The Angels Were Waiting

July 24, 2016angel feather1

By Joy Ross Davis

I felt at first like I was dreaming. When I received the message from the International Women’s Writing Guild (IWWG) that they wanted me to be a presenter at their upcoming conference, I could hardly believe it. It isn’t often that a small-town Southern writer is asked to do such a thing, especially in Pennsylvania, far from my home in Alabama. I’d dreamed of this for three years, submitting several proposals in hopes of garnering a spot. And now, I was to be the presenter of two workshops at the IWWG conference at Muhlenberg College in Allentown!

Once I arrived, I felt that familiar sense of place, a college campus buzzing with activity. I walked around the Commons relishing memories of the campus in my hometown where I’d taught for many years. The first workshop went even better than I could have imagined. I shared a part of my life with those in attendance, and every day thereafter, we shared, we talked, we cried, we laughed, and we healed.

On my fourth night there, I was laughing with my roommates, all of us gathered in my room, when my phone rang.

“Mama,” the voice on the other end sobbed, “she’s dead, Mama. Rachael died.”

I thought I must be dreaming again. No, this couldn’t be true. Rachael, my son Matthew’s fiancée, was only thirty-six years old.

“Mama,” he struggled again amidst his sobs. “She’s dead. Rachael died tonight. Do you think she will go to Heaven?”

My heart broken and shock setting in, I remember very little about the rest of that night. But what I do remember is this: I dreamed that Rachael and I were standing on an immense, glimmering white sidewalk. I tried to pull her forward, but she resisted. I reached for her again, and she relaxed. We walked together up that shining white sidewalk. At the end of the sidewalk, a shimmering—almost blinding—white light glowed, and in the background, I thought I could see two immense white wings. Rachael looked over at me and I nodded. She stepped forward, off the sidewalk, and into the light.

I left the conference early to be with my family. And with that dream in my mind, now I could answer Matthew’s question.

“Yes, honey, she did go to Heaven, and the angels were waiting for her.”

In loving memory of Rachael Headrick, a young woman tortured by demons: a mother, a daughter, and a loving partner now safely home in the loving arms of angels.

 BIO:

Joy Ross Davis is of Irish descent and a student of the lore and magic found in the hills of Tennessee. After a twenty-five year career as a college English professor, she traveled to Ireland and worked as a writer and photographer, publishing numerous travel articles and photos for an Irish travel agency. She has been a contributing feature writer for a local newspaper and has published articles in Southern literary magazines. She lives in Alabama with her son and beloved dogs. She loves to speak at conferences, book club meetings, and events to share her connection with angels and the stories behind her books. To learn more click here.

 

Saying Good-bye To Bear

When Bethany Croyle lost her six and a half year old Great Dane, Bear, I sent her a private message on Facebook to let her know I cared. After she wrote me back, I asked if I could share her story with my readers. She agreed. Here’s Bethany’s story in her own words.

37353_1416418542388_2536506_nLast night was very difficult. Ben says that it takes a few weeks to learn new routines, and stop looking for them each time you come home. Let’s hope today is better than yesterday. I’m of the opinion that there’s one special animal that is significant above all the others in a person’s lifetime. For my sister, it was a Great Dane named Stubby. Bear is mine. I don’t know if I will ever get another dog. Right now I can’t comprehend it. But maybe someday there will be another.

He was and is an incredibly special dog.

My daughter, Evie, about seven at the time, is running with Bear at his favorite romp spot, the Bruneau sand dunes.
My daughter, Evie, about seven at the time, is running with Bear at his favorite romp spot, the Bruneau sand dunes.

I understand that connection that happens when they walk beside you through emotional hardship. He picked me at the least opportune time for me to have a dog- much less a Dane puppy. I’d just ended an abusive marriage and decided to move back to Idaho to be near family. So much easier to be a single parent with family around!

I rolled in to town, after five days on the road, and had been crying ever since the Idaho border. My sister met me in the driveway and pushed me in her car, saying “good! You’re here. Welcome home. Let’s go look at puppies!” Such a bizarre homecoming. I never even got in the house.

1918458_1173824997701_1295119_nBear picked me that day. I almost missed it. After playing with them all, we were loading the puppies in to the truck bed, and he crawled into my arms with his wise, worried eyes. I put him back with the herd. It was hours later that I thought of him again and said, “I’d name him Barron.” That was it. He picked me.

But I was technically a homeless, unemployed single parent. I felt like I was walking around with a scarlet A on my chest, labeling me as abused. I was a mess, and really had no business getting a dog. But he picked me, and I never had reason to regret it.

The service tag was for me. At that point, Bear was about five. I have severe Celiac disease, and when I am exposed to gluten I pass out. So he wore the tag when I traveled with him. That way he was there to guard me if I passed out. So he traveled in style, and I took him to restaurants, movie theaters, and hotels. He really was a beautifully mannered boy.
The service tag was for me. At that point, Bear was about five. I have severe Celiac disease, and when I am exposed to gluten I pass out. So he wore the tag when I traveled with him. That way he was there to guard me if I passed out. So he traveled in style, and I took him to restaurants, movie theaters, and hotels. He really was a beautifully mannered boy.

The next few years had exciting elements to them. I got the bookstore, found a tiny house to rent. However, they were dark emotional times for me. Bear was beside me every day. He went to work with me, slept with me, and was a constant source of comfort while I cried myself to sleep some nights.

 

 

 

20141117_150927When the vet was here, I was cuddling his face telling him how much I loved him, and thanking him for these years. But he held on until I told him I would be okay if he left me. Then I felt him go.

The support from everyone has been wonderful. It’s helped knowing that he was loved by so many, and that I’m not crazy for grieving like I am.

 

Bio:

Bethany Croyle always wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Deciding that dream was too far fetched, she chose to be a gemologist, gluten free baker, exceptional barista, and bookstore owner while raising her daughter. She’s now chasing her first love and writing fiction in a town where cows outnumber the people. The only things she misses about city life are sushi and designer shoes. Bethany found love again with an Air Force crew chief named Ben.

 

 

She’s Come Undone

"She's Come Undone" is my interpretation of this photo. What is yours? Feel free to post in the comment box below the poem.
 Maybe she is all of us who’ve ever come back from grief, hardship, disappointment or simply discovered that we’ve entered our  second childhood.   

8/27/13

 Stepping out of the pool

wearing nothing but a dare,

she looks around.

No roofers in sight,

only the neighbor’s cat

curled under the Mimosa 

and a gecko doing pushups on the fence.

She crosses her arms in front of her

covering herself like a shield.

It’s the Pilgrim in her you know.

Then slowly, she drops the facade,

lifts her arms wide

and does breaststrokes in the air.

The stars aren’t even out,

high noon howls at her back

as she glides this way and that,

barefoot in the sun,

pirouetting in grass that’s still green

until the scarecrows come out.

 A hawk flies overhead,

his high-pitched keeee calling her

to join him.

She takes off across the yard

and decades fall behind her,

shedding the years until she is five

and running through sprinklers.

 Diving into the blue,

she torpedoes through the water

propelled by an energy

she hasn’t felt in years.

 When she comes up for air,

she spots two lily pads of cloth

floating nearby…the discarded suit.

 Flipping on her back,

the buzz of a light plane catches her attention.

And she laughs at the moment

 when she defied convention.

 © Kathleen M. Rodgers