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Jerry W. Engler

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Anna Marie, You'll Be With Me
By Jerry W. Engler
Posted: Saturday, May 31, 2008
Last edited: Saturday, May 31, 2008
This short story is rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent stories by Jerry W. Engler
· Oswald K. Underfoot finds a firefight treasure
· The Hanging of the Greens
· Payback Time' for Mean Dean
· The St. Louie Bird Call
· A Flower Girl Sister Surprise
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           >> View all 32
Who knows what a person might see as they near the death experience in the final year of life? Perhaps ours is not to doubt them at this time, but to give them the benefit that we believe in them.
For now we see through a glass darkly, then we will know all things.

Anna Marie woke up from her nodding nap in the easy chair with a start as though someone had whispered in her ear.

She tilted her head to the right and downward so she could look up at the wall to her left around the clouded vision of the cataracts over her eyes. Then, cocking her head the other way to struggle for sight, she looked to the person in the chair to her right as though to question whether that person was seeing something too.

When the other persons showed no obvious response, Anna Marie quickly turned her head again in the awkward posture to look at the wall.

Slowly her chin came down to a normal looking position. Anna Marie’s eyes came into sharp, forward focus as she began to smile with a radiance that seemed to take years off the wrinkled, lined pattern of her face. She smiled, smiled and smiled, nodding her head from time to time at the wall.

Then she turned her head to look down the hallway toward the bathroom, still focusing forward with the radiant smile that slowly turned to grinning wonder.

“Anna Marie, what is it, what are you looking at? Are you OK?” asked the other person.

“Yes, yes, I’m very fine, better than I have been for years. He has brought her to see me, my Glenda LouAnn. I have cried for her. Nothing is worse than having one of your children die before you do. And now, she is coming. Just look at the swirls of beautiful, beautiful flowers, all colors, red, yellow, pink, my, I have never seen so many colors. They’re indescribable.”

“What do you mean, she is coming. Are you trying to say you see a spirit?”

“That was my father on the wall. Usually when he comes, we just smile at each other, and I try to get up close to the wall to look into his eyes. We just smile and smile, it’s so happy, so beautiful.

“But this time he spoke. He told me he is bringing Glenda just for me. She hasn’t been there long enough to come under her own power. He had to help her. And, I can’t really see her, just the flowers, the beautiful flowers. They are magnificent, so spectacular. But I know she’s there. She’s doing it for me.”

Anna Marie looked back toward the wall. “He’s laughing, he’s so pleased that I can see. He’s been gone since the 1930’s , you know. We always had a special relationship, me and my Dad. I was his tomboy. Oh, the flowers swirling and swirling all around the room, great big spirals of them.”

The sounds in the kitchen where Glenda’s widower husband worked ceased.

The person in the next chair was concerned for the husband, but began questioning anyway, “Anna Marie, excuse me, but I want to ask some questions. Are they still here?”

Anna Marie paused for a few moments more in raptured silence, but then answered, “They are beginning to go. There go the last of the flowers back down the hallway. Oh, he is gone too.”

“Anna Marie, do you feel like you are well? Have you begun some new drugs, or is something happening that you are hallucinating?”

“No, I am very well. These things are very real to me, perhaps more real than you and this chair.”

“You focused, almost as though you could see with greater clarity than normal.”

“Oh yes, I could see them with absolute clarity, like having the vision of a child again. The colors were so bright, his face so vivid, every line of it his but without pain and aging, almost as though he had become younger.”

“You said usually when your father comes. Do you mean he has come before? How long has this been going on?”

“Yes, he comes often, more often all the time. Sometimes at night, I’ll nod off watching television, and wake up. There he’ll be, watching over me.

“I am 93, old enough and close enough to my own death that I figure I have been allowed to step over into the next world a little bit. It all started about a year ago. You remember? We were in Southwestern Iowa to get nursery stock. We stopped at a restaurant for lunch.

“We were starting into the door when this woman went in right ahead of us. It startled me she was so different, and I couldn’t explain to myself the way she moved.“

“What do you mean? Different how?”

“Well, she was dressed all in black like a woman of the 1800’s, with a black hat on like a proper widow. And she seemed to float as she walked, about a foot off the floor. And, that’s not all. When we got in the door, she kept right on going across the floor instead of waiting to be seated. I couldn’t believe it, but she floated on up higher at a slant, and went right out the ceiling. It was amazing.

“I didn’t have the time to keep thinking about it because there were others, some of them trying to talk to the people who were at the tables, but they couldn’t hear them. The strangest ones were a group of children in the aisle who kept trying to talk, and take hold of the people coming through. But the people didn’t seem to hear them at all, and worse yet, would walk right through them as though they weren’t even there. I was shaken. But when we left the restaurant, there were no more of them. Everything was back to normal although I became a little hungry later because I hadn’t eaten much.”

“But you are saying that wasn’t the end of it.”

“No, about a month later in the living room, I looked up, and there was the full profile silhouette of a man.  I was terrified, and immediately filled with grief. I was sure it was my son, Robert, and he had been killed in some accident, and was there to say goodbye. But I called him, and he was OK. At that moment, I knew who it had been, my husband, my Bud, there to look over me. He and Robert looked a lot alike in profile, same nose, forehead and chin shapes.

“A few nights later, his shadow came back on the wall. I felt the warmth, the tenderness. I whispered to him how good it felt to have him there. I longed to be near him, and started to the wall to put my hand on him. But he withdrew, disappeared, and I was left with a sense that he was afraid it could hurt me if I touched him. He only came back a couple more times, but I couldn’t bear not trying to be near him. He never came back again, but I know he’s here somewhere watching.

“You are a person who loves me, and knows me well. Whatever else you might think, you know that I would always tell you the truth.”

“Anna Marie, I know you would always tell me the truth of what you see. You could even be crazy, but I don’t believe you are. I will always believe that you see what you tell me you see, and you are telling me the truth.”

“Good then. I will tell you the rest. It was about a month after that when our Glenda died. I cried, and I cried, and I cried. We all miss her so much. I would sit alone at night, and hold her picture. When I saw her children, I cried inside for their sakes.

“That’s when my Dad came. I was sitting holding her picture, and his face appeared on the wall, so clear, so wonderful. I haven’t been able to see anybody that clearly for a long, long time. His eyes were so full of compassion. He understood how I felt as  though he could see into my thoughts. He was there to comfort me, telling me that it wouldn’t be that terribly long before I was with him, not that long before I would hug Glenda again. I guess it was as though I could see into his thoughts a little too, although I don’t think as clearly as he could see. It’s like these cataracts. The thoughts were obscured, only partly there.

“Now my Dad comes often, maybe once a week. He brings her and the flowers often for me.”

“Have you told anybody else about this, Anna Marie.”

“Only, my brother, but he tells me not to tell it to anyone else, or people will think I am insane. It might make him look bad too, you know.”

“Anna Marie, I love you, and I believe you.”

“I know you do, I know you would, or I wouldn’t have told you.”

That was March. Anna Marie died later, in the fall, after suffering terribly from chronic heart failure. But her corpse had a slight smile on it that the undertaker hadn’t erased.

The person still believes her. He was with Glenda’s husband 25 years later shortly before he died.

“Glenda has been to see me,” her husband said.

“Yes,” said the person not sure whether it was really him or the influence of the morphine that spoke. “How did you know it was her?”

“Why, the flowers. It was the flowers. They just came swirling in big spirals down the hallway.”

Sometimes the person now sits alone at night looking through a glass darkly wondering what he might see some day. He hopes it includes flowers, great swirls of flowers.

 

Copyright 2008, Jerry W. Engler


Web Site: Jerry W, Engler  

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Reviewed by Regis Auffray 2/9/2010
Who knows what a person might see as they near the death experience in the final year of life? Perhaps ours is not to doubt them at this time, but to give them the benefit that we believe in them.
For now we see through a glass darkly, then we will know all things.

Your compelling story effectively supports the above theme, Jerry. Thank you. Love and peace to you,

Regis
Reviewed by Linda Law 8/8/2008
This is a lovely work. Written in a unique and plain people way...which is folksy, but even more! This type of writing is indeed special. lindalaw
Reviewed by Richard Orey 6/7/2008
When we live with God in our heart, out future is to live in the heart of God, for ever has it been that faith and love allow us to see clearly what we cannot comprehend with eyes alone.

Jerry, you write with great insight in a wonderfully folksy and unchallenging way. And, as always, you take me to places never before visited and open my mind to realities that once were but rabid speculations.

In the literary world, you are a great talent and a unique treat!

With love, admiration and respect,
Richard
Reviewed by Cryssa C 6/7/2008
Jerry, you have an incredible way with words! I know that the veil between life and the hereafter is very thin at times... I know that from personal experience. Your story hit so close to home on this one...it brought me close to tears. Thank you for sharing your talents with us.

Cryssa
Reviewed by Lois Christensen 6/2/2008
She was comforted in her last days with these seeings and they were real to her. She remembered the flowers and that kept her going on too. I beleive the Lord did give her signs throughout her illness. She is also pain free now, with her daughter and father and they are getting on about their duties and looking for you when you come to welcome you to the pearlygates too. I am hoping my hubby Tom is going to watch me enter the pearly gates when my time comes. I loved this write and can relate to it very well. Spirits do abide here in after death. Miracles have happened when angels helped someone thrugh something these days too. Nothing is unbelievable to me.
Reviewed by JASMIN HORST SEILER 6/1/2008
I was going to say your are the great story teller, and you are no doubt, but I believe you, been there done that, even at a very early age, our mind travelles more freely when we are focused and letting go of earthly logical concepts. Jerry as always a joy to read you!
Blessings! Jasmin Horst
Reviewed by Elizabeth Price 6/1/2008
Yes, the dead do visit us, especially right before death. While my dad was dying, approximately a year after my mother died, I could tell when my mother entered the room. As my dad lost his grip on this world he was talking to the next. I believe they come in comfort, to let the dying know they are not going to be alone. Great write. Liz
Reviewed by Mr. Ed 6/1/2008
Sometimes the person now sits alone at night looking through a glass darkly wondering what he might see some day. He hopes it includes flowers, great swirls of flowers.

Love the ending, my friend. And I am also a believer. My beloved grandmother came to visit me shortly after her death, just to comfort me, and I could even smell her perfume. And when my time comes, I truly expect to see her again.
Reviewed by Gianetta Ellis 5/31/2008
Very moving and beautiful story, Jerry. In parts, it gave me chills. How wonderful it is to believe - to believe in everything! How it broadens our world and lays before us possibilities that would otherwise never arise. Anna Marie reminded me of my grandmother who has relayed similar experiences - and her eyes gleam whenever she does.
Reviewed by Jean Pike 5/31/2008
Jerry, what a wonderful, hope filled story. Right up my alley. I loved your gorgeous, peaceful descriptions. Simply lovely.


Books by
Jerry W. Engler



Highly Embellished Truth & Some Poetry: Just Folks Three

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Just Folks: Earthy Tales of the Prairie Heartland

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A Heartland Voice: Just Folks Two

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