Five days before Christmas. I was up in the garage taking the price tags off of the flowers I bought to decorate Brandon’s grave for Christmas. I was unusually late in doing this, for me anyway. Anyone that knows me well knows I take this decorating for any season or holiday to a whole new level. It makes me feel sort of a sense of accomplishment. It is my way of honoring the place where my son was buried. Kenny was home for lunch and was on his way back to work when he found me in the garage. He had this wide-eyed surprised look on his face and proceeded to try and explain this phone conversation with this man named Angelo. “You are not going to believe this story,” he said. He went on to explain that some man he didn’t know just called his cell phone and was telling a story of how he found my book in the trash.
Angelo went on to tell Kenny how we seemed to have a lot of things in common, he told him his wife was a nurse also and that he and his wife had lost a son to a gunshot wound. He told Kenny he was reading my book and was very anxious to talk to me. Kenny agreed to relay the message and took his phone number and told Angelo that I would be happy to call him back. Angelo thanked Kenny for taking his call and for listening to his unusual story of how he came to get a copy of Beautiful Gift.
I put the number in my phone, as I was very curious to learn what the rest of Angelo’s story was. As I was traveling to the cemetery I rang the number. Angelo thanked me for calling him back then went on to tell his story. It seems Angelo was working his second job and this was picking up trash from different companies. On his route that day there was a pick-up at the same printing company that had printed my book. He went on to explain something about running a forklift and emptying cardboard boxes. He said he had no explanation as to why he got off the forklift that day, but he did. That’s when he noticed the book lying on the floor. He picked it up, looked at the cover, read the title. He then went on to read the first two pages. “ I started crying because your story was just like reading my story,” he said. “I put the book in a place where I could pick it up later, as I was working, “ he said.
I just listened to him as he went on to explain. “ My wife and I lost a son eleven years ago to a gunshot wound. We are having a very difficult time right now due to the fact that we are reopening the case and trying to hold the person responsible for the shooting,” he said. He went on to explain, “With the Christmas holiday and reliving the tragedy, it has been very hard on my family.” I could only agree with him and told him how sorry I was. “ I can’t believe I found your book and I have no idea how you wrote what you did,” he said.“ I’m on the last chapter of the book and it has really helped me.” By this time my eyes were welling up with tears. “ You know Angelo, I don’t think you finding this book was a mistake, I believe whole-heartedly that you were meant to find it,” I said. He agreed and thanked me for calling him back. I thanked him for reading my book and that perhaps after the holidays, Kenny and I would be happy to meet with he and his wife. “ Have a blessed Christmas Angelo,” I said. Then I hung up. By this time I had made it to the cemetery. As I sat there tears rolling down my face, and going over what just had happened, I shouted, “ See Brandon, We are making a difference!” I said to myself (and Brandon) “ That my dear sweet son was nothing short of a Christmas Blessing.” Love Mom xox