In 1987, when I was eighteen years old, my mother was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia two weeks prior to Christmas. We brought Christmas to her in her hospital room that year in the midst of her chemotherapy, complete with a homemade turkey dinner. What I couldn’t have imagined then was that in eight short months my mother Nancy would pass, to be followed only three weeks later by my brother Adam in a car accident.
In the months to follow, I thought a lot about a specific conversation I had with my mother mere days before her death. “If you go to the other side,” I asked, “will you give me a sign?”
With a faint and tired smile she replied, “A sign? Like what?”
“A feather,” I said, “any color.”
It had only been a few months since the deaths of my mother and brother when Christmas was once again upon us, the year had gone by in a flash. Rather than ignoring the holiday like I wanted to, I decided to focus on the magic and spirit of the season and see what happened.
That Christmas Eve, I attended a midnight mass service after much prompting from my best friend. Christmas was the only day of the year that my mom insisted I go to church with her. The thought of going without her this year was devastating. But I knew it was a concrete way to honor her, my mother would be pleased if I continued on with the tradition and so with a heavy heart, I went.
Up and down, kneel and stand, stand and kneel, the Christmas service was nearly half way through. As instructed by the priest, I knelt once more right before beginning the Lord’s Prayer, a favorite of my mother’s. As I knelt down I saw something amazing. Lying perfectly, right in front of me, was a large white and gray feather! I was stunned.
How did it get there? Had I missed it before? No, not possible. How did this feather appear in front of me when it wasn’t there moments before? I asked the man in the pew in front of me if the feather was his — and even if he had chickens! I still remember the confused look he got as he shook his head no…
Then I remembered my conversation with my mom and my request for a feather. She was giving me the sign that she was safe and okay! In that moment, I felt like I had been touched by an angel. I knew that even though I couldn’t see her anymore with my physical eyes, my mom hadn’t gone from me completely. I could feel her in my heart anytime I wanted. I understood she was letting me know she was “alive” and still somehow with me; not even death could separate us. This feather was a miracle gift to me from my mother.
Since that day, there have numerous signs and dreams that have convinced me that both my mother and brother are still very connected to my life, even twenty-two years later. And to anyone who has had to say goodbye to someone they love, I dedicate this story. May you be reminded that miracles and magic happen every day, especially now during the season of light. The only thing you have to do experience a miracle is… simply ask for one.Tags: grief, hope, signs and connections