The angel in the clouds

Published 12:41 pm Tuesday, January 16, 2018

By Jean Brody

It took a ride high in the sky during a horrendous storm for me to sort out some troublesome worries I had wrestled with since my sweet daughter Dede died.

At 28, Dede lost a leg as a result of an accident but was determined to finish her doctorate degree. Her last two years were spent in a wheelchair living in the dorm in California.

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I wanted her to come home, but she spent all her energy getting back and forth to classes and studying. One night, while sitting up in bed with her books all around her, she choked, couldn’t regain her breath and died there.

The hospital in Redlands, California, called to tell me their attempt to resuscitate her failed. Not only was she my daughter, but my close friend and even the illustrator of my children’s book.

The old cliché, “There are no rules if your child dies first,” is the absolute truth.

Her absence in my life resulted in a dark hole, leaving me sitting alone in my rocking chair in front of a big window over looking the ocean she and I both loved.

During all of this terribly difficult time, I had to go to Mayo Clinic. I went every six months for a number of years for extensive exams to see if my experimental spine surgery performed there was holding.

Flying was the best way to make these trips from Florida to Rochester, Minnesota. This meant a regular commercial flight to Minneapolis and then a 20-minute flight to Rochester on a small plane.

The flight I remember the best changed my life.

No sooner did I board the small plane than a violent wind came seemingly out of nowhere. The little plane was no match for it and we began to do a sky dance. I mean side to side, up to down, sideways. It must have looked like a paper plane on a string from the ground.

My stomach began to flip flop and it really did cross my mind that this was it. I needed reassurance so I looked out the rather small window.

Now, you can choose to believe or disbelieve what I’m about to tell you, but, on everything that is holy, I promise you this is exactly what I saw.

The sky was filled black with rolling clouds but as I continued to look, suddenly there was a shining bright light that overshadowed the blackness. There was my Dede.

She sparkled and smiled as she stepped free from that light to create her own light.

As she danced in a white, gauzy, flowing gown, she showed me she danced on two legs, no longer just one. She was at last God’s whole and complete child.

I leaned back in the seat. It was like letting go of so much heartache and tears. It erased the feeling I had each night when I did not know, when I awoke the next morning, whether I would wake up in Dede’s world to be with her or this one. Now I knew.

But, because the storm was still flipping us up and down like a yo-yo, I reached over to the seat on the other side of the narrow aisle. There was a kind-looking and devout nun sitting there. She seemed to be praying. I grabbed her hand, held it tight, and said simply to her, “I’m with you.”

The view from the mountain is wondrous.

Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in the Sun for more than 25 years.