The Watch and the Angel
 (Time to Heal)
Submitted by Ellie Braun-Haley

After my only son, Jason, was killed in an automobile accident, his friends and fellow athletes, at the track club, searched for ways to honor him. They had a track named after him and, one Christmas, they gave me a watch.

The club's logo was a big green frog. The frog was not ordinary. He wore track clothes (a white tee shirt and dark shorts). On my watch, he was running upright on two legs. It made me smile, as I remembered Jason running. How my son loved running! I treasured the watch. I slept with it on. I took care of it and, for some reason, it gave me comfort to have it. It gave me a feeling of connection.

Jason had been killed in 1989 and, in February of 2000, I still had the watch and would wear no other. Of course, it had been through new watchbands and new batteries. So, it still looked great.

During the summer of 2000, the watch stopped and I knew it must need a new battery. So, we drove into a small town, near us, to have a jeweler install one.

Now, I need to back, up a wee bit, here to tell you, at some point in early 2000, I started taking on too many jobs; one of which was a course in Skills Training for one of my jobs. By June, the load had increased even further, as I took on two large community service projects. I found myself snapping a bit at people that, in my mind people, around me were just not working hard enough. I began carrying some of their load. Well, community service work is important to our spiritual health, but not when our own health is at stake.

Finally, the day came when my body gave me definite signals I was not in good health. (Likely, I had earlier messages which I ignored!)

I woke up, that morning, and put on my watch. It was the special watch I mentioned. The watch had stopped. I did not realize my own body was also about to go on strike.

My husband, Shawn, and I drove into town to run some errands; which included the purchase a new watch battery. En route to town, I suddenly began to cry. Shawn looked at me with concern, "Honey, what is the matter?" he asked.

Tears pouring down my face as I answered, "I don't know," and, truly, I had no idea what was happening.

We arrived in town and began taking care of the errands. At the jewelry shop, I was told the eight-year-old watch was beyond repair. "I'm sorry. It's toast!" was the explanation given me by the clerk.

"Well, give it a new battery," I instructed her.

"You don't understand," she said. "The watch is dead and can not be repaired. We can put new insides into it for $60.00."

Suddenly, I felt as though I was going to break down and cry, again. "This is ridiculous," I thought to myself. I got out of the jewelry store quickly, before the tears started.

We finished our errands and headed home. As we drove along, I suddenly began crying.

"You're crying, again. What is the matter?" Shawn asked.

My answer was the same as before. I honestly did not know why I was crying. By the time we arrived at the house, we both came to the same conclusion. I was overworked and the stress was causing a burn out. Parts of me were starting to close down in protest.

I was soon to discover just how tough it is to function when your brain and memory seem separated or disconnected. I would turn on water and walk away, completely forgetting it. I must say, the laundry room floor was constantly cleaned by the many times I flooded that room! It got especially clean, one day, when we drove into town and, while we were shopping, I suddenly remembered I had left water running!

I had to write down everything, because my memory had almost completely closed down. The next six weeks were a trying time for someone who thrives on being busy. I was so fortunate to have the support and understanding of my husband. He had also done one other loving thing. He had gone out and ordered a new watch for me.

Not long after that day, the one where I just cried for no apparent reason, Shawn came home with a new watch for me. The track club coach would not accept any money for the new watch. It was another gift, in memory of my son.

I still had the broken watch in my hand bag. I reached in to get it, to put it somewhere. I knew I would be unable to throw it away. So, I intended on setting it, safely, into a drawer. The watch was running! I looked at it and felt a bit of a jolt followed by a warm rush of happiness. I looked skyward, "Oh, God, you knew how much this watch meant and you gave it back to me. Oh, thank you so much!" It was a ray of sunshine during a time when I really needed a lift.

The watch continued to work throughout July and into August. I remember, sometime in mid August, thinking, "Wow, I think my mind and brain are working together, again!" I could accomplish more than one thing a day and I was feeling quite good.

Well, the day I decided I was truly recuperated, the watch stopped. I knew it would not run again and I knew, then, it had been given back to me at a time when I just needed a little ray of light; a little burst of sunshine in a tear filled, confusing, time. I smiled, grateful for the gift. I knew God had sent his angels to start it up for me. It was something I needed at the time. I smiled, and was grateful.

2004 by Ellie Braun-Haley
This writing may be used in its entirety, with credits in tact,
for non-profit ministering purposes.

I find it is funny, one of the things that was overloading me, at the time of my burn out, was a training course I was taking. When I experienced my own burnout, don't you just think it is hilarious I was on the chapter that teaches about stress and burn out?

Ellie has three children, Debbie, Laurie and Jason (who is in heaven). Ellie says writing is more than a hobby to her. She sees it as a way of helping others. She laughs as she says, "Id starve to death though, if I had to live on what I make from my writing!"

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In the Light of Angels est. 1998