Happy Saturday from our family to yours.
Two men were walking along one summer day. Soon it became too hot to go any further and, seeing a large plane tree nearby, they threw themselves on the ground to rest in its shade. Gazing up into the branches one man said to the other,
“What a useless tree this is. It does not have fruit or nuts that we can eat and we cannot even use its wood for anything.”
“Don’t be so ungrateful,” rustled the tree in reply. “I am being extremely useful to you at this very moment, shielding you from the hot sun. And you call me a good-for-nothing!”
I never thought I would be writing about a trip to the convenient store, but this trip was like no other. It seemed like a typical November day, two years ago, as I walked out of Walgreens. It was just a month after my grandmother had passed away and I spent my days running useless errands hoping to fill the void in my heart and distract me from the pain.
As I attempted to walk out of the store, I was frustrated by everything that was going on around me which was a very common feeling during this time. I was angry because I couldn’t even remember what I went there to buy so I ended up spending over $20 on nonsense just to waste time and money, both of which I didn’t have.
I was mad and confused at everyone. Especially, the young girl walking through the store holding her grandmother’s hand. The little girl was begging her grandmother for ice cream just like I use to when I was little, before I was old enough to know that there are bigger problems than a lack of sugar. There is heartache and pain in this world. Before I was old enough to understand that one day my grandmother wouldn’t be here with me. “Here is $20 my sweetie,” the woman said, “Keep it for later and well get you some Mr. Softy.”
As I carried on, I remembered all of the times my cousins and I would play outside of my grandma’s house, waiting patiently to hear the sounds of the Mr. Softy truck. The minute we heard it, no matter how far it may have been, we would run inside smothering my grandma with hugs and kisses while begging for some money. No matter how many times she would say, “Remember kids, no ice cream today,” everyday we would ask and every time she would always end up giving each of us exactly $20. Obviously, we all know that ice cream doesn’t cost this much, but that was my grandma, always giving more than she ever had to give.
Who knew that I, an 18 year old, could be jealous of a three-year-old little girl wearing pink slippers and a Dora the Explorer backpack,
but I was, because at the end of the day she had something I didn’t have anymore. A grandmother by her side.
I had to force myself to ignore the little girl who others kept calling “cute” and “adorable” when I simply thought she was nothing but obnoxious. She was just too happy for me and that was unacceptable, at this time, in my world.
I continued to the register to pay for my things, none of which I even remembered picking until I placed them on the counter. It was than that my anger quickly shifted from the little girl who seemed to have everything to the cashier who didn’t have anything, not even my change. She had to bring my things to another register which just felt like a waste of time. Everything felt like a waste of my time. When the cashier gave me my change I didn’t say thank you. I didn’t say have a good day. I simply took my change and left.
Feeling exhausted and hopeless, I began walking to my car. Every step seemed draining, and every step was another to survive. As I looked up into the sky I thought about how my grandmother had left me, and my anger began to return. I was outraged by the loss, and my belief in God was beginning to diminish. I couldn’t understand why these things happened. So as I stood in a public parking lot a million questions formed in my mind. Why did this happen to me? Aren’t we supposed to get signs from the people that pass on? Why did I not feel her presence anymore? Is there a heaven?
Suddenly, a woman driving right by my side rolled down her window and distracted my unanswered thoughts. “Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me,” she said loudly. Thinking she was going to ask for my parking spot, I simply pointed to my car. The thought of having to verbalize where my car was seemed like too much to bear. “No, excuse me,” she said again.
At this point, I felt I had no choice but to see what this annoying lady wanted. As I got closer though I was startled-was this my grandmother’s nurse, Adu, who lived with her during her final months? I soon realized that she wasn’t, although the resemblance was uncanny. Then, I realized that this Adu look a like was searching for something in her bag. Surprisingly, I was overcome by a sense a relief that lead me to be patient the entire time the lady was searching. Others would be nervous by a stranger reaching in their bag unanimously, but I wasn’t. Under a clutter of makeup, money, pens, and other belongings, she finally reached to the very bottom of her bag and handed me a three page booklet. “It looks like you need this,” she said calmly with a warm smile on her face.
I looked down at the mysterious and obviously used pamphlet and on the front cover in big bold letters read “What Hope for Dead Loved Ones?”
It took me only a few seconds to comprehend the exchange with this woman, but by the time I looked up, she was gone.
I walked slowly into my car gripping the tiny little book that was given to me with fear that it would fly away in the wind. I didn’t know what it was exactly, but I knew that if my grandmother had anything to do with this that I didn’t want to let it go.
I felt a sense of relaxation as I opened the first page. It explained how people pass on, but their spirit remains with us. This was the first time since my grandma had passed that I felt her with me, just like I had wanted. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but I did
know that I finally felt happiness from the surprising change in events.
I couldn’t, and still can’t, believe what had happened to me on that day. I don’t remember the specific details that you usually hear about like what the person was wearing, the time of day, or even the weather, but it doesn’t matter. It was a random day in November when my life turned back around and I began to feel hope again. It was real. It was a miracle. And, I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.