The inevitable ending to the stories of our lives is never easy to deal with, but one family got an amazing epilogue for one of their dearly loved one.
Dorothy Booth, known as Dottie to her friends and mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother to her family, lived a full life of love for 97 years. She was a kind woman with a lot of wit and wry advice.
One of her frequent sayings was:
"Be good...but if you can't be good, be careful."
She was surrounded by her family at the end, which appeared to be peaceful, gentle, and (even though she was 97) still a little too soon.
Dottie's two daughters Debbie and Jeanne spent a lot of time with their mother, saying goodbye and having the kind of deep discussions people do when they near the end.
As they are a family of faith, Dottie and her daughters discussed life beyond this earth. They asked Dottie that after she moved on to the next great adventure, to send them some kind of sign that she was okay. They specifically asked that a cardinal be involved and that it would be in a special way they never would have thought of.
The day after the memorial service, while the family played one of Dottie's favorite card games in her honor, they heard something at the kitchen window.
Angela's father-in-law went to go check out what it was, and when he told them everyone had to go see. They found a cardinal just sitting out there, calm and serene as if waiting for them. Unlike most birds, the cardinal didn't flee as they approached.
They brought the bird inside and took some pictures. Both Jeanne and Debbie were excited. They believed that their mother fulfilled their request to send a signal of some kind to her family from the great beyond.
After a few moments, they decided to release the bird. Yet, it didn't fly away.
Debbie even gave it a little help, gently tossing it into the air. Instead of flying away, the bird circled back immediately and perched right on Debbie's shoulder. It was as if the cardinal didn't want to leave them at all.
The two sisters were moved, both by the memory of their mother and the hope that that this was the sign they'd asked for. They believed this meant that Dottie was in heaven and happy to be there.
Eventually, the two sisters put the bird on a low tree branch. The cardinal still didn't leave. It, and the family, stayed there for a little longer. Finally, the bird took to the skies, giving closure to a the thankful family.
Luckily, Angela caught the whole magical moment on camera!