I have a bizarre and ironic story to share…this is true in every aspect. I think we are given hurdles to overcome, and one day, I decided to go forward and make a telephone call regarding my Grandma Mary. I had been trying to find physical evidence of her birth date. This was in the mid 1990’s, before I had a computer and internet access, when I had to do all my research by mail, by phone, by physical appearance, through others, etc.
Her birth date had always been a discrepancy within the family, even when she was alive. She knew it to be February 27th, her sisters said it was February 18th. She was seven years old when she emigrated from Italy with her parents. My aunts always thought that she didn’t remember her actual birth date, due to her young age. After the phone call, I wrote a journal entry about it, and I saved it.
Journal Entry: I had a weird experience while doing genealogy research. I called the mortuary my grandmother was buried in, hoping I would be able to receive some information from old records that they might have had, which would contain her birth date. The man who answered sounded very arrogant, very aggressive on the telephone, not calming, or respectful . He sounded, to me, almost as if he didn’t want to look the information up, that it was too much trouble for him. That was my impression, anyway.
He stated the information I wanted wasn’t computerized, and that he would have to go back in the storage and record room to find it. He asked me to leave my telephone number, and that he would call me back. I left my number, he was in New York, and I was calling from CA, so the conversation wasn’t local. I didn’t expect him to return my call the same day, or even within two or three days.
He called back a several minutes later, sounding very soft-spoken, not arrogant as he initially sounded. He sounded like someone who had been humbled, or shaken. He told me that when he opened the envelope that contained her death certificate, a florist card fell out (the only one in the envelope), and the card read “to grandma, love Lorri and Howie”. Needless to say, I had chills running up and down my body, my scalp, included. A card, from flowers I had sent to the funeral parlor, somehow got left behind, 27-years ago, was coming back to greet me in my present. I remembered that card, vividly. I remember asking the florist, in New York City, to make sure those exact words were written on it. I was speechless.
Within the records was a copy of her birth information. Yes! She knew her birth date. She knew exactly when it was!
Along with grandma’s birth information, I also received that little bit of destiny, an unexplained circumstance that happens along our life’s journey, one I don’t view as coincidence, but more like a spiritual moment, a sign, an epiphany.
The man at the cemetery office said he had never had an experience like that before, and he specifically replied “I have never in all my years working here, had this sort of thing occur, nothing like this ever happened to me before in all these years I have worked here.” He said that he was stunned, and that it was emotionally altering for him.
I asked him to mail me a copy of the information he had, and he stated that he would. He did ask me if I wanted him to mail the card out to me. I told him that I didn’t want him to do that. To me, it seemed as if it was an omen, a piece of my grandma speaking to me, and I felt the card was better left with the mortuary. After all, it was where it was sent, to begin with, and I felt it belonged there, in grandma’s file.
It was most definitely a spiritual experience, one of many I have had, and of many to come, through my research.
*The headstone photograph above is placed on the grave of my grandparents, and their son, John. Although my grandmother’s name is not on the headstone, she is buried there.