Anna’s Story – Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

In 2011, Nick, my nephew-in-law, died by suicide. At 36 years old, he had paranoid schizophrenia since the age of eighteen. Attending the Celebration of Life service, I listened to the eulogy and the rendition of Nick playing his guitar to a piece of music by Jimi Hendrix. An overwhelming urge to start clapping my hands overcame me and, at the same time, I sensed Camille, my mother-in-law, right behind me ushering me up to make a speech. I tried to shrug it off as I am not good at public speaking, but the urge was too strong to resist. Whether I liked it or not, Camille was going to make sure I didn’t back out. As soon as the rendition ended, the Minister asked if anyone wanted to say a few words. With apprehension, I stood up and tentatively approached the front. Very uncomfortable and embarrassed, I thought, “I don’t know what to say – I didn’t rehearse this, and I sure didn’t expect to be giving a speech. Oh well, I have no choice – Camille is making sure of that.” I spoke about how much Nick meant to me, how proud I was of him, and the person he was. In the end and, again out of my control, the undeniable urge to clap my hands was overwhelming. Here we go, and as I started clapping my hands, everyone in Church stood up and joined in. Afterward, I got the distinct impression that I needed to do this for Nick, for him to know how much everyone loved him. As for Camille, my mother-in-law, she died in 2008, three years earlier, from Alzheimer’s. A long-drawn-out illness, she suffered through the devastating stages of this disease. During Nick’s eulogy, it would be the first time she had made herself known to me that I was conscious of – a heartfelt moment, as it was a blessing to feel her presence and, yet at the same time, I was wrought with a degree of sadness as I missed her so much. The comfort came as I realized Camille was there to greet Nick on the other side. They are both together, at peace, happy, and no longer suffering. I’ve had many more visitations letting me know they are still around.

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