Emily was little when her mom got sick. She was too young to understand the severity of the illness or big words like “chemotherapy.” It was winter, so she liked to play outside, and her mom would join her whenever she had the strength. Mom would sit on the porch and just watch Emily run and dance in the snow.
“Come play with me, Mommy,” Emily said one day, as fresh flakes drifted slowly from the sky.
“Oh, Sweetheart, I’m too weak to run,” her mother said.
Emily’s mom smiled. “I know something we can do.”
She rose with some effort and walked to an undisturbed place on the lawn. Then, carefully, she laid down and splayed out her arms and legs.
“What are you doing, Mommy?”
“Making a snow angel. Here, you try. Just lie down and move your arms and legs like this.”
Emily laid down next to her mom and copied her actions, making a tiny snow angel of her own. After her mom struggled to her feet, she helped Emily up too. Mother and daughter stood looking at the angels they had made on the ground.
“What do snow angels do?” Emily asked.
“Well, they keep us safe, just like real angels. And, they make us happy.” She smiled softly at her daughter.
Days wore on and Emily’s mom got worse. It wasn’t long before she no longer had the strength to make snow angels with her daughter, or even sit on the porch. As she withered away in bed, Emily was outside the bedroom window, making as many snow angels on the ground as she could.
“Mommy, did you see? Did you see?” she asked, running to her mother’s bedside.
“See what, Sweetheart?”
“All the snow angels I made you… Don’t they make you happy?”
“Oh, yes, they do. But I’m afraid I can’t see them from here.”
Emily’s face drooped, but her mother pulled her in and kissed her on the forehead. It’s okay, I love them anyway.
When Emily’s mom passed away later that month, her father tried to explain that she was in Heaven, but would always be looking down on them. It was hard for little Emily to understand.
“Mommy can see us?”
“Yes, baby, from Heaven.”
“Is she still sick?”
“No, baby, she’s not.”
“Is she happy?”
Her father choked back a tear. “I hope so, baby.”
Riding home from the funeral service, snow was falling from the sky. Emily spied a frozen lake through the window and her little heart jumped.
“Daddy, stop the car!”
“What is it, baby?”
“You have to stop!”
Emily’s father pulled over and turned around to look at her.
“What’s the matter?”
“You have to let me out, please!”
Confused, he got out of the car and unbuckled Emily from her car seat. She ran down the bank to the edge of the lake and stood to look at the pristine surface in front of her.
Her father chased after her. “Where are you going, Emily?” he called.
Emily just stood staring at the miles of pristine powder, surrounded by nothing at all. And then she looked up to the sky.
“Emily, what is this all about?” her father asked, arriving behind her.
“It’s perfect,” she said.
She turned and looked at her father. “The lake is perfect for snow angels. I can make so many! And mommy can see them all from Heaven. That will make her happy, won’t it, Daddy?”
He smiled. “Yes, baby. I’m sure that it will.”
Emily took a few steps forward, turned and laid down on her back. She smiled as she waved her arms and legs and looked up at Heaven.