There are few things more special than a relationship between a grandparent and a grandchild. You can learn so much, get so much love and feel so safe when you're with grandparents. It's heartbreaking that such a special relationship is also often a child's first real experience with death.
Losing a loved one is a horrible experience, no matter the situation. Whether it's sudden or after a lingering illness, a death leaves a hole that is difficult to fill.
Dorothy Booth lived a good life. She lived in Virginia until she was 97 and she was a big part of her family. Because of her advanced age, her death wasn't a surprise and her family even spoke of what would happen when she passed.
"They talked many times with Grandma, lightheartedly, even jokingly," Angela Patteson, Booth's granddaughter-in-law, said. "When you get to heaven, see if you're able to send a sign that you're there, and that you're happy."
She said her grandmother always responded with "I'll see what I can do."
Then even had a special signal worked out: a cardinal.
"That was on of Grandma's favorite birds," Patteson said.
Booth passed peacefully and was mourned by her daughters and grandchildren. A day after Booth's funeral service, her family had gathered to play her favorite card game. A fitting tribute for a woman who loved to play.
While they were playing they heard a tapping at the kitchen window.
"My father-in-law went outside and saw it was a cardinal. It was just sitting there, completely alert and calm - nothing wrong with it," Patteson said.
It could have been a coincidence, but the bird made it clear this was more than chance, it was a sign.
"He was able to approach it and pick it up. He brought it into the house."
The family gathered around carefully tending to the bird. There were tears and blessings, Patteson said every moment the bird was in the house it felt like their grandmother was there too.
The family knew they had to let the bird fly away, but it didn't seem like it wanted to leave.
THIS IS A MIRACLE! 🙌🏼 This is amazing- so as many know my husband’s grandmother Dorothy Booth passed into glory two weeks ago.. (she was 97) For the past few years my mother-in-law Debbie and her sister Jeanne have talked to Grandma and on several occasions asked her (when it was her time to leave this world) send them a sign once she was in heaven, and they specifically asked that a cardinal would be involved. Aunt Jeanne also prayed that the Lord would do it in such a way that they would never have thought of. Well, God answered that prayer yesterday, (the day after grandma’s memorial service, and hours after they had been talking about that very prayer) while they were playing grandma’s favorite card game, “Canasta”!!! They heard something at the kitchen window and my father-in-law Brian went out to check. A cardinal was there and he was able to bring it inside. For 10 min they held and pet it, then they decided to go outside to release it. Following is a short video clip of this amazing experience and what happens next! (The bird flew away 10 min later) You must watch!! Our God is so faithful! 😭❤️🙌🏼 YouTube: https://youtu.be/Qp4gBYMFBAQ New video (Behind scenes) https://youtu.be/Kqy3RZ_TnAwPosted by Angela Abbott Patteson on Monday, January 21, 2019
"They tried to release it, but the bird turned around and landed on her shoulder," Patteson said.
Eventually the bird was placed on a branch where it waited and watched the family for awhile longer, before finally flying away.
"This has brought so much comfort to them, to have this prayer answered," Patteson said of her family. "They knew that it was from God."