable ever happened to you? What did you do?
If you would like to read more you may find Beautifully Broken: Finding Hope During Loss on Amazon as well as all other major retailers.