Miranda led a charmed life. To look at her, you would think she had the world in her front pocket. Born into a wealthy family, Miranda enjoyed all the good things life had to offer, world travel, operas, weekend trips to New York City to see standing room only plays, dinners at five star restaurants..... She was graced not only with wealth but an intellect to match. Among her many talents was that of published author who wrote self-help books, the first titled Learn To Love By Loving Yourself, and the second titled Reaching for the Stars. She was half-way through her third book, which she considered her best yet, titled Sacred Journey. Miranda was an over-achiever, not quite a perfectionist but a close second. She simply felt that something worth doing was worth doing well.....or as well as humanly possible. Besides her love for books and writing, she also had a passion for painting and once exhibited her watercolors at a downtown gallery where she sold three paintings in one evening. She lived in a fine home in an upscale community where the lawns are meticulously cared for, and the children grow up playing lacrosse and tennis, take music and ballet lessons, go swimming and play golf at their parent's private country club. For all appearances Miranda did indeed live a charmed life. But the naked eye can see only the superficial, the face that is painted on each morning to show the world that all is well. All is not well with Miranda for all the wealth in the world cannot buy her good health. Only her family and small circle of friends were made aware of Miranda's prognosis. Weeks earlier she had been diagnosed with cancer. Not just cancer but stage four breast cancer that had metastasized because she had waited too long and turned a blind eye to the symptoms until she could no longer do so. Each year, religiously, Miranda would go for her annual check-up, always in the month of January so she could begin the New Year with a clean bill of health. But she had missed her appointment the previous year because she was ill with the flu bug. She had every intention to reschedule once she felt better but days turned into weeks and the appointment was put on the back burner and soon forgotten about. At the age of thirty-six and never having been sick with anything more than childhood measles and an occasional cold or flu, Miranda didn't trouble herself with the missed appointment. If she had gone, she expected nothing less than her doctor's usual phone call claiming " Everything looks good. All tests came back normal. See you next year"..... But not this time. Miranda sensed there would be no next year. On this visit her doctor's eyes said it all, sometimes more is said when words go unspoken, thought Miranda. Time is a gift, not a given. Funny how we take it all for granted, our precious lives, our family, our future. She was beyond depressed. Miranda felt an emptiness so deep that her despair echoed throughout her repeating the same tortured mantra "Why me? What have I done to deserve this"? But she knew better. Miranda knew that terrible tragedies befall even the most innocent and pure of heart. Though she was not religious, she did own a strong spiritual sense and belief in an afterlife. She wondered if her fate was some sort of karmic retribution for deeds done lifetimes ago. her heart ached with pain and sorrow of knowing that she would never wed, never hold her newborn infant in her arms, never become a grandmother. She had placed more importance on education and career than allowing love to enter to her structured life never realizing that both were possible. No longer did life make sense. There was no rhyme or reason to anything and she now viewed her organized world through jaded eyes. She became detached and though she tried to continue her writing, she could find no peace or solace in the words. Miranda always loved the beauty and the power of words, but they now felt inferior and fell short in their attempts to pacify.
After a few months, with her health rapidly declining, Miranda went to stay with her parents in Upstate Michigan. Marc and Michelle Oliver left early on a Friday morning, drove the five hours to Miranda's home in Chicago, spent the night, and took their only daughter back to her childhood home to live out the final weeks of her life surrounded by nature.....surrounded by love. She was weak and tired but her medication was a wonder drug that alleviated much of the pain. She slept for hours on end. Her dreams had become so vivid and surreal. One dream in particular stood out from the others. It was of her maternal grandmother who had passed when Miranda was fifteen years of age. She was standing at the foot of the antique four-poster bed with arms reaching out calling Miranda by her pet name, Mimi. Miranda awoke startled. The room felt colder than usual and was bathed in a soft shimmer of iridescent light. Miranda felt confused. She audibly heard her name called out. There was no doubt it was her German grandmother's voice, soft and thick with accent. The smell of Lavender perfume oil hung in the air, her grandmother always wore the sweet scent of lavender. With effort, Miranda sat up in bed expecting to see her Oma. The clock on the nightstand read 3:30a.m. After slowly surveying the room and wondering what had just taken place, she eased back onto the goose-down pillows but was too emotional to return to sleep. How she yearned to be held by her Oma and reassured that all will be well. Curled up on her side and gently rocking back and forth, Miranda finally returned to sleep. The next morning, in the light of day, Miranda convinced herself that her Oma's visit was nothing more than a dream. It was her medications, her sickness that was distorting her sense of reality. But again that night, while Miranda soundly slept, she had the same experience. The bedside clock glowed 3:30a.m. This time, however, Miranda awoke to the sensation of her head being gently stroked. She smelled the lavender perfume. With eyes still closed she listened to her Oma humming an old German lullaby she used to sing to her. Miranda wondered again whether she was dreaming or awake. She was certain she was awake, wasn't she? Slowly opening her eyes, Miranda welled with tears when she saw her grandmother sitting on the upper right side of her bed facing her. The love she emanated....My God, the love.....It enveloped Miranda with a warm radiant white light filling her with a peace she had never known. Miranda whispered " Oma, am I dreaming or are you really here with me?" No Mimi, you are not dreaming. I am here with you. I have all ways been with you." "But how is it I can see you Oma" asked Miranda. "The time is drawing near my Mimi. All questions will be answered soon." Know that I am here with you. There is no reason to be afraid my beautiful granddaughter." Night after night, at 3:30 a.m., Miranda dreamed...... She had come to look forward to her Oma's nightly visits. She had also come to realize that she was not dreaming.
As life slowly leaves us, the veil between the living and the dead becomes thinner. We then have a foot in both worlds. We can commune with our deceased loved ones, and they in turn, are able to commune with us....If we would only listen. The dead are not lost to us and speak to us everyday. On December11, 2011, with the fresh fallen snow glistening in the trees and on the ground in Upstate Michigan, Miranda's Oma came for one final visit. The clock on the bedside table read 3:30 a.m. This time Miranda was patiently waiting, sitting up in bed with her head resting against her pillows. She saw her grandmother as clearly as she saw her Mother and Father, and their priest reciting the rosary beside her. When her Oma lovingly reached out her hand, she spoke to her only granddaughter with such tenderness, "It is time now my Mimi". With a smile on her face, Miranda reached out her right hand and with fingers intertwined, Miranda stepped out of her emaciated body, and with her Oma's guidance stepped into the light.