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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Farewell to My Wonderful Mother

The deer on Wednesday, June 10, 2012
Deer on Thursday, June 21st, 2012
As many of you know, my mom, Gwendolyn Oglesby, passed away on Friday, June 22nd, 2012 at the age of eighty-seven.

Here is our 100% true (and amazing) DEER STORY:

Ever since my dad passed away in October of 2010, Mom has prayed that Dad (Floyd) would come to get her so she could join him in heaven.

In April this year, Mom decided that she was no longer interested in going to the emergency rooms, being in the hospital, or getting dragged to doctors' appointments when she didn't feel well. On April 22, 2012,  Mom and my sisters met with the Hospice doctor for a hospice intake evaluation in her apartment at Sunrise Assisted Living in Grand Rapids. There were birds, squirrels and chipmunks at the bird feeders outside her living room window. It was like a scene from Snow White.

Right after the hospice doctor left, Gwen looked out the living room window and saw a deer in the distance in the empty 5 acre lot located behind the facility. Mind you, the only other time she had seen any deer at Sunrise, she was with Floyd. They marveled at the deer in the backyard of Sunrise, which was located between I-96 and busy 28th Street. My sister Jo-Ellyn remarked that it must have been Floyd checking in on her.

On June 10, less than two weeks before she passed away, I was visiting. A small deer with a bad leg came up to the bird feeder. It looked right into the window of Mom's living room as it approached, stepping about two feet away from the window. It lingered for over 10 minutes. I thought it was unusual for the deer to be that close, so I took a picture of it and shared it with my sisters. Sisters Jo-Ellyn and Mary were pretty convinced that Floyd had come to visit again. Unbeknownst to our family at the time, the staff at Sunrise - who would take breaks on the wooden bench just outside Gwen's back window - had also noticed the deer. The deer would approach from behind.  When they saw the deer, it simply looked at them; rather than running, it seemed to say, "I am staying here, so you'd better get on with your business."

Fast forward to June 21st, the day before Gwen passed away. She had been unconscious for about 8 hours, and had been moved to her bedroom in a hospital bed facing the window.  As our family took turns sitting by Mom's side, we noticed something moving outside the BEDROOM window. The deer, still lame and limping, came up to the bedroom window. It did not initially go to the bird feeder in front of the living room as it did in the past. The deer just stood outside the bedroom window and peered in for about 5 minutes. It was not afraid of staff members moving about outside on the bench, or the many people moving about in Mom's apartment. It just stood there and looked at us.

We all said hello to Dad at that point. We took lots of pictures, videos, and were pretty stunned. We knew then that dad was there to take her home.

And wouldn't you know it, the morning we were laying Mom to rest at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, Michigan, there was a deer peering at us through some trees about 100 yards away. As it ran into the woods, there was another deer scampering right behind it. I guess Dad wanted us to know that that he and Mom were together at last, and that they would always be watching over us.