Messages come from departed ones in many strange and unexpected ways. Many times when you are least aware of it, suddenly it's as if everything aligns at precisely the "right moment in time" and when it happens, it is so real it brings tears of happiness and yet sadness.
I had such an experience today.
Shortly after my only daughter, RaMona Lisa, passed on to be with the Lord, I needed something to preserve her memory and reflect the kind of person she was and to help me deal with my heartbreak.
From 1999 until 2008 she had bravely endured eleven brain surgeries. But Mona remained steadfast in her belief that God and Jesus would heal her.
She passed away February 23, 2010, 10:20 am at Cardinal Woods Nursing Home in Madison, Ohio with her loved ones by her side. Mona had been there from September 19, 2009 until her death. As sick as she was, she inspired the staff, the residents (many older than her) with her cheerfulness and concern for them. For many years, she worked as an LPN at Geneva, Ohio at the Rae-Ann Nursing facility caring for others. Then, she moved to Pennsylvania and even though the brain tumors were still growing, she did home health care between surgeries and maintaining a household. Her inspiration was her love and devotion to her patients.
RaMona's favorite movie, of all time, was "The Wizard of Oz." made in 1939 - sixteen years before she was born. She was first introduced to the movie at the age of four and from then until 2009 she never missed watching it every year.
She knew all the dialog, the scenes and every small detail of the movie.
Mona could say the lines exactly, without missing a word, slightly before the actors spoke them. She could even bark like Toto and sing like the Munchkins. She was an avid collector of everything Wizard of Oz and her all time favorite song was "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
Everything in her household came to an abrupt halt when it was on television. Nothing got in the way of her being captivated by Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Frank Morgan, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, the Munchkins and last, but not least, Toto.
Mona felt as though it was " her family " and she knew them all personally. I am sure she has met them all by now. Possibly, there is a Yellow Brick Road in Heaven and she is walking along with Judy Garland and Toto.
Dorothy clad in her blue pinafore and Mona wearing her purple dress because purple was her favorite color. Dorothy wearing her ruby slippers and Mona with purple ones on their way to the Emerald City. I can see them as they toss apples at the talking trees, oil the Tin Man, dance with the Scarecrow and comb the Cowardly Lion's mane.
In May, I decided on the perfect remembrance for my daughter. A framed mural, 36" wide by 48" high, of the Emerald City with a rainbow in the background and the Yellow Brick Road winding down to the foreground amid the poppy field was a perfect choice.
I bought the board and constructed it, adding wood strips on the back for stability and to avoid warping. For some reason the wood strips would not stick to the back and fell off after several days. More delays, but events were being shaped for the "right moment in time."
I didn't want to copy anyone else's art so I created my own version and painted much of the board. I wasn't at all pleased and started over from scratch. Events were aligning for that "special moment in time."
Working on it in my spare time, a few minutes a day, I completed it in July. All it lacked was a brass dedication plate and a frame. I ordered the brass plate from an engraver and there was several weeks delay as the engraver (owner) was going out of town. More time elapsed. I ordered the frame from a local 87 year old active woodworker named Wade.
Unfortunately, he was in a home accident and the project was delayed. July, August and September passed and I was getting impatient. Mysterious elements were at play, behind the scenes that I was not aware of. Events were aligning for a particular moment in time.
I was about ready, at the beginning of October, to call the elderly gentleman that was going to make the frame and tell him that, since he was injured, I would have the frame constructed elsewhere. Something told me not to make the call. Events were still aligning.( Wade is a kind, grandfatherly type of individual who volunteers his time at the nursing home making wooden objects for the residents to paint. He made several that my daughter painted and I treasure them.)
So I waited. Last week he called me and said he had forgotten the way to my home, but the frame was made. I gave him directions and the next day he arrived with four pieces of routed wood and four mounting strips. Wade apologized and said he needed to try it for the exact size and then he needed to take it back home to put it together. Events were moving toward their final moment.
Several days passed and I was busy on the computer and heard the knock on the door. It was Wade, standing there with a wide grin. "Are you ready for your frame?" He asked smiling. Oh was I ever ready! I was overjoyed!
He went to his SUV and took out a well crafted beautiful wooden frame. It was comical as he walked inside of the frame and carried it into my workshop/garage. I put it on a couple of sawhorses and we tried the fit. The mural was a sixteenth too large. More delays.
Being extremely tired that night, I decided to let it go until morning, plus I had to polyurethane the frame allowing drying time between coats. It was now October 23. Eight months to the day that my daughter passed on. I had many things that required my attention that day and consequently I would get to it the following day. After all it had waited that long so why rush it now?
Fast forward to the next day. The 24th. I went to my shop and rasped the edge to make the mural fit, and was going to use small brads to nail the retaining strips through the mural and into the routed edge. I tried a one inch brad and it punched through the other side. Being a woodworker for many years, I should have known better and remembered what all woodworkers use for their motto. Measure twice and cut once! The same applies to nails and screws! The other rule is the old proverbially saying. Haste makes waste. The sand was going through an imaginary hour glass and the delays were meant to be. I Have a boom box in my workshop and find it relaxing to listen to music as I work. I keep a few CD's there and are my favorites. Interrupting myself, I put on a CD, Tony Orlando and Dawn. Meanwhile I was pondering how to fasten the strips without the right length brads being available. I decided to drive to the hardware and pick up the right size nails. I got to the hardware and it was closed until 10:00 am. I decided not to wait. I stopped at the grocery store and bought a few things and on my way home an idea crossed my weary mind. I had a long strip of plastic channel at home and all I had to do was to cut pieces 2" long, drill several holes and screw them to the retaining strips and frame. Meanwhile, I changed the CD to another one and continued drilling the strips. That "moment in time" was about to happen. All the waiting and delays were approaching full circle!
I fastened twelve plastic strips after pre-drilling and the mural was ready to go. Then the unbelievable happened. At that time the second CD had finished and I went over to the boom box and noticed that I had a CD- The Best of Liberace playing the piano. ( Phonetically pronounced, Lib - er - aw - chi, for the younger generation.) :>)
I had only played it one other time and did not remember the songs. The first selection was Moon River followed by Mack the Knife.
The "special moment in time " had arrived.
Every month that had passed, every day, minute and second amid all the days of painting, the numerous delays for a multitude of reasons...it was now time!
As the second selection of Mack the Knife ended, I lifted the Wizard of Oz mural off the sawhorses and at the very split second as I leaned it against my radial saw, the THIRD song on the CD started playing and the melody filled the workshop. I stood there and cried. Tears ran down my face as Liberace played "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
RaMona's favorite song.
RaMona was born in March, the third month of the year.
At that precise "moment in time" she had spoken to her Daddy.