Dear Aunt Jeanette

I’ve been sitting on this for several months now without a clue how to describe it.  God moments are frequently like that, leaving us with nothing but astonishment and wonder.  Sometimes He orchestrates them to come at the moments when we are sure we are finished with Him.  That is what happened to me.

Last October my father passed away.  Some of you will know this from previous posts, and some of you won’t.  He passed away on my 20th wedding anniversary, just past the age of 70, while living an active lifestyle.  It was completely unexpected, and I honestly didn’t know how I was going to make my mind accept this news.  A voice in my head kept whispering that it was incorrect information that was being transmitted in my brain, as though I’d had a bad dream and carried it into my waking hours.  I still sometimes feel like it’s not real.

My dad above with Jeanette at the Anchorage Airport

My dad had a half sister whom I adored.  I followed her around like a puppy follows a kid.  I loved her so much, and thought she was the most beautiful teenager I had ever seen.  I found evidence of this recently on a DVD that had been made from an old reel film in which I looked to be about 6 years old.  She had cascading beautiful red hair down to her waist, and a beautiful smile.  She had grown up in Alaska, but moved to Florida as a teen, and my grandfather along with his second wife brought Jeanette with them to visit us in California before heading east.

Sadly, she lost her own mother right before graduating from High School, and they ended up moving back to California.  They arrived right before mothers day, and she told me how I took her face in my hands the way children do and told her that we would not celebrate Mothers day, because she had just lost her mother, and I didn’t want her to be sad.  It was wonderful to have her back in my life, but when I married and moved away, and she took a job in another state we lost contact.  I searched in vain for her for years.  When the internet really got going, I would frequently go on-line trying to see if I could people find her.  All to no avail.  I wondered if she was O.K., happy, settled.  I asked my dad if he had talked to her.  They had been estranged, so he hadn’t.

My dearest Aunt Jeanette, I know you see this as I do.  That God did something extraordinary to bring us together again after all these years.  How else could it be?  When the funeral home told me the obituary missed the deadline because of Thanksgiving weekend, my only thought was that people wouldn’t have enough notice to attend.  I didn’t know there was a bigger picture.  I didn’t know His plan hinged on that missed deadline, so that you could find it on Tuesday of the following week instead.  I shrugged my shoulders and moved on as though in a dream.

That weekend was so hard.  Flying three thousand miles, assuming care and responsibility for his estate and my brother who had no one but my dad.  Meeting with attorneys, emptying what we could of the house in one day, and driving more miles than I cared to up and down California highways as I slowly reached the end of my rope.  I screamed in frustration alone in my car that I was done believing, that I couldn’t do any more.  I felt alone.  And He heard me.  Because the next day when I showed up for the service, I saw a woman with short white hair staring me down, looking nervous.  I went over to comfort her and held out my hand.  She didn’t respond except to look me in the eyes with what could only be described as pain.  I think it took me a good twenty seconds of staring back to realize…it was you.  We hugged each other tightly and I lost the little composure I had, not wanting to let go of you.  It was as if you weren’t real.  

I didn’t need further confirmation of His hand in this, but I got it nonetheless.  You told me that you NEVER read the paper, but that day you were looking for a particular obituary for someone in your church home.  A family mourning a child–nothing else could have gotten you to open that paper.  And unexpectedly see that your half brother had died.  And when we sat down for the minister, I looked briefly upwards to the ceiling to quietly say, “Thank you,” because in all my grief I still felt like I was in the presence of a simple miracle.

Words cannot describe the joy in seeing you.  You are comfortable to me.  You were there for me when I didn’t really have anyone.  I regret losing all the time we did, but am forever grateful for the chance to pick up again.  I have enjoyed the conversations of catching up, and look forward to more in the future.

I love you,

Most Affectionately,

Your niece.

My Aunt sent me an email today with this link.  It is an amazing story, and got me thinking about Devine Intervention.  We don’t always know the plan.  With time we may figure it out, but not always.  All we can do is hang on until we feel our weight and burdens being lightened by something we can’t see.  That’s what faith is.

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This entry was posted in church, faith, Family, fathers, nostalgia, Post of the Day, reunions and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Dear Aunt Jeanette

  1. This is a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing. I have great faith in God moments showing up when we most need them ♥

  2. Gretchen says:

    Arnel – you always write so beautifully, but this one was exceptional. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Wonderful story and you tell it so well. I love the link your aunt sent!

  4. robin says:

    What a poignant story–it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for this inspiring message.

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