Rural Living

Paw-Paw, Brook and the Blue Pajamas


by Margo Oxendine, Contributing Writer

Margo Oxendine

Today’s column isn’t what you’d call amusing. It is, however, the most uplifting story I’ve heard in years, and I hope you will agree.

It’s all about a little girl who is 4 years old. She is a delightful and dainty thing, quite precocious, with a developed sense of self that defies her few years.

Let’s call her Brook. Over the past Christmas holiday, Brook was not feeling all that perky; something was wrong with her “innards.” In addition, she was missing her “Paw-Paw,” her grandfather who had recently died. Brook and Paw-Paw had been the best of pals.

For her upcoming birthday at the end of December, Brook’s doting parents asked her what she wanted as a gift. “I want to see Paw-Paw,” she resolutely answered. Her parents let that pass, and bought Brook an iPad and lots of pretty birthday things in blue and green, her favorite colors.

On New Year’s Eve day, Brook was quite ill. The doctor prescribed some sulfa medications. Momma gave Brook her pills, and the child dutifully swallowed them.

Not long after, Brook became very, very sick. She was allergic to the medicine. The rescue squad was called. Heroic measures were taken; a medic named Murray dedicated himself to helping Brook breathe. Her heart rate had dropped to 44; her oxygen plunged to 57. Brook went into anaphylactic shock.

A medical evacuation helicopter was ordered to the scene. Brook and Momma were loaded inside, and the helo took off through the air for the closest major hospital.

When they examined the little girl, doctors told Momma that Brook was a very lucky child to have arrived as soon as she did.

When Brook regained her bearings, her mother asked, “Did you like flying in the helicopter with Momma?”

“Well,” Brook said, “Paw-Paw was there, too.”

Momma was perplexed. “What do you mean?”

“Paw-Paw knew I was scared, so he came to sit beside me on the bed,” Brook explained. “He was wearing blue pajamas. He held my hand the whole way.”

“What did Paw-Paw tell you?” Momma wondered.

“I told him I missed him, and he told me that whenever I wanted him, I just had to look up and he would be the brightest star in the sky. Then he kissed me on the lips,” said Brook. “I went to sleep, but Paw-Paw told me I had to go back down there, because they weren’t ready for me yet.”

Most of us have read or heard similar stories, but the majority of those happened to adults. Little children who have just turned 4 years old haven’t heard these stories. And, while they can be quite imaginative, there are just too many “tells” in little Brook’s tale for her to have imagined it.

What a wonderfully uplifting idea for all of us to embrace. Our dear departed loved ones are there — looking out for us, coming to our aid, shining brightly in the sky.

I had a similar experience during an acute medical crisis in 2010. They’d done all they could for me here in Hot Springs. I could tell by the doc’s face that things were dire. I was loaded into an ambulance with the doc and two dear friends standing by, wide-eyed with worry. I could barely think, but I knew I was scared.

Just before they slammed the ambulance doors, I looked up. And there, up in the patch of sky between the door and the frame was a bright rainbow.

“I’ll be okay!” I told my contingent. “There’s a rainbow. Mom’s watching over me!”

My friends and the doc murmured to each other, “Poor Margo. She’s delusional.”

And then they, too, looked up into the blue, cloudless sky.

“There is a rainbow!” doc exclaimed. “Dotty’s watching over her after all.”

During that long ride to Lewis Gale in Salem, I think I nearly tanked a time or two. But I was no longer scared. I had Mom with me.         

So, know this about our heavenly angels: Apparently they’re up there, even if we can’t see them. Sometimes they’ll send us a rainbow. And sometimes, they might be wearing blue pajamas.

To order Margo Oxendine’s A Party of One, email, or call 540-468-2147 Monday-Thursday from 9-5.


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