I felt at first like I was dreaming. When I received the message from the International Women Writers Guild (IWWG) that they wanted me to be a presenter at their upcoming conference, I could hardly believe it. It isn’t often that a small-town Southern writer is asked to do such a thing, especially in Pennsylvania, far from my home in Alabama. I’’d dreamed of this for three years, submitting several proposals in hopes of garnering a spot. And now, I was to be the presenter of two “Rising Out of the Ashes,”workshops at the IWWG conference at Muhlenberg College in Allentown!
Once I arrived, I felt that familiar sense of place, a college campus buzzing with activity. I walked around the Commons relishing memories of the campus in my hometown where I’d taught for many years. The first workshop went even better than I could have imagined. I shared a part of my life with those in attendance, and every day thereafter, we shared, we talked, we cried, we laughed, and we healed.
On my fourth night there, I was laughing with my roommates, all of us gathered in my room, when my phone rang.
“Mama,” the voice on the other end sobbed, “she’s dead, Mama. Rachael died.”
I thought I must be dreaming again. No, this couldn’t be true. Rachael, my son Matthew’s fiancée, was only thirty-six years old.
“Mama,” he struggled again amidst his sobs. “She’s dead. Rachael died tonight. Do you think she will go to Heaven?”
My heart broken and shock setting in, I remember very little about the rest of that night. But what I do remember is this: I dreamed that Rachael and I were standing on an immense, glimmering white sidewalk. I tried to pull her forward, but she resisted. I reached for her again, and she relaxed. We walked together up that shining white sidewalk. At the end of the sidewalk, a shimmering—almost blinding—white light glowed, and in the background, I thought I could see two immense white wings. Rachael looked over at me and I nodded. She stepped forward, off the sidewalk, and into the light.
I left the conference early to be with my family. And with that dream in my mind, now I could answer Matthew’s question.
“Yes, honey, she did go to Heaven, and the angels were waiting for her.”
And we were not left with only ashes
In loving memory of Rachael Headrick, a young woman tortured by demons: a mother, a daughter, and a loving partner now safely home in the loving arms of angels.
My special thanks to a wonderful friend and great blessing, Kathleen M. Rodgers (link)for her recent post, “The Angels Were Waiting.” Her posting delivered the sad news to supportive, caring friends quickly as our family began life roughened by the loss of our Rachael