I recently was a part of a very moving experience when my best friend Jeanne stood lovingly by Dan, the man she chose to give all of her heart and soul to, as he slipped over into eternity. He knew as he passed that their love for one another was not of this world. Before God, and in private, they spoke vows to one another. Not in a legal way, but solidifying their spiritual bond that nothing can ever break. Not even death. When she returned to her home in Minnesota, she knew life was going to be different. And after his funeral service, the days were bleak. But, we had no idea that Dan was sending a great message of deep love from heaven. You will find this blog is a bit different than my usual ones. Jeanne tells her side of the story, and I share mine.
I stayed at my sister Carolyn’s at night because I did not want to be alone. My house just seemed so cold and empty, and I couldn’t bear the thought of the silence and to sit there alone with my feelings of how much I missed Dan.
Wednesday, when I returned to my house in the morning, I opened the drapes to let in the sun. Snow sat in piles outside my front window, and I soon was reminded that we had another month of winter to go.
I tried to watch some TV, and around 1:30 decided to go over to Trader Joe’s to get some tulips. For the past five years, I had bought tulips in February and March to bring life into my home and remind me that spring was around the corner. I did a quick check online and drove to Trader Joe’s after seeing an ad for their double bunch tulip special. When I got inside, I was surprised to find no tulips and a dismal assortment of other cut flowers. No tulips? I tossed a mixed bouquet in my cart and started to roll away. I stopped; no, this won’t do. I put it back and grabbed another one and put that back as well. I settled on a bunch of yellow roses, my favorite, and headed for the cheese. I stopped again and turned my cart around to put the yellow roses back. I wanted tulips, and nothing was going to fill that void. Tulips were what I needed to fill that hole in my soul right now. They reminded me of Dan. The past couple of years, he had started buying me tulips when he knew how happy they made me. One time he walked in and saw I already had two bouquets of tulips and asked, “Should I be jealous?”
“No, I bought these myself.”
“I wanted to surprise you!”
I told him he could buy some with really tight bulbs, and it would be a surprise when they bloomed. He loved to surprise me, and I could never tell him that I always knew the tulips would be either yellow, purple, or red.
As I put the yellow roses back, a bunch of orange roses caught my eye. Wow! I don’t know if I have ever seen orange roses like that. The color was striking and surreal. They were pulsing in a supernatural illumination that reminded me of when God highlighted someone out in public I was to give a word to.
For some reason, I was supposed to have them regardless of the $9.99 price tag, but I was disappointed as I rolled my cart towards the dairy section. I wanted tulips. Orange tulips. Bright colored tulips spoke life, but it wasn’t meant to be.
On my way out, I asked if they were getting more tulips in, and the clerk told me to come back the next morning as a new shipment was coming in.
When I got home, I half-heartedly put the roses in a vase with water and didn’t bother to trim the stems. I set them by the window and went about my day. Later that night, before my sister picked me up for the night, I glanced at them and smiled. They may not have been tulips, but this bright splash of orange brightened up the room, and I vowed that I would go over to Trader Joes in the morning to pick up some tulips.
The next morning I woke up and heard my sister working on her computer in the other room. I sat on the edge of the bed and started to cry. I missed Dan so much, and I silently asked God for a sign that he was okay. I knew he was in heaven. But what was heaven really like? Did Dan miss me? Or was I now forgotten? How do I move on from this? He might be having the time of his life right now, but I was hurting and didn’t know how to fill the void.
I suddenly felt this warmth encircling me, like a big bear hug from behind and a soft pressure against my cheek. It was unexpected, and it felt safe, warm, and familiar. It felt like a hug from Dan. I sat for several minutes in this supernatural embrace and felt comforted and then pulled myself out of it—either you’re crazy or playing with fire. I told myself, don’t look for this. Satan can fool people into thinking it’s from God and it isn’t. But the truth was I wanted it to be from God. Hadn’t I asked Him for a sign?
I dressed and waited for my sister to give me a ride home. My friend Christine was coming over today to help me organize my office so I could get going on finishing my book. I wanted to run over to Trader Joe’s to get some tulips and then give my place a quick vacuum. I wasn’t sure if I was going to tell her about the supernatural hug. She wouldn’t think I was crazy, but sometimes when something special from God happens to you, you don’t want to share it with anyone. Not because no one will believe you, but if they can’t feel the same intensity of God’s love in this for you, it diminishes the gift. Some experiences are to be kept in that secret exchange of love between you and Daddy God.
I got home and quickly vacuumed but continued to putz, so there was no time to run to Trader Joe’s. God whispered, “Christine is bringing you tulips; you don’t need to go.” I laughed to myself, “Sure, wishful thinking, Jeanne, you just don’t want to drive over to Trader Joe’s again to be disappointed. I texted her, “Let me know when you are here. I will be in my office in the back but will leave my back door unlocked; please walk-in.”
Sometime later, I heard a knock, and I yelled, “Come on in!”
Christine let out a yelp. “Oh my God, oh my God!”
I started laughing. I was waiting for her to say, “You didn’t have to vacuum just for us!” She has brought her daughter Kelsey with her, and I can hear them in the kitchen.
Christine came into my office with a vase in each hand.
On Wednesday, I was at home attending a virtual meeting that was to run from 1-1:45 pm. At 1:30, it ended early. As I was shutting down my computer, I heard very loud and clear in my mind: get Jeanne orange tulips.
I was planning on seeing her the next day, so I thought I would get her a bouquet. It was right after Dan’s funeral, and I wanted to give her something to cheer her up. I hadn’t planned on what color or type, so this message was somewhat helpful. I told my daughter Kelsey what I had heard, and she immediately said we should go to a specific florist by our home. I was planning on just doing a grocery store type of purchase, but I felt that this was not a request when she said a certain place. This was an order being given, and I suddenly was the delivery person. I had never been to this particular florist, and I wasn’t going to come out of there with anything but orange tulips, so help me, God!
When we walked in, the only person on staff was helping a young couple plan their wedding flowers, so she told us to look around…even in the back room where she puts displays together. I saw a square vase filled with small pebbles and water with white tulips arranged in it. I said, “You don’t have orange tulips do you?”
I hadn’t seen any in the whole store.
Her face lit up, and she said, “Yes! I have a whole bunch that just came in about an hour ago! Go see what we have, and I will help you out in a minute.”
I decided to get the display with the small stones in the square vase, and the original one had a little butterfly on it. I kept thinking of Dan being a newly transformed man in heaven when I saw it. The florist came out with the bouquet and had stuck a pale orange monarch-type butterfly on it. It had Dan’s presence all over it as a gift of love. Kelsey ordered a vase filled with every orange flower in the place…tiger lilies, roses, carnations, and a daisy. It was just one big orange beautiful burst of gorgeous. I got in my car and thought…why did we get all orange? I mean, that place had so many color options. I figured it had some meaning, but I wasn’t sure what. I wanted to text Jeanne and tell her, but I kept hearing a still small voice say: Shhh…this is a surprise.
The next morning my daughter and I drove to Jeanne’s house for our visit. She said to text when I arrived so she could open the garage door. She was in a back bedroom, so she wasn’t at the door when we walked in. I stopped in my tracks! The entire house was filled with a beautiful light. Not only from the sunshine but a presence that only heaven could send. As I stood in her kitchen with a vase in each of my hands, I saw a huge display of orange roses on her living room table.
“Jeanne! Jeanne! I can’t believe this!” Orange roses??? Orange?
“My God! My God!” That’s all I could think of to say. She thought I was exclaiming over her cleaned-up house!
When she saw the tulips in my vase and the ones Kelsey got her, she cried. She told me of her disappointment in not being able to find orange tulips. I could only say, “The love story of Dan and Jeanne continues.”
All day while visiting, we would stop and stare at this grand display of orange that was on her table. My daughter looked up the meaning of orange flowers…it signifies strength. Of course, it does! I saw my beautiful friend’s eyes go from weary and sad to joy like a snap of the fingers because heaven came down and gave her a hug and a kiss on the forehead with vases filled with meaning. You see, those flowers will fade away and not be here for long. But, the event will always remain. Dan may have moved on to heaven, but his love (like God) for Jeanne is eternal.
One of Dan’s last Facebook posts was of a still picture with a Bible verse. In the background, there are roses. Guess what color they are? We saw this AFTER we delivered her flowers.
Later, God reminded me of the significance of the orange flowers. Every trip Dan and I went on, he wore this camo jacket that had a bright orange lining. I never liked the color orange, and it might be because I have red hair and never wore orange or red. I loved that jacket on him, and I began to associate the bright orange POP of color with fun, adventure, safety, security, love etc. As much as I wanted to travel, I had a lot of anxiety when away from my home. Dan was my rock and assured me that I was safe and cared for by him and God.