Jody missed her desperately who died when Jody was very youg. Every time Jody walked to town, she’d stop under the great oak along the banks of the river and think of her mom. She’d sit in the shade on the old iron bench, watching the water as it rushed beneath the old stone bridge and visited her fond memories.
That tranquil spot under the oak was the same place her mom would await Jody when she walked home from school. She was always greeted Jody with a hug and a smile and sometimes she’d bring a special treat she made that day or some interesting leaf or flower she had found. Those were some of the best memories she had of her mom because those moments were uniquely theirs.
Now, Jody would go to the spot to talk to her mom, just like she did when her mom was alive. She would share the adventures of her day, her enthusiasm over certain events or even sadness she might be experiencing. Jody felt more connected to her mom there than anywhere else. She often wondered if her mom’s spirit lingered there, because the place made her feel so peaceful. Although she wondered it, she always assumed it was her imagination.
One day, Jody was sitting on that bench, talking to her mom about the beautiful Christmas lights her Grandmother had placed on their tree. It was a wintery day and warm considering how much snow they’d gotten. For the past week, it had snowed every day and the weatherman predicted it would continue. Today, the snow had ceased and Jody was taking the opportunity to get some errands done. She stopped by the stone bridge as she always did and stood by the river, a small stream of water snaking through a thick blanket of white snow, as pretty as a postcard. As she stood there, she heard an incredible grinding come from over her left shoulder. In slow motion, Jody’s eyes widened, her heart stopped and breathing halted as the town’s snow plow careened towards her.
Jody tried to move but was paralyzed by the thought that the snow plow was about to hit her head on. This was her last moment, her last breaths and her life would be over. Would she be with her mom then? She thought to herself in that moment when time stood still.
Somehow, Jody pulled herself up off the bench and tried to leap across the snow bank to safety. As she did, her boot slipped in the snow and she found herself falling downward where her head would hit the corner of the cold iron bench, her life destined to be finished. They say that in your final moments, images of your life pass before your eyes and that’s what happened to Jody. Like a black and white film strip, the major events of her life began to roll in her mind: birthdays, Christmas mornings and first days at school. Her first boyfriend, moments with her mother and the day they got their family dog, Snoopy. Jody knew it was over, braced herself for impact, and the words “I love you Mom,” escaping her lips in a white, wintery whisper.”
Yet, just before she hit the bench, her body shifted as if someone behind her had given her a shove. Instead of being afraid, she felt surrounded by love as she landed in the small clearing on the other side of the great oak tree. She glanced over her shoulder and saw the snow plow crush the iron bench beneath its great weight before coming to a stop at the edge of the river. Had she not been shoved out of the way, she’d have been crushed, all blood and broken bones. Stunned, Jody wondered if she was dead.
She lay there for an eternal second in the familiar warmth of her mother’s loving embrace. When time restarted, she drew a breath and glanced over her shoulder toward the scene of the accident. She saw the driver of the plow rushing toward her, anxious to find out if she was okay.
“Yes, I’m fine,” Jody replied standing up, brushing snow from her pants. “It was my mother–” stammered Jody. “It was my mother who saved me.” The driver passed off her remarks as the effects of shock, but Jody knew – she absolutely knew her loving mother had just saved her life.
Jody felt a renewed connection to her mother that warmed her soul all the rest of her life and live long, she did. Although Jody never “saw” her mother again, she always felt her mom would be there if she was ever in danger again.