On January 19, 2010 someone very dear left us unexpectedly. She was an incredible woman—full of spit and verve. Her filter was turned on a very low setting and she pretty much said what she thought. She dressed in UK gear and rooted the Cats on regardless. She had lunch with representatives, senators and governors. She helped my step-father with his restaurant business—serving food, cleaning tables and making customers laugh. She had a quick wit and a sharp tongue, but she had an incredible compassion for those she loved.
Her name was LaVinia. She was my step-father’s sister.
We went to her funeral and laughed. One of our state representatives spoke and told stories and quips from LaVinia’s life—how she touched those around her. How she made them laugh and how she encouraged them when their chin was dragging.
I was sitting toward the back of the room, but somehow I managed to get a straight view of my brother, who was sitting in the pall-bearers’ line. I watched his face as these stories were recounted. He was very close to his Aunt LaVinia; she was his best friend. He would nod, as many around me would, at LaVinia’s hilarious tactics.
LaVinia’s funeral was on a Sunday. My brother’s birthday was on the following Tuesday. He and Aunt LaVinia had planned the whole day: a whole day of festivities to celebrate not only my brother’s birthday, but his victory over addiction. LaVinia had been instrumental in his recovery—loyal, encouraging LaVinia.
On Monday night my brother told me he wished he could just go to sleep and not wake up until Wednesday morning. He wanted to just skip his birthday—no LaVinia to sing happy birthday to him—to make a big-to-do in a way only she could. He just wanted to miss the whole thing. This broke my heart.
On Monday night I told him I would pray. I was going to pray for our God to give him something—a very clear sign which would let him know without a doubt and with utter clarity that LaVinia and God were remembering him on his birthday.
I did pray. And I prayed again.
On Tuesday night I got online to wish my brother a happy birthday one more time. He was online and so we began to talk about his day. He asked me if I had time for him to tell me about a dream he had had the night before. In the early hours of his birthday. Of course I wanted to hear.
The following is a recounting of our conversation. (My brother’s comments are in italics, my responses are in regular type.)
I was at the Frosty Freeze (the name of our family restaurant) staring out the window (the take-out window) and Curt (LaVinia’s husband who passed away a few years ago) and LaVinia pulled up in a white Cadillac laughing and having a ball and singing happy birthday…it was so real.
As these words popped up on the fb chat screen I started crying.
I told my brother, “I prayed and asked God to send you something to let you know LaVinia would remember…that He remembered. Of course God always outdoes what I ask him to do. Only He could come up with something like that!
“Yeah, it was pretty cool. After they sung they just drove off laughing and having a blast. It [the dream] blowed my mind. It made my day”
That’s how God really is.
Yeah, I know.
Can I tell this to the girls and at school?
Yeah, tell whoever! I told everybody today. Figured I’d tell you about it. You said God would send me something and he did.
Yes, he did.
I won’t ever forget that.
Neither will I.
A white Cadillac.