Thursday, March 4, 2021

Breadcrumbs in the Path

I was lost at the picnic. Droves of people weaved past, making me feel minuscule—insignificant. And that’s when I saw her.

The woman wore short brownish-auburn hair, an apron, and the cutest smile I’ve ever seen. She parted the crowd easier than Moses parted the Red Sea, and I actually giggled when I spotted her! My grandma—that tricky possum—ran toward me and clutched my hand. “You don’t need to be scared of them,” she told me, motioning to the crowd, “or of the future. It’s all been figured out.”

And as soon as I saw her, I wasn’t scared at all because, well, I wasn’t quite so lost anymore.

The strange thing is that my grandma died over a decade ago, and we had so much to catch up on. I wanted to tell her all about my kids and our lives. Describe to her how hard it’s been being sick, hurting so much, and watching everyone else worry and cry. I wanted to tell her that the thought of an early death is daunting because I don’t feel like it’s time to go.

As if she heard my quietest thoughts, she peered into my eyes with so much love, and whispered, “Now, you’re gonna come here much earlier than you’d want to. But don’t be scared, Elisa. I get to be the one to show you around and help you get used to things. That’s why I’m here, to tell you I’m waiting. Don’t be scared because it’s me who’s waiting to help you.”

And with those strange words...I woke up.

I tried describing the dream to some friends, but they didn’t get the same peace I did. “Let me get this straight,” one said. “You dreamed about a ghost who said she’s just waiting for you to die. Oh, but it’s okay because...? This sounds like a horror movie.”

“Well, that makes it sound creepy. It wasn’t creepy. It was peaceful. Happy. She’s my grandma, not just some ghost!”

Anyway, life can be so weird, how we lose people, but many of us somehow know we’ll see them again—in a good, non-Hollywood way.

I’ve been thinking about that dream for over two months. In fact, I thought about it today. The doctors did an MRI and found something the CTs couldn’t display. The tumor in my tailbone has tripled in size, and they might need to do yet another surgery. I’m just starting to really walk after the last one...and this is a blow. The pain, the debilitating pain. And then the worries that this will just continue, surgery after surgery until I’m gutted like an Alaskan salmon.

Today, I waited for the call from the doctor, apprehensive at best. And that’s when my mind drifted to the dream. I could almost see my grandma again, and I slightly smiled over the fact that she’d been wearing an apron in the dream. She loved God and her family, but what she loved next seemed to be decorating, cookin’, AND aprons. I’d just been thinking about that when my little girl came into the house with a huge package.

“Some mail came. It’s for you!” She waited excitedly as I opened the box, and when I opened it, I cried. 

I swear I have the greatest family and friends in the world, and somehow—no matter how tough life is—they always make things better. My Aunt Colleen, Uncle Verlan, and five of my cousins (Laura, Sara, Amy, Melissa, and Amanda) had sent a care package with sweet notes, dish towels, and...a homemade apron.

I immediately donned the orange apron and stood. I could almost imagine my grandma somehow smiling down on me, telling me not to be scared of sickness or death. I slipped my hands into the pockets and was surprised to find a paper inside. 

“This was from an article Grandma Stilson cut out of a newspaper many, many years ago,” the note said and below was a story about (you guessed it) aprons. 

I cried again, huge tears that wouldn’t stop. I just couldn’t believe my family had taken the time to do something so thoughtful—something so timely. 

I never got the call from the doctor, they’ll probably call with the news tomorrow. But somehow I’m not as worried today. I call these moments my breadcrumbs. If I’m lost (even at a picnic—or anywhere), I should always look for the breadcrumbs God has left in my path. After all, they always lead me straight back to peace: to Him.

1 comment:

  1. I'm just reading backward through your blog. What an awesome dream! I've known 3 people who've died and then been brought back via doctors and told to go back to mortal life by dead loved ones. Each one of them had quite the tale to tell. But they each had one commonality . . . they said death was THE most beautiful, peaceful, tranquil event and that they'd never be afraid to die again.