Becky Schultz, the daughter of the late Mary and Larry Schoenmann of Darlington, observed an interesting phenomenon in a photo she had taken along the Pecatonica River in Darlington in early November of 2014.
Schultz’s mother, Mary passed away on August 31, 2014 and in November, Schultz and her husband, Bill, traveled to Darlington in order to search for a location along the river trail where the family wanted to place a donated bench in honor of their parents: Mary and Larry.
The trail is full of memories for Schultz and her mother. When Schultz’s father, Larry, was in his final days in the fall of 2001, she would go to the newly paved trail to walk or run. Then after Larry passed away, Mary would walk the trail daily with friends and would also walk it with Schultz, when she came to visit.
Schultz said they would always pause at an area with gentle rapids, where they would say prayers, give gratitude and send blessings to family and loved ones. Even when she traversed the trail alone, Schultz always made a point to continue this tradition.
On Nov. 2, 2014, Schultz and her husband were searching for a spot for the bench, and they too visited the rapids to pray and took several photos on her phone of possible bench sites to consider, that she planned to show her siblings.
Around Thanksgiving, Schultz discovered that her phone memory was full, so she began to delete some older photos, including some of the ones she had taken on the Darlington Riverside Trail.
However, when she went to erase one particular shot, the photo refused to delete, even after several attempts. After a closer look, Schultz saw a tinge of pink in the photo and became intrigued, so she pulled it up to take a closer look, and was amazed at what she saw.
The photo was one she had taken at the rapids where they would stop to pray, but the photo revealed something they had not seen in person that day.
“The rapids were just to the right and in the middle of this very pretty early winter photo of the river was this pink veil-like apparition,” said Schultz. “Some say it’s an angel, some say it’s a huge channel to heaven or the universe, some say they can see faces in it and some have said they see Mother Mary in the image.”
At the time, Schultz had no idea what she was capturing in her photo, but looking back she has found the image comforting in light of the recent loss of her mother, who’s favorite color was pink. It was also interesting to note that the day the photo was taken—November 2, was All Saints Day, a day to honor the dead.
After seeing the photo, the family has chosen the site for the memorial bench for Mary and Larry. The bench will face the image captured in Schultz’s photo, and will have a plaque that reads; “In Loving Memory of Mary & Larry Schoenmann from their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and all who come after.” The plaque will also say “Angels gather here.”
Schultz plans to have the photo framed for herself and her siblings in order to honor this mystery of life.