When I was 26, I managed a department at a savings and loan. My daughters were in kindergarten and first grade.
One of my employees, Suzy, was a young mother with two children. We were good friends. One day, Suzy came to work and was very distraught about her brother’s wife. Her brother’s wife, whom had formerly been a good friend of her’s, began doing strange things and turned against her. They had two daughters and Suzy was concerned about this affecting her relationship with the children, as well as her brother.
Suzy was not sure what was happening and how it started. It was hard for her to look at the situation from an outsiders perspective, because the attacks from her sister-in-law seemed to be leveled against her. So she asked for my advice. It felt clear to me that her sister-in-law was suffering from a mental illness and needed help. Suzy did not feel that she could offer that advice because she already felt ostracized by her brother and his family. Because they went to the same church, I suggested she talk to the pastor and ask for his help. That was never to happen. Prior to Suzy ever getting the chance to talk to the pastor, her sister-in-law committed suicide.
Suzy was devastated. I let her take time off work, and when she came back she told me what was happening day by day. The oldest daughter of her sister-in-law was not her brother’s biological daughter. He had raised her from the time she was a baby. Her sister-in-law’s parents were so upset, they took the oldest daughter, who was 6 years old at the time, away from Suzy’s brother and her little sister. This child had been a part of Suzy’s family for her entire life. Suzy’s family were beside themselves, not knowing what to do. Her sister-in-law’s parents refused to let this daughter go to her mother’s funeral and refused to let her see Suzy’s brother or any other member of her family. Suzy’s family finally gave in and began to understand that they may never have contact with this child again.
Each day Suzy brought in a new part of this story unfolding, and each day I felt the unimaginable pain this child must be feeling. Not only to have lost her mother, but to have instantly lost her entire family! For some reason this child’s pain haunted me deeply. I had the strongest desire to somehow help her. I felt so helpless, knowing that I would simply never know this child and would never be able to help her. I finally resorted to prayer. “Please God, somehow let me help this child.” “Please God, please help this child heal, please take care of her, please let her have a chance at a normal life.” My prayers went on and on. The desire I had to help her stayed with me for many months.
Then, Suzy began to heal and life went on as usual.
A year and a half later I and my family moved to a new neighborhood in a new school district. My oldest daughter was in second grade, my youngest was entering first grade. We lived in a nicer neighborhood and the school was close to our house, so the girls would be able to walk to school and home. There were lots of children their age in the neighborhood and we loved the area.
At work, I soon transferred to another department and over time Suzy and I lost track of each other.
My daughters adjusted to the new school well and made many friends. When my oldest daughter was in the 4th grade, a new girl was in school and in her class. She and my daughter hit it off and became great friends. Her name was Pamela. She visited our home often and she was a joy to be around. There was something a bit quiet about her and a bit more grown up. At first all I knew about her personal life was that her mother died in a car accident and her grandparents were raising her. They had moved in less than a block from us.
I had a great connection with her and she often would ask my advice about how to get along with her aunt that also lived with them, and how to deal with her strict Grandparents. I assured her that they were just being overprotective because they lost a daughter and that perhaps over time, they would relax their restrictions. She talked to me about many things, like what was going on at school and as the girls grew older, boys and friends, and finally, her mom.
I remember the day she brought her mother up in our conversation. She said that she had had dreams about her mother all through her childhood and wanted to know what that meant. She told me that she was angry her mother died and wasn’t able to raise her, but that she knew that her being angry did not make sense. During our conversations, more details about her life arose. She told me that her Grandparents blamed their daughter’s husband for her death. I asked her if he had been driving the car when it crashed and she said ‘No’, but then went on to explain that they blamed him anyway. They simply did not like him. It was then that she told me that he had not been her father, so her Grandparents took custody of her when her mother died.
Pamela later told me that she had a little half sister and that her Grandparents were finally letting her visit her sister. By this time Pamela was 12 years old. She had been in our lives for 4 years. It took 4 years, but finally all of the information began to put itself together in my mind. I realized that this was the little girl so long ago I had so prayed to God that I be able to help in some way. I really was in shock. I couldn’t believe all of the coincidences that had to fall into place for this to happen. First, her family had to decide to move to my neighborhood. Then, a place had to open up close by. Finally, not only was she in my daughter’s class, but they became best friends! I marveled at the enormity of the unknown that was at work behind the scenes to answer my prayer. I was so astonished and grateful for such a gift, to have such a prayer be answered so directly.
Of course, I wanted proof that I was right, and to get it, I asked Pamela if she had an Aunt named Suzy. I knew that was a fairly common name, but to match a name with such uncommon circumstances, I felt would be enough proof for me. She told me that she did in fact have an Aunt Suzy, but that she was not able to see her according to her Grandparents rules.
I knew that the Grandparents had changed the story of her Mother’s death to protect her. I also knew that someday she would know the truth and be able to sort out her feelings and heal.
Pamela and my daughter are still friends. I am truly grateful for the miracles that can happen.
I love you!