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Amelia's Gift

Amelia's Gift

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Amelia's Gift

257 Seiten
4 Stunden
Dec 6, 2011


Amelias Gift is a captivating story from the heart, based on true events in the life of author Debra John. An inspirational love story on many levels, it portrays the life of Lisa Marie Anderson. An ever-smiling optimist who never misses a meal, she is the daughter of World War II and Korean combat veteran Edward Anderson and loving mother and housewife Amelia. The fourth of six children, Lisa relies on her positive outlook and sense of humor to cope with a father who abuses alcohol. When she later marries a man who also turns to alcohol after twenty years of marriage, her patience and humor are eventually overshadowed. Lisas life becomes entangled yet hopeful with a spirit-guided message from her mother, ballroom dancing, Caribbean cruising, and Alex, a guy who cant seem to find the right wristwatch.
Dec 6, 2011

Über den Autor

Born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Debra makes her home in Cocoa Beach, Florida. After thirty-four years as an executive secretary for the US Government, she is using her writing skills and creativity to fulfill her dream of becoming a published author. An avid reader of books on romance and spirituality, she has combined both topics to create a unique story from the heart.


Amelia's Gift - Debra John



Debra John

Copyright © 2012 Debra John

Edited by Julie Johnson

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

Balboa Press books may be ordered through booksellers or by contacting:

Balboa Press

A Division of Hay House

1663 Liberty Drive

Bloomington, IN 47403

1-(877) 407-4847

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

The author of this book does not dispense medical advice or prescribe the use of any technique as a form of treatment for physical, emotional, or medical problems without the advice of a physician, either directly or indirectly. The intent of the author is only to offer information of a general nature to help you in your quest for emotional and spiritual well-being. In the event you use any of the information in this book for yourself, which is your constitutional right, the author and the publisher assume no responsibility for your actions.

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.

ISBN: 978-1-4525-4286-7 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4525-4288-1 (hc)

ISBN: 978-1-4525-4287-4 (e)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2011961032

Printed in the United States of America

Balboa Press rev. date: 01/19/2012




Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17


To my mother Amelia


Writing this book has been a phenomenal experience and would not have been possible without the encouragement and support of my family and friends. I am immensely grateful to my sister, Gail Ingson, who has been a true inspiration throughout the entire process, encouraging me every step of the way. I am also thankful for my fiancé, Eugene Symbalisty, who kept me focused on my writing, exclaiming to me many times, But you have to write it.

Sincere appreciation is extended to those who granted me permission to include them as part of my story: Gordon Smith, John Holland, Gregg Braden, John Rogers, and Hazel West Burley.

I would like to thank the following for their special contributions:

Daniel Sanzone for the magnificent piece of artwork he created for my book cover. As a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design, I know that he will do great things for the world with his talent for art. He already has for me.

Jeanne Beatty for her continued support and valued suggestion that her son Daniel create the artwork for my book cover.

My editor, Julie Johnson, for the many hours that she spent with me so I could provide feedback to her edits as she made them.

Davin Swendsen for his support and encouraging me to write more details into my story.

Barbara Kyle for her valuable feedback to my many questions about writing.

And finally, I would like to thank everyone I worked with during my 34 years with the Department of Defense. They were my true teachers when it came to learning how to write. Especially, I would like to thank the military supervisors who shared their knowledge of the English language and writing prose.


On a hot Sunday afternoon in the month of August, Lisa Marie Anderson arrived at Kimbrough Army Hospital to visit her mother Amelia. As she walked with her father Ed toward the hospital entrance, she could not get the vision out of her head—the vision that was now a vivid memory from the day before. When she stood in the front yard, watching her father pull his green Chrysler Imperial out of the driveway, she could see the sadness in her mother’s eyes—waving her hand in front of her pale white face, looking through the passenger side window, as if she were waving goodbye for the last time.

Continuing their walk down the long gray hallway, her thoughts turned to the phone call her father received earlier in the day. Devastated and heartbroken, tears filled his eyes when he heard the nurse tell him, We’re so sorry, but we don’t expect Amelia to make it through the night. Lisa felt fortunate that she was there to comfort him when he received the news. Her original plans were to visit her parents in July, the week of her 29th birthday. For some reason—perhaps a gut feeling—she switched her flight from Florida to arrive in Maryland during the month of August. It was a touch of fate that she arrived only three days before her mother’s stroke, as if she were meant to be there for the last few days of her life.

As they walked into the Intensive Care Unit, they were approached by the nurse. Hello, my name is Janet. I am the attending nurse and will be keeping watch over Amelia this evening. Before you see her, I need to tell you about her condition. As I told you earlier today, we don’t expect her to make it through the night. And because her major organs are now failing, she has slipped into a coma.

Wanting to be alone with his wife, her father went in to see her first. Patiently awaiting her turn to see her mother, Lisa asked the nurse, Will she be able to hear me if I speak to her—and be able to respond in any way?

Speaking with a soft voice, she answered her and said, Because she’s in a coma dear, it isn’t likely she’ll respond to anything that you do or say. But there’s a slight chance you may feel a response from her if you hold her hand and ask her to move it.

When her father came out of the room, she could tell he had been crying by the redness in his eyes—evidence of spending final moments with the woman he shared his life with for the past forty years. Struggling with his words, he said to Lisa, You may go in and see your mother now. This may be the last time you’ll ever …

Not being able to say another word, he walked over to the waiting area. As Lisa walked toward the entrance to her mother’s room, she slightly turned her head to look back at her father. Sitting in the dingy gray waiting room chair, holding his white handkerchief over his tear-streaked eyes; he was sobbing as she heard him say to himself: How am I ever going to live without her?

She walked over to her mother’s bedside and sat in the chair next to her bed. Praying that she would somehow receive a response from her, she took the nurse’s advice and spoke to her while she held her hand. Mommy, I know that you can’t speak to me … but if you can hear me, please squeeze my hand.

Disappointment came over her when she did not feel a response. After a moment or two passed, her mother spoke. As if by a miracle, the words that she spoke were as clear and solid as if she were fully awake.

I don’t know what to do … Should I stay here or go there?

Lisa quickly looked above her mother, expecting to see an angel from Heaven that may have prompted her to speak. She then looked back at her mother and spoke purely from her heart—the first and only words she ever meant with every fiber of her being.

Mommy, we love you very much and we’ll miss you … but you have been in a lot of pain lately. I think you’ll be much happier if you go to Heaven.

The next morning the nurse called and said she had passed peacefully during the night, but before she could slip into eternal slumber, she had a smile on her face and was singing a song. It was one of her favorites, written by the youngest of her six children, Mark.

For the next twenty-four years, Lisa often relived this story and told it many times. Every time that she did, it caused her to cry. Many times she prayed at night, asking God if she could hear from her. All she wanted to know was that she was OK. She loved her dearly and missed her terribly. Twenty-four years later her prayers were answered—with a profound message from above. This message set into motion a chain of events that miraculously changed her life for the better. This is her story.

Chapter 1

After my mother’s funeral, I returned to my home in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Even though my apartment was small and had only one bedroom, the location made it absolutely perfect for me. The beach was so close that I could walk to it within a matter of minutes. Most days I enjoyed walking on the beach, feeling the warmth of the sun on my face, listening to the gentle roar of the waves washing ashore, smelling the salt spray, and looking out upon the horizon with its white puffy clouds. On days when the waves pounded the shore with a thunderous roar, and I felt adventurous, I took my boogie board to the beach. Besides being loads of fun, it was a great way to stay in shape. As I held onto my board, I first had to jump through the crashing waves until I made it past the break point. When the perfect wave was upon me, cresting with its clear wall of water, I jumped onto my board, as if jumping onto a sled. While kicking my feet and paddling my hands at a furious pace, my board and I were lifted by the wave. It was an exhilarating ride back to the shore as I felt the speed of the wave, tasted the ocean water splashing my face, and heard the sound of sand scraping my board as I came to a sudden stop on the beach. I would then stand up and do it all over again.

Because the beach was only a few miles from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and I could see the launch complexes, I was able to watch the entire launch sequence from the ground up. Each time that a rocket blasted off from the launch pad, and then soared into the clouds, it created a tremendous crackling sound that became louder and louder as the winds brought it closer to me. If a rocket launched during the night while I was sleeping, the sound of windows rattling in my apartment was loud enough to awaken me from a deep sleep. Local residents, who had lived there since the Apollo launches to the moon, told me the vibrations from those launches were so intense that they cracked windows in cars and houses. Life was exciting on the Space Coast of Florida.

Shortly after I had relocated to my new home in paradise in 1980, I received a beautiful handwritten letter from my mother. The letter was written not long after her second heart attack, and two years before her stroke. At the time that she wrote the letter, my younger brother Mark was at the beginning of his singing career. My younger sister Dottie had just graduated with her Master’s Degree and was looking for her first job at a bank on Long Island. My two older brothers were working full-time. My brother Billy was teaching art at one of the county middle schools, and my oldest brother Daniel was working for a computer company in England. My older sister Gail was living in another town with her husband Phil and her two children, Paul and Valerie:

Dearest Lisa -

We received your lovely letter and it seems you have finally found your end of the rainbow. I am so happy for you dear. Mark and Bill are all enthused about flying down there this summer and having a good time. I’m sure they will love it there when they visit you. You seem to be located right in the middle of all the clubs, shops, etc.

It’s still cold up here and we can’t get out to do much. I’ll be glad when I can sit outside again. I’m still quite thin, 124 lbs, but at least I don’t have any more swelling in my feet. I doubt if I’ll be able to make any more trips. I still go to Bingo on Monday and take it easy at home.

Dad feels pretty good and is anxious to get out in his garden.

Dottie is home but she is waiting to hear about a job in New York City. Her friend from college has a job up there and they have put a deposit on an apartment for $625 a month. It has no furniture or even a rug on the floor. We loaned her the money but she’d better get a job soon. Her girlfriend has a chair and dishes. I think they are going to be stuck.

When you go to the Space Shuttle launch, don’t forget to take some pictures. That should be very exciting. I know that Mark and Bill would love to see the Space Center. Mark is just starting to get enough jobs to get ahead. Next month will be a full one for him. His singing is getting better and better and everyone loves him. Daniel has been in England but will be home in a few days to visit for a week. Gail still comes by and asks about you. Everyone is happy for you dear.

Well dear, I don’t have any more news so I’ll close for now. Send some of your sunshine up here.

All our love,

Mom, Dad & Family


Returning to my normal routine after losing my mother was not easy for me. I missed hearing the sweet sound of her voice on the phone and being able to have conversations with her. She was always there for me when I needed advice or someone to chat with. Although I felt great sadness from losing her, I also felt extreme comfort in knowing that she was in Heaven. The words that she spoke to me—from her hospital bed—were all the evidence that I needed. Hearing her words reassured my belief that there is much more to our existence than our presence here on earth. Having my own piece of evidence that she was in Heaven also made the grieving process easier for me. It allowed me to keep my focus on the light of Heaven instead of the darkness of death.

When I used to call her, my father sometimes talked on the phone, but only long enough to say hello or to ask how I was. Because he had a habit of not talking much to his children, my conversations with him were always short and to the point. My brothers and sisters and I were always close to our mother, but it was not the same when it came to our relationship with our father. After fighting in World War II and the Korean War, he decided not to become close to his children. The reason he often gave us was that he did not want us to miss him when he died. Another reason that he gave had to do with something that happened to him as a child. His father always favored his younger brother over him, which caused him to feel unloved and unwanted. Not wanting the same thing to happen to his own children, he chose not to have any favorites. He achieved this goal by not spending too much time with any of us.

Since he was the only person that I could speak to when I called home, my conversations with him were better than before. Instead of just saying hello, he was more open to my sharing things with him about my personal life. The only problem was that I had to call him early enough in the day—before he began drinking alcohol. According to my brothers and sisters, who still lived in Maryland, he had become even more difficult to live with since my mother died. He loved her dearly and found life unbearable without her. Instead of asking those who loved and cared for him to help him through the healing process, he turned to alcohol for help. Because he was drinking more often than he used to, his drinking habit became worse with each day. It was his way of dealing with the emotional pain that came with losing someone near and dear to his heart. My older sister Gail sent me a letter during this time that describes how his personality changed for the worse since the death of my mother. This is a short excerpt from her letter:

I call Dad every day during the morning. He’s all right then but has started getting drunk every night and back to his old mean self. He threatened to disinherit Mark because he didn’t come cut the grass in 100 degree weather, and to disinherit Bill because he would not come pick him and the car up at the Elks Lodge. He hasn’t started on me yet but I expect him to eventually. If he keeps it up he will drive all of us away from him and he won’t have anyone.

Because my grandfathers died before I was born, I had only grandmothers while I was growing up. My paternal grandfather, whose name was Joseph, lived from 1883 to 1942. During the prohibition era in the 1920s, he and my Grandmother Mary ran a bathtub still operation in their basement. It was a pretty common thing in the state of New York during that time, along with bootleggers, speakeasies, moonshine, and rum runners who smuggled supplies of alcohol from Canada across state lines. On more than a few occasions, my father and his mother had some heated discussions about her home-based operation—usually prompted by her complaints about his drinking habit.

My father would become angry with her, defending himself by saying things like: Don’t you dare criticize me for my drinking! When I was just a young boy, don’t you remember keeping me home from school to help you put caps on your liquor bottles? And did you forget about the speakeasies you used to have all the time?

Whenever I heard some of these arguments about bathtub stills and speakeasies, it made me wonder whether or not my grandmother was a wild woman in her younger days. She lived with my parents throughout their entire marriage, except for the few years that they lived in Frankfurt, Germany. She was an intelligent woman who was sweet and loving toward the children. Because my father was in the military, he asked her to live with us so she could help my mother with the children while he was away. I always had the impression from my mother that she wasn’t too thrilled with this living arrangement.

She told me several times while I was growing up: When you get married, don’t ever let your mother-in-law live with you. If you do, she’ll try to run your life for you. My mother was always giving me advice. She was never afraid to speak her mind about any topic.

My maternal grandfather, whose name was Arthur, lived from 1891 to 1934. He died from a stroke when my mother was only 18 years old, leaving my Grandmother Maria with very little money to support the family. To help out with family finances, my mother had to work a full-time job. She worked in the Electronic Tube Department at the General Electric Company in her home town of Schenectady, New York. In 1941, a photo of her working on the assembly line was featured on the front cover of their Factory magazine. They chose her for the photo shoot because of her natural beauty and the colorful apron that she was wearing that day. In the photo, she had naturally curly brown hair, but as a young girl her hair was blonde. She also had a fair complexion and hazel eyes. Because my mother was athletic, she was chosen to play on the company’s basketball team. In the summer months, she worked part-time as a lifeguard.

Before meeting my father, my mother met a man named Daniel. They worked together for four years at the General Electric Company. Tall, blonde, and handsome, he was an extremely intelligent electrical engineer with dreams of starting his own company. She talked about him often while I was growing up, telling me how they went skiing together in the mountains of New York and how much they loved each other. He turned out to be who she referred to as the love of her life. She was heartbroken when he had to move to California to start his own business and then quickly married another woman. When they could no longer see each other, she promised to name her firstborn son after him. In a nutshell, he was the man she could never have but always wanted. My mother met my father two years after Daniel moved to California. Although she loved my father, she often told me that the happiest years of her life were those that she spent with Daniel.

My parents met when my mother was playing a pinball machine. When I was growing up, I remember her joking about winning him as her prize for playing the game. When my father proposed to my mother, he was serving with the US military as a 1st Sergeant. The ring that he gave her had a quarter carat natural blue diamond—a remarkable stone so rare that most

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