Sweet, bitter, sugary and salty stories. Welcome to my world, past and present.
Friday, May 21, 2010
My Guardian Angel
I didn’t know where to turn. At 33, my world was falling apart. My marriage was ending and I had two small children to raise and support.
Feeling weary from lawyers and therapists’ advice, for the first time, I turned to a psychic, a spiritual reader, who a friend recommended. And that is how I met Gina 34 years ago.
The rooms of Gina's simple home were filled with angels and Native American symbols and figures. They had a calming effect but were strange to me.
I was leery and skeptical of talking to a psychic, but hoping I would be told by this gentle, humble woman, who possessed gifts I did not understand, that my marriage would survive.
But that’s not what she said. I was amazed and surprised by what I heard. The details were quite specific about my life, and I only half believed her predictions at best; but over time, I came to realize, that this generous and wise person was indeed gifted; and it was the beginning of a long, lifetime friendship.
Though I eventually left the Midwest and started a new life in Virginia with my children, I remained in phone contact with Gina over the years. More and more she became like a surrogate mother to me, someone who always listened and soothed me. There was no one else like her in my life.
Over time, our conversations were no longer “readings.” We became friends with a special bond and understanding. Talking to her was comforting, no matter what was going on in my love life or career.
She was always there for me, someone I could count on, a lifeline and a cherished, nurturing confidante, a connection that went beyond a blood relative.
As the older women in my family passed, I could always call Gina, like a favorite aunt, and talk about anything, uncensored and safe.
Never judged, I always felt understood. She filled an empty space in my life as a crone, a tribal elder whose kind wisdom helped me weather life’s storms, and never refused my cries for help when no one else was there.
Even though my life took me to new places, there was always Gina, just a phone call away. She shared her family and history with me as well. We became family to each other and developed a connection that surpassed friendship. Over the years, we would just call each other to talk and be together in our comfortable way. It always made me feel better.
In the last few years, Gina in her 80’s, was faltering and her health deteriorating. She never complained and always had a smile in her voice for me. I had not heard from her recently, and somehow I couldn’t make the call to confirm what I sensed.
I returned one evening to find my answering machine blinking for my attention. The message was from Gina’s daughter, Lonnie, who called me from Chicago to say that Gina, “our” mom, had passed in February.
I leaned over the sink and sobbed. All I could do was cry. As I wipe away my tears even now as I write this, I miss her from the deepest part of myself. The loss is indescribable.
On Mother’s Day, I received another call from Gina’s daughter, Lonnie, who is learning to walk again. Her mother’s house in central Illinois is being readied for new owners. She had kept some of her mother’s ashes. The rest were sprinkled over the loveliest spot above the river in Gina’s hometown. That pleased me.
Lonnie, as if being prompted by her mother, my dearest friend, Gina, said she had relocated her mother’s phonebook. Lonnie wanted to stay in touch and offered to talk anytime.
Thank you, Gina, for “contacting” me on Mother’s Day. You will always be my guardian angel. I love you and I miss you.
Erana Leiken, principal of Tiger Marketing, is a marketing and PR consultant and freelance writer. She also teaches communication courses at the University of Phoenix and Web marketing and interactive content for the Art Institute of Phoenix.
Formerly an NBC reporter, magazine editor, and Web business writer, she is writing creative nonfiction and doing Web consulting. See www.tigermarketing.com.