After Cordelia's husband had been dead for more than a month, Cordelia's sister and some friends called to tell her they were coming to her house to have coffee, talk a bit, and observe the celebration that Salvadorans observe when the deceased has been dead for 40 days. She had been terribly saddened by Alfredo's death. Her heart was empty. It never filled up to overflowing any more as it had when Alfredo had been with her. The only thing that filled to overflowing now was her eyes-and they held only tears.
She wandered out into the little garden of the house that she and her husband had shared for the many years before his death. Her heart not only felt empty without him, it actually hurt her that day. His favorite flowers were blooming and she picked some for the table. She picked tall blue and white hyacinths and she put them in a large, cut glass vase.
Then she put them in the center of the table in the living room of her house. They stood tall and straight on their long, strong stems, like a powerful, unidentified but pivotal guest.
The women arrived a little later and they all sat down around this table to drink coffee. Cordelia's daughter, Cindy, who was six years old sat with her mother and listened to the women talk. She was terribly sad about her father's passing away and stayed close to her mother these days.
The flowers were standing in the cut glass vase in the center of the table around which the women sat talking. Everyone could see them clearly as they spoke back and forth across the table to each other.
Cordelia's friend, Julia, who was always joking, started teasing her gently about Alfredo-telling her that, although she had never told Cordelia about it, she had been attracted to Alfredo when Cordelia had first introduced him to her. Cordelia replied, "Well, if you ever thought you wanted him, it's too late now."
As her words echoed in the room, with the women staring at each other over the flowers, the hyacinths began to move and, with the women's eyes abruptly riveted to their movements in fascination, the flowers bent outward and downward--first once, then twice, then a third and last time. Time stood still for them as the women looked on in shock and disbelief!
Her friend, Julia, who had been trying to cheer her up and had joked with her about her handsome husband said, now with seriousness, but still with a little twinkle in her eye, "Okay! all right, Alfredo, I promise I'll never talk about you that way again."
Later, Cordelia's sister told everyone she had felt chilled to the bone when the flowers bent down and Alfredo seemed to let them know he was there. One other friend said she was just very frightened and asked Cordelia if she hadn't been afraid, too, but Cordelia said she was happy--very, very happy--because now she knew her husband was still alive and well, and watching over her and their little girl, Cindy.
When Cordelia's husband, Alfredo, had died, Cordelia's little girl, Cindy, couldn't seem to stop crying. She had been really close to her father and she cried almost every day for about six weeks. She was six years old and just starting school.
Cordelia and her husband had both been born in El Salvador and had met after they immigrated to the United States. Cordelia loved her husband and he had made a safe place for her in their new country, and had managed just about every aspect of their lives. He had handled paying all the bills, had seen to the repairs around their house, and he had taken care of the car.
Suddenly, all this became Cordelia's responsibility. It was very, very hard for her when he died. They had both had jobs and had been buying a house together, but now there was only one income for that purpose, where, before his death there had been two. Most importantly, though, she had really loved him. They had been married for more than five years when Cordelia lost him to heart trouble.
As frightened and alone as Cordelia felt when Alfredo was gone, her daughter, Cindy, felt just as much of a loss-the little girl was devastated. Cindy's countless tears made Cordelia afraid for her small daughter's mental state.
Then one night about a month and a half after her father had died, Cindy came into Cordelia's room and woke her mother at 1 o'clock in the morning. Cordelia, struggling to wake up from a deep sleep, heard Cindy saying excitedly, "Mommy, mommy, Daddy came to see me. Mommy, Daddy came and took me flying when I was sleeping. He took me a long way off and we went to a place that was all white, but it had really pretty flowers everywhere. They were the prettiest colors. There was a white house, and Daddy says he lives in the house. He showed it to me. He's really happy now. Then he flew back home with me. So, Mommy, I'm not going to cry about Daddy any more, I promise."
Cindy never did cry over her Daddy's death again after that night. Cordelia was in awe of her little daughter's nighttime visit with her father, each time she thought of it. She didn't realize then, however, that another chapter to this story was being written far away, in another part of the world.
When Cordelia visited her family in El Salvador about a year-and-a-half later, she went to see Alfredo's mother to tell her about how Alfredo had died and, as she comforted everyone in his home, she was comforted by them, as well.
Alfredo's aunt, Conchita, was there to hear about it, too. She told Cordelia, "I cried every night because I didn't get to see Alfredo before he died. I cried over my mother's death, too." Conchita's mother had died at about the same time. "I missed them both so much."
Then she said something that for a moment took Cordelia's breath away, it was so unexpected! "Cordelia, I cried for many nights and asked God's help with my heart hurting so for them. Then, one night I had a dream where I was flying."
"I came to a place, after I flew and flew, that was all white, and there were the most beautiful flowers everywhere. The colors …I couldn't describe them. I saw a white house and from outside, looking through the window, I saw Alfredo leaning against one side of the doorway behind a rocking chair that my mother sat in. They both looked so happy!"
"I flew back home then. I never cried again over their deaths after that because I knew they were both all right."
Cordelia asked Alfredo's aunt if she had perhaps spoken to Cindy on the phone, thinking the little girl might have told Conchita of her dream about Alfredo. Her husband's aunt said she had not spoken to Cindy since Alfredo's death. So Cordelia told Conchita about Cindy and her dream and how Cindy, too, had stopped crying after she had dreamed of Alfredo.
The aunt was moved to tears to hear Cordelia tell Cindy's story about her dream of flying to where the child's daddy lived now. All Cochita could say was "Thank you, God, for this blessing," because Alfredo's small daughter and his aunt had both been shown the same beautiful place. Conchita now knew that she would never again doubt that there was life after death.