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Mary Riley

Date of Birth: 
Date of Death: 

When a friend gave me a copy of your [Woman's World] story about the sandpiper from Heaven (May 10, 2010), I knew I had to write. You see, I've got an angel bird too... My mother was the kindest person I've ever known. She had a heart of gold and was always doing something for others. Still, I was surprised when I learned she had signed up to be an organ donor-just three weeds before she suffered a massive stroke that left her in a coma. "Did you know this would happen?" I whispered beside her hospital bed. But the stroke left her completely unresponsive and, my heart breaking, I wept, "Can you hear me? When all hope was gone, we made the heart-wrenching decision t o turn off life support and I drove home in a fog of grief. Oh, Mom, I sobbed, did we make the right choice? Are you at peace? When I walked into my house, my cat, who was usually quiet was racing around. And there was such a racket outside! Going to investigate, I stopped, stunned: Just outside the door, a beautiful cardinal was sitting in the pine tree, singing its heart out! Though my mother had collected cardinal knickknacks and photos for years, I'd never see one in the wild before. Yet now, it was as if the pretty red bird had arrived in response to my sorrowful questions: a message from Mom saying, everything's okay. The bird stayed for an hour even while I took photos. It flew off, but returned several times until just after Mom's funeral. Then, months later, I received a letter in the mail. It's from the woman who received Mom's heart! I gasped. When I called her, we felt an instant connection. I felt as if our friendship was another gift from Heaven- and she loved cardinals, too! "I used to shell peanuts to feed them," she told me, and I smiled, thinking: You did have a hand in this, didn't you, Mom? Then recently, I was devastated when my grandmother had passed away. Grandma had been my rock since we'd lost Mom. Who'll watch over me now? I wept. That's when I heard a familiar trill. Mom's cardinal had returned! Again, the beautiful red bird treated me to an hour long concert before flying off. And at Grandma's funeral, that same trill echoed through the sanctuary... because the red bird was sitting in the doorway! I knew then that I wasn't alone, that I never would be. For Mom and Grandma were together, watching over me from Heaven. And my special friend-the one who received my mother's heart ; the one who sent me your sandpiper article-is watching over me here on Earth. "With their graceful flight and uplifting melodic songs birds are the angels' earthly counterparts" says Doreen Virtue, PH.D. "So whenever a bird shows up in unusual ways you can be sure that someone in Heaven is saying, 'I love you!' ... especially when that bird was a personal favorite of a departed Loved one! The angels say, 'We send our outpouring of love continuously, and when you need to feel love during times of stress, we send it via earthly messengers.'"