By Lana Fletcher
It was noon, Tuesday, September 28, 1993. I was sitting at the kitchen booth eating a peach, when the phone rang.
When I answered, a pleasant female voice asked, "Are you a relative of Meredith Fletcher?"
"Yes, Iím her mother," I proudly informed her. I presumed that it must have been someone from the college, as Meredith would be starting freshman classes the next day.
But it was a nurse from St. Maryís Hospital who said, "Meredith has been in a serious car accident, and I need you to speak to Dr. Jacobs."
"Oh, God, help me," I cried out.
When Dr. Jacobs came to the phone, he asked, "Do you have anyone there with you?"
"No, but youíve got to tell me," I demanded. I was a nurse and I knew that I could understand anything that might be wrong with her.
Slowly, yet distinctly, the doctor said, "Meredith has been in a serious car accident, and she has passed away."
Passed away!?!? Iíd heard of other people getting calls like this, but he was saying this to me. How could Meredith be DEAD when she was so ALIVE? What does dead MEAN anyway?
"I need to give you my phone number," the doctor instructed. "Call back for the details when you have someone with you."
I phoned my husband, who worked in a town 40 minutes from our home. He called the doctor back, and learned Meredith was a passenger seated behind the driver of a brand new 1994 Jeep Cherokee. The driver was unfamiliar with the intersection and ran a partially concealed stop sign. They had been hit broadside by a semi-truck, killing both Meredith and the driver instantly, while the two girls on the other side of the car were mostly unhurt.
When Ed got home we left for Walla Walla, Washington, where both our daughters lived.
After a seven-hour drive, we joined Madelyn in standing by Meredithís body. Her head rested on a pillow and I ran my fingers through her blond hair. The cuts on her pretty face looked like they could easily heal. She appeared to be sleeping, but her skin felt so cold. Her Dad blotted the spinal fluid that drained from her left ear.
After three days we finally drove home and the mortuary transported Meredithís body.
Through the years, I had developed the habit of journaling the providences I noticed. I found out that I paid more attention to my life because I wanted to remember to write things down to talk over with God.
In the midst of the nightmare of pain when our daughter, Meredith, was killed, I automatically continued to notice the details and the providences of God, and would write them down. I would write such things as, "Thank You Father for giving us ideas for a funeral; for helping us choose a casket; and for leading us to the best cemetery to lay her to rest in. You know they are such awful things to have to do."
As time went on I wrote, "Thank you for having them play her favorite song on the radio just when I was listening; for the call from a church member offering to take me to the store; for the grief book I was reading that was marked in the exact spot that had the answer I needed today."
When I shared these blessings with my pastorís wife, she called them "Godís pillows to cushion the blow." Each time she said that, I would feel myself sinking into a body-size, down pillow and resting in Godís arms of grace.
The hope of the Resurrection became the softest pillow of all Ė the one weĎve fallen back on often during the past ten years.
We look forward to that time when Ed can see Meredithís beautiful face all healed and I can gaze deep in her eyes and see a perfect inner beauty. For the day when her sister, Madelyn, can finally have Meredithís last words to her fulfilled: "Iíll see you in the morning."
We cling to the promise of the heavenly Pillow Maker Ė "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death...for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible." (1 Corinthians 15:26, 52 KJV)
Lana Fletcher lives in Chehalis WA with her husband. Her favorite occupation was mothering and home-schooling. These days Lana is the church clerk, as well as doing the bookkeeping for her husbandís business. She loves gardening and finds object lessons in Scripture and nature, and has been journaling her prayers for more than 25 years. If you would like to Lana, you can do so through the Letters page of this magazine.