In honor of my son’s birthday, I awoke this morning teary-eyed as I faced another day without Bart. The idea came to me to write him a letter…
I miss you so much! As I wake up this morning thinking about you, on the one hand, my heart cries out that I want to see you, ruffle your hair, hug you, and tell you how much I love and miss you! On the other hand, I am grateful that you are in Heaven where joy and peace are not dependent on circumstances…you get the chance to praise and worship, where the focus is on God’s love and grace and where Jesus is the star!
I do have some questions for you…
Do you celebrate human birthdays in Heaven?
Do you get a glimpse of our happy and loving moments here on earth?
Do you know that your sister, Amy, has a wonderful husband, Patrick, and four beautiful children who know so much about you…as if they have known you here on earth?
Do you know that week before last when we were in Crested Butte with Amy, Patrick, Sam, Jackson, Lila, Neal, and Patrick’s parents that Lila and Neal choreographed a dance to the song “I Can Only Imagine” in honor of you?
Do you know that your friends still stay in touch with me on Facebook to let me know how much they miss you?
Do you know that I failed to write everyone a thank you note for their love, support, and gifts when you died?
Do you know that Paschal High School still sponsors the Bart Granger Memorial Golf Tournament every September, and Coach Herb Stephens won’t let the 200+ boys start playing until he talks about you?
Do you know that Bradley Boyd is getting married?
Do you know that your Dad and I divorced and that we are still friends who share an unbreakable bond of love for you, Amy, and her family?
Do you know that I wrote a book about you, your death, and how many treasures I have received from God and how grateful I am?
Do you know that every year around the time of your birthday, the day you went to Heaven, and sometimes around Christmas, I get personal “heavenly emails” which let me know that you are well and God understands I need an “update” on how happy you are?
And lastly, will I remember these questions when I see you in person?
In light of today being your birthday, let me share today’s heavenly “emails” with you. You have already heard how I awoke thinking of you. Wait till you hear the rest!
When I had breast cancer, a close friend gave me a little black box of daily uplifting Bible verses. They sit on our breakfast table, and this morning, I pulled out the one in front (I always file each one we read in the back). The verse this morning was from:
2 Thessalonians 3:16.
“May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”
I keyed in on “peace at all times in every way”, because I need His peace, especially today.
Then Albert and I went to church, and the chorus of one of the songs was:
“We exalt Thee,
We exalt Thee
We exalt Thee, O Lord.”
Tears welled up and spilled down my cheeks as I remembered visiting the place where your ashes were strewn and listening to my tape of Christian music that nourished my soul. I would sing along (when I could) through my tears. This chorus was in one of those songs. As I listened, I was praying, “God, even though I am in excruciating pain and sorrow, I trust and exalt you. It comforts me to know that Bart is with YOU, and I know YOU will continue to love and comfort our family.”
This one was Amy’s.
When I talked to her on the phone and shared my story of the song in church, she shared a story of her own. Jackson, age 11, had four basketball games yesterday…his team played in a double elimination tournament. She said he reminded her of you because he sticks out his tongue when he plays. She told me that at one point she felt she was watching YOU because his facial expressions reminded her of yo
I commented, “That was your email from heaven.”
This one was your Dad’s.
After dinner with friends at one of our Mexican restaurants, I received a group text (that also went to Amy) from your Dad. He played golf today and sunk a twelve-foot putt on hole #13!!! His text started with “unbelievable” and ended with “go figure.”
Isn’t it amazing that after these 22 years of missing you, God faithfully sends “messages” to reassure those who love you that you are alive and well, and that, as believers, we will join you and get to experience no more suffering…”
I love you so much, and my heart is breaking. Perhaps that is a positive thing…without love, it wouldn’t break.
See you soon,
This verse says it all!
4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” NKJV
Here is a video I created today that I shared on Facebook…
My book reached #1 Newest Bestseller ranking in FOUR categories! It even received the Amazon ribbon in the Love and Loss category. (I don’t know much about it, but I am told that it is a big deal:))
A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO…
LAURA COLE GONZALEZfor the countless hours she spent before and during the launch to make banners, take screen shots, and make it so easy for others to share the book on social media. (Click on her name to go to her website and find out how talented she is in so many areas!)
JAN GRANGER for enthusiastically rallying the troops in Fort Worth, Texas on launch day. Her experience with book launches and outreach was invaluable and still is!
BILL UNGERER AND PAM SCHOFIELD forreading and editing my copy after it had been professionally edited. They found many ways for me to make my words clearer and more meaningful!
JOEY UNGERER formaking Bart’s photo come alive for my designer to use in the book cover
ALLISON WOFFORD for taking incredible photos of me to use for my author picture
ALBERT ALMENDAREZ for lovingly pushing me to finish the book and for giving me space and time I needed to focus on completing my goal
AMY GRANGER MALONEY for pre-reading the book and helping me see how to make the introduction better, and for loving me and patiently waiting for me to finish this book
Please continue to pray that God can use this book to encourage, comfort, and give hope to the grieving; but also, that all who read it will draw closer to Him and His Son through faith in what He can provide.
Please continue to share the Facebook posts and blog posts (you may use the sharing buttons at the end of this post)
Please encourage others who read the book to leave a review on Amazon. (you can click on the red to go to the review page)
Yay! If you purchase the print book, you get the ebook for FREE on Amazon! (Once you purchase the print copy, you will see that you can order the ebook for free.)
I am nervous and excited that this book is going on sale on Monday, October 10, 2016!
Six years…blood,sweat, and tears…
Why October 10th? For the last nineteen years, this day has cast a shadow over my heart. Bart died on this day nineteen years ago.
For the first time since that tragic day, I am excited for October 10th to get here. I am still sad that Bart is no longer with us, but I believe he knows that this book is a labor of love dedicated to him, his family, and his friends.
My daughter, Amy, and my grandchildren watched the emotional video of me opening my proof copy of the print version. In case you have not seen it on Facebook , I am including it in this post. She let me know that my grandsons think I am a celebrity. I was quick to tell her that they are a huge part of why I wrote the book.
I chose to self-publish to have control over the content, marketing, and pricing. Print on Demand is different in that I don’t stock books and mail them out. Anyone may go to Amazon.com and order the print copy. Create Space is Amazon’s print on demand company. They print it and mail it directly to your door.
In Luke 4:13-19, the Bible says that soon after Jesus was tempted by Satan, he began His ministry in Galilee. He went into a synagogue in Nazareth, boldly stood up, and quoted scripture from the Old Testament book of Isaiah.
16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,[j] To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”[k]
Have you ever seen a movie you could not get out of your head (for good reasons)?
OK, I admit this movie is hard to watch. Miracles from Heaven is a gut-wrencher! Just about the time the terminally ill Annabel wants to give up and die, the movie does a 180.
In the last minutes of the movie, all the pain and torment she and her family have endured begin to evolve into a tapestry of hope, healing, and forgiveness.
This movie is based on a true story, and the family livesnot far from where I grew up in Cleburne, Texas.
In the movie version, Annabel Beam’s illness only lasted one year, when it really lasted four and a half years. Pseudo Obstruction Motility Disorder is a rare condition that kept Anna from digesting her food and absorbing nutrients.
Her mom, Christy Beam, says that in the movie, Annabel’s mom loses faith that God hears her.
Christy explains how she felt when her faith was tested, but she hung on hoping for healing for her suffering daughter. At the end of the movie, she realizes how many miracles were happening all through the family’s pain and suffering.
In case you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t give away too many details of the powerful ending. Anna and her family experience a miracle (several of them), and this little girl goes to heaven. She is told that it is not her time and she has to go back because there are plans for her that cannot be fulfilled in heaven.
Why do I believe in miracles?
One reason I believe in miracles is because shortly before my father died, he told me that his mom “died” when he was born. She told him (and probably many others) that she went to heaven. Remembering how peaceful and warm she felt, she asked to stay there. She was told she must go back.
Maw, as I called her, was my favorite person to be with on weekends. I begged to spend the night with her and her two spinster sisters. My weekend getaway always included attending church with her on Sunday.
I share more about her unwavering faith and how it affected me in my book, Tragedy’s Treasures. I believe that many “chosen” people have seen heaven firsthand and have been sent back to tell, encourage, and inspire us.
About thirty years ago, I fell in love with snow skiing. I remember the first time John and I took Amy and Bart with us to a friend’s house in Breckenridge, Colorado. Our children took advantage of ski school the first day, as did John and I. The kids wanted to get up the mountain, so the next day we all skied together. The next morning I could not get out of bed! Even moving my legs was excruciating. John’s least favorite part was putting on all the clothing and gear. In spite of a rough beginning, each year we would take our kids at least two times, usually to Snowmass or Steamboat, Colorado.
Thirteen years ago, we bought a Private Residence at the Snowmass Club in Snowmass, Colorado. It is similar to a time share where you get four weeks a year (two in summer and two in winter) to stay in a luxurious two bedroom hotel type condominium.
When John and I divorced, I kept the condominium. When Albert and I married we continued to go there.
This April I drove away from there for the last time, as Albert and I have sold it to a young couple who are very excited to have it. Now that Albert and I live in Colorado, and can see the San Juan mountains from our deck, we do not feel the need to spend the money to keep it.
I thought my biggest regret would be not getting to ski a specific ski run called Gunner’s View. It sits on an area of the mountain called Elk Camp. Amy and Bart enjoyed skiing there many times because it was a long run for blue skiers (moderate ability).
After Bart died, Gunner’s View continued to become even more special. It is called Gunner’s View because if you stay to the left side of the run and pick up speed, you can ski to the top of a crest where you find a flattened out place for a picnic bench to sit on and a beautifully serene view. This used to be a place where “guns” were fired across to a “wall” of snow and trees to prevent avalanches. That same wall is now an area where very talented skiers come straight down a very steep slope through trees and a few rocks.
The top of that crest became a reverent spot where I could feel Bart’s presence–my Bart Connection.
The first time it happened, I began to feel a radiant warmth from the inside out, tears welled up in my eyes, and I knew this was a surreal connection to the son I had lost. I could hear my heart beating, and after about sixty seconds, the feelings would begin to fade.
Incredibly, this happened several times on different trips to Snowmass. Selling our condo meant that I would not be skiing that run. Would I ever feel my Bart Connection again?
Two weeks ago Albert and I skied at Powderhorn ski resort in Colorado. Albert was on a different slope, and as I was skiing down a run I liked called Maverick. I paused to take a picture of the scene ahead of me. Getting my iPhone out of my ski jacket pocket, I began to find it difficult to breathe. The familiar warmth I had felt on Gunner’s View started radiating through my body and I started crying. Could I be feeling a Bart Connectionhere also?
My Last Run Down Gunner’s View
Knowing that Albert and I would not be skiing at Snowmass, the first run I took was Gunner’s View. As I built up speed to get to the landing at the top of the crest, my heart sank when I saw a family of eight enjoying the view and feeding the birds from nearby trees. As they held up food in their hands, the birds would swoop down to snatch it. I was happy for them but decided I would come back when it was more private.
After skiing other runs, I returned to Gunner’s View to find silence and solace. Removing my skis, I sat down at the picnic table that is surrounded by a fence made of timbers. Pulling out a pack of walnuts and almonds, I broke off small pieces and laid them on the table. One particular bird would sit on the railing until I refilled his lunch, fly to the table, and eat right in front of me. The bird and I had the place to ourselves for at least fifteen minutes…but NO BART CONNECTION.
THEN IT HIT ME! Through the power of love, God had allowed me to feel the divine connection to my son in another place. He had already “moved”, and that is why I did not feel him at Gunner’s View.
A friend recently posted a Facebook link to Corrie ten Boom quotes, and this one jumped out at me!
After seeing the movie, Miracles From Heaven, especially the scene where the girl falls down the trunk of a tree, leaves her body, goes to Heaven, and returns to tell her parents the story, It comforted me when she told her Mom that words are not necessary in Heaven. God communicated to her that she would return and be healed. When her parents asked her if she spoke with God, she smiled and said, “Yes”, He spoke without using words.
I believe there can be a love connection transcending the fine line between Heaven and Earth. Through faith, I testify to that connection.
The Greatest News
If there is such a strong connection to those we love on earth…
how much stronger is our connection to Christ’s love?