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Robert Leeper

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The day after my mom passed I woke up very early, before dawn. I was sad, but also relived, as she had endured the last couple of years becoming more debilitated from Parkinson’s disease. Still, I was sad. I didn’t want to wake my partner so I made a cup of coffee, and poured it into a cup with a picture of my mom and dad that my sister-in-law had made for all of us. The photo was at the beach house where our large family gathered every year for a reunion. But I didn’t want to sit inside in the dark, so I walked down to the trail so I could sit at a favorite spot and watch the sun rise.

Slowly the light of dawn rose and I looked out over the water at the Austin skyline. I sat there thinking about my mom and dad, drinking my coffee in the mug with their faces on it, just reminiscing. My dad had passed a few years before and I was grateful they were together again. And that my mom was “whole” again, able to move freely as an angel. I imagined them flying around, free as birds. In that early moments after the sun finally rose, with the sunlight on the lake, I spotted two swans. I hadn’t seen any swans on the lake in years, and when I had, they were far up the lake, by Mopac. I was so surprised to see these swans at all. In the silence of the moment, they quietly swam towards me and just floated at the water’s edge, occasionally dabbling for water or a little food. The moment was very serene, and surreal. Could it be them? The spirit of my parents? Together again, coming to see see me at dawn, by the lake. Why not? They stayed with me the entire time, just floating together, and then they started paddling off into the lake, gently gliding through the water as the sun lifted up in the sky. I said goodbye for now, and I love you. It was a beautiful moment I will never forget. I went home and told my partner about it, and told my family when we had her service. Everyone agreed it must have been them. I’ve never seen the swans since then.


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