Touched By An Angel

Aunt Marlene and Mom

Aunt Marlene and Mom

Tonight I watched “Touched By An Angel.”  I haven’t watched that show in years, but it caught my eye while flipping channels for a moment. 

It was a show about a drug addict that had a baby and Monica and Andrew worked to help her get clean.  Being television it all worked out just in time and just fine on screen.  It really was a good story.  I miss the gentle kindness of the show and inviting it into our lives each night.

I remember so well watching “Touched By An Angel” and “Highway To Heaven” with my mom and dad.  They loved the storyline with angels walking among us, helping and interacting, directing our paths when needed.  My mom thoroughly enjoyed the shows for years.  We would talk about the episode and then how it related to the bible and real life.  Sure, a lot of it was fiction, but it was a good clean show with a heart and you don’t see many of those anymore. 

So tonight, just for a moment, I was touched by another angel.  I felt the presence of my mom come and sit down on the couch beside me and share in a memory.  It was just a moment, but I am thankful for it just the same.  It made me smile and I love memories that do that. 

Take a moment today to remember some of the good memories you’ve shared.  It’s good to appreciate where we come from, it’s better to then live in the moment and enjoy the things we have and the people in our lives.  Life a gift, don’t take it for granted, enjoy every bit of it.

Cherry Coley (c)

Memories and Echoes

I have thought of my parents a lot this summer.  On days when it is really hot I still have to stop myself from calling to check and see if everything is okay, if the air conditioners are running and if they are cool enough.  My dad liked to watch the electric bill closely so he would keep the air conditioners set on 75 degrees or more.  My mom would swelter and not feel well at those temperatures, especially while she was cooking, so I would remind her to check the air conditioners and turn them down a little if she needed too, or turn on the fans. 

 It’s hard to think that I don’t need to check on them now, or wonder if they are okay.  It’s even harder to realize that mom isn’t out tending to her garden this year, carefully watching the tomatoes, green beans, squash and greens she grew each year.  This year they were not planted.

 It hurts knowing that dad won’t be there to remind me to check the oil and coolant in the cars, or to make sure the tires are aired up properly.  He isn’t here to grumble about the gas prices, or how much Medicare didn’t pay.  He’s not grumbling about how much water is used to water the grass and garden either. 

 They aren’t sitting down and enjoying eating cantaloupe or watermelon this year.  Mom isn’t slicing up fresh pineapple then tempting my kids to come eat it.  She’s not fixing banana pudding or jello to have something cool to eat on hot days either. 

 I can’t bake a lemon cake for all of us to share with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or share a cool fruit salad with them while listening to mom talk about the ladies in the church, or a book she’s been reading.  I can’t listen in while dad reads the newspaper out loud and mom asks questions about the highlights of the day.

 No, there is only silence and an emptiness that just doesn’t seem to go away when I think about them. 

 I watch people with their parents and wonder if they realize how precious each day is.  No, none of us really do.  I did my best to not take the days for granted, but it still doesn’t seem like it was enough.  Yet, I know I never talked disrespectful to them and if they needed me I tried my best to be there to help.  I am still haunted with all the things I wish I’d done, or that I could say just one more time.  Still think about things that I wanted to do and lately realize things that I just plain missed along the way.  It’s all the way of grief I suppose.  One day at a time is how it goes.  There is a large hole in my heart where they used to be, and where nothing else will ever grow, but that is just how it is. 

 I have started writing journals for my kids: memories, dreams, thoughts, events past and present, so that someday when I am gone perhaps the emptiness will not seem quite so empty, but will instead be filled with stories of their childhood and mine.  It would never take the place of the actual person being there, but to me it would be like sitting down and having a conversation with them again and that would be really nice.

 Cherry Coley ©

Fear and Ghosts of the Past

No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear.- C.S. Lewis

I must say that I completely agree with C. S. Lewis on this one, grief does feel very much like fear at times.  Now and then, out of the blue, it will come along out of nowhere and punch you in the heart and all but bring you to your knees.  Suddenly things you were so sure of, you second guess and then your mind willing or not wants to ask that person their opinion, but they are not there anymore to ask. 

 As nice as it is to paint the house we are moving in to and work together to make it a home, there is a bittersweet thought that lingers in the air and simply won’t go away.  The thought that this will be the first place I will live where my mom and dad won’t come visit me.  Yet it’s not even that thought that haunts me.  No, I was a bit shaky with that thought, but still okay.  It was when my brother mentioned that since we didn’t move in to my parent’s house, he is working on selling it. 

I am actually okay with selling their house; because of where it is located I know we would not be able to live there.  The house is too far away from my work and the kids like their schools and friends.  We weighed our options and looked at it from every direction then decided to stay in Garland.  I know the best thing to do is to sell their house.  Yet the thought of that is like a punch in the heart that almost knocks me to the floor.  I walk in that house now and it’s empty, but the walls ring with echoes of days long past.  I can hear my brother’s footsteps as he stomps up the hallway.  I can watch memories shift in my mind through all the different years, showing me the furniture and how it looked at this age, then how it looked even a few months ago.  I can remember thinking of how amazing it was that my dad bought such a small house, then designed and built on a large den, back porch, and a washroom that could actually be another room.  Later when I was seven or eight years old my dad converted the single car garage into a bedroom for my brother with a large walk in closet.  He did most of the work by himself, with a little help from my uncle Basil Thomas and his brother in law “Slim.” 

 I have a hard time looking at the yard when I go over there now.  My mom loved gardens, and keeping her yard looking nice.  The yard doesn’t look so nice right now.  She created flower gardens and vegetable gardens that were pretty high maintenance since she would spend two to three hours outside every day pulling weeds, watering and doting on her plants.  No one has been there to care for them since December, so there are parts of the yard that are beginning to look overgrown.

 I remember riding my bike on a path we’d made in the backyard, around the gardens and the swing set dad had put up for us.  My little dog Butch would sometimes run beside me trying to keep up. 

 I remember the tree right outside the back porch.  We used to climb that tree, get on the roof of the back porch, lie down and watch the birds fly by during the day and the stars come out at night.  Watching the sky up on that rooftop is one of my favorite memories and something I really miss.  I loved that tree. 

 There are so many good memories in that place.  I can’t help but hope that it will go to a family that will come to love and appreciate it like we did.  It doesn’t make letting go any easier.  When I stop and think about it, there’s a feeling much like fear that tries to swallow me up.  I suppose it’s because once it is gone, then it’s gone and there’s no turning back, no revisiting, no more just knowing that it’s there if we need a place to go.  It’s odd what grief does to you.  Still, this is a time to move forward and memories are portable.  No one said the path would be easy.

 Cherry Coley ©

Pleasant Memories and Ghostly Echoes

photo by Cherry Coley

It’s funny the things you think about late in the night.  Last night as I lay in bed half asleep, I was listening to my mom make all kinds of noise in the kitchen.  She was griping at the cat to get out of the way, banging pots and pans and occasionally said, “oh me,” as she picked something up.  I was just lying there listening to her, not cringing as I had done before, but just holding my eyes closed and listening intently. 

I heard her call to dad that dinner was ready and that he needed to get up and come to the table.  I heard her yell at the cat when she stepped on his tail and make him meow in a loud screech.  I heard the chairs being pulled out from the table as they sat down and my dad say, “Cherry, you comin’?”

 I heard my dad as he started reading the headlines of the paper out loud and mom asking him questions about what he read.  I could smell the stew she had fixed and hear the clink clink of silverware on the bowls as they ate, the sound of ice moving in glasses of water as they picked them up, and the soft thunk as they put them down on the table again. 

 I could hear my mom get on to my dad for sneaking a piece of something to the cat waiting for tasty tidbits at his feet. 

 Finally, my brain registered that I was just listening to memories and the sounds faded away into the fog of my wounded mind. 

 I had you guys, just for a moment, I had you there again and could hear your voices so clearly.  For just a moment I was back there, not long ago, listening to the sounds of family sounds that I will not hear the same way again in this lifetime.  I miss you both so much.

Remember that the sounds that might annoy you, or you just take for granted today, may be the very sounds that you would give anything in this world to hear one more time someday.  Don’t take anyone or anything for granted.  No one is guaranteed tomorrow. Love the people in your life today.

 Cherry Coley ©