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A Sign on Christmas Eve

For a doubting Thomas widower, the message from his late wife was unmistakable.

A sign on Christmas Eve. Photo by Sergiy Tryapitsyn, Thinkstock.

Have you ever received a sign from above during Christmastime?

That’s what happened to author and blogger Bruce Ham. He was preparing for his first Christmas without his wife, Lisa, when he stumbled upon something in his bedroom closet. A small miracle that brightened up the holidays for Bruce and his three daughters.

Here’s his story…

Four years ago, my wife, Lisa, died of colon cancer. She was only 39. I have three young daughters; it’s been a long journey.

As much as we’ve struggled, as many times as I’ve doubted, I have been privy to some pretty special signs that she’s okay. These small miracles give me hope–hope that one day we’ll be reunited.

Two months before Lisa died, we took a December trip to Disney World. Lisa loved the “Happiest Place on Earth;” we’d been a dozen or more times before. She planned a trip to see the mouse with the same vigor one might put into planning the Winter Olympics! 

This adventure was no different. In fact, I think she knew this might be her last visit. Although she was sick, she mustered up all of her strength, riding everything in sight.

She even convinced all three of our daughters to join us on Expedition Everest, the newest roller coaster in the park. They were hesitant, but loved it. We rode four times! It was a wonderful last family vacation.

A little over a year after our trip–and ten months after my Lisa’s death–I found myself alone in my bedroom on Christmas Eve afternoon. 

It had been a tough buildup to what I knew would be an extremely hard holiday. The girls missed their mom and so did I. She took care of the lion’s share of the Christmas shopping. I was at a loss. 

I plundered through presents in the bottom of my bedroom closet, a good size walk-in that I had shared with Lisa. As I worked to organize the gifts, I happened to look up at the top shelf, a place I’d glanced at least 100 times since her funeral. 

There were a number of bags up there with Lisa’s stuff in them–clothes and ordinary odds and ends. I had not been compelled to open them, avoiding going through her stuff. But that afternoon, one in particular caught my eye.  For some reason, I reached up. 

Mr. and Mrs. Mickey Mouse. Photo by Bruce Ham.When I opened it, I saw a Mickey Mouse dressed in a Santa suit. I smiled remembering our family vacation trip the prior December.

My daughter had purchased a Minnie dressed as Mrs. Santa and Lisa said, “I hate to have a Minnie without a matching Mickey.” 

My response was, “We don’t need any more stinkin’ stuffed animals!” I then left the store and went outside to wrangle the kids.

Unbeknownst to me, she purchased Santa Mickey to give to one of our daughters at a later date so we’d have Minnie’s match. I wrapped him and gave him to all three of our girls–their final Christmas gift from their mother.

If ever there is a doubting Thomas, it is me. I like to touch, see, feel and smell before I trust or believe. I can almost hear Lisa defending me up in heaven. “He really didn’t mean that. I know, I know, God. But he really is a good guy. Let me go down there and give him a sign; maybe that’ll rattle him. You’re gonna let him in aren’t you?”

I think that the signs are all around, sent to give hope and faith. Sometimes I’m just too stubborn to see them.

You can read more about Bruce’s journey as a father in his book Laughter, Tears and Braids or on his blog The Real Full House.

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