This is a true story of recent miracles and blessings of Hope that continue to help me cope with the ongoing challenges of caring for my Mother who lives with my two teenage sons, my husband and myself. I thought it might be worth sharing. Love to You, Susan Roell
I don't believe in coincidences..... There is no such thing as mere coincidences... Blessings, yes... but no coincidences.... On February 9th, 2001 my cousin and I went to visit my Aunt Nelle in Tampa, Florida. All our
life we treasured the blooming of the daffodils in my grandmother's yard. As children we picked bunches of them and took them inside my grandmother.
The daffodils signaled the coming of spring and let our grandmother know that our Aunt Nelle, her only daughter, would be arriving soon from Florida for her yearly visit. After my grandmother passed away, my Aunt Nelle inherited my grandmother's home and her daffodils. Each year, my cousins and I wrote or called my Aunt Nelle and let her know when the daffodils were blooming and when it was time for her visit. Last June, my aunt fell ill and had to be put on a ventilator.
In December, she was moved from the hospital to her Florida home still on a trach and a ventilator. My cousin, Elaine and I stood it as long as we could without seeing Aunt Nelle and planned a trip to visit Feb. 9th, 2001. Both of us have lived a sheltered country life and are far from experienced travelers. I had suffered from debilitating panic disorder for over 20 years which kept me too very close to home. Now, both my cousin and I summoned up enough courage to plan an uncharacteristic trip.
We called the local supermarket to order a pot of forced daffodils for the trip since none were close yet to blooming naturally here. We went to my aunt's homeplace here to gather some mementos from her yard... fallen bark from the huge oak tree the grandchildren loved to climb... the penny for good luck all of us put under the loose step on the front porch over 30 years earlier, sprigs of ivy my aunt had transplanted from MT Vernon years earlier and pictures of the homeplace all intended to brighten our aunt's spirits and encourage her healing and desire to get better and revisit her homeplace.
As we drove to the farm, sleet began to fall from the sky. We passed the familiar farms on the way to my grandmother's homeplace and looked at each yard.... no daffodils bloomed yet on the banks of the driveways or in the flower beds... When we arrived at the homeplace... we were amazed to see... hundreds of bright yellow blossoms in full bloom! In the falling sleet we picked every last one of the blossoms of hope. My cousin and I looked like two bridesmaids boarding the plane to Tampa at Atlanta's Hartsfield air port! The daffodils broke the 'doctor's office silence' of the airport waiting area... Strangers came up to us and asked 'what was with the daffodils'...
My cousin had never flown in her life before and was nervous. A young ragged fellow with torn blue jeans and a long pony tail immediately latched on to us because of our daffodils and became my cousin's 'guardian angel'. As we talked, we found that he had just driven his aging grandmother home to the North GA Mtns. from his parents home in Fla.
On board the plane there was a little girl with golden curls who was scared and crying over her own fears of the flight... She received "7 lucky daffodils". Our young 'guardian angel' even followed us to baggage claim to make sure we got our luggage with no difficulty. He too received "7 lucky daffodils"... Upon arriving in Tampa, a little elderly lady stood lost and alone with only her tattered luggage beside her. We sat with her luggage and suggested she call for her transport which had failed to pick her up. She also received "7 lucky daffodils". When we finally arrived at my Aunt Nelle's Florida home, we still had over 200 daffodils which had defied fate and bloomed far too soon for North Georgia. My Aunt Nelle was tickled at the sight of them, and we had a wonderful uplifting visit with our beloved Aunt Nelle. We arrive safely home on Feb. 14th, but the daffodil story hardly ends there.
On my birthday, Feb.19th my mom went to the hospital by ambulance only to discover that something very serious was wrong with her... probably a brain tumor... On the day of her biopsy... my cousin, Elaine appeared... In her hand she held... "7 lucky daffodils". Less than two weeks later my husband's mother had a massive cerebral hemorrhage. My family often said during this time, that we knew that the Lord did not put more on us more than we could handle... but the past few weeks events and my stress of traveling to Houston's MD Anderson Clinic with Mom, leaving my husband at the hospital with his mom in a coma seemed more than any of us could deal with...
Two weeks to the day after my mother was taken to the hospital my husband's mom died on my oldest son's birthday. At the funeral home, my cousin Elaine, who went with me to Tampa, arrived with her sister Carolyn. This cousin had fallen on to very difficult times... She and her husband had lost everything they owned and had been forced to move into an apartment complex, far away from the peaceful rolling farmland where the daffodils bloom naturally. In her hands was a basket, with "7 lucky daffodils". She giggled embarrassed laughter as she told me how, with no money she had come to give me the daffodils. Outside her apartment, under the cover of night, she had dug up the 7 blooming daffodils and had asked forgiveness for 'stealing them' for me, promising to replant seven more from my grandmother's homeplace before the next spring. I had not cried tears of grief until then. Not from the news of mom's tumor... nor from the loss of my mother-in-law. At last, I was given my time to cry.
The 7 daffodils came back to me ten fold.... I know there was no coincidence in our planning the trip to Tampa.... to visit my Aunt Nelle... It was to prepare me to know what to do in planning a trip to Houston for my mom's medical emergency. As for the daffodils... they were part of the plan as well.... A month ago the cousin who 'stole' the daffodils to bring me at my mother-in-laws funeral, ran across a letter from my grandmother dated over 30 years ago... My grandmother's mention of 'daffodils' caused my cousin to send me a copy of the treasured letter.... but the message was much more than just about daffodils... Within its warm embracing words about freshly cooked biscuits, turnip greens, pole beans, fried catfish, fresh homemade sausage, chocolate cake and her favorite pastime of crocheting she told my cousins who were away at college that missing home was normal. She told them that it is through struggle that we gain strength. In the next sentence, she shared with my cousins that I had just come in bringing her an arm full of the most beautiful yellow daffodils, just as Elaine, my cousin, had done when she was young.
At my grandmother's death years earlier, I had agonized over guilty feelings that I selfishly had waited to check on my grandmother as my father had asked me to do, choosing to go "after" my bike ride rather than "before it". After my ride, I entered my grandmother's home, to find her confused and disoriented after having a stroke. She died two days later... Many nights I prayed for forgiveness and I talked to her often, asking her to forgive me as well. A year later, I dreamed the strangest dream. It was of my family and a bucket of the oddest thing.... catfish. In the dream my grandmother carried the catfish in a bucket around a circle of family members. She laughed and smiled at each of us as she passed out the catfish. When she got to me she handed me a catfish and leaned down and whispered in my ear.... "It is OK.... it doesn't get any better than catfish!"
For years and years I wondered about such a very strange dream... Now I understand it... Because of the daffodils, I received the old copy of the letter from my grandmother. Her words came back to me from the pages of past. She ended her letter... with the same words... as I had heard years earlier in my dream... "It doesn't get any better than ....turnip greens, cooked biscuits, pole beans, fresh sausage, chocolate cake, crocheting, daffodils and fried catfish!..... "
In heaven... I know there are daffodils blooming.... and somewhere... there are fishponds brimming over with fresh catfish just waiting to be caught . We must remember to embrace the 'coincidences' in our lives for they are far from 'little accidents' and 'unexplained happenings'... In reality, there are no coincidences... only tiny miracles which "allow God to remain anonymous".