The Watch and the Angel

After my only son, Jason, was killed in an automobile accident his friends and fellow athletes at the track club searched for ways to honor him. They had a track named after him.

One Christmas they gave me a watch. The club's logo was a big green frog. The frog was not ordinary. He wore track clothes (a white tee shirt and dark shorts). On my watch he was running, upright on two legs. It made me smile as I remembered Jason running. How my son loved running! I treasured the watch. I slept with it on. I took care of it and for some reason it gave me comfort to have it. It gave me a feeling of connection.

Jason had been killed in 1989 and in February of 2000 I still had the watch and would wear no other. Of course it had been through new watch bands and new batteries so it still looked great.

During the summer of 2000 the watch stopped and I knew it must need a new battery so we drove into a small town near us to have a jeweler install one.

Now I need to back up a wee bit here to tell you that at some point in early 2000 , I started taking on too many jobs, one of which was a course in Skills Training for one of my jobs. By June, the load had increased even further as I took on two large community service projects. I found myself snapping a bit at people and in my mind people around me were just not working hard enough. I began carrying some of their load. Well community service work is important to our spiritual health, but not when our own health is at stake.

Finally the day came when my body had to give out different signals as I just was not heeding it.

I woke up that morning and put on my watch. It was that special watch I mentioned. The watch had stopped. I did not realize that my own body was also about to go on strike.

My husband, Shawn and I drove into town to run some errands. Enroute to town I suddenly began to cry. Shawn looked at me with concern, "Honey, what is the matter", he asked.

Tears pouring down my face I answered, "I don't know," and truly I had no idea what was happening.

We arrived in town and began taking care of the errands. At the jewelry shop I was told that the eight year old watch was beyond repair. "I'm sorry, it's toast!" Was the explanation given me by the clerk.

"Well give it a new battery" I instructed her.

"You don't understand," she said. "The watch is dead and can not be repaired. We can put new insides into it for $60.00."

Suddenly I felt as though I was going to break down and cry again. "This is ridiculous," I thought to myself. I got out of the jewelry store quickly before the tears started.

We finished our errands and headed home. As we drove along I suddenly began crying.

"You're crying again. What is the matter?" He asked

My answer was the same as before. I honestly did not know why I was crying. By the time we arrived at the house we both came to the same conclusion. I was overworked and the stress was causing a burn out. Parts of me were starting to close down in protest.

I was soon to discover just how tough it is to function when your brain and memory seem separated or disconnected. I would turn on water and walk away completely forgetting it. I must say that the laundry room floor was constantly cleaned by the many times that I flooded that room!

I had to write down everything because my memory had almost completely closed down. The next six weeks were a trying time for someone who thrives on being busy. I was so fortunate to have the support and understanding of my husband. He had also done one other loving thing. He had gone out and ordered a new watch for me.

Not long after that day, the one where I just cried for no apparent reason, Shawn came home with a new watch for me. The track club coach would not accept any money for the new watch. It was another gift, in memory of my son.

I still had the broken watch in my hand bag and I reached in to get it and put it somewhere. I knew I would be unable to throw it away, so I intended on setting it safely into a drawer. The watch was running! I looked at it and felt a bit of a jolt followed by a warm rush of happiness. I looked skyward, "Oh God, you knew how much this watch meant and you gave it back to me." It was a ray of sunshine during a time when I really needed a lift.

The watch continued to work through out July and into August. I remember sometime in mid August thinking, "Wow, I think my mind and brain are working together again.!" I could accomplish more than one thing a day and I was feeling quite good.

Well the day that I decided that I was truly recuperated, the watch stopped. I knew it would not run again and I knew then that it had been given back to me at a time when I just needed a little ray of light, a little burst of sunshine in a tear filled, confusing time. I smiled, grateful for that gift. I knew that God had sent his angels to start it up for me. It was something I needed at that time. I smiled, grateful for the gift!

Ellie Braun-Haley

Post script I find it is funny that one of the things that was overloading me at the time of the burn out was a training course I was taking. When I experienced my own burnout, don't you just think it is hilarious that I was on the chapter that teaches about stress and burn out.

Ellie has three children, Debbie, Laurie and Jason who is in heaven. The Haley's have just completed a book on Wife Abuse in North America. War on the Homefront was published in February 2001 by Berghahn Books of New York. Ellie is also the editor of Angels On Earth at , and is a 2TheHeart Writer of the Month! Read more of her moving stories here:

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