Something strange and wonderful happened today. Other people might think it was just coincidence, but to me it was much more than that. It made me happy and I’ll take that over “just coincidence” any day. Let me explain.
Today is July 1st. My father’s birthday was July 4th—he would’ve been 98 this week. My birthday is July 5th. We were very close. I used to tease him that he couldn’t die at Christmas or near our birthdays because it would ruin those days for me forever. He’d laugh and say, “I’ll do my best, but I can’t make any promises.” He died in early March of 2009, which is about halfway between the two, so I guess his best was good enough.
Anyway, I missed going to the cemetery on Father’s Day and felt very badly about that, so I stopped this past Friday, a little early for Dad’s birthday, but I wanted to be sure I didn’t miss it. My dad, while always gracious about it, felt that late birthday cards and such were very much after the fact; early or on time counted with him. I left him red roses (his favorite color was red) along with a small American flag, sang “Happy Birthday” and told him how much I love and miss him still.
Jump to Friday evening when I was coming downstairs to the living room, stumbled at the bottom, and had to grab the banister and side of the computer desk to stop myself from falling. No damage done, thank God. Life went on as usual. Saturday, I went about my business, making numerous trips up and down the stairs, including several with baskets of laundry. Again, nothing unusual.
This morning I came downstairs, turned on the TV to catch CBS Sunday Morning as I like to do, and sat down with my morning caffeine to enjoy it. When it was over, I went up to get dressed. I decided to wear a red tank top in honor of the upcoming 4th of July holiday and my dad’s birthday. On my way back down, I noticed a small black square laying on the floor by the computer desk. I picked it up and when I turned it over found it was an old Polaroid snapshot of my parents (circa 1998 or so) sitting at my dining room table. My mom was wearing a red sweater (as I mentioned red was my dad’s favorite, even though my mom wasn’t a big fan). My heart leapt a little when I saw it and I couldn’t stop the smile.
Rationally, I’m sure the photo must’ve been jarred loose and fell when I tripped two days ago. Nothing supernatural about that. But this is a photo I’d even forgotten existed; in truth, I’ve never had a Polaroid camera so it took some thinking to remember where it it even came from. Why was nothing else jarred loose? It’s not like the photo had been sitting in plain sight and easily dislodged.
My heart tells me it was my parents letting me know they heard my words at the cemetery, that Dad noticed my choice of red, and they both wanted to wish me a happy birthday. It makes me smile to think they are sending me birthday wishes from heaven. You can call it coincidence if you like, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.