SIGNS: PROLOGUE OF LIFE AFTER DEATH


        DATrula God wink 2 in 1VENPORT, IOWA                    After Swearing in Ceremony  1973     Trula’s Philosophy    There are really only two ways to approach life—as victim or as gallant fighter—and you must decide if you want to act or react, deal your own cards or play with a stacked deck. If you don’t decide which way to play with life, it always plays with you.                                                                       Borrowed from Merele Shain

My free-spirited sister forced my conservative,  and sensible, mother and me, into a pact. It was a “Life After Life Pact”. She  forced us by her determined persistence. We only agreed to her terms to get her  to “give it up” and not “hound us” about it. “The Pact”, was an agreement that  whoever “went first” would send back a sign.

Mother went first, and indeed she did send back  signs.

marguerite

My sister  Trula passed on second, and I anticipated my signs , but none came.  At least, not signs for me. The Pact ( though really only agreed to by Trula as we “placated her wishes”) specified there would be direct signs  between the three of us; mother, sister, and me.

Others called me with stories of  her contacting them, but still none came to me. Even my conservative husband who is a  true fundamentalist and non-believer in signs after life, was shaken by signs  that definitely involved  “sister” and were not explainable in “rational  terms”. But to me, nothing. Until………

sister-with-gift-2

Four years after her death my sister gave me a  sign of direct contact. It was in her own time, and in her own way, just as she  had been in life. She always had a way of surprising me throughout life in good ways and in bad. In life, she  might be in one of her “snits” and not speaking, (a definite Godwin genetic trait,) yet in my time of need, she  would still come through. So it was now even in death, with the promised  signs.

I was having a difficult time, struggling with  the pain of concern for someone dear to me who was in serious trouble. I found  myself sitting alone on the couch crying early in the morning. I didn’t want to go to work upset, but I  couldn’t resolve this problem in my mind with enough hope for a positive  resolution. Prayer in these times is always involved, but there are just times  we leave that prayer time feeling we selfishly wanted immediate gratification or  resolution. This was one of those times for me.

I found myself saying aloud, “If you were here  sister, you’d know what to do or who to talk too. I really need your help.”

Trula on Christmas dropping by to wish us a Merry Christmas as she was on night shift and didn't make Christmas dinner. She loved Christmas, and ironically would die the 23rd of December, 2002.

Trula on Christmas dropping by to wish us a Merry Christmas as she was on night shift and didn’t make Christmas dinner. She loved Christmas, and ironically would die the 23rd of December, 2002.

In my mind, my sister, a distinguished and decorated veteran  police officer for twenty eight years, would have a vast ray of experience to  draw on. She would have answers to my questions if she was here. I boo-hooed a  little longer, then I went to the kitchen to take my insulin, and force myself to  eat breakfast .

As I passed the television it was showing the  morning show that was my least favorite. My husband left it on that channel  before leaving with our greyhounds for an early morning walk. Imus. Imus is such  a negative person that he sets my teeth on edge. As I passed the tv I could have  switched it off , but in my passive and saddened state, I just ignored  it.

Fixing breakfast I began to notice music playing  in the background. It was a beautiful gospel song with such familiar harmony  that I marveled it could be coming from the Imus show. There had to be an  explanation. Imus thought of himself as a musical afficionado’, but this was not  even close to the usual music of his choosing. Then, it hit me. The familiarity  was because it was the, “Five Blind Men From Alabama”. My sister’s favorite gospel group.  What in the world was that music doing on the Imus program?

I hastened to the living room and there, on the  screen , was the singing group. Not only was I hearing their music, they were  making a personal appearance on Imus. Impossible. I felt a little nudge in my  spiritual self , realizing there could be a significance to this, and to my  previous plea to my sister that I needed her. Of course, the thought of  “contact” was fleeting, as one’s practical self always interrupts with doubts.

amazing-grace

When my sister was literally on her death bed  from breast cancer, and in the hospital, she had me playing the CD of the “Five  Blind Men From Alabama” hour after hour. In the last coherent hours of  communication , she had me play only their version of “Amazing Grace” from that  disc. It is the most haunting and unique variation of the song I have ever  heard. Distinctive, moving, and powerful. I could never forget  it.

At that very moment, they began to sing,  “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound.” As my eggs begin to burn and my toast  turned cold, I stood spellbound by the haunting refrain . At the end of the  performance I remained silent and staring at the screen. I was still floored by  the fact they were even on the Imus program. Beyond that, I had to absorb the  occurrence of that song being sung within minutes of my tearful plea to my  sister to help. And to hear  that song, specifically by that group. It should be giving me  comfort and make me feel she answered. It was a chilling moment when I felt I  needed to accept it as a direct contact. But, the contact wasn’t  over.

I arrived at work in a state of confusion, hope, and need. I told no one of my state of mind or anxiety and went about in my  usual way, pretending this was a perfect day, and life was good. Inside myself,  I was still anxious and felt I should have been reassured about my concerns. I  should have taken my sister’s contact as a sign that the problem I was worrying  about would be worked out. But, like most people who struggle with things of the  supernatural/spiritual type, I continued to try to explain away the “coincidence” of the  morning music, the appearance of the singing group appearing on a program known  for mocking such music, and again, for mocking such belief  systems.

Within the hour, I would no longer have doubts.  I sat fretting over work I could not concentrate on. Office interactions were  blocked out as I tried to focus on the tasks at hand. In the cubicle next to  mine, I could hear our graphic artist talking to a new employee about his own  personal work style. This graphic artist was known for arriving promptly,  putting in his ear plugs, and only taking them out for breaks and lunch. He also  had a massive number of downloaded music choices he listened to. Being young, in  his twenties, and not known to be particularly religious, I was often glad he  used ear plugs as our music tastes were complete opposites, though he often  offered to play selections I would enjoy.

“Yeah, there’s all kinds of music on here“, he  was saying to the new employee.  “Some I listen to a lot, and some not, actually rarely.  Like this”.

I could not even react as I heard the strains of  “Amazing Grace” begin to play. Oh no, not just a version of Amazing Grace you  could explain away, but Amazing Grace by the Five Blind Men of Alabama. I  silently begin to pray and to thank God that He allowed    encouragement to reach me through my sister. (Some of my fundamentalist family and friends just fainted from fear for my soul. <grin>)

♫♫♫♪♪♫♫♪♪♫♫ Amazing♪♪♪♫♫ Grace♫♪♪♫♪♫♪

While the previous problem of my concern did resolve in an  purely positive way, I knew I could rely on the fact my sister knew of  my concerns and sorrow, even though she was no longer “here”.  I was  accepting that it wasn’t going to be an every day happening. I now believed she  could be involved in the caring of my welfare in this life, but we weren’t going  to have a daily coffee clutch or be able to communicate at will.

I felt a  renewed sense of loss. But, that would not be the only time she would make such  a bold statement/contact in my life and give me another jolt.

As much as it has been a joy for me to write  these accounts of family legacy stories to leave for my family, I have also anticipated putting  them in a book, to share with anyone who might enjoy or benefit from the tone  and content of the stories. At the same time, it has also made me sad that my  sister never got her book published. It was her life long dream to write about  her tormented childhood, unsolved rape in her home as an adult, and her colorful and  pioneering career in the police department. I must say, hers would have been a  bestseller. Mine, is a bittersweet project.

On a particularly melancholy night, I was  ruminating on these very thoughts as I went downstairs to go through bins of old  pictures. I was trying to select a few relevant pictures to publish  in my book. The fact that I am a clutter-bug and have all kinds of  pictures, cards, and memorabilia from the last fifty years, means that I get  into these bins for hours once I start. That night would be an exception.

 

The second bin I opened was a combination of  pictures and old greeting cards. Some were from years gone by and concern people  only I would remember. I try to “thin out” the cards thinking ahead to a time  when my poor children will have to go through things, after my passing. I am  sure they will wonder who these people were and why I kept their cards.

As I searched through to the pictures hidden in  the bottom of the bin, I noticed a card that didn’t look familiar . What caught  my eye was that it didn’t appear to be a holiday or birthday greeting card like  most in the bin. It had pencils and stars on the front and the phrase, “You Are  a Lover of Words”.

I pulled the card out and without opening it,  began to read the front;

You  Are a Lover of Words

One  Day You Will

Write  A Book

People turn to you because you give voice to dreams,  notice little things, and make otherwise impossible imaginings appear real. You  are a rare bird who thinks the world is beautiful enough to try to figure it  out, who has the courage to dive into your wild mind and go swimming there. You  are Someone who still believes in cloud watching, people watching, daydreaming,  tomorrow, favorite colors, silver clouds dandelions, and sorrow. Be Sacred. Be  cool. Be wild. Go far. Words do more than plant miracle seeds. With you writing  them, they can change the world.

I paused to consider the meaning of those words  and ponder the person who would have given it to me. I had a client who was an  accomplished and published author of some 28 books and gave me several cards,  but I didn’t remember this card, let alone her giving it to me. Then there was my  friend who was my “Writing Buddy” . We have made another kind of pact with each  other. Our pact, was that we would each write and publish a book before we died.  I didn’t remember her giving this card either, though I have dozens from her  sent over the years.

I decided to open it and solve the mystery. I  was stunned.

The undertaking of writing my memoirs, let alone  publishing them, often overwhelms me. After all, my sister was the talent when  it came to writing poems, I just dabbled at creative writing. Nothing special, I  just liked to do it.  I would have valued my sister’s opinion and  encouragement, but she had been dead for over four years. I opened the card and  the message inside was hand written. I recognized the familiar scrip  instantly.

“In  my life you have played an important role Sister! Because of you, I grew in  certain directions..for the better. You stood by me in real life; life and death  crisis, and you did it with love and unconditional. If you had not been there, I  might not be here this year to say “HAPPY BIRTHDAY”. But thru the years of good  and bad, we grew, and we complimented each other while we reached for goals that  only were mapped out in different directions. We work different, we love  different and pray different. But Sister, we are the same. May this new year  bless you with your heart’s rewards you so rightly deserve. Happy Birthday From, the Sister of the Wind, Blood of the  Wolf,         Trula.”

So many questions exploded in my mind. How could  I have received this card and not remember it? It was not dated, so when did she  give it to me? Most cards in the bin were in envelopes so I could check the  postmark, but not this one. I took it to my husband and asked if he remembered  it. He didn’t. He too could not imagine I would have forgotten it considering the  amazing revelations of the handwritten message. In addition, he couldn’t fathom  that I wouldn’t have shown it to him, which would have been in keeping with our  usual practice.

We theorized it was from the time period when my  sister almost died from surgical complications and I stayed with her three weeks  in the University Hospital. Then, I brought her home to our house where I  dressed her surgical site daily for weeks. It would fit that time period. But,  how would I have forgotten that? It was a stressful time but  still…….

I know I treasure the timing of the find and  feel she led me too it. I cherish it more than words can say , as during our  often contentious relationship through the years, my sister had a hard time  saying she was sorry or expressing deep emotions. This message was truly a gift  of closure for me and reassured me that all the time and efforts I had put into  trying to be a good sister, had not been in vain. Maybe God allowed me to block  out receiving that card until it would do the most good, and touch my life in  the most powerful way. Whatever the reason, it worked.

The legacy of sisterhood and that bond cannot be  fully explained. You have to experience it. And I did.

I'll Be In Touch

I’ll Be In Touch

copyright sign2004

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About joycegodwingrubbs2

Some call me retired: I am RE-FIRED. I have written 15 books, plus 3 were written as a "ghost writer". I no longer offer them as printed books having them only available as Kindle Ebooks since my retirement as a novelist. Twelve books are on Amazon.com Kindle eBooks: collectively they are known as The Greyhound Lady Walking suspense series.They are real cases fictionalized into suspense stories to protect identities..( no victim/survivor names were compromised, and workers and locations were protected.) I also co-authored a non-fiction book: Footsteps Out of Darkness: The Annabelle Kindig Story . It is available on Amazon under the name of Annabelle Kindig. I have traveled, written from the heart, and found an audience that appreciates my "platform". The catalyst to writing the novels was the realization that if I died, I would take all my amazing experiences in these real cases with me; and believe me few have lived 5 lives in one. It would "silence the voices" of the victim/survivors whose triumphs are written into these novels. The suspense series was written in part with the collaboration of police woman and sex crime expert Trula Ann Godwin. In addition to the novels, I have written as a ghost writer for a World War II veteran who fought in the South Pacific aboard the USS Maryland in all the major battles. I have also written a non-fiction book recording oral history stories of my family members beginning with the 1930's to present. There are sixty-six "legacy" stories with pictures. It was recently published as a private printing for family and close associates only. I am a published photo journalist having won the 2009 Editor's Choice Award for internet freelance news articles and pictures of the Cedar Rapid's Iowa flood victim accounts and their personal struggles.. My husband and I are in our 52nd year together (only one blip on the marital radar together), and we have adopted three greyhounds; Dex, Big Buddy and Baby Doll. These were the inspirations in the Greyhound Lady Walking suspense series We have eleven grandchildren, 7 grandsons and 4 granddaughters. My three children live in Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio.
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3 Responses to SIGNS: PROLOGUE OF LIFE AFTER DEATH

  1. Wow, and how timely as my Thursday night Sister’s group met last week to discuss the magical entity called “angels.” Don’t ever kid yourself, Joyce. They are out and about–all of the time–in all manner of wonderful shapes and forms. Really, really enjoyed reading this tonight.

    “R-bec”

  2. jeanie Prunchak says:

    She is always around.

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