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My Sister’s Last Christmas Gift

The night my sister died, I had the strangest dream ever. What did it mean?

My Sister’s Last Christmas Gift

The salesclerk removed the pair of chandelier earrings from the glass case and dropped them in my waiting hands. They felt real, but I still had trouble believing it. Thin, hand-forged hoops and dangling, delicate chains, all in shimmering gold. I was mesmerized. Time seemed to stop. The department-store clatter faded into the background. Enraptured, I held one up to my ear and looked in the mirror. “A terrific Christmas gift,” the clerk said, cheerily. “For your mother, maybe?”

The spell was broken. The crowd clustered by the shoes and handbags grew loud again. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my mother walking over from the perfume counter. “They’re…they’re not for anybody,” I murmured to the clerk. How could I explain to her when I couldn’t even explain it myself? I hadn’t told anybody about the dream, not even my mother.

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It was the strangest dream I’d ever had, on the strangest, most terrible night. One month ago, close to midnight, I’d just returned home from a party when the phone rang. My mom was on the other end of the line, breathless, panicky. I held the receiver close to my ear, straining to make out her words.

“It’s your sister,” she said. “She had a brain aneurysm.”

“I’m on my way,” I said, reaching for my keys. It was snowing and the hospital was more than two hours away, but I had to see her. “There’s no point risking the drive at this hour,” my mother said. “The doctor says she’s not going to wake up. Come in the morning.”

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I sat on the edge of my bed long after we hung up, desperate for sleep but scared of waking to a world without Jan. She was only 43. Never again would I hear her voice. Or sit at her kitchen table, eating home-baked treats from her little cookie tin. I crawled under my comforter. I wanted to talk to my sister again, but I wouldn’t get the chance. Instead I spoke into the darkness: “Forgive me, Jan, if I’ve ever hurt you. I love you dearly.”

Sleep came in fits and starts, one odd image breaking into my consciousness. A human ear—shaking, vibrating almost violently. The ear was pierced, and dangling from it was a beautiful gold earring, smooth, perfectly round hoops and fine, tightly linked chains. Was this Jan’s way of letting me know she had heard me? The thought was as confusing as it was comforting.

Jan died five days later, never waking up. In those hard days that followed, it was the vision—strange as it was—that I held on to. I played the dream over and over in my head. The shaking ear and the dangly gold earring that adorned it.

Exactly like the pair of earrings the salesclerk had put in my hand. What did it mean?

“Find anything?” my mother said, joining me by the jewelry counter.

“These earrings,” I said. I lifted them up so she could get a better look. “I…I had a dream about them. The night that Jan…”

Mom gasped and covered her face with her hands. She was so upset, I put my arm around her. “I’m sorry…” I began to say.

“Judith, you don’t understand,” my mother said. “I have those earrings at home. Jan bought them to give you for Christmas.”



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Hope Opens the Way - Spanish

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The title of this little eBook makes a big promise—but it should come as no surprise. After all, Jesus asked his followers to have faith, hope, and charity. But sometimes, life’s problems seem so hard that it isn’t easy to have hope. That’s why cultivating hope is essential to Christian faith. And in this FREE eBook, you’ll find spiritual direction based in Scripture to help you pull yourself out of depression and to find the hope in your heart. 

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