YOU READ IT CORRECTLY. This story happened in 3 parts beginning 1998. In my belief system God Winks are like anonymous contacts allowed by God. Never doubt that it can be subtle or blatant; unsettling or reassuring, but it lets you know that there is something profound in the “lesson” or “experience” that is meant to touch your life…Author Joyce Godwin Grubbs.
Police officer Trula Ann Godwin (Tanner) was a decorated police officer of the Davenport Iowa Police Department. The second woman added to the department, she was also the first in the nation to have her own patrol car. She was honored by the International Women Police,
She was also recognized for heroism with two other officers involving removing tenants from an active residential fire. A training officer and first woman to work undercover with the QC MEG (Quad Cities Metropolitan Enforcement Group) she was also used undercover on various department stings. A sex crime expert who became a vocal rape victim/survivor, she became a police officer as a mother of 5 children (1 toddler and 4 pre-school and elementary age, when she joined the force. She received an appointment as an Honorary Colonel in the Iowa National Guard and was awarded her “wings” at the Iowa Capitol by Governor Terry Branstad.
YET, AS THE FIRST GOD WINK APPROACHES, HERE SHE SAT, ALONE AND IN DESPAIR . A frequent visitor to the various bars in the area of her beat and after shift with fellow officers, she had chosen one that was not her usual. A small bar where cops weren’t the usual customers and she could be alone and quiet. She wanted to contemplate the devastating news she had just received. It would not only end her career, but her life. It would be her lowest moment in her life. The doctors had informed her that the personal breast cancer war she had battled for five years was coming to an end. NOTHING MORE TO BE DONE. She was dying.
Trula had shared with this author, her sister, that during that period she felt as though “she had worn out her friends and family who had stood by her in that period of time. They were faithful, supportive, but dwindling in contact and in availability.” She expressed feeling for the first time as though she had “worn out her welcome” . While she still had the desire to “fight on” she realized it might be a small support group that cared to see her through to the end.
Alone at the bar, no doubt feeding money to the juke box to hear old classics by Bob Dylan, Buddy Holly, Sam Cooke, and any others from her youthful era of the 50’s and 60’s, she would have been sipping her beer pouring it over ice. A newly acquired habit following her chemotherapy days. She normally would have been one who would make small talk with the man who came in and sat next to her at the bar. Hearing the stories of people, their lives and struggles, was her favorite pass-time. Yet that day she had to be “prodded into it” by the naïve man who tried to strike up a conversation, undoubtedly ignorant of the fact he was speaking to a cop, as she was in her familiar Harley shirt and jeans.
Described later as a “scruffy”, un-kempt, small Hispanic male, looking more like a migrant worker than a “townie”, Trula found herself slowly making small talk with him, mostly listening rather than talking. But whether it was the beers or something he was saying in his calm, broken English, she found herself confiding her private pain to him.
The facts were that she had been told by the doctors that she was at the end, and there was nothing more to do. No more surgeries, the double mastectomies hadn’t worked. The cancer was in her body in several different places. She was at the end of the chemotherapy or having any expectations of it working. She had almost died due to a medical, surgical, error when the specialist slipped and punctured through her esophagus into the chest cavity during what was supposed to be a minor outpatient procedure. It caused her to spend almost a month in the University Hospitals, requiring 24/7 treatments even after she got out of ICU. The doctors had painfully admitted it was a miracle she survived.
Sometimes a listener is enough to be grateful for. And this man listened, not asking questions, but looking at her as she spoke and letting her “get it all out.” At the end of her story he reacted by removing a necklace and pressing it into her hand. “This was given to me by my mother, and she said it would keep me safe. I want you to have it and it will keep you safe.”
Trula did not even look at the necklace but slipped it into her jeans pocket and thanked him. Knowing my sister she would have had a hard time doing more than just saying thank you. She was, inside, an emotional person, but after 2 decades on the police department, she had learned restraint and caution in letting her emotions show. After all, she had just “bared her soul” to a stranger and that was not her usual reaction.
That night, having returned to her apartment, she began to undress for bed. She reached into her jeans pocket and felt the chain of the necklace and pulled it out. It was, to her amazement, a gold necklace with a gold medal of St. Guadalupe. Her recent intent in exploring conversion to Catholicism made her aware of St. Guadalupe . She knew about her appearing to an humble, Indian male, December 9, 1531 ( his baptismal name became Juan Diego thus causing many to believe he was Hispanic). Trula knew about the appearances of The Lady to him, and to his uncle who was seriously ill and expected to die. The uncle recovered after her visitation directly to him. The Bishop who had to be “persuaded” with additional proof, then sanctioned building her chapel where she had first appeared and which still stands near Mexico City today.
Many times Trula would return to the little bar, scan the populace as she drove thru her inner city beat, looking for her 21st century Juan Diego, the Angel Unaware. She was on a mission with a thankful heart. It was remarkable that in the days, and finally weeks, following the encounter where she was given and now wearing the St. Guadalupe necklace, SHE WENT INTO REMISSION, and LIVED another 4 YEARS in what her oncologist and doctors at the University called a “most unexpected, unexplained, remission.” She never found her benefactor again, but began to think it was “meant to be.” After all, she had entertained the company of an Angel Unaware. Heb 13:2: “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels unaware.”
PART TWO: GOD WINK 2: My Sister Trula’s Time Capsule Arrived 13 Years After Her Death: It would change lives forever, but specifically her “baby boy” whose life was about to ‘go back in time’.
In the beginning;
It was Sunday in January, 2016 when I checked my Facebook. There was a private message; not unusual, I often get them and this one had just popped on. It was from a “Ben Miller.”and Ben was wondering if I might be a contact for a lady named Trula Godwin? His wife (Dana I found out later) was working on a dresser they bought at the local DAV store and used for the last 12 years. That day, when she tried to return a drawer to the dresser, it would not go in. Couldn’t budge it. They examined it and there seemed to be a hidden or special area hiding a large amount of materials in it. He could not wait to deliver it to me after finding out my sister had passed away in 2002.
When Ben delivered it there were so many items and as I sorted through them I was astonished at the selected items she had secreted in the special area hidden in the dresser’s structure. To read about each of them please feel free to read the entire encounter/story by looking at the index of stories here on my WordPress blog and selecting “God Wink: My sister Trula’s Time Capsule Arrived 13 Years After Her Death. It is in the heading (black area) above. https://joycegodwingrubbs2.wordpress.com/god-wink-my-sister-trulas-time-capsule-arrived-13-years-after-her-death/
For now, the relevant item of the bunch in discussion is a letter written 24 years ago. Due to this “God Wink” I am now able to reveal with permission, the nature of the letter in the time capsule which I could not when it was first opened and I wrote the original God wink story. “THINGS HAD TO HAPPEN FIRST”. (Many pictures and details are in this post you can access in the original post..)
There was a letter written to my sister Trula from a young woman in response to Trula’s letter to her. She discussed with Trula the decision to raise her baby on her own with the loving support of the man she was to marry. However, she wanted Trula to know that this baby would be well cared for, loved, but not told of his biological father. The biological father was Trula’s son. This was about Trula’s grandson that she would never live to see. I gave the letter to Trula’s son Jason as I knew that was why it was included in the time capsule.
ALMOST 24 YEARS AGO, JASON WOULD MEET HIS INCREDIBLE SON, THEN LOSE HIM IN A DECISION OF LOVE FOR HIS SON AND RESPECT FOR HIS SON’S MOTHER.
In the habit of pacing outside his home when in turmoil, Trula’s son Jason would often “talk to Trula and his beloved grandmother Marguerite” and felt he often “heard” from them. After receiving the letter from the Time capsule while in Iowa to meet his first grandchild, he went through his “ritual” conversation, then felt led to contact the mother of his child and tell her he was ready, if she was willing, for his son to know about him. This was a long time in coming for Jason due to concerns of how his son would take knowing his biological father had not been in the picture to raise him.
The urgency was, when Jason made contact with the mother of Zach, he found his son was expecting to be a father in his own right in just months. Family medical history was becoming important. This tried and proven former Army Sgt. was fearful of his son’s reaction and afraid that it would over-shadow his son’s happy expectations about the baby girl he would meet in October.
Jason had recently married and his new wife Kellie D. was a rock. She urged him to take the leap, she steadied him when he waited impatiently not knowing if he would get a scathing reaction from his son, or worse, hear nothing.
Hearing from his son Zach was overwhelming. Zach’s mother had shared with him that it was her decision and Jason had honored it as he was in the service and deployed to Somalia and later to Afghanistan, and as a career Army personnel, he was often in a ‘dark place” in his life, personally and professionally. The most important thing Zach learned about Jason from his mother was that buried in Jason’s heart was a radar about his son. At critical junctures in Zach’s life and his mother’s, Jason thru the years would call and check on them, as he had last done when he went, then survived Afghanistan.
The status now is that Jason will be going to “meet” face to face, his new granddaughter after her birth in October. Jason and Zach are in contact and finding their “way” that is mutually comfortable, and that Jason feels isn’t intrusive out of respect for the wonderful family Zach has had and who love him.
But as Jason says, “I’ve always needed to know what my mom thought about all of that, and the letter in the time capsule allowed me to know her thoughts, her struggles and her love for Zach. It was right before me in black and white. It was the catalyst to me contacting Zach’s mom to learn more about Zach and re-unite. The timing was perfect for me to get the letter, perfect for Zach to learn about his family and its members. Especially, his grandmother who loved him from afar.
It was no coincidence that when his great-grandmother died, Zach’s name appeared with those of her great-grandchildren, all those years ago in 1998. It was on the written materials used for her funeral and memorial. (Yes, many were trying to figure out who he was as Jason had protected his son from scrutiny.) But anyone who knew Jason’s grandmother Marguerite Marrs Godwin (Smith), would know she and his mother Trula Ann Godwin (Tanner) would have had it no other way. ( Her funeral happened in 1998, the same year Trula encountered her Angel Unaware.) .
Part Three: God-wink 3
As part of his reconciliation with his son Zach, it was clear to Jason that Zach had never received any gifts from him since that first and last visit together. He wanted to make a meaningful gesture of love and inclusion as he had already shared so many things with his first born, his daughter Bridgette who was already actively texting and becoming acquainted with her “new brother” and had just had the first grandchild, a son. Jason had also given many of his military possessions to his son Brayden. He searched his heart, conferred with various family members, including this author, as to whether his idea was “appropriate” and would be meaningful. Then he decided.
Jason valued the fact that when his mother gave him the St. Guadalupe necklace from the Angel Unaware, she wanted him to wear it in when he was deployed to keep him safe. He chuckled as he remembered he did not wear it in Afghanistan because of the heat and problems it would have caused, including his fear of losing it. Instead, he always kept it hanging on her picture along with her police badge she had worn during her career. These three things he valued more than any mementos, and thus after informing his children of his choice and reasoning, he packaged up his treasure and sent it to his son Zach.
He told Zach that he wanted him to have it and possibly wear it until the new grandchild was old enough to appreciate it and understand the legacy behind it. He told Zach that his mother had specifically said, that the story of the Angel Unaware was to be told and remembered as part of the family “legacy”, so Jason charged Zach with keeping it in the family and passing it down. He was holding his breath when he didn’t hear back from Zach right away and wondering if he received the package, when Zach contacted him. He was very grateful for the gift that meant so much to Jason, and was like a validation he was an integral part of the family. He was excited to know the story of the necklace, and more about his grandmother.
THE WEIGHT OF A LIFETIME LIFTED FROM JASON’S SHOULDERS. Things had come full circle.
This is then, my effort to help and share the story. It is especially important to remember that there truly are angels unaware among us, and there is a reason we come into contact with them. So Zach, from your great-aunt Joyce Godwin Grubbs, this is my way of welcoming you in the family and giving you the charge to carry on for your grandmother who loved you and whose blessing would definitely be given in this gifting of the necklace to you.
THE REUNION ; THE REUNION; THE REUNION.
She did it again and so the God Winks continue;
After trying to plan a reunion around the birth of his son’s first child, and holidays and other thoughts, it wasn’t until January, his mother Trula’s birthday (now in heaven) that Jason was able, with his wife, to visit his son Zach, wife Skyler and new, beautiful baby girl Lilly. I believe it was her way of letting them know she was there and knew of the reunion. From Tucson to the Southeast U.S., the trip was more than they could have hoped for.
Jason described it as all four adults being on the “same thread from beginning to end” and no awkwardness whatsoever. His son Zach used the same words. So just a couple of pictures from that wonderful occasion.
We look forward to my sister Trula manipulating many more things in their lifetimes, and we know that she is thrilled they are ‘together”.
Father and son and their own brand of humor; finding out it “meshes” and the two are one.