From Fate Magazine, December 2002, Vol. 55 No. 11 Issue 632
The Miraculous Rosary
By Ann Druffel
A small assortment of relatives and friends had waited anxiously for over an hour in the hospital for news about Charlie, but somehow they all wandered away, leaving me alone, sitting at the long conference table in the private waiting room into which we had been ushered. Suddenly a grim-looking doctor and two nervous young social workers approached me. I knew from their expressions that they were going to tell me what I didn't want to hear, that an unseen team deep in the emergency room hadn't been able to restore Charlie's heartbeat and vital signs.
The paramedics we had called to our Pasadena home more than 90 minutes earlier had also tried everything in their power, but my darling husband of 48 years had already drawn his last natural breath just before the ambulance arrived.
Then suddenly the doctor came up and introduced himself as Dr. Corrigan. I cut him off. "Oh, no, there's something wrong here!" I said suspiciously. "There's three of you. That means that you're going to say something I don't want to hear." I rushed past them, searching for my daughter, Diana Mauldin. I knew she must be somewhere near. I called out her name in the main waiting room, but she wasn't there. I knew I couldn't go back to Dr. Corrigan to hear what he had to say about my sweet husband.
Then Diana was suddenly by my side, and I saw Dr. Corrigan and his two social workers waiting nearby. I told Diana in a rush that they wanted to tell me Charlie had died. Diana hugged me close and said softly, "Yes, Momma, Daddy died!" She was crying.
Dr. Corrigan didn't approach us. From a distance he asked, "Do you want to go in and see him?"
I reacted frantically "Why do you say he died, and then ask if we want to see him? That doesn't make sense. If you ask if I want to see him, that means that he's still alive!"
Dr. Corrigan gave up and departed with his young, anxious team; they were probably glad to get away. It didn't matter; nothing mattered at that moment. An all-consuming feeling, that half the world was missing, swept over me.
I sat unbelieving at the long table in the conference room. I could see the table, but nothing else seemed to exist; not the broad shuttered window that looked out into the hospital waiting room where other people waited for news of their own loved ones, nor to my right or left, and behind me, nothing existed either. Even Diana and her two daughters, who had come to wait with us, were not part of this missing half-world.
The Missing Half-World
The minister accepted me as a kindred spirit, even though I had frantically asked that someone call our parish pastor in Pasadena to give Charlie the last rites of the Catholic church. She continued to talk as we waited for my pastor, Father Frank. She asked simple questions, perhaps knowing from experience that it was a way to bring me out of my desolate state.
"Did your husband Charlie and you share in making the decisions in your life together?" she asked gently.
"Yes," I replied. "We usually talked everything over and made decisions together."
"And what about his illness, the fact that congestive heart failure was eventually a terminal illness? Had you made decisions about his illness?
Troubles With Medications
I had finally located homeopathic doctors who were also M.D's, who got me well with herbal supplements, vitamins, and homeopathic remedies, and then prescribed a regimen of vitamins, minerals, and herbs which kept me strong. I'd also learned the art of acupressure, which I employed almost nightly to relieve other minor conditions.
When I had insisted that Charlie also go to my homeopathic doctor, he did this rather half-heartedly at first. But side effects of the allopathic "remedies" prescribed by his doctors for heart arrhythmia increased, and his medicines were being changed almost monthly by these doctors in vain attempts to find the right combination.
He had consented to take four herbal supplements which our homeopath advised had worked well for others, and which would not interfere with the pharmaceuticals his Western doctor had prescribed. He estimated that if Charlie took these four supplements regularly for a full year, there was a good chance he would notice solid improvement.
For about three months he had taken them faithfully every day in prescribed doses, without the usual wiseacre remarks with which he had treated other natural remedies. His cooperation reassured me, and I truly believed that after a year Charlie's congested heart would once more be strong, the arrhythmia would have reversed to regular beat, and that even the damaged lower valve that was possibly a result of his 19 years of smoking in his younger days would heal.
I told all this to the minister, who suggested that Charlie's cooperation had relieved my anxiety about him. I agreed; it had indeed lightened my spirits to see him take the naturopathic remedies. She asked about other decisions we had made before in our marriage, such as the purchase of our home, of automobiles, and major house repairs in which his expertise exceeded mine. I told her that in these matters I had let him make the final decisions.
She then asked, "Do you think it's possible that Charlie somehow knew that his condition was terminal but had not told you, allowing you to think that he could be cured?"
I thought then about what had happened to him the past few months, his bouts of breathlessness (in spite of four inhalers his pulmonologist had prescribed), the increasing weakness of his legs and knees, and the arrhythmia which no longer responded to any medicine. All these symptoms had slowed down my sweet Charlie. But he never complained. He still drove as he always had, professionally and safely, even on our overcrowded, hectic Southern California freeways. Up to the day he died he was independent, asking help from no one.
The minister then asked me, was it possible that Charlie had somehow decided that he was ready to go to his Maker if that was what God wanted, but didn't tell me his true thoughts because he didn't want to cause me any distress. I realized suddenly that this was probably what had happened, that Charlie might have decided inwardly that he was fighting a losing battle. But he had not shared this major decision with me, even though I had heard him ask his cardiologist, two weeks before at a regular office visit, if his condition was terminal. His question surprised me greatly, but I said nothing.
Charlie also asked the cardiologist how long people with congestive heart failure were expected to live. The doctor estimated two to five years, considering the fact that he was taking fairly new pharmaceuticals which had extended the lives of others. I suppose I chose not to be worried about Charlie's questions.
Diana had borrowed her father's iridescent, dark blue rosary, taking it from Charlie's bedside table where he had drawn his last natural breath before the ambulance had come. She lent the beautiful rosary to Father Frank to use during the prayer ritual. She had also taken my plain wooden rosary from our bedroom and had used them both during our long wait.
After Father Frank said prayers with us over Charlie's body and departed, Diana, Carolyn, and I spent two more hours with our sweet man, saying our good-byes. The kindly hospital staff did not hurry us away. We returned home that night without my darling.
The feeling of the missing half-world had somehow gone away, and in its place, in the midst of grief, was a strong realization that Charlie was still alive, though in a different form. On the drive home my daughter Diana, who lived about a mile from us, gave me back her Daddy's rosary and my own. I had not even realized she'd borrowed them and automatically put the two rosaries in my pocket, completely unaware of what I was doing.
We sat together, just the three of us, on the couch in the living room, even though both Diana and Carolyn had families and homes of their own. I still felt numb and strangely emotionless, but slowly building in my mind was a strong determination that Charlie's life should be celebrated by his family and friends. I was not yet able to even consider all the tasks which lay before us and, to my knowledge, had not yet shed one tear.
Presently Carolyn re-joined us. She gently asked me where her daddy's rosary was. Could she just hold it a few minutes? She had given the beautiful iridescent rosary as a special gift to Charlie 12 years prior, after buying it in Rome when she and her husband, Mike Henry, visited there. Charlie had taken a special liking to the beautiful rosary and used it almost exclusively from that time on, even though he had other rosaries which had been given to him in the past.
The last few weeks I had sometimes come home from late-night meetings, or walked into our living room after writing for hours alone at my computer, and would see him sitting in his armchair before a darkened TV, praying the rosary silently During the past two weeks, at his request, we had recited a decade of the rosary together at night, a practice new to us.
When Carolyn asked to hold her Daddy's rosary, the thought came to me, as though intuitively, that she really wanted to keep it as a memento of her father. I got up to look for the rosary; both girls joined in the search, at first without results. While we were searching, Diana confided that she'd wanted to ask to keep it, because she had used it to pray for her Daddy that afternoon. However, she thought I would want to keep it myself. Then Diana remembered she had given it back to me while driving home.
"I gave it back to you. Mom, in the car," she said. "I remember now; you put it in your pocket."
By this time we were all sitting together on the living room couch. I reached into my right pocket and pulled out Charlie's dark blue rosary and my own brown wooden one. But something seemed different. Charlie's rosary seemed very heavy and big. Separating mine from his, I was astounded, as were Diana and Carolyn, to see that there were two iridescent rosaries. All three rosaries had come out of my pocket, in spite of the fact that only two rosaries had been placed there after Charlie died!
We couldn't make sense of it at first. Why were there two iridescent rosaries instead of just one? We laid them out on the coffee table. We noted that one of the silvery metal crucifixes on the iridescent pair was somewhat longer than on the other; otherwise they seemed identical.
Charlie Did It
"Are you sure, Mama?" asked Carolyn. "Shouldn't you have Daddy's rosary for yourself?"
"I have his silvery-gray rosary that I gave him a long time ago," I replied. Then I repeated my previous observation. "Charlie possibly duplicated the rosary that meant so much to each of you, so that both of you could have one. And I also think he might be trying to tell us that he's alive and well, in the spirit world."
This explanation seemed logical to Carolyn and Diana. It was the beginning of healing for us all. But Carolyn continued to puzzle out the "how," even as she left for her own home that evening.
"You know. Mom, I think I might have bought another rosary like Daddy's when we went to Rome 12 years ago. I wanted another one like it to give to a son, if I ever had one, for his First Holy Communion. But I've looked for this other rosary, and for the life of me I haven't been able to find it." For Carolyn had indeed had a son, Shaun Michael, who was now six and would be making his First Communion next year.
Anxious to see if we could find a logical answer to this seemingly miraculous event, I urged Carolyn to keep looking. But even if she bought two similar rosaries in Rome, wouldn't it have been just as wondrous for Charlie to have located Shaun's lost rosary and placed it in my pocket along with his own?
Relatives Accept Sign
I slowly began to regard the duplicated iridescent rosary as an apport, a physical object that materializes inexplicably into our space-time in some way that is not scientifically understood. Temporary apports, more definitively termed "materializations," occur in connection with paranormal events such as seances or in other ways which often involve deep emotional states experienced by susceptible persons. Parapsychologists who work closely with paragnosts, who are defined as unusually gifted persons possessing multiple psychic gifts, report more permanent apports which inexplicably appear in or near their presence.
One remarkable paragnost, known as "Katie" in the writings of renowned parapsychologist Berthold Eric Schwarz, M.D., has been the "producer" of multiple apports, including fine pieces of apparent antique jewelry. Some of these events are described in Dr. Schwarz's recent article in ALTERNATE PERCEPTIONS, entitled "Psychic Nexus and Recurrent Possible Apportations."
He also described another inexplicable event involving an apport where Katie's former employer had given birth to a premature child who was placed in an incubator and not expected to survive. "And yet," wrote Dr. Schwarz, "to paraphrase my memory, a golden chain with a rosary appeared on the baby's crib/incubator without reason." This baby did survive and at present is doing well, his survival being regarded as "a miracle."
A Smaller Rosary
Finding the smaller rosary seemed to satisfy Carolyn's memory of buying "two rosaries" like Charlie's in Rome. I'd borrowed Diana's for a short while so I might have a chance to photograph hers and Carolyn's together. Placing the crucifixes of the two rosaries together, we were going to confirm that one was slightly longer and heavier, as we had noted the night of the event. To our surprise, the crucifixes were now the exact same length and weight. Besides this, both were far more elaborate than either of the original crucifix, which had been plain unadorned metal. Both were now identically elaborate, with decorative features around the "INRI" sign above Christ's head. The upright posts of both were shaped like the trunk of a tree, complete with bark and knotholes!
Hung Upon a Tree
The duplicate rosaries continue to be cherished by Carolyn and Diana, and all
their sisters and myself as well. Other relatives and friends of Charlie are also comforted by hearing of this mysterious event, for it means to them, as it does to us, that Charlie is alive and well, though in a different form and dimension, and still looking out for all of us.
Ann Druffel is a free-lance writer and researcher who lives in Pasadena, California.