The day that changed the lives of my family started with my four-year-old granddaughter, Brittany, sneaking in the front door with two little pink roses hiding behind her back.  When a precious little hand reaches towards you holding something so dear, the warmth and tenderness you feel have no words.  Little did we know what effect a pink rose would have on the rest of our lives.

The next morning was supposed to be the first day at her new school, but things changed over night.  By morning, she was burning up with fever.  From the doctor’s office, she was taken directly to Children’s Hospital.  After hours of tests, she was diagnosed with leukemia.

Caught off guard and in total disbelief, we stared into space wondering what to reach out and grab on to.  Emotions we’ve never had to deal with before were swallowing us whole. The world, as we knew it, was now all mixed up.

We did our best to stay tough and not surrender to this unfamiliar feeling we couldn’t understand.  Fear was grabbing us by the throat and choking us. All I could think was, how can I make this be OK when it isn’t OK?  That’s what grandmas do you know, they make everything OK.

As I sat thinking, I remembered the words of my father when I was leaving for college.

“Your beliefs will carry you through.  It doesn’t matter what you believed in,

 just believe in something.  If it points you in the right direction

 and gives you peace of mind, then it’s right for you.  

Down deep inside, where I can’t even reach, these words were kept safe for me.  Thank you, Daddy.

Two months later, we lost our little Brittany. I was now forced to explore what it was I truly did believed.  I use the word “forced” because I knew if I couldn’t reach higher for something non-wavering, I would never get past the heartache. As time went by, l learned to believe that when we experience something that could be called a “coincidence” it’s an opportunity to find an answer to a prayer.

Through the illness and passing of my granddaughter, we learned to give meaning to everything we experienced.   We learned about letting go of fear and opening up to new ways of thinking.  What pulled us through was giving her life a meaning and a purpose.

Is there such a thing as a coincidence?  Does everything really happen for a reason?  I say, pay attention to what goes on around you because one day, out of the blue, you will hear something, read something, or see something that will stop you in your tracks.  It will be a “messages from your angel.”  Let these messages work for you.  Let them lift you up.

To be lifted up, you have to be lighter to lift.

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Mary Jane Clayton

Mary Jane Clayton grew up in Florida with her mom, dad, two brothers and a sister. Her family wasn’t real religious in the sense that we went to church every Sunday, but they did believe in God and knew that kindness to others and thanking God for the goodness in their lives were the two most important parts of living. After graduating from high school, she moved to Utah to go to college. While there, she met a man from Provo, Utah whom she later married and they had three wonderful children. After fifteen years of marriage, they ended up going their separate ways. It was now time for a new experience so she and her three children decided to go on a wild adventure and move to Southern California. They have now been in California for almost thirty years. Her new book, Brittany’s Rose, is a tribute to her granddaughter Brittany who lost her life to leukemia two weeks after her fifth birthday. It will take you from heartache to peace of mind as you step into the realm of the unknown and learn to believe. It is the story of her healing journey.

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