I wanted to tell you what happened to me last weekend, something very meaningful to me. The last few days when I have shared the story, it seems to stir up a little happiness in people, a little hopefulness. I want to capture it here.
When it happened it made me cry the first few hours on Saturday, made me unable to speak clearly, just ask my husband. I would start to cry again even as we ran our Saturday errands.
“We did not just argue in the car; I promise,” I told the salesperson as we looked at stoves.
"I would hate to think someone would cry about appliances,” she said.
“I just got a message from my Aunt. She died almost two years ago,” I said.
Humor me with my little series of events:
I think of my aunt often. In December, two years ago, she sent me the last Christmas gift she would send me. It looked like a jar of shells, but when you read the label it was chocolate candy made to look like shells. I ate some in December and some in January and when she died that February there were only three shells left.
With love, I put the jar with the three shells in my green wooden pantry cupboard. There it stayed, tucked in the back, a sweet reminder. One year, a year and a half, plus a few more months, it sat.
In September of this year I was walking the dog at night. The streetlights were on, and from prior walks I knew the light by the wooden walking bridge seemed to light randomly. It was houses ahead of me and I noticed it was off. I thought:
Auntie, you might light it for me when I am under it
We walked 10 steps and then the dog sniffed and then we walked 5 steps and he sniffed again and then my monkey mind took over and I had passed under the light without thinking of it. It is so hard to pay attention in this life. I had passed three more houses before I suddenly remembered. As I turned to look at the light I thought:
Auntie you did not turn on the light
… and just as my eyes went to the light, the light went on.
Five seconds later it was off. The precise timing made me smile with teeth showing. I asked the dog if he had seen it. He was not paying attention.
When I got home I told my husband, and he listened carefully. He reminded me that the light does flicker, and I said I know, the timing was just pretty cool. I know the light flickers. Probably it was nothing. Just, the timing was amazing. Just as I looked at the light it went on and then off.
Within the last 5 weeks, one day I was home alone and really wanted chocolate. Craving chocolate, I remembered the jar that contained the 3 shells. I thought of her on my own so often, much more often than I saw this jar in the cabinet. So I ate them.
My loving connection was strong without the reminder.
One day more recently; maybe within the last two weeks of this five weeks; I read that if you want to get an answer from someone who has died just ask, and then stay open to getting an answer. And so I asked to hear from her.
Auntie, I would like to hear from you.
This world has frazzled me a bit, was what I was saying to her.
I need some of your goodness, Auntie.
This brings us to Saturday, December 5th. We were going to do errands. My husband went to get the mail. He brought me back a package. It was a small box that had been covered with brown paper the way we used to, an inside out paper bag cut to size. It was from my uncle, my aunts’ husband. I would not even know his handwriting. He has never mailed me anything.
Inside the box was a jar of chocolate shells.
Yes. Pause here, my lovely friend. Feel the wonder.
And then, after you breathe, see that:
Inside the box there was a note.
Unfold the note with me. Take your time. Read it with me:
"The other day a voice came from somewhere asking me to send you this package. It has been on the sideboard for almost two years. I always knew it was for someone special."
Later, your son notices what was on the used box that was brought up from the empty box collection in uncles basement, because it looked to be just the right size… there are angels on the box.
If my aunt can keep her eye on me, so can yours.