“Mama, Somethings been troubling me. I need to ask you a question.”
Clara looked at the distressed face of her daughter and said, “What is it that’s bothering you child?”
Janna was in her forties and hardly a child but in that moment, she felt very small and vulnerable. Her mother’s soothing tone encouraged her to continue.
Janna’s voice quivered as she began her story.
“Mama, I keep having these recurring memories. I don’t know what they are about, I just know something horrible happened. Rosie was walking with me and we were very little. There were two ladies that took us by the hand and we were walking in the moonlight. We were scared but there was a special peace that surrounded us. I think we were about 2 years old. Do you know why I remember this mama?”
Janna noticed all the color drain from her sweet mother’s face and her eyes fill with tears. She waited for her mother’s answer, but she could tell it would be hard on her.
“Janna,” she said, “That was the saddest time in our lives. I remember it like it was yesterday.”
With trembling hands, Janna’s mother gripped the arms of the old wooden rocker and began to rock slowly as she recounted a story of life, love, tragedy and forgiveness. She said,
“Summertime was the best time of the year! When school let out, we always looked forward to your dad’s cousin, Ed, his wife Betty, and their three teenage boys and small daughter Rosie, coming to visit from Arkansas. And come they did! Our little farm had all the right ingredients to stir up a good time. Love and laughter and food were served on generous platters, to dirty little kids who played in the creek and ran barefoot in the grass, to men and teenage boys who would rather fish than eat and to women who could barely stop chatting long enough to put food in their mouths. It was a glorious day of family and love.time of life.
Your dad, Ed, and his three boys went to town for fishing bait. Somehow, your dad lost control of the vehicle. It flew through the air at a high rate of speed and hit a tree. The boys were in the back seat and were thrown against the front seat where their dad sat. It was a horrible wreck. Your dad and Ed were badly hurt. One of the boys ran back to the house for help but back then, no one had a telephone so we took the old one ton to call an ambulance. They did not know where we lived because it was so far in the country. We loaded your dad and Ed in the back of the truck and met it in town. Ed was dead on arrival and your dad was broken up badly. He stayed in the hospital for over a month healing.
Betty and her family went home to take care of business. She did not know how she was going to take care of her family. Ed had a life insurance policy but they did not want to pay her unless she pressed charges on your dad. She could not do that. As soon as your dad was able, he drove to Arkansas and turned himself in to the authorities to ensure she would be paid. I am not sure why he didn’t go to jail but the insurance company dropped their charges and he came home.
Janna, their family could have hated us all these years but instead the power of forgiveness healed us all and brought us closer together as a family. To answer your question about your memory… your sister, and Ed’s sister took you and Rosie for a walk in the moonlight to get you away from all the grief. It was a sad day for our family. We just didn’t want you and Rosie to be around it all while the grownups were talking.”
Janna, heard all the words her mothers spoke and her memory fell into place. She knew now that she had been a part of a very special miracle. Ed’s family could have easily hated her family. Instead, Rosie, after 40 years was still one of her dearest friends.