This is a true story that happened on November 16, 2009

I woke up that Monday morning with a feeling of urgency. I needed to change my schedule as I was supposed to go to Help Hotline Crisis Center, Inc., my employer, that day. As I said my prayers I just knew that the Lord was letting me know explicitly to do something else instead of going to work. It seemed really strange, but I felt I needed to obey. I called work and to my surprise Duane Piccirilli, the CEO answered. I could not tell him what my spirit was telling me so I told him that I was planning to speak at the Family-To-Family class at the Jewish Community Center that evening and I would make up my work for Monday later that week. Duane never usually answers the phone, but since I spoke to him directly, I knew it was safe to change my work days as he himself okayed it. It was just another confirmation that I was doing the right thing.

Gary and I decided to go Christmas shopping a little later in the day stopping first at Ollies, the then new bargain store located at the Eastwood Mall. As I walked down the sheet aisle I suddenly noticed a woman lying on the ground in the aisle. After attending the GriefShare the night before and hearing about a woman whose husband died at Macy’s I immediately thought she was dead. I walked over to her and saw that her eyes were rolled out of her head and she was moving involuntary a little bit. So I called 911 as Gary went and got 2 employees from the store to come down to the aisle where the woman was laying. In the meantime, I held out my hand and I prayed over her with the two employees putting a pillow under her head and taking off her glasses.

I felt an extreme amount of compassion and love as I got on the floor and stayed with this woman. Suddenly she began flailing; her entire body was shaking as though an electric shock had hit her like a lightening bolt. I am a person who fears medical problems and my usual reaction would have been to run from the situation. Instead, I felt a controlled peace flow through me and I stayed on the ground with the woman. What seemed like a long time was probably just a matter of 60 seconds when, looking at her upside down she began focusing her eyes on me. I noticed that she kept staring at me with a concentrated look on her face. Out of nowhere she whispered my name. Now I was freaking out that she knew me. It was a huge surprise to me. I asked her what her name was and she said “Sharon” “Sharon Maybee”. I didn’t recognize her because she had gained an enormous about of weight and was missing some front teeth which often happens to those of us taking psychotropic medications.

At that moment, I recognized her sparkling blue eyes with the curly eye lashes that brought back my memory of my old friend. Sharon had been in my support group years ago and the last time I had seen her was at North-Mar church about 2 years prior. I had been singing in the choir and saw her out there sitting on a pew. My husband must have not gone to church that day as I was free to sit with Sharon. It was nice to see her again just as it was that Monday at Ollies.

The ambulance came and the paramedics seemed very distant when they found out who it was they were called for. Apparently, Sharon had been having seizures and had had a few in Niles and the paramedics said that she always denied going to the hospital. One of the paramedics and I helped Sharon get back up….and as she stood up she got her composure and made a joke about being the “floor inspector” at Ollies. Sharon and I spoke together for a while; I told her about the WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) a mental health class I was teaching on Tuesdays and she said she would be there. She also said that she’d like to come back to North-Mar Church. As we spoke, my sweet husband walked through the store allowing me to talk to Sharon. Sharon and I talked about the Lord as she told me that she had just gotten out of the hospital and showed me how they had made a mistake on her neck. We stood in line together and I hugged her several times as she paid for her bird seed because she said she owned a bird. I felt such a strong love for her as though she was my sister and I let her know that. The last hug I gave her was at about 2:00 in the afternoon.

I said “good-bye” to Sharon Maybee. Well, she didn’t show up Tuesday night and I hoped she was doing okay. On Wednesday, November 18, 2009, her obituary was in the local paper. Sharon had passed away Monday night, just hours after I gave her that hug. She was only 37 years old.

I drove out to Hartford for her calling hours and spoke to her parents who were very distraught, of course. Someone from the family explained to me that she had a problem with her heart and the doctors couldn’t identify it. They said they found the bird seed in her car.

My learning experience: Listen to the Holy Spirit and do exactly what HE wants me to do. I also learned that death is not scary, no, as long as you are a believer. IT is just one step up, spirit man, and right into the arms of heaven.

That day at Ollies changed my life. It is hard for me to explain but I know that God had me there with Sharon for a purpose although I will never truly understand why. All I know is that I so look forward to seeing her again when my time on earth is through. I will give her a big hug and say “Thank you, Sharon!”

Ironic: Sharon said a swear word while we were talking. She quickly put her hand to her mouth and said with a twinkle in her eye “Whoops, I shouldn’t swear!”

She opened her eyes AGAIN that very day but focused in on our Lord Jesus Christ – forgiven of all and loved for eternity. The swear word? I have no recollection of what word she said and I’m sure Jesus doesn’t either!