ANOTHER CHANCE

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Thirty years ago, events occurred in my young life that opened up an exciting new reality and shaped me into the successful writer and happy grandmother I am now.  On July 5, 1970, Doyle, my twenty-three-year-old husband of less than a year, was struck and killed by lightning.

Grief compounded grief, as we had lost our first  baby, Rosslyn, a few months prior. A week after  Doyle’s funeral I was blessed  with two miracles .

I found myself pregnant, and Doyle’s  sister called to   tell me  she had seen his face appear in a cloudlike mist over his grave. “You better not pick my flowers!” he had chuckled with brotherly good humor as his image faded away.  Family love and  support helped me through the pregnancy.

However, after Kevin’s birth, the joy of my new son was mixed anew with grief that Doyle was not  with us. Early one summer morning, after giving Kevin his usual bottle of formula and laying back down on my bed, I heard voices- loud voices! The  next day I called a Spiritualist medium whom I  had recently met. She advised  me to relax  and see what would happen next.  She had no idea how far I would take her advice.

My opportunity came several nights later. I heard the  voices and relaxed. The voices disappeared. There was a strange new sensation of hearing my heartbeat in the early morning stillness.

Suddenly, I fell through a blackness. I found myself sitting up in another bed, in another house in another world!

A dark-haired young man walked into the room . Too excited to fearful, I asked him, “Where is Doyle?”

“At the factory,” he casually replied, as though he was in  the habit of seeing  young women  appear in his bedroom. I quickly propelled myself through his house, taking  note of  all possible details.

The wooden floor beneath my feet seemed solid enough, yet my body moved across it as light   as wind. Outside were other surprises- bright daylight,  moss-covered oak trees, and deeply rutted, sandy paths.

Suddenly I stood in front  of a long , square brick  building that smelled of leather and hot sewing  machine oil. Before I could go any farther. I lost my hold.

Darkness engulfed me; there was a  sensation  of falling , and I was back on my own bed.  Marveling  at my new experience, I stared into the early morning  darkness at my clock’s luminescent  face.  I had  returned the same  time I  had left: 2:45 A.M.

On my next try I found Doyle. He was waiting for me among the oak trees.  He looked so handsome and vibrant as he hugged me.

I no longer felt sad that we  could not  be together. I was  blessed with one more chance to see him, to know that he and Rossyln would be okay, and to say goodbye.

Betty Harbison

Leesburg, Florida

 April 2001

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