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Promise Me


Growing up, I had a stepfather with whom I had a very warm and affectionate relationship. I'm not sure to this day what exactly made us click the way we did, but it happened.

Unfortunately, he died when I was twenty-three. I had a new baby (in fact, my older son was only two months old--to the day--when Dad died), my 14-year-old brothers (twins, the children of our mother's marriage to my stepfather--our mother had died when I was sixteen and they were only eight), and a husband stationed in Alaska.

I'll fast forward to the summer of 1982.

My then-husband was deployed to the Sinai Peninsula; he was part of the first multinational force sent to observe the return of the Sinai from Israel to Egypt, a 6-month tour where, it turned out, the greatest enemy was boredom. Again I had a new baby, but only one of my brothers with me. We decided to make a trip home, since my other half was on the other side of the world and none of the family--on either his side or mine--had seen the new addition, who was now the ripe old age of four months.

We made the journey and had an enjoyable two weeks with our older sisters, my in-laws, and friends, but the inevitable time came to start the trip back home.

We left my in-laws' home in Philadelphia at about six in the morning; I had decided to take a different route, staying mostly on US 301. At that time it was pretty much a two-lane road (I-95 was still under construction in many areas), but it had the advantage of bypassing Washington DC and Richmond VA, where most of the traffic tie-ups were at the time. It also spared me the trouble of paying the tolls on the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike.

I was driving through Maryland. My brother had fallen back to sleep and my two sons were also sleeping peacefully. I felt my eyes getting heavy, and the next thing I knew I heard a voice yelling, "Chris, wake up!" I opened my eyes and realized I'd nearly fallen asleep at the wheel. More than a little bit shaken, I pulled off onto the shoulder of the road. This woke my brother, who immediately asked what was wrong.

"I started to fall asleep," I said.

"What woke you?"

I hesitated. The little boys were still snoozing, so I took the plunge.

"I could have sworn I heard Dad yelling for me to wake up..."

My brother's expression registered surprise, to say the least. He sat there for a minute or two before he said, "Really? That's weird..."

I knew he had something else on his mind, so I waited. A few moments later he looked back at me and said slowly, "Well, you know Dad used to drive this road every summer when we went to Florida. But--do you know what he told us Mom said before she died?"

I shook my head. Our mother, by this time, had been dead for thirteen years.

"Well," my brother said, "Dad always told us that one of the last things Mom said to him was, "Promise me you'll take care of Chris and the boys..."

I sat there, my mouth in a positive gape.

Sounds like a cliche, I know--but I guess he made the promise and took it seriously.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, libertybelle, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

chloe6991 (1 stories) (11 posts)
14 years ago (2009-01-26)
That is a wonderful story. He stayed true to his promise even in death. It's just amazing! 😊
DollyDagger (4 stories) (31 posts)
14 years ago (2008-08-15)
That was a great story! I'm glad he kept his promise, I always wondered whether the loved ones who've passed on watch over us. I guess your story is proof.

Thanks for sharing!
libertybelle (14 stories) (207 posts)
14 years ago (2008-07-13)
It's very interesting to note that, at other stressful times in my life, I've often dreamed of my parents, especially my stepdad. It's always left me with the feeling that everything will work itself out.

This most recently occurred after my younger son had a really close call in Iraq--about a week later I was dreaming of both of my parents and the next day called my brother Steve (the one who was traveling with me in 1982) and told him about it. His first reaction was, "You tell Mom and Dad you're fine! They need to get themselves over to Iraq and keep an eye on their grandson!"

I reported this in a conversation with an old friend who's known me and my family since she and I went to high school. Her comment was very concise: "Oh, I KNOW they're keeping an eye on Mark--after all, he survived that rocket blast, and so did everyone else in the building..."

Now THAT'S a thought calculated to soothe a worried mother! 😁
Kayla (1 stories) (14 posts)
14 years ago (2008-07-12)
What a great story! I almost cried. Your dad was really sweet to protect you like that.
Jasmin314 (13 stories) (210 posts)
14 years ago (2008-07-11)
Awwe what a blessing to have your dad watching out for you. I am glad he did, expecially since you had your babies with you. Be more careful next time... But you knew that.
girlie (15 stories) (426 posts)
14 years ago (2008-07-11)
Hi, very cool story I liked it alot. Hope to hear from you soon. And I hope your dad whaches out for you and your brother.
😁 ❤
libertybelle (14 stories) (207 posts)
14 years ago (2008-07-11)
Well, JK Rowling said "love is the oldest magic of all" in her first Harry Potter novel, or at least she said something along those lines.

I guess Mom was most concerned about my brothers and me because by this time my older sisters were married and had families of their own, whereas my brothers were only eight and I was still a very naive sixteen-year-old. Since we were the three youngest, I can see (since I've become a mother myself) how one of her last concerns would be for her "babies," even if we weren't literally infants.
ChrisB (6 stories) (1515 posts)
14 years ago (2008-07-11)
Wow that was a touching story. A fathers love for the children is sometimes so big that sometimes we never see it. Your father loved you all very much and indeed he is trying to prtect all of you. Thanks for this touching story. I hope to hear from you soon and take care
rhodes68 (14 stories) (1596 posts)
14 years ago (2008-07-11)
What a touching story libertybelle! It's so comforting to know that a parent's love lives on even after their physical death and is strong enough to bring them on our side in an hour of need.

Thank you for sharing your experience!
FRAWIN (guest)
14 years ago (2008-07-10)
Hello libertybelle. I do believe that you heard your father's voice because I have heard mine-many years after his "death".It is nice to know that they are still looking on. Take Care.

Tonith (1136 posts)
14 years ago (2008-07-10)
I do believe that those that have gone before us are aware of what we are doing in this life. Not in a creepy way but in a protective way. I believe all things happen for a reason and something like this isn't a coincidence. People have heard their name called by an unknown voice too but the outcome was the same;they were saved by it. I believe God has a plan for our lives and is not beyond sending us help when needed by whatever venue He chooses.
Karyn (1 stories) (63 posts)
14 years ago (2008-07-10)
That was a wonderful story! I do have the hope that even after a death we can still be protected by those who watched over us in life. I really need to believe this and your story is a perfect example of that. 😊
KimSouthO (27 stories) (1960 posts)
14 years ago (2008-07-10)
It certainly sounds as if the love and the promise where both very significant and you were saved (lterally) by both the promiser and the lasting love.

Thanks for sharing your story with us!

God Bless!

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