A MESSAGE FROM HEAVEN
by James Colasanti, Jr.
As the passing ambulance sped toward the hospital, the shrill
sound of the siren pierced the darkness. But it was too late -- no
amount of speed could meet the need of the ambulance's mission.
Later that night, reaching from his bed, Jeremy Ward's left hand
pressed against the frosted window pane leaving an indelible print.
Rivelets of water began to run down the glass forming a small pool on
the window sill.
Christmas Day was hastily approaching -- a mere five days away,
and Jeremy was hoping to be back home.
The 10-year old pressed his nose closer in order to get a better
view of his family standing in the hospital parking lot below. In
the glow of the streetlight stood his grandfather Sam, who was
holding a small box and the leash to Jeremy's dog, Cain -- a large
white Lab-Samoyed mix. Jeremy's father, Robert, and Jeremy's mother,
Margaret, were also there.
Cain was the reason they were outside. Dogs were not allowed in
the hospital's ICU. And it was Jeremy's beloved dog who had sniffed
out the recurring leukemia. Everyone had thought the disease had
long since been defeated, but Jeremy's body was no match for its
Moments later, Grandpa Sam came ambling into Jeremy's room
carrying the same small box. Jeremy could see the box had been
wrapped in glittery Christmas paper with a small bow on the top.
"What's in the box, Grandpa?" Jeremy asked.
"A Christmas present for you. Something my father made for me,
and I'm passing it on to you -- sort of like a tradition. When I was
a little boy, just about your age, your great-grandfather Joseph, my
father, taught me about dogs and the angels." Grandpa Sam paused.
"Jeremy, you know how Santa has all those elves to build all of the
toys at Christmastime. You know, his helpers?"
Grandpa Sam continued, "You see, Jeremy, when God made the Earth
he created dogs to be His eyes to maintain His watchfulness on Earth.
You know, His helpers. He wanted them here to protect people, to be
their companions, and to just always be underfoot. And to be sure
that they would report directly back to Him, He gave every dog an
angel to be the dog's voice between heaven and Earth. That way, God
could be aware of everything going on in His domain."
"So go ahead," Grandpa Sam urged, "open the box."
Inside was a small, hand-whittled oak ornament of an angel with
open wings holding a small dog in its arms. Attached was a bright
blue ribbon with which to hang it.
Two days later, Jeremy Ward joined his great-grandfather Joseph in heaven.
The sun remained a stranger at the cemetery that Christmas Eve,
privately mourning behind the curtain of ashen clouds. Snow was
falling at a steady pace.
Grandpa Sam had slipped the angel ornament inside Jeremy's hand
when no one was looking. Cain's head rested on the foot of the
casket during the services.
Cain knew his master was gone, but, as with the rest of the
family, letting go was not yet an option. A pall had settled in for
the night around the Ward household. Everyone chose to be alone with
private memories and to deal with their own feelings.
Grandpa Sam had turned on the lights on the Christmas tree and
had left them on as part of the annual tradition. But he had long
ago retired to his room, dozing in and out in his chair as he feigned
reading a book.
Cain's loud bark disturbed the still house. Grandpa Sam stirred
from his shallow slumber. The barking was continuous and was coming
from the living room.
When Grandpa Sam got to the living room, Cain was seated at the
foot of the Christmas tree barking, almost happily.
"Cain, what is it, boy? There's nobody here."
Grandpa Sam looked up from Cain to the tree, a shimmer of blue
catching his eye. There on one of the upper boughs hanging from its
bright blue ribbon was the carved angel!
Just as Grandpa Sam had said, delivering a message -- but this
time, from Heaven!
-- James Colasanti, Jr. <onegooddog1 at bellsouth.net>
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|I did not heed you warning, now I am at work with tears in my eyes.|
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