Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Valentine from Heaven

A Writer's Words
A Valentine from Heaven 
By Catherine Lanigan

Valentine’s Day was always a very special holiday in our home in Indiana. This day of romance and love was my father’s favorite holiday. For the Lanigan children it was the first break in the cold winter months that gave us an excuse to have a big dinner and a luscious four layer devil’s food cake with pink icing that my creative and culinary-talented mother would bake for us. We would come home from school and pin all of our classmates’ Valentines to the dining room draperies. My sister, Nancy, and I would make heart-shaped Valentine cookies for the family. We iced them in red and piped everyone’s name on the top of the cookie. For the rest of my life, I have kept this tradition alive and I give the cookies as my Valentines to friends. The dinner was always a roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables and a jello mold infused with applesauce and melted cinnamon red hot candies. Nancy and I would wait with anticipation to see just what “special gift” my father would have for our mother that night. He would visit one of La Porte’s jewelers downtown and bring home a bracelet or earrings or a piece of mother’s sterling silver flatware which was always beautifully wrapped. The jewelry was usually elegant costume jewelry or something simple in gold, but never anything ostentatious or flashy.

In the late 1980’s my father suffered a massive heart attack and was clinically dead for 22 minutes. During that time, he told me he went to The Other Side and met with a “Being of Light” who told him that I was to “chronicle the stories of human visitations by angels.” As my father’s illness progressed over the next five years, I sat down, wrote the stories and had them published in my first Angel book.

When my father died on Valentine’s Day in 1992, I have always liked to believe that somehow he’d had a say in the choice of his last day on earth so that we would always be reminded that he loved us.

Several years after my father died, I had been putting up my Christmas tree and lost a diamond out of my ring. I looked everywhere for that stone and even cut off every limb of the tree when it came time to take it down searching each branch. Just before Valentine’s Day I was the guest on a radio program and the host, Scott Arthur, asked if I wanted anything special for Valentine’s day. I said, “I would like a sign from my father that he is around and that he loves me.” Just two days later I was in my closet where I had a shelf filled with perfume bottles and I looked down and on the apex of a Boucheron bottle which was nested in a satin lined box was a diamond stone. No setting. Just the stone. I was astounded and shocked. I knew instantly that somehow my father had found the stone and placed it there for me. I called my jeweler and told him about the stone. He asked me to fax him the appraisal of the stone and then send the stone. A few days later he called and told me, “Where did you get this diamond, because it does not match the appraisal. It is bigger but has less clarity than the appraised diamond. This is a different stone.” I was flabbergasted. I did not have diamonds just lying around the house. I had one diamond. Period.

It was then that I realized that my father had answered my plea. He did come back to give me a very special Valentine. I will never know exactly how that diamond manifested in my closet, but I do know that all things are possible with God. I will always believe that love can conquer trials and tragedies. This Valentine’s Day, my third book about angels, Angel Tales, is being published by Cedar Fort, Inc (February 14, 2012). It is my Valentine to my father. Thanks, Daddy. I love you, too.

© 2017 Catherine Lanigan
All Rights Reserved
Catherine Lanigan is the bestselling author of over forty published titles in both fiction and non-fiction, including the novelizations of Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile, as well as over half a dozen anthologies. Her Harlequin Heartwarming series is set in the small town of Indian Lake in Northwestern Indiana.

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