12/13/07

Little Visits from Heaven

I’m going to pause, in the midst of this busy season of celebration and entertaining, and reminisce about loved ones who are gone.

This time of year I just can’t help myself. I look around and see Christmas decorations and things that remind me of my Mom and Grandmas; the Joseph and Mary statue that she hand-painted, the 3 carolers sitting in my kitchen window (Abby has each one named for my sisters and me), the nativity set from Grandma Friesen, even the piano that Grandma played endless hours on. And then there are the cookie cutters. The three of us girls spent countless hours in the kitchen with Mom making rollout cookies and frosting, and then decorating and eating (and snitching) them. Mom would make her Christmas stollen, a recipe passed down from my Grandma Dubs. The traditions and memories are never-ending …

One year ago I received an email from my cousin, Paulette, and she, too, had lost her Mom to cancer. She reminded me that, “Our Moms (sisters) are still with us in memory. Just think of our memories and dreams of them as little visits from them!” Little visits from heaven! What a cool perspective!

We find ourselves dreaming about Paul’s Dad. He was taken from us so quickly; we didn’t get to say good-bye. He was such a gift to us and now his memory lingers in our minds. His giving, light-hearted spirit and his most hospitable personality were catching. He never knew a stranger. His unconditional love and desire to know each of us was another gift we can’t put a price tag on.

He also had his Irish accent and amazing stories from his childhood that he would recap and we would beg for him to tell us again and again. Our kids would nestle up to him and his unshaven face. They didn’t care that it scratched them or hurt their baby-skin faces. They loved how he tickled and kissed them. He was always there for them and us. That is a memory that lives with us daily in our hearts.

We’re still learning to take our memories of our loved ones, and the gifts they have passed down, and use them daily in our lives in the way we love and treat others.

One year ago I wrote this post, but didn't post it until today. It’s ironic that I just came across it this week as my cousin Paulette, who shared the “little visits from heaven” insight, has recently been diagnosed with a brain tumor. In my mind she is way too young to be taken from us, but I also know I have to trust her Maker.

I shed a tear of happiness to think of the reunion that will take place soon, as she greets her Mom in heaven, wrapping her arms around her and my precious Mommy, her “Aunt Millie.” I’m sure there will be many hugs.

She’s always signed her emails to me with “Hugs.” No longer will I receive those hugs through cyber-land, but through a greater gift. Before long, Paulette’s insight and memory will become “little visits from heaven.”

And I’m confident that in my dreams, her hugs will continue to come my way …

(Please pray for Paulette and her family during this very difficult season.)

(Girl cousin photo from this last summer Deeper Connection post. Paulette on far right).

8 comments:

momrn2 said...

Sandy...Absolutely beautiful! A great reminder to take time to reflect on loved ones who have gone before us.

Also a great challenge and reminder to never take for granted the moments we have with those still in our midst. Time is very fleeting to say the least.

Praying...

Barb said...

Obviously you and Paulette have been great blessings to each other over the years. Such a hard time of the year for such situations, but what a great perspective!

Kirstin said...

Will be praying for your cousin. Praying for peace, and praying for miraculous healing on her body.

I have enjoyed all your fun entertainment tips, and can't wait to use them when I'm in my own home next spring/summer.

linda t said...

I always remember my nephew Noel who died in a basketball accident 10 years ago at age 19.
He was born Dec. 7th and because he loved Christmas and always put the tree and lights up for his Mom (my sister) because his Dad had bailed on them when he was only 2, they always put up the tree and lights on his birthday and remember...
Last week, the tree they had planted 10 years ago in his memory, came down in that horrible ice storm in Oklahoma City. We are all grieving once again...

Nunnie's Attic said...

What a beautiful post, Sandy. I was crying with you and I pray for your family.

Love,
Julie
http://www.nunniesattic.com

red tin heart said...

It is always a time of reflection...The holidays. I will pray for her. xoxo Nita

Vickie said...

I have been a lurker for quite some time and have never commented until today. Your post about your cousin Paulette really touched me. I would count it a privilege to pray for her. May His richest blessings envelope you and yours this season.
Vickie

Anonymous said...

Sandy,
Thank you for this. As I think of all the "Christmas Parties" we had growing up - remember how many of us there were!?! Sometimes over 50 people. Then those very intimate Christmas times with Paulette, Pam, and I just sharing a meal, gifts, and love. This is a very emotional year, but filled with love!