The first Christmas after the
death of a loved one is especially hard, and Gail Cotter, of Milwaukee,
Wisconsin, was feeling down. All around her were joyful families planning
parties and celebrations, and all she could think about was how much she missed
her husband, Gary. Gary had died of cancer on December 17, 2007, and moments
later, daughter Michelle Olszewski, on her way to to see him, heard the song
“I’ll be Home for Christmas” playing on the car radio. “I thought it was such an
appropriate song, almost a sign that Dad was in heaven,” Michelle says. “In
fact, for the next few days, every time I turned on the radio, the same song
would be playing.” The song helped Michele feel her father’s comforting
Gail wanted a sign too, something just for her. But throughout that lonely year, nothing came.
Now Christmas was approaching again. Sentimental Gary had always loved it, looking forward to hanging greeting cards and decorating the house. There would be no gift from him under the tree, Gail knew, and once again, she began sliding into depression. “Mom,” Michelle phoned one evening, “let’s get some shopping done tonight. You need to get out.”
Michelle was right. It was time to buy some Christmas toys for her small granddaughters, time to say good-bye to Gary, to let go of the past. If only she could hear from him, just one last time…
The women pulled into the Big Lots parking lot, and went inside. Gail headed for the toy display. What were the girls hoping for this Christmas? How she wished she could solve her own problems as quickly as she could make them happy! Toys were piled everywhere, so Gail reached up at random, and grabbed a Magic Writer, a draw-and-erase board from the top of a stack. Glancing at it, she realized that someone had already written on the screen. Then she gasped. Was she seeing things? The message was short and very sweet. “I love you, Gail,” it said.
“Michelle!” Gail couldn’t take her eyes off the screen. None of the other Magic Writers had marks on them. Was this the sign Gail had been asking for? The two women stood in the crowded aisle and wept.
“We asked the clerk to be careful that she didn’t erase the message on the board when we checked it out,” Michelle says. “I think she thought we were a little weird.” But Gail plans to keep the board as long as the message lasts.
“Maybe there's a logical explanation for how the writing got there,” she says. “But the true miracle is that I received it when I needed it most. It was sent for me to find.”
Joan Anderson Copyrighted by Joan Wester Anderson, used with permission. Originally appeared on the Where Angels Walk website, http://joanwanderson.com
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