Angels and Diners in Midtown Manhattan


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So many people who have lost an infant child refer to their babies as Angels. Is that a coincidence? Cultural? Or is there more to this belief? Pretty much every religion has a theory about early loss. In Judaism, there is a belief that some souls are too pure, that they have already achieved their earthly purpose as a flickering possibility.  It’s a lovely sentiment, but a hard one to wrap your head around.

Ghost stories that include babies are rarely violent, or scary. Perhaps this is because these lives are too brief to associate with darkness. Angel babies are revered as sources of love and light, albeit light that has been snatched away too soon. There is a small comfort in that sadness. They don’t haunt us, they hover and protect.

I wish I didn’t have any personal experience with this subject. My experience is once removed, as it wasn’t me, but my daughter who lost a child. My heartbreak was just a shard of hers. The moments I held her beautiful baby, too brief, and too late. I never knew her.

And yet, like so many others who have suffered a similar loss, I believe she is with us still. Whenever I see yellow butterflies and Paisley patterns. I feel her.  I believe she is watching over my daughter, even when I am not. It’s actually a source of comfort in an odd way.

In this episode I spoke with Jana Lawrence, who I know from participating in the Listen to Your Mother Show, and the blogging and essay writing world.  Jana tragically lost her first son, when he was barely a month old. But she too feels his presence and senses signs, in both happy times and not so happy times.

Jana can recount several specific times at home when she has felt the presence of her firstborn, but he also seems to make himself know frequently when she travels. There’s the recurring hotel room numbers she is assigned. Small signs of touch. And then there was this thing that happened in the diner.

The story Jana shared happened when her family was on a trip to New York City, several years after the loss.  They were all having a great time. Then, at a midtown Manhattan diner,  something truly extraordinary and surprising happened.

Years later, Jana is still trying to make sense of this story. She’s been back to the diner, and she’s spoken to the staff.  Nothing she has been able to discover begins to explain what happened that day. But Jana doesn’t really need an explanation. She has complete faith that her son is with her, everywhere she goes, and particularly when she travels.