As it turns out, the Genesis post was not the beginning of my spiritual awakening after all.
It hit me—as I was comforting someone in an email over the loss of her father—that my family witnessed a miracle years ago.
Thirty-four years ago, my father died in our New York City apartment. My two sisters, mom, and I were all there. I was 10.
I still remember the moments as though they happened yesterday. My mom screaming: “Matty, wake up!” Me pleading with the housekeeper to call the doctor. Desperate. My five-year-old sister squeezing a wet tissue over his flaccid face. People—strangers—appearing out of nowhere. Some to comfort us. Some to take our Daddy away.
Surreal those moments. The pain. The exquisite pain of loss. Heartache. Fear. Grief. My daddy was gone. I’d never see him again. How did it happen in a matter of hours? How? In the middle of my sister’s piano lesson. In the middle of a rerun of “The Love Boat.” My sister interrupting me, telling me mommy was yelling and to go check. Right away. Me, the older sister, telling her to go back to her lesson. She was just imagining it.
No. She was not imagining it at all. We walked as though in a Dali painting with the clocks melting and reality drifting hazily in living color yet displaced. The picture, not right.
We were devastated. In shock. I’ll never forget those dark days that followed. But the first night after it happened, a praying mantis appeared on our window.
If we lived in the country, maybe this would not seem so remarkable. But we didn’t. We were 25 flights up in the middle of New York City. Rarely did we see a fly whiz past the window.
We knew it was a sign for us but didn’t know exactly what it meant.
Today, I know. Because I know how my life turned out since then. If only I could tell that frightened little 10-year-old girl that everything would turn out ok. Not right away. It would take time for the pit in her stomach to leave. It would take years to feel a little bit…normal again. But that it would happen eventually.
And that the prayers that my mother started saying from that day forward, 33 years ago, would be answered. And then some.