It had been two months since my mom’s passing and my two miracle roses were still standing tall stuffed inside their humble vase: a generic, plastic water bottle.
My nephew Jonah and my three sons had made it a ritual to honor their beloved Mimi each day after school. Every afternoon as they washed their hands before snacktime, the boys would happily investigate the details of the miracle roses, which were displayed on top of our kitchen windowsill. But on this particular day, one of Mimi’s investigators had a deep question…
“What’s going to happen when they finally die?” my little nephew, Jonah asked. His usual jovial, high-pitched voice deepened with sadness. “ MiMi won’t say hello anymore?”
Jonah’s question knocked the breath right out of me. He’s right. Yeah, Lord, what’s going to happen, huh? Despite the fact that I had four precious little souls staring directly into mine, I tried my best to keep my cool as they waited for my response. What am I supposed to say?…. Please, God. Help me.
Thankfully, the Holy Spirit took over, guiding my words with my next breath.
“Don’t worry. I’m sure if that happens, God will allow Mimi to say hello to us in other ways. I promise. We just have to keep our eyes, ears, and hearts open so that we can see and feel her. Okay?”
Jonah’s deep gulp and watery eyes were instantly contagious. Without even thinking, as if my mom had secretly prompted me, I hugged each boy in true MiMi fashion,hoping to ease the emotional side effects of their grief — and mine too.
Feeling satisfied and peaceful, I looked up with a deep sense of gratitude, acknowledging the Holy Spirit’s quick action as well as Mom’s decision to chime in. Within minutes, our grief turned to giddiness as we eagerly focused on our not-so-healthy snacks and the hot topic of Heavenly signs.
My heart was full as I listened to each one of the boys express themselves in their cute little voices. They eagerly shared their experiences with seeing reds birds, dream visits from their beloved grandparents, or the times when they smelled MiMi’s scent out of nowhere. I validated them like there was no tomorrow in hopes that my firm belief in the reality of those experiences could be just as contagious as Jonah’s gulp and watery eyes.
Right when things were winding down, I happened to glance over at the miracle roses and noticed the sunlight shining directly on them. That was when it hit me.
Wait a minute. It’s been six months that they’ve been sitting here. That’s weird. Shouldn’t the water have evaporated by now? With tunnel vision, I slowly walked towards the kitchen sink for a closer look. Sure enough, the water inside my makeshift vase hadn’t budged since the first time I filled it. My mind started to race. There is no way anyone could’ve refilled this, no way – the opening is too stuffed to fit even a drop in there. The water still looks murky so nothing’s changed. Plus everyone KNOWS better than to mess with my roses. (Yes, I was a tad overprotective).
I seriously thought I was going crazy and tried to comfort myself, rationalizing the reason I didn’t know if this water thing was normal was the fact that I may have missed that day in science class back in high school. I scoured the internet for simple answers about the laws of evaporation, but none of my research indicated my non-evaporating water was normal (or nothing that was written in plain English, anyway.) The next day, I shared my discovery with anyone who would listen– Including my four little after school investigators. Everyone was surprised and curious, taking mental notes over the progress of the miracle inside the miracle.
Sadly, at the seven month anniversary of my mom’s passing, I stood over the kitchen sink and watched one of my mom’s favorite mantras come to life: All good things must come to an end. My momma and baby rose had finally wilted.
My mind went blank. I wasn’t prepared for the sadness threatening to lock me back inside my jail cell of grief. But God was.
Whisking past me as he headed towards the refrigerator, my son, Samuel happily blurted out, “How’s that water level looking there, Mom?” Sure enough, despite the fact that the roses had completely wilted, the water level in the vase remained unchanged.
Mom’s miracle roses on November 28, 2018, almost eight years after her passing.
Within seconds, God had used my quick-witted son to show me that I had yet another key within reach. All I had to do was use it. And I did. I smiled, free from despair, focusing on the blessing that had been just been reintroduced to me. Relieved by my near miss with solitary confinement, Samuel and I stood there, discussing the key details over mozzarella cheese sticks. Overcome with gratitude, I wrapped my arm around my son and whispered a prayer in my heart. Thank you, Lord. Thank you.
I’m still amazed to report the water stayed at that exact level up until the first year anniversary of my mom’s passing, proving that God’s miracles along with our beloved heavenly hellos can exist anywhere – even inside a generic, plastic water bottle.