There are numerous ways to connect up with loved ones on the other side. While some people experience the feeling of a presence around them, others can hear thoughts in their heads. Most of us can catch a glimpse of our loved ones through our nightly dreams.
All of these experiences are subjective. We can never prove them, and they are basically not apparent to anyone but ourselves. However, now and then our loved ones will send a sign that is actually viewable in our physical reality. Of course, you have to be open to it. You can step right over a very valid sign, missing it entirely. But there are those cases that you just can’t ignore; when a sign occurs in your reality that is so evidential and meaningful, you can’t help but take notice of it.
I had one of those outstanding signs from my son Dan approximately six weeks after his passing. A few days after Dan had passed, I was lying in bed, unable to bring myself to get up or get dressed. My heart was heavy and I could think of no way to lighten it.
For lack of anything else to do, I opened my computer and began to look at the music that was listed in my iTunes library. My eyes immediately fixed on a song entitled “Free Bird.” I didn’t know the song, but it was included on a soundtrack that I had imported into my computer and now, for some inexplicable reason I was very interested in hearing the lyrics. I hit play and proceeded to listen to “Free Bird,” which amazed me because it made me think of Dan.
The words could have been coming right out of his mouth! Following are the lyrics:
If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
I must be travelling on
Cause there’s too many places I’ve yet to see
But if I stay here with you now
Things just couldn’t be the same
Cause I’m as free as a bird now
And this bird you cannot change
Whoa and this bird you cannot change
Lord knows I can’t change
Lord knows I can’t change
It felt to me as if Dan was sending me a message through the song. Of course, this was one of those subjective experiences that I knew I could never be certain of. Nonetheless, I decided that from then on I would think of Dan as “Free Bird” and call him “Free Bird” to others. It felt right, although at the same time I knew that it might all be in my own imagination.
Six weeks later, however, the plot thickened. It was a warm, late afternoon in August when Jerry (my husband) decided to play golf at the country club near the home in Ardsley that we had recently moved from. Feeling out of sorts and wanting to stay close to Jerry, I decided to accompany him to the club and ride around in the golf cart with him while he played.
Now that we lived in the city, being on the golf course was a respite in the country, and I have always found dusk an enchanting time of the day, so we drove up to Westchester together. As soon as Jerry pulled off the highway, I was hit with a wave of sorrow. The familiar streets and stores where Dan and I had been together so many times were all around me and my heart began to ache. The pain literally felt like a knife in my chest, making me gasp for air.
All I could think of was Danny and how much I missed him, and how unbearable it was to accept that he would never drive his car down these streets again, or cook dinner for me the in Ardsley house kitchen. I could feel myself regretting that I had come up to Westchester in the first place.
My heart felt like a heavy weight pulling me down when I felt this huge, warm presence surround me. Thoughts entered into my mind so quickly that I could hardly keep up with them. This is what I heard: “Mom, stop idealizing me. It was not a bed of roses and it was never going to be. And whether you realize it or not, I am with you more now than I ever was then. Think about it, Mom. I didn’t usually get up before 3. When I did I could be very grouchy. Later in the day, I would often go out with my friends and then stay up way late. Now I am with you all the time.”
“Think of it this way: You used to worry about me all the time. Now you just miss me. That’s not so bad. There are things worse than death, like incarceration, Mom. Things were not going to be easy with me. I’m better now and that should make you feel better too. You don’t have to be so sad. I’m okay, I still love you and I know that you still love me so feel better, please. When you are so sad, it makes me feel so guilty for screwing up. You have to try to feel better if you want to help me.”
I was blown away because it all made so much sense and it sounded so much like my boy! It comforted me enormously and the pain in my chest began to ease. As we pulled into the parking lot of the country club, I blew my nose and wiped my face dry from the torrential flood of tears that soaked my cheeks.
Jerry took off to the locker room while I began to make my way to the path that leads to the first tee, where I meet him. As I am walking along the tree lined path I spot a group of men approaching me with their golf carts. Always the vain female, my thoughts turn to all that crying in the car.
“Oh my God,” I think. “I must be a mess.” As I consider pulling my pocket mirror out of my purse, I hear: “They are probably all a——s Mom, why do you care?”
Now, I can’t even begin to tell you how much that is Danny and not me. I started to laugh out loud and mentally I answered him back by saying, “Well, Danny, they might not all be a——s but you’re right, why do I care?” and I left the pocket mirror in my purse and met Jerry at the first tee. Jerry played for a couple of hours as the sun set and the birds chirped and my heart felt a greater peace than it had felt for a long time.
As we are driving back to the city, doubting Thomas that I am, I begin to have those nagging doubts as to whether Danny had really been talking to me, or if it was just my imagination. So, I decided to do what any logical mother in my situation would do. I asked Danny to give me a sign.
As we continued to drive south on the Henry Hudson Parkway with the Hudson River just to our right, I mentally said, “Danny, if this was really you and not just my imagination that was telling me all those good things back there, give me a sign.” No sooner had the words passed through my mind when I had the impulse to gaze out at the river and to my astonishment, sitting right there, in plain view was a big white sail boat with the name FREE BIRD written across the side in big bold royal blue letters!
“Oh my God,” I thought, and I shouted out for Jerry to look quickly and fortunately he caught a glimpse of the boat before pulling the car off the highway. “Okay, my boy,” I said to Dan mentally, “you’re on. From now on, I will take you at your word and I won’t doubt you, ever!”
Of course, I have not be able to live up to that promise all the time, but for the most part, if what I hear makes sense, brings me comfort and sounds like Dan, I take it on faith that it is him! After a sign like that, what would you do?Tags: grief, hope, signs and connections