I saw the small box sitting on the chair next to her when we sat down at the table. It was wrapped in a single bright Kelly green bow. When she handed it to me, I reached in my bag and pulled out a similar sized box, wrapped in a single white bow, and handed it to Cathy. She opened her box first and inside was a prayer bracelet. If you’ve never seen one before, it was a beaded bracelet with a box charm dangling from it. Inside the box, was a tiny piece of paper on which I had written “Courage, Strength, and Peace”. My prayers for Cathy. I wish I had a picture of it I opened my box and inside was a beautiful silver bracelet with 7 angel charms dangling from it. I put it on immediately and I wore it every single day.
Fast forward three months to August. Cathy and I had spent many days together throughout the summer and as often as I have tried to find the words for what that time meant to me, I just do not have them. They were chock full of laughter and tears and life lessons and memories that no one will ever be able to take from me. Memories, that to this very day, are as clear as crystal in my mind.
This one particular day in August, I was sitting with a student, tutoring her in math. I had plans to go see Cathy when I was finished. I had seen her a few days before and she was really struggling. I knew her time was coming to an end and any time I could just sit with her and “be” was a precious gift for which I am eternally grateful. Someone came to the room where I was tutoring and told me I had a phone call. My heart sank. My gut just knew it was the phone call I was dreading for a few weeks now. I went to the phone and sure enough, it was her sister, telling me Cathy had passed earlier that morning. It was a strange sense of relief because she was no longer in pain and sadness because I had just lost a most dear friend, more accurately soul sister, and joy because we had had so many conversations about what death was like and what was waiting for her when she crossed over.
I pulled myself together and went back to my student to finish up with her. When I got back to the room, we wrapped things up pretty quickly and as she was packing up her belongings, she looked over at me and said, “Oh, is this yours? It was on the table when you left to get your phone call.” I looked at the little item she was holding in her hand and it was one of the angel charms that had fallen off the bracelet Cathy gave me. I thanked her and she left. And I sat there sobbing in the room all alone. I was convinced Cathy had made that angel fall off the bracelet as a way to let me know she was okay and right there beside me! I ended up attaching a safety pin to it and the night of her viewing, I pinned it to her dress, in my mind connecting us forever.
Since that day, all but 3 of the original 7 angels have fallen off the bracelet at incredibly poignant times. Each one deserves a story of their own, which I will document as time goes on.
I am in awe every time I look at this bracelet, which is often. I “lost” all the angels that fell off, yet each of them found their way back to me in amazing ways, especially the second one!
I know Cathy is my angel. She has left me with so many signs that she is alive and well and helping me along my life journey every single day. My life has been completely transformed by her. I have a stronger sense of who I am. I have the faith and courage to do what I need to do as I face life’s challenges. And wow! do I look forward to the day I will see her again! In the meantime, I have one undeniably incredible guardian angel on my shoulder, guiding my every move, cushioning my every fall, carrying me along my every challenge, and raising me up with every single victory!