“Every Fourth of July since we were little girls, my sister, Angela, and I would go down to the little beach near our house to watch the fireworks show. We’d stick mini American flags and sparklers in the sand around our large picnic blanket and we’d ooh and ahh as each colorful burst lit up the sky. But this year, for the first time since our tradition had begun almost 45 years ago, I walked down to our spot on the beach without my sister.
“Last spring, Angela passed away suddenly from a heart attack. And every minute of every day since, there had been a gaping hole growing larger in my heart. I prayed constantly for the Lord to bring me peace and relieve this excruciating grief, but as time passed, the agony and pain of her loss became sharper and filled me with despair.
“As I spread out the picnic blanket and stuck mini flags and sparklers in the soft sand just as we’d always done, tears filled my eyes. Suddenly the first boom lit the dark sky and I sat mesmerized as each bright beautiful color bloomed through streams of tears. Oh God, I wish she were here, I miss her so much, I prayed. You’d love this, Angela.
“As the fireworks ended, I stared into the sky and my breath caught. The smoke had formed the shape of an angel. I could see detailed feathers in her wings and a glorious smile on her face. I half-laughed and half-sobbed as I felt Angela’s joy so sweetly and so deeply, it was like she was right beside me. In that moment, I realized that she’ll always be by my side.”
—Pam Galloway, 53, Panama City, FL