With each rising sun, the roses quietly remind my soul of the potential of the day. Lovely buds give way to the warming sun and the nourishment of the soil supports them, as they become what they came to be.
Last night an old friend came to me in a dream. His visit prompted me to see if I could find the story I had written years after our fateful meeting. I’d like to share it with you.
THE STORY OF AL AND HOW HE CHANGED MY LIFE FOREVER
It has been over 10 years now since I met a beautiful man named Al Feinglass. I cannot remember now who called me from the senior living community that was his home, but that was how it began. I was acquainted with many people there as I had worked with the senior community for many years.
From the moment I heard about Al, I was obsessed with finding him. There was an immediate heart connection to this man that I could neither explain nor even understand myself.
On November 1 2003 something was set into motion that would change my life forever. Al, a 78-year-old gentleman with Alzheimer’s got on his bike that day as he had many times in the past. Only on this day he was upset that his lovely wife Harriet was leaving to run some errands. He was never left without caregivers but it was his routine to ride around the villas on his bike and greet everyone. He would always return within 5-15 minutes.
I went immediately to the community to see what I could do. My first thought was that there needed to be as many eyes on the streets looking for this man as possible. As a provider relation’s specialist for a home medical equipment company, it was my job to be out and about all day meeting with clients, residents and family members. I got a picture of Al and made flyers. I had at the time and still do head up a group called Jean’s Jax Network. I began emailing the flyer and pleas for help to others in the network, many of whom also were on the streets all day as they conducted their business.
Every day I looked for him as I drove from appointment to appointment. Every night I prayed that he was safe and warm somewhere and yet every morning I woke up and there was no news. The police were searching the area. They were even using helicopters with infrared sensors, dogs and even a psychic. There were reported sightings of him but nothing panned out.
Each day I would call or go to the community to see what I could do. I kept asking why haven’t the police arranged for a community search party. Finally it was announced that there would be one on Sunday (November 8). At this point things were looking pretty grim. Al had been missing since the previous Saturday! I kept praying.
Sunday morning, I could not wait to get to the location where the search was to begin. I had been praying since I awoke. It was almost as though I were walking in a meditative state. As I drove I began toning and singing out to God, the angels and to my dear friend Nancy who had recently passed away. I remember that I had only just heard of toning that week. I don’t even recall where. It was probably someone I had tuned into on Hay House radio. It felt rather strange in the beginning. The tones turned to a song. The first lines were Lord, hear me. Lord guide me. Angels, hear me. Angels guide me. Then, Nancy hear me. Nancy, guide me. The rest was mostly me just crying out for help. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I sang them to me. The song and the pure love that I felt for this man whom I had never met brought them to me and they did guide me every step of the way.
As I approached I could see some tents set up and lots of police cars. Not many others had arrived yet. I parked my car in the grass to wait. I didn’t want to get out right away. I wasn’t in the mood for conversation. I wanted to remain quiet, prayerful and connected. I watched as more and more began to arrive. Finally, I could see groups being gathered together so I left my car and approached one of the tents. There was a woman sitting in a lawn chair and I soon knew that it was Al’s wife Harriet. I said good morning to her. She thanked me for coming. I began walking to the parking lot where the police were gathering people into groups of 10. I kept on walking and walking past many groups that were beginning to form. I asked to be guided where to go and found myself joining the very last group. We were all signaled to begin entering the woods about 10 feet apart.
After an hour, maybe an hour and a half I heard a woman not far from me call out that she had found a bike. I ran in that direction. Sure enough, there was the bike with a red fanny pack attached to the handlebars. It was propped up next to a tree. Soon there was a group of us near the bike. The police officer told us not to touch anything. He wanted us all to leave the woods and call in the officers to continue the search. Well, I don’t usually buck the system but I can tell you there was no way in hell I was going to leave until we had found him. As we were not sure where we were, the officer decided we would all walk out dropping people along the way to act as a breadcrumb trail. I told the officer I would not touch anything and I would be there to help guide them in. He didn’t argue. I knew Al was close. I could feel it. I began walking very slowly around the tree perhaps about 10 ft. away. Then suddenly, I stopped and as though hands were placed on my face my head turned slowly and there he was!
He was lying motionless in small dip in the ground, deep enough to keep him from being visible. I began screaming as loud as I could, “He’s here! I found him. He’s here! “
I knelt down beside him sinking slightly into the boggy ground. I shooed the flies from his seemingly lifeless body and began talking to him. Suddenly he opened his eyes. Oh my God, he was alive! He was alive! Our eyes met and we connected on a level that I cannot even describe. I kept my face close to his. I removed some bark and leaves from his lips and just kept talking to him. I told him to hold on, that his wife and son Neil would be here in minutes. I kept telling him that he was safe and that everything would be fine. Those beautiful blue eyes penetrated mine and I knew that we were forever connected.
Rescue finally arrived with a stretcher and he was taken out. I walked alongside him as we made our way out of the woods. The woods gave way to a parking lot where an ambulance waited. I am not sure if I spoke to anyone. I know that his son was there and I believe Harriet was too. I was elated and yet didn’t want to talk to anyone. It was as though I was still in this rather altered state. I was so grateful to the angels, to Nancy and to all in the Spirit realm that had a hand in leading me to Al. And make no mistake, I was lead.
There were reporters interviewing police and the organizer of the search. I found myself avoiding them as I really did not want to be interviewed. Someone did finally catch up to me and I talked with them briefly. How could I talk about this in an interview after what I had just experienced? For me, this was so much bigger and more profound than finding a missing man. I had called upon the highest realms of God and had been heard! How do you explain that?
I remained close to Al and his family for the next three years. I followed him from his hospital stay, to his nursing home stay and then on to the assisted living community that would become his new home.
I have never in my life met such a devoted wife as Harriet. Very rarely did a day go by during those 3 years that she was not there to spend time with him. Although Alzheimer’s disease had robbed him of much of his ability to communicate, I loved visiting him. He always told me that he loved me and often would say “you are just delicious”. I would kneel down right in front of him, get really close and look straight into those beautiful blue eyes just like I had on the day we first met in those woods . And always, at least for a second there was a spark and I knew he recognized me. On some level, on a soul level, we knew each other and I am sure we always had.
She has got to be one of the strongest and most faithful women I have ever met and I am happy to call her my friend. Her name is Julie Anderson.
Many of you in the healthcare industry know Julie as she has served our community for many years.
In 2014, Julie was nearly killed when she was struck by a car while riding her bike along Palm Valley Road. Among other injuries, Julie was left on the side of the road by the hit and run driver with a broken neck. She has fought hard to recover and although she will admit to having “some limitations”, she is doing quite well.
On Feb 21st, Julie and her husband Brian came home to find their condo building ablaze. They were grateful to discover two of their dogs had been rescued and when they told the firefighters that there was still another dog inside, they went back in. They found Natasha under the bed, frightened but uninjured.
On Thursday, the 23rd I got a call from Julie that they had received word that the building could be condemned at any time. Somewhat frantic that they would do this before we could get their belongings out, I put out a call for anyone who could offer assistance to please come immediately. As it was a week day and short notice, people were not available. Calls were made to local moving companies but no one was available. Luckily my friend Janice thought to call Rick at Trusted Tranzitions to see if he knew of any movers we could hire on short notice. Not only did he know someone but they had a truck in the area and were just finishing up a small job nearby. Now you tell me that wasn’t God in action!
We were never so happy to see a moving truck and two strong young men in our lives! They helped finish the packing, loaded the truck, took it to a friend’s garage in Mandarin and unloaded it! I really don’t know what we would have done with out them.
Julie and Brian will tell you that they are very blessed indeed and were able to salvage many of their things. They did lose furniture, clothes, and all the mattresses and box springs due to smoke and water damage. Quick to make light of it, Julie jokes that it was time to downsize anyway.
This is the part where we come in. The moving bill was $765.00 and of course there are many other expenses, replacing items and moving into a new apartment. I would very much like to raise enough money to at least pay the moving bill.
If you would like to help in this endeavor, please let me know and I will get with you to make it happen. You can also bring checks to AIE on Tuesday, the 21st. Julie is going to try to attend as she wants to thank those who have helped.
Well, I am off to settle in for a quiet evening. I ask that God and his angels hold you in their loving arms as you close your eyes tonight. Sweet dreams and bountiful blessings.
Kelly has been a part of the PG Jacksonville family for close to 2 years. This loving, caring woman has given so much to the residents and guests who live there. On a receptionist’s pay she has always found a way to do for others. She goes the extra mile everyday for the residents and guests as well as her co- workers. Always cheerful, she makes everyone she comes in contact with feel cared for and comfortable.
Kelly has been the sole support of a daughter and grandson for the past couple of years. Her daughter’s physical problems made it difficult for her to find employment. Money was always tight but Kelly managed.
Kelly left work on February 1, 2017 and went home. Upon entering her apartment she found her 28 years old daughter had passed away. Her daughter’s death was sudden and unexpected.
Kelly is left with the expenses of her daughter’s funeral and caring for her 18 month old grandson. All her life she has given so much to others. She now finds herself in need.
This fund was set up to help her pay for her daughter’s funeral, the cost of settling her affairs and caring for her grandson. No contribution is too small. We ask only for what you feel you can give.
Help spread the word! Donations can also be dropped off at Palm Garden Jacksonville.