~ HELD TOGETHER BY LOVE ~
An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle but will never break. – Chinese Proverb
Our lives are invisibly tied to those whose destinies touch our own. These threads continue to connect us when our physical bodies die because our souls are eternal. My sister spent the day with me in June of 1973. That wouldn’t be out of the ordinary save the fact that she had died the previous April on the 27th day at 1:35 in the afternoon. My grief was given respite that June day as seeds of hope, faith and love were planted in my heart. Heaven’s breath provided bountiful nourishment for the seeds to take root and grow. In staying true to my experience, it seems a deception to call it a dream for there is no other event in my life that I can recall with such vivid clarity.
I was born the youngest child into a family with three older siblings who were also girls. Perhaps as the fourth child I was something of an afterthought since our mother always referred to us as “The Girls and Jackie”. Mom continued with this reference long after Diane died. The Girls simplylost a member and became a team of two instead of three. My sister Diane was third in line, closest to me yet still separated by almost seven years. This gap, and the gulf it created between siblings, widened to nine years after her death when I was ten. I always felt separate, an only child in a second family. Even as an adult, I never attained the status of becoming one of The Girls.
My two oldest sisters lived in the family room in the basement. That must have been nice for them because they had someone to whisper to during the night. There was also safety in numbers. My room was upstairs sandwiched between my parents dark bedroom at the back of the house and Diane’s sunny room on the front corner. Most nights after I was asleep, my parents fought. The energy of their voices crashed like a cannonball against the walls of my bedroom. It startled me awake as fear’s sharp fingers tried to pluck me from my bed. I sucked my thumb, curled up in a ball and hugged my Pooh Bear close to me. On the good nights, Diane would tap lightly on the wall then suddenly appear next to me to whisk me away to the safety of her room. Cuddled up together, the tightness in my chest slowly eased away and was replaced with a beautiful warmth. All of me felt protected and loved. But there were other nights when Diane wasn’t there to rescue me. He never came when we were together. The moment I heard the footsteps in the hall, I knew his silhouette would appear in my doorway. Sometimes there was no warning, no loud fight that woke me first. At least on the nights that they fought, I had a chance to wake up. It gave me a moment to prepare, to hide under my bed or tiptoe out of my room and hide in the dog box. He never looked there. The nights without fights his arrival was announced when he pressed himself up against me. Some nights I heard his footsteps in the hall but they didn’t stop at my door. My relief quickly turned to tears when I heard him continue down the hall to Diane’s room. Later she would tell me that it was better this way, that she was my big sister and I needed a chance to be a kid.
My sister died on a Friday, five days after our mother’s birthday, three days after my oldest sister’s birthday and the afternoon of the last real day of Spring Break. We had her memorial service on Sunday and everyone went to work and school on Monday like nothing had ever happened. Well, not everyone. I became hysterical and begged to stay home. I took our dog with me and we spent the entire day in Diane’s room. When my mom got home from work, she said that she didn’t want me in there and that moping around wouldn’t bring my sister back. It was time to get back to normal and go to school. I don’t think that she ever said Diane’s name after that day. It made me feel better when I noticed Diane’s ring on her pinky finger. She never took it off. My mom still had it on thirty years later when she went to surgery. They taped over top of it after she told them that she would only have the surgery if the ring remained with her through the whole process.
Three days after Diane died, our landlord came to the house to pay his respects. He apologized for the poor timing but wanted to let us know that he would be renting the house to his son as of July 1st. This would be our 60 day notice, as per our lease, and he was sure we would be able to find another rental property. This news was shocking and it must have been unbelievable to my parents. I remember being a little bit excited that we would be moving and leaving all the sadness behind. By the first week in June, we still had no place to move to, my father was walking around crying at the drop of a hat and my mother stayed holed up in her room most of the time. I felt the tiniest bit guilty that I was so happy that they weren’t fighting and that the nighttime visits were a thing of the past. I also knew that I must be crazy because I had started talking to Diane out loud and most nights I felt like she was cuddled up with me in bed. On those nights I felt the familiar beautiful warmth and sleep came easy. As the room drifted away I heard, He never comes when we are together.
I blinked my eyes hard and then blinked them again even harder. I was just waking up and Diane was sitting on my bed watching me. Her eyes looked really blue. It’s about time you woke up. Hurry up kid, we have a lot to do today. I heard the words clearly but her mouth never moved. Now I knew I was crazy for sure. I told her she was dead and it was impossible for her to be there. Diane started laughing. Yeah, I know. The only problem is that the whole dying thing isn’t real. I am still alive, just different. I am actually more alive than I used to be. It is the coolest thing ever. Get up and get ready for school. I am going to be with you all day and I will tell you more about it later. And then she disappeared. I figured that I had imagined the whole thing, got dressed and headed out to the kitchen. Diane was sitting at the table talking to the dog. He was wiggling all over the place and wagging his tail. Rusty LOVED Diane and this was getting interesting. If I was imagining it then the dog had to be seeing the same thing. My mom was at the table too but she was staring out the window. She can’t see me or hear me so don’t even bother telling her. I started to say something to my mom but as soon as I said “Diane” her eyes glazed over and she wouldn’t look at me. Diane shrugged her shoulders and laughed. I told you so but watch this. She leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. My mom moved her head a tiny bit and put her hand to her cheek. She felt the kiss but thinks that she is making it up. Come on or you are going to be late. My skin tingled and she was gone. I’m still here, I just want you to learn to feel me when you can’t see me.
I had a fabulous day. Everywhere I went, no matter what I did, Diane was with me. Sometimes I could see her, sometimes I could hear her but there was never a moment that I didn’t feel her there with me. We had never spent so much time together. In the past, she would tolerate me for a little while and then call me a brat and tell me to get lost. I was never offended by this, her eyes always twinkled when she said it and besides that, we had secrets together that nobody knew about.
I got in trouble at school for not paying attention because I was listening to Diane. I told her all the stuff that had been going on since she died but it seemed she knew things before I shared them. She said that she had been keeping watch over me the whole time. I liked that a lot. It felt like I had my own guardian angel. Diane sat in her regular chair at the dinner table and Rusty sat next to her, his tail wagging furiously. He was even drooling, hoping that she would sneak him some food like she used to. She kept saying funny things and I would laugh out loud and the rest of the family kind of looked at me sideways. Diane went behind each of them at the table. She was screaming in their ears but no one acted like they heard anything. While we were watching TV together, I told her how happy I was that she was going to be with me all the time. I burst into tears when she said that it was just for today and we needed to talk about some serious stuff before I went to bed.
Diane sat on my bed with me. We were both in our jammies, sitting cross legged and facing each other. All of this stuff that I am going to tell you is very important. Tomorrow you need to get up early, get the newspaper and look at the ads for houses to rent. Look for the one that says four bedrooms in Kensington. That is going to be where you will move. Make sure that somebody calls about it even if you have to keep bothering them. You will be able to go to the same school and stay near your friends when you live in this house. Do you understand? I told her that I understood but was really worried about anyone listening to a ten year old. She said somebody would help me if there was a problem.
After this she got a very serious look on her face and said that she was going to have to leave soon but needed to tell me something that was going to be very hard for me to hear. Things are going to get a lot worse with Dad for a little while and you will feel that you are alone. You are never alone. It doesn’t make any sense right now but this experience will give you tools to help other people when you are a lot older. You will use all your special gifts to find the courage to move forward and teach others about forgiving and living with an open heart.
Tears were pouring down my cheeks as Diane stood and moved away from me. . .
Part 2 Heaven’s Tapestry – https://katedelodovico.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/loves-thread-weaves-heavens-tapestry/
~ until our paths bring us together again ~