Tomorrow my youngest son goes off for three days on an overnight retreat with his school.  He’s in grade seven and the school hosts the retreat to promote bonding and relationships amongst the class.  Matthew is really excited and he’s looking forward to all of the activities; archery, horseback riding, hiking, swimming and just having fun.  Matthew has never been on a horse and he was talking about riding a horse when all of a sudden he said “mom didn’t you tell me you use to ride horses?”  “Yes I did, many moons ago.”  “Didn’t you use to ride English style and you have the helmet?”    My brain scrambled because I haven’t thought about that period in my life in so long.  When I was a little girl, I loved horses and wanted to ride with all of my heart and soul.   I’ve mentioned before that my parents divorced when I was eight and there weren’t any funds for activities, especially horseback riding.  I don’t remember if I pestered my father or not but I remember visiting him on one of our Saturday visits and he said he had a surprise.  We got in the car and we left Pierrefonds and drove into the country where the mystery tour ended in Hudson, Quebec.  He had arranged horse back riding lessons for me and my stepsister.  I was beyond excited, I was ecstatic.  I was fully aware that he could not afford the lessons never mind the helmet, crop and boots.  He had the whole outfit ready for me, all I had to do was pick the horse I wanted to ride.  The instructor took me to the barn and she asked the stable crew to bring out a few horses that she felt were appropriate for me and told me to pick one.  I didn’t realize how big horses were until I found myself looking up at the most beautiful creature I had ever seen.  Once I picked my horse my instructor showed me how to saddle  and reign the horse and then she told me to climb on and go.   Once I was on the horse I felt like there was nothing I couldn’t do.  I belonged on that horse and it really didn’t take me long to learn to ride.  Every Saturday,  first thing in the morning,  I went riding and I can remember focusing on my breath as I posted to the rhythm of my horse’s trot.  I thought of nothing else, school, home, parents fighting or kids being mean.  It was just me and the horse riding in circles in the training field.

The memories came flooding back when Matthew said “can I take your riding helmet with me to the retreat.”  “Gosh Matt, I don’t even know where  I put that helmet, it’s been years.”   We went up to my room and a search in my closet found the helmet.  It’s really the only thing that I have left to remind me of my father.   The helmet doesn’t fit my son and I was relieved, I don’t want him to lose the helmet as it really is my prized possession.  He tried to force the helmet to fit because he thinks the helmet is really cool and wants to wear it so badly.  I told him that my father sacrificed his time and money to make sure I was able to ride and this helmet is the only thing that I have left from my father’s  loving and selfless gesture.   I also told him that horseback riding was one of the few times I can remember my father and I united as one, away from all the hustle and bustle and problems of our lives.   Matt looked at the helmet again and then gave it back to me.  “It’s alright mom, I don’t think I want to wear it now, it should really stay safe in your closet.”  Then he said something to me that created a stir from within that I haven’t felt in years, he said “mom, you should start riding again, I bet you were good at it.”

PicMonkey Collage horses


About a month ago, my youngest son came home with an interim report card.  It wasn’t bad, but there were a few things that the teacher mentioned that I felt was not like my son.  I didn’t doubt the teacher but I suspected something was going on.   I started to think that maybe  he was having an issue with another student, bullying, teasing or something along that line.  I asked him if there was anything wrong because obviously the teacher was concerned enough to let me know.  He said “well there is one thing wrong but I’m not going to tell you.”  At this point I was thinking the worse and trying to get information out of my son is like pulling teeth out of his head.  I got very firm with him and told him he had to tell me what was wrong.  Got me nowhere he simply looked at me and said “nope!”  Then I tried begging – “please sweetie, you have to tell me.”  He stared at me for a long time and then said “If I tell you, you will make me do something I don’t want to do.”  Again, I’m thinking the worse but not sure what it possibly could be and I asked him again to tell me what was going on.  “Well” he said, “sometimes when the teacher writes on the board, I can’t see the words.”  “I need glasses and I don’t want to wear them.”  I asked him how long this had been going on and he told me “quite a while.”  Makes me wonder what else he doesn’t tell me!  Off we went to get him glasses and we had to push him to wear them to school, after all he’s not the only boy wearing glasses in that class.  Not long after we got the glasses, the family went to a Junior A hockey game.  My son wore his glasses and was smiling the whole time, “mom I can actually see the puck go into the net at the other end.”  Small miracles and one battle down- how many more to go?


We all have a connection with our moms.  Some have more connection than others, but most of us have a connection.  I’ve always been close to my mom, not that we didn’t fight, we did fight, like cats and dogs.   The fighting was part of our connection.  My mother was very outspoken and she didn’t care who you were and if she had something to say, she said it.  I tend to be the same way so the two of us butted heads quite a bit.  However, we were each others best friend, always in each other’s corner.  If I needed her she was there, if she needed me I was there, we supported one another, we loved one another.  We shared many fights, but many more laughs.  We laughed all the time, sometimes until our guts hurt and the tears were streaming down our faces. About ten years ago I noticed the laughter slowly subsiding and mom seemed to be constantly pre-occupied.  Something felt wrong, she could not remember where she put anything and she seemed to be mad at me all the time.  When she couldn’t remember certain things, I would think we all have bad days  Maybe she is just having many  bad days, but the problems were consistent and what started off as every now and then became more and more frequent and then the laughter seemed to stop.  I said to my husband one night, “when was the last time you heard mom laugh” and he said he couldn’t remember.  Slowly the connection between mother and daughter fell away.  At times I felt like I was talking to a stranger, taking care of a stranger.

It was obvious to me that there was something seriously wrong with mom.  Mom and I shared the same doctor.  I phoned the doctor one day and relayed all of my fears and concerns about mom.  The doctor said she would talk to mom the next time she was in, but she felt that my fears and concerns were nothing to worry about.  She said that she had just seen mom recently and felt she was fine.  I kept saying to the doctor that she was not fine.  My mother was the best actress around, she had everyone fooled.   She learned little tricks, and manipulated everyone around her to the point that when I said something is wrong, people were thinking that I was being a negative daughter.  As time moved on, I pleaded with my family and our doctor to do something.  Finally my doctor saw that something was seriously wrong and we had mom properly tested.  Four years ago the medical community finally agreed with me that my mother had Alzheimer’s.  I wanted my mother to come and live with me, but she accepted my brother’s invitation to live with him instead.  My brother lives across the country in Niagara Falls and I couldn’t understand why she would move all of that way.  To be honest it hurt and it was a blow to me.  All I wanted to do was take care of my mom as I hope one of my sons would do for me.   My brother wanted to do the same thing, and I voiced my concerns of sending our sick mother across the country but he insisted that he wanted to do this.  So I stepped aside, I packed all of her things, shipped what she needed across the country, put her apartment up for sale and drove her to the airport and put her on a plane with a one way ticket to Ontario.  It was one of the worst days of my life.  My husband couldn’t be there that day so I had my two boys with me.  My oldest was seven years old at the time and my youngest was five.  As I watched mom walking with an attendant to the plane, mom turned to me to wave good bye and the tears were streaming down her face.  It took everything I had not to run up to her and grab her and tell her that she was coming home with me.  I turned to my seven year old with tears streaming down my face and said to him, “I think I’ve made a mistake.”  My son said to me ” mom Granny won’t remember who we are next year, it’s time to let her go and be with the other part of her family, and you haven’t made a mistake”.  Needless to say his comment stopped me in my tracks, my mother had two sons, one daughter and six grandchildren back east and my son was right, it was time for her to go home.

Due to work and just everyday life, it was  a full year before I saw my mother again.  My son was right, we got off the plane in Toronto and drove straight to Niagara Falls to be with mom.  She walked into the room and I could see it in her eyes, she had no idea who I was, no idea who my children were or who my husband was.  The actress part came out of her again, she did her best to try and please everyone and pretend she knew who we were, but everyone in that room knew that mom had no bloody clue who we were.  It was a weird two weeks, no connection to mom at all.  I tried, we all tried, we saw her every moment we could and it was like I was sitting with the woman down the street, the woman I hardly knew.  The day I left Niagara Falls, I drove by myself to the home where my mother was living.  It was just the two of us, I left the children and my husband at my brother’s house, I wanted the time alone.  Three hours and both my mother and I hardly said a word to each other.  We just sat outside in the garden just being together, the connection once again lost, lost a long time ago.  On the flight home I was trying to remember the mother that I once had, the laughter the arguments all the connections that I had with mom, but I couldn’t get the Alzheimer’s mom out of my head, the woman who didn’t know her daughters, her sons, her grandchildren, once again the connection was gone.

This past Christmas, my brother phoned me to tell me that my mother had taken a bad fall, broken her ribs and one of the broken ribs punctured her lung.  We didn’t think she would make it and sure enough she survived, at one point the doctors thought she might be getting out of the hospital.  One night my mother asked about me, my children and my husband.  My brother called to tell me that she asked for us all by name and he said for the first time in such a long time he felt like he was talking to mom.  My heart went cold because I knew that this was God’s gift, the clarity, the recognition, mom hadn’t remembered who I was for two years.  I remember my brother was so happy, I told him that I was thrilled that she had some clarity, however, I didn’t think it was a good sign.  The very next day mom fell into a coma and no one knows why.  The next 48 hours was a strange time because I was living across the country and not sure what to do. No one knew how long she would be in a Coma and I was torn, should I fly back east now or wait?  That night I felt the connection of mom come back to me,  I dreamt of mom and she came to me in  my dreams as my mother, not the woman I hardly knew but my mother,  I could almost smell her and she told me I needed to stay where I was.  I woke up with peace in my heart and I told my husband I would wait to see what happened.  Twenty four hours later, my husband and I took our children to a movie, on the way home from the movie I fell asleep.  I’m not sure how to explain it, but it was as if this energy moved through me.  The feeling was so abrupt, I woke up immediately and I said to my husband, mom is gone!  The connection was there and then it was gone.  When we got into the house I went to the phone expecting to see a message on the answering machine, there was no message but I knew in my heart that mom had moved on.  Ten minutes later the phone rang and it was my sister-in-law, mom had passed away.  I asked her at what time and she told me what I already knew about a half hour ago, the precise time I felt the energy move through me.  Mom had managed to re-connect with me after all.

by Johanne Fraser

Published in Miraculous Messages from Heaven – October 15, 2013