This story is true, although unbelievable.
My mother died on Friday, 1st December last year. I am going to cut to the last few days because I think that is what she would want.
Her terrible illness side-stepped all attempts at chemotherapy and finally claimed her life only fifteen weeks after she first became ill. Thanks to the wonderful staff at Cransley Hospice she had a relatively comfortable and pain-free last few days.
My son, Garry, is an electrician and the week before she died he was in charge of putting the lights on the "tree of lights" which is sponsored by Cransley Hospice. Mum was a patient. On the Wednesday he went to see grandma at the hospice and told her he had put the lights on the tree that day, ready for the big switch on on 9th December. Grandma told him to look at the one at the top of the tree and think of her.
Later the same day, my daughter went to see her grandma. They talked about the afterlife and Emily held her grandma's hand as she asked her to let her know, somehow, that she was safe and happy with Grandad when she passed over. Mum promised Emily that if she could, she would. That day was Mum's last day of consciousness. She asked me to make sure that Tyler, her great-grandson, didn't forget her and to remind him when he grew up that she taught him to say "oh-oh".
The weather on the evening of Sunday, 9th December, the switch-on, was atrocious. It was the day before Mum's funeral. The rain pelted down in great sheets and we all felt sorry for the Salvation Army band, who played Christmas Carols to a small crowd of people who had gathered for the switch-on. There were only a few children there, which was a shame because the organisers had brought balloons, which they filled from a helium canister, for them to hold and let go as the lights were switched on. Only about twenty balloons were released by the children.
My grandson didn't go, because of the awful weather and his young age.
As the lights were switched on our family huddled under a canopy of umbrellas. The balloons drifted up into the torrential cold rain and my sister-in-law said "oh, what a shame - you can only see the yellow ones because of the awful weather."
There were only four yellow balloons amongst those released. They were very distinctive, with shiny ribbon and printed with a tree of lights logo.
The next day was mum's funeral. When she arrived home after the funeral, my daughter let her dogs out. There, in the centre of her back lawn, was a deflated yellow balloon with a Tree of Lights logo. My daughter lives about three miles from the site of the balloon release.
When she showed her husband the balloon the tears were rolling down her cheeks with happiness. Tyler seeing his mum crying, said, "Oh-oh".
This story, very special to our family, is why I know my mum is still around, looking after us all, as she did in life.