I was raised by my grandmother. Neither my mom nor dad wanted me when I was born. My mom was single and said that she would put me out for adoption rather than keep me. In those days being a young unwed mother was a disgrace. Strangely, it was my dad who brought me home to his mother and I was immediately accepted and raised by her. I was so loved and protected by her that her own children often felt that she loved me more than them. I knew it was not true. It was just that I needed more love than they did since I was ignored by both my parents. She truly loved us all equally.
As I grew up, even though I knew who my parents were, I did not see much of them. My father stopped seeing me when I was five-years-old. He married a woman who didn't like our family. My mom came around sporadically to take me out, but I never felt comfortable with her. I cannot really say that I new either parent very well.
My grandmother was my ma (short for grandma). Ma protected me all through my life and she loved me like no one else ever could. She protected me and sheltered me from the cruelty of this world and the indifference of my parents.
My grandmother never left the house in the years that I was growing up. She was severely depressed. She lived a solitary life fraught with hardships. Her link with the outside world was the telephone and the TV.
One of my fondest memories of the times we spent together was watching Billy Graham's crusades on television. Ma would say she hadn't gone to church since she was a child. Yet she never missed a Billy Graham special. I always prayed that Ma would admit that she loved the Lord. She never taught me bible studies as I was growing up, but she did encourage me to go to church.
I had met a group of friends who were churchgoers, and from the age of nine, I started faithfully attending a mission Sunday school for about six years. After that, I don't really know what happened; I seemed to drift away from church life.
As the years progressed, I married and had a son. Both my husband and I believed in the Lord and we started to go to church every Sunday. Then somehow we drifted away. In 1980, I was alone with my son. I had just divorced, and my grandmother had passed away. I felt totally alone. My grandmother had been my world and now she was gone.
After the funeral, I wanted to know more than anything that my beloved Ma was all right. I wanted to know that she was in heaven and that I would not have to worry. I was hoping that all the years we spent watching Billy Graham together had meaning, and now she was with her Maker.
I needed to know so badly that she was happy. It was almost an obsession with me and I prayed for
a sign, any sign, to know that she was okay. I had a recurring dream where she would come back to me to tell me something. Painful though it was, I could not hear the words and I could not reach out and touch her. The barrier between life and the after-world was still strong even in my dreams.
The dream would only serve to torment me further. So strong was this need to know about her happiness that I decided to go to church with my young son (age 4) and pray to God for a sign that she was okay.
I went to church for the first time in years and just sat quietly in the pew listening to the sermon. I had no clue what that sermon was going to be and I don't remember today what it was all about. I remember vividly one statement the minister made. He said,
"And all of you who are worried about your loved ones, who have passed on, do not worry, for they are happy."
I couldn't believe it, I got my sign!
After that time in church, I felt better. First of all, I had my sign and secondly, the dreams of my Ma's failed attempt at communication had ceased. She had found her first means to get across to me.
I began to talk to her in prayer and each time that I spoke to her I would touch the emerald ring that she had left for me. It comforted me. I still wear the ring. It is a constant reminder that she is with me now and forever, that she is looking out for my best interest, and that she is keeping me safe from harm's way.
Not long after her passing, we had a transit strike here in our city. I can tell you that Montreal is a city that enjoys four seasons, but having a public transit strike in the dead of winter is not a pleasant experience. Since I was now divorced, I could not enjoy the luxury of staying home to wait it out, I had to work. So I found myself freezing on the corner of a busy intersection waiting for a car to offer me a ride.
Even while I was freezing and knew that others had to do the same thing, I was afraid of getting into a car with a stranger. Ma had often told me about the dangers. This time I was desperate. My options were limited: it was either go home and lose the day's pay, which I could not afford; attempt to walk to work and risk frostbite; or accept a ride and pray to God that I would be safe. I chose the
However, the cars were not stopping for me and I was getting colder and colder. So I decided to touch the ring and ask Ma for help. Within 30 seconds of touching the emerald ring, a car stopped for me and drove me to work.
It was then that I realized that Ma was my guardian angel. She protected me in life and she was protecting me in death as well. There have been numerous other times that I asked for Ma's help when I was worried or in a jam and each and every time, all I had to do was touch that ring and, lo and behold, I received either what I wanted or a compromise that I could live with. Ma was my angel her on earth, she rescued me neglect and she continues to protect me from the after life. I know she has found her place with our lord and she will continue to help me to find mine.