Updated: Jun 24
Bobbie had a very close relationship with her Aunt Carol. Often times, she would awake to a text from her aunt wishing her a good day and to say she loved her. One Friday afternoon, Bobbie had an unexpected knock at her door. It was her aunt and uncle. They lived about an hour and a half away but they had the day off and wanted to stop by for a brief visit. Bobbie is an in-home daycare provider and she had just gotten all the children down for a nap. She was looking forward to the sacred, quiet time to eat lunch and get work done. She admits she was caught off guard and was a bit less enthusiastic for their visit as she thought of the things she wanted to accomplish.
Her aunt was so happy to see Bobbie. She thoroughly enjoyed seeing her daycare setup and hearing about the week’s activities and all that the kids were learning. They also discussed Bobbie’s grandfather who was in the hospital. As his daughter-in-law, Carol was always looking after him and she worried about him if something would happen to her. Bobbie reassured her they would take good care of him. Shortly after, they said their goodbyes and left.
Bobbie felt guilty after their visit. She regretted that she was distracted while they visited and she felt bad that she had forgotten to give her aunt a hug when she left. She sent her aunt a message telling her she was sorry. Her aunt reassured that it was okay and that she loved her.
Two days later on Mother’s Day 2018, Bobbie received a message from her aunt. She wasn’t feeling well and was planning on seeing the doctor. She told Bobbie she loved her.
“That was my last message with her,” said Bobbie. “Two hours later, I received a call that she passed away from heart failure at the doctor’s office. My heart was broken. I was so angry at God for taking such a wonderful person and I didn’t know how I could live without her.”
Bobbie kept replaying in her mind that last visit with her Aunt Carol. While she regretted she didn’t get a last hug, she realized what a blessing that time was with her.
Four months passed and Bobbie’s youngest daughter, Lauren, kept trying to get Bobbie to attend church with her. Lauren had attended a summer Bible camp at a church but their family had never gone. They had stopped attending church in 2001 after their pastor had left.
“I was still feeling a lot of anger and questioning my belief in God. Aunt Carol was the most religious person I knew. She spent most of her days serving at her church. I kept asking myself, ‘Why would God take somebody that does so much for others and is such a good person?’”
Bobbie didn’t want to disappoint her daughter so after weeks of asking, she relented and agreed to attend a Sunday service.
“It was very hard for me to walk into this place of workshop where I didn’t know anyone. We sat in the very last pew and I held my breath most of the service. When it was time for the kids to come forward for the children’s sermon, Lauren went up and I was left alone in the pew. I had this really strange feeling that my aunt was sitting next to me. I remember ever so clearly, putting my hand down to my side as if to hold her hand. I felt this deep sense of peace and at that moment I knew that I was going to be okay,” said Bobbie.
On their way home from church, Bobbie and Lauren were talking about their experience. Lauren said how much she enjoyed it and wanted to go again.
“Lauren then said something that took my breath away. She told me that when she was at the children’s sermon, she looked back at me. She said she thought she saw Aunt Carol sitting next to me. I couldn’t believe it!”
That experience confirmed within Bobbie that God loves her and hears her prayers. She felt her aunt with her and instead of anger, she felt peace. Bobbie continued to attend church and began to get involved and meet others.
“I love my church family and can’t imagine not having them in my life. My closest friends have been the friends I’ve made during study groups and fellowship. This is exactly what my aunt had and now I have it for myself. I can now see why she talked about it so much and I understand the joy it brought her because I’m living it. While I really miss Aunt Carol and think of her daily, I know that she is with me,” said Bobbie.