The Power of a Story

 Facts are helpful, and truth is necessary…. but to weave these two things together into a story is what makes something live forever. As an author I have learned this time and again.  I do not write fiction, but I do tell stories. Everything that I have produced as an author over the last decade has been truth wrapped in story… it’s a recipe that works. Below is one of the dozens of stories that I share in my 2007 book ‘ Halfway Across the River’. This book is a compilation of true stories that detail some of the more transcendent moments I have shared with those in their final days of life. I said a little prayer today and asked the universe to guide me to the correct story to share with readers today and I landed on one called ’20/20 Vision.’ I trust that someone out there reading today needs this story to help them ‘see.’

20/20 Vision

Vivienne was in her mid-eighties when she signed on with our hospice program to begin her final journey. Her caregiver was her younger sister Violet; of course, younger in this case meant early eighties! The two sisters had been inseparable throughout their lives. Violet, although she was the younger of the two, had always taken care of Vivienne, who had been blind since an early childhood accident. This dynamic had been fertile ground for a very strong spiritual connection between the two.

Vivienne was quite prepared to die, but she did have one unrealized wish. She wanted more than anything to see her beloved sister. She wanted to see her shock of red hair, her bright blue eyes, and the twinkling smile she remembered so well from their childhood. Indeed, the only visual memories that Vivienne had were those of long ago, so she had no idea what her now 83-year-old sister looked like. Violet used to laugh at this and say that Vivienne was better off with her memories, as the real deal was not so “shocking and vibrant” anymore.

As she had been an able caregiver to Vivienne during life, Violet was a compassionate and faithful companion as her sister’s days grew short. On a particular morning when Vivienne was relaxed and without pain, Violet gently held her older sister in her arms and sang a song from their childhood. As she sang, Vivienne let her whole being relax into the loving arms of her sister.

Vivienne tentatively reached toward her sister’s face, and there, just as she had so many times before, her fingers traced the lines that etched Violet’s face. Vivienne closed her eyes, willing her fingers to paint a picture of what her beloved sister looked like. As she opened her eyes, a smile like none Violet had ever seen spread wide across her face. Violet knew in an instant that Vivienne could see.

The two women shared this state of grace for just under two hours. And then, like the setting sun, Vivienne’s vision began to dim. Over a period of about thirty minutes her vision once again receded, and she was left without sight. The healing that occurred for Violet and Vivienne that day was without measure. Neither of them could explain the miracle of their experience, yet they found no need to do so. The experience had left them both undeniably altered. Vivienne died very peacefully a short time later, leaving Violet with a gift that no words could aptly explain.


…Even though almost twenty years has elapsed since the day that Violet and Vivienne shared their story with me, it has lived in me ever since. That is the power of a story.