June 11, 2001 - Voice Mail From Heaven
Welcome to 2TheHeart!
It's "Dad Week" on 2TheHeart, and to kick it off, read my story "Daddy Hands" http://www.2theheart.com/DaddyHands. This story, along with one by Mary Ellen Grisham and many other inspiring stories about dads can be found in "Stories For a Dad's Heart" from Multnomah publishing. Beginning TOMORROW, we will share with you wonderful new stories of outstanding fathers. Welcome to our new members and Happy Dad Week!
Although today's story is not about a father, I wanted to share it, as so many of you grew to know Angel, or lost someone you loved as well.
"Sisters keep watch over each other's soul, even when they're not
together. ~Hugs for My Sister
"Voice Mail From Heaven"
by Susan Fahncke
At twenty-eight, my younger sister's life had ended before it really began. A year ago she was diagnosed with a brain tumor and my world fell apart. The vibrant, feisty, beautiful sister who had been my best friend for a lifetime gradually became a vague shell of herself, replaced with the side affects of her disease and medications.
This past year had been like a slow nightmare from which I could not wake. My time eventually became consumed with caring for Angel, endless prayers and hours and hours of tears. Losing my sister broke my heart, but watching her suffer shattered my soul. In the months prior to her death, her body began to shut down; what was left of her abilities to function one by one becoming lost. She was paralyzed on her right side and her face and body became tremendously swollen from the steroids necessary to control the swelling in her brain. She became weaker and weaker, until she could not even turn over in bed. However, the most painful loss for her was her ability to communicate. Her speech, at first affected by only a slight slur that sounded more like an accent, increasingly dropped off into broken sentences, the words unable to make their way to her lips, and then to only an occasional word here and there.
Angel was devastated at not being able to form the words that her heart felt and needed to say. Always a "talker", as are all the "Farr girls", I knew how hard this was for her. I often saw tears trickle down her cheeks with the frustration of not being able to bring the words to surface.
Her loss of speech was also incredibly painful for me. I longed for our giggling sister-talks. I missed the hours and hours of babble and laughter, the bond of understanding each other as only sisters can. I missed our phone calls and the sound of her voice and her contagious, delightful laughter. The last conversation we had was the day before she died. I sat by her bedside, listening to her struggle for breath and knew her time was nearing the end. Suddenly she awoke and uttered her last word to me.
"Sooz?" she groggily said my name, stirring beneath her blankets.
I leaned over and took her hand in mine. "I'm right here." She squeezed my hand tightly and drifted off again. It was the last time I heard her voice. The next day she left for bluer skies.
The morning after she left this life for the next, I awoke with the deepest, aching pain I've ever known. With an endless supply of tears, I felt as if I had shattered from the inside out. I would have given anything for just one more moment, one more hug, one more "Love ya" from my sister. I was happy for her that she was with God now, free of pain and full of joy again, but oh, how I ached to see her again, how I longed for the sound of her voice. And then I picked up the phone to call Mom.
Hearing the stutter tone that told me I had voice mail, I dialed in to retrieve the messages. The computer-generated operator's voice telling me I'd had a saved message for one hundred days, I listened for the message, ready to delete whatever I once felt necessary to save. Nothing seemed important to me anymore.
"Hi Sooz, it's me." I choked with the sobs that immediately came as I heard Angel's voice, full of life and love once again, her words clear and steady. "I know you're having Family Night, and I'm sorry to call, but I just wanted to tell you I love you and thank you for all you've done for me. Call me when you can." The tears flowed with joy and gratitude at this incredible gift when I needed it desperately. Her phone call ended with her usual "Love ya!".
I played it over and over until I had it memorized, her sweet voice and flowing words a gift of glorious, incredible sunshine on the darkest day of my life. I said a prayer of thanks and knew that this message coming today, of all days, was not an accident.
Two days later was her viewing. A very painful day for me, I had gone to fix her nails for her one last time and place a halo of flowers on her scarred head. Arriving home, aching and sad beyond words, I picked up the phone and heard the stutter tone again. Dialing in, I plopped down at my desk and my gaze strayed to a photo of Angel, taken one month before her diagnosis. Seeing her beautiful, glowing face and sparkling eyes, I longed to see her this way just once more. I missed her incredibly. My heart skipped a beat as I again heard the operator tell me I had another saved message from one hundred days ago.
"Hey Sooz, it's me!" It was Angel again.
She began to babble about everything and nothing, just like she always did. I found myself laughing for the first time in ages, as the sound of her "I forgot my point" message played on. Again I played it. And again. Over and over until I felt the sunshine in my soul again. "Love ya!" she said, and I saved it for another one hundred days, wondering on what day I would hear it again. I smiled at the thought.
And so it's been for the past three weeks. Every time I am at my lowest, every time I miss her so much it literally hurts my heart, another message saved for one hundred days is waiting for me. How it was timed so perfectly, I will never know, but I do know that her messages are a gift, and it is her way of saying that she is still there, we are sisters forever and she is wonderful again. Once an angel, always an angel.
Susan Fahncke Copyright 2001
I am founder and editor of 2TheHeart and Funny Friday and my first book, "Angel's Legacy" will be available in a few weeks! I have several stories in "Whispers From Heaven for the Christmas Spirit", "Stories for a Teen Heart 2", the magazines Whispers From Heaven and Shared Vision, all out next month!
Please see the incredible tribute to Angel that poet Francine Pucillo of Novia Scotia, Canada, created in her honor. I will treasure it always. http://poetry-emotion.com/Treasured_Emotions/Angel_Dedication.html
The Letter Box:
I just howled with giggles as I read Ronnie's story about the spot on the carpet. This guy is really amusing, and the way he writes about things is so deliciously different, thanks in part, I'm sure, to his British upbringing. Never again will I look at a Chinese lantern the same way, nor a carpet steamer, for that matter. Thanks for the laughs. This world needs lots more of them. Smiles across the miles,
Dear Mr. Bray, I am up late tonite, as my husband and oldest son went on a campout , so it is just me and the dog, and my puter! So nice to have rec'd Susan's Funny Friday early as I am still up at 1:00 am here., and the Funny Friday was sent after midnite. SO I feel priviledged to have read it early when a lot of her readers won't read it until tomorrow! LOL!! Anyway, as I read it and started out laughing, I startled the dog, as he looked at me funny, as no one else here, but him and I and this computer! LOL!! I really enjoyed your story and just had to write and tell you !! Thanks again for bringing smiles to your readers faces, and with me out right laughter. I also loved your definition of a bargain "it screams to be taken home" I am a lover of any kind of a "bargain" Some were not all that they were intended to be, but your carpet shampooer, did a "real" good job! I imagined you cleaned the carpet so well, that I thought the next sentence would be that you cleaned a hole thru the carpet, but glad you did not(!) :) Then I loved the ending of your story, where you remembered the Psalmist, "Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness" and that gave me comfort as well, as your ending on the "whole point of Life" How touching,and your story was a blessing to me. :)
Have a good weekend, In HIS love, Karen Edwards
It just seems to put a whole new perspective on "life"., when it has me down and out, I can just look back and read that last paragraph, and smile :)
Thanks for a wonderful story and a great big laugh! You've done it
again..... keep it up. I love it when I see you've written another one for "2theHeart," because I know I'm about to read something refreshing, hilarious, or thought-provoking. What a prize you are!
What a beautiful letter that was from Sharon. If that doesn't touch your heart I don't know what will. I know 2theheart is going to live up to Susan's challenge and send those animals in. Just don't be like me and take forever to get to the post office.
***Many of you may know one of our sweetest 2TheHeart online family members, Pat Lowe. Pat often writes lively and heartfelt letters for our Letter Box. You may have noticed the absence of Pat's letters lately. She suffers from COP (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), for which there is no cure. She lives with only 1/3 normal lung capicity and is very low on oxygen. Pat is now bedridden and really struggling with this illness. Please send your prayers her way and if you get a chance, an ecard too! email@example.com
Pat, we love you!
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