Saturday, January 17, 2015

Angels Among Us

The loss of a child is devastating.  It changes one's life forever.  I know.  My family lost Andy 11 years ago yesterday from an accidental drug overdose.

I should highlight accidental as these beautiful young people with lives ahead of them have no idea the type of drug, quantity, or mix that seals their fate.  This mindset results in an unintentional outcome of an ignorant assumption that they are invincible.

I am not writing to address drugs.  I have blogged that so many times that people can just pull them up and read to their children.

I am not writing to mourn Andy.  After 11 years of holidays, vacations, and every day without him, my posts about him are quite numerous.

I am actually writing today to address something that occurred yesterday that I have no explanation for.  The video on my FB page from 1/16/15 with my dog Cole can help elaborate on this wonderful phenomenon.

When I arrived at Lake View Cemetery yesterday morning, I stepped out of the car and panicked.  Andy's headstone was similar to the majority of headstones in that lot.  A simple granite rectangle that stood no more than 6 inches from the ground.  What distinguished it was that the granite had a tinge of orange, his favorite color, and etched portrayal of my beautiful son, an etched Bird of Paradise (his favorite flower) and the words, "We'll see you in our dreams".

But where was the headstone?  Where were anyone's headstones.  I began to walk to certain landmarks and used my boot heel (with utmost respect) to feel for something other than a snow covered landscape.  Now I know why people perch wooden crosses and candy canes up - to easily locate their loved ones.

I kept our black lab, Cole, in the car.  His arthritis cannot tolerate too much cold and his paws would have been frozen during my, what seemed an endless, search.

Then a man appeared out of nowhere.  There was no vehicle parked nearby but my running car and Cole peering out of the window.  He had a snow shovel.  Should I be scared?  I was alone in a desolate place with nothing but a guitar, a Hawaiian blanket, my iPad, and some Birds of Paradise.

Well that fear never entered my mind.  He appeared kind and was walking my way.  I asked him if he could help me locate my son's grave.  He put a smile on his face, mixed with sympathy and caring.  It seemed as though that he already knew my dilemma.  He explained that he was there to prepare a grave site for a funeral that would take place on the weekend.  A shovel, I thought?  Where is the backhoe?  The office is at least a quarter mile from here.

He drew a map out of his back pocket and asked me what was the number of my son's plot.  When I told him he said, "Well I'll be.  I'm to clear a spot just a bit above him.  I bet it is over here."  I was at least 15 feet off of my target and would never have found it.  The landmark tree was gone.  He placed his shovel on the exact edge of the headstone, proceeded to clean it off, though ice had obscured any of the etchings, and then was kind enough to see that I had a blanket and continued to clear ample snow for Cole and me.

As he finished I ran to the car to get Cole and lift him to the ground.  I locked the car.  This process took less than 1 minute.  As Cole and I lifted our legs to march through the snow, the man had disappeared.  Where could he have gone?  There were no footsteps indicating he left but he was nowhere to be found.

At the beginning of the video I actually raise myself up, again looking for the man to thank him.  My fingers were almost completely numb and had we not have found the grave I could never have played Blackbird for him on the guitar.

Even hoisting myself up I could not find him in any direction.  Do you want to know why?

I didn't look up.  He was definitely sent from Heaven.  Andy must have sent him for Cole and me.  And of course Cole had a little extra energy that visit.  I told Cole that we were visiting Andy.  However, Cole was only 3 when Andy died and I doubted that there was any association.  His tail wagged nonetheless.  He had loved Andy.  Andy practically raised him as his older siblings were in college.  Cole's tail kept wagging and he kept encircling the headstone as if he knew Andy was present.  And I believe he was.

Angels among us?  You bet.  I thank God for the miracle that he brought to me yesterday.  My soul will be forever grateful.

Cole hated to leave the gravesite yesterday.  He usually keeps a slow pace behind but never lingers.  I went back and looked at Cole and said, "Come on, boy.  Andy is here with us.  He is by your side."  He came willingly and I lifted him back in the car.  He nestled into the Hawaiian blanket.

We headed home with Andy's presence surrounding us.

Please visit You Tube to see our video: