P. H. wrote about Toning the Sweep.
Messages from heaven is the theme. The messages in the box are to Emily. She is to read them at significant moments in her life. Here's P's preface:
Imagine living with the fact that your husband has been murdered. You will never see him again and now you have been left with the daunting task of raising a child on your own. For some, this would be a pain too hard to bear. This was certainly the case for Ola. For that reason, she ran. She ran far away from the life she knew to one that would help her forget; one that would ease the pain of her terrible loss. Her daughter, however, wanted to be close to the things that reminded her of her father.
She did not want to be torn away to a strange place to live. For Ola, this was the only way to survive. She didn’t realize, though, that she was also losing a part of her daughter in the process. Now she is facing her own death because she has been diagnosed with an incurable cancer. Her granddaughter, Emily, helps her see that she should die the way she lived. Ola should embrace her family and friends, enjoy the little things in life, and stop running.
“Messages from Heaven” is in response to Toning the Sweep by Angela Johnson. The messages have been placed in a beautifully decorated mailbox which Ola is leaving to her granddaughter, Emily, upon her death. Ola has written specific directions, in a letter to Emily, to open these messages when special occasions arise in her life. Ola wants Emily to know that she is with her in spirit even if she cannot be there physically after her passing. In addition to the letter, other genres include a will, a poem, a lullaby, and the song “Tears in Heaven.”
The Last Will and Testament contains provisions for Ola’s worldly goods to be distributed among her heirs, namely her daughter and granddaughter. This includes Ola’s prized-possession, the one which represents freedom, the old Buick!
Ola has also written a poem for Emily on her wedding day. She hopes Emily can carry it with her as she walks down the aisle and takes her vows, perhaps in her Bible. It represents something old, because it was written long before the special occasion, something new, because it contains wishes for a new, wonderful life with her husband, something borrowed, because it was written on paper she took from her own wedding album, and something blue, because the blue ribbon attached to it is one that Emily wore in her hair as a young girl.
The lullaby was written for Emily to sing to her first-born child. Hopefully the newborn will hear her great grandmother’s voice as Emily sings the lullaby, feels the warmth of her skin against her cheek, and rocks her back and forth…..the things Ola longed to do with Emily.
The song, "Tears in Heaven," is for Emily to listen to when she suffers a loss. Hopefully it will bring her strength; the strength that Ola did not possess when her husband passed; the strength she will need to carry on, until one day she is able to reunite with her grandmother and meet the grandfather she never knew in heaven.
What's in the mailbox?
Ola’s Will (Filled with instructions to Emily.)
Wedding Day Wishes (poem )
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