When someone you love dies you receive all sorts of advice from supportive individuals. The first couple of days are a complete fog and you’re lucky if you can just get out of bed. I had a difficult time speaking and just being around others. I was so tired, I felt like a piece of me died. I remember sitting in the funeral home helping my Mom with the arrangements and thinking the funeral director sounded like the Charlie Brown teacher at one point. I began to quietly think to myself, “Is this real life? Am I REALLY here?” Then I began to think, “I’m fatherless now.” It was as if I was standing on the edge of a cliff looking into total darkness. It was absolutely terrifying.
The death of a beloved is an amputation.
—C. S. Lewis
The death of a loved one is painful and confusing. Mourning someone you love shocks your spirit and shatters your heart. You feel a new hole or a void inside your heart that the deceased once occupied. There are moments when you can actually hear your heart breaking into a million pieces. As you allow yourself to grieve and experience the ebb and sorrows of your grief, you will begin to see signs and realize that love never dies.
A few of my friends who have already walked this path immediately told me to “pay attention to nature.” For the past six months I have been paying attention to nature. In the beginning I honestly had no clue what I was supposed to be looking at. My Dad died in January, so there really isn’t much nature running around in New Jersey. But like most people when a loved one dies you become desperate to know if they are at peace, and for me that means are you eating again and what does heaven look like?
Two days after we buried my Dad a feather fell from my bedroom ceiling. Yes you read that right, a fluffy white feather fell from my bedroom ceiling. I quickly did a perimeter check just in case. Perhaps a bird was trapped in the ceiling, or we had something with down feathers hanging around. But I’m allergic to down and there are no birds trapped in my ceiling. Since then I have found enough feathers to build my own angel wings and visit heaven. I save all my feathers in a mason jar on my nightstand to remind me that my father is at peace and that heaven is for real. If I stare long enough, it looks like the feathers are dancing in the mason jar, waiving to me.
My first visit to the cemetery shortly after my father passed was terrifying. The first blizzard of the season left us knee deep in snow, with a blast of frigid arctic temperatures. But I NEEDED to go, I felt something tugging at me to go. As I slowly made my way to my father’s snow covered grave I noticed a cat walking out of the wooded area from behind the headstones. He made his way up to our family headstone and sat with me the entire visit..in the snow. Tilting his head and meowing as I sobbed, carefully watching my every move. As we slowly drove away, he stood tall observing, meowing . Maybe he was a graveyard cat enduring arctic temperatures, maybe he was sent to comfort me during my first visit. However that cat ended up at the cemetery, he was comforting during a very difficult time, and I will never forget his presence. I made sure to snap his photo as we drove off.
Fast forward to six months after my Dad’s passing. My signs are becoming stronger and distinct. My dreams (the ones I can remember) are vivid. My questions are always the same, “Are you eating again?” and “What is it like up there?”
I am constantly observing my surroundings for signs from my Dad. With each sign my Dad sends my way, I check for authenticity. (Sorry Dad, but you always taught me to be alert) Each time I check for authenticity he sends another sign. Each sign leaves me scratching my head and saying, “OMG is this real life?” It’s like we are playing a game now, and anyone who knew my Dad knew he had a zest for life and loved a good game. To say he was competitive is a massive understatement.
My latest blog post somehow connected me with Lisa Scrivens. I’m humbled and honored that somehow on the great big internet she found my little story. I’m excited, anxious and nervous for our appointment in September. I wrote my last post like I always do, to share my journey. Writing is my feeble attempt to somehow come to grips with losing my Dad. I never in a million years expected it to result in an appointment with someone as respected as Lisa Scrivens. I truly believe my Dad had something to do with that.
Following my email conversation with Lisa, I asked my Dad for guidance as I was sitting in my car. I asked him if I should speak with Lisa. And of course I ended it with, “Are you eating again.” Please understand, I’m human and skeptical as I walk this grief journey! As I was bombarding him with questions I noticed a black bird flying, but kinda lingering in my eye’s view with a cookie in his mouth. I tried to make eye contact with the bird, but I was driving and he was flying and that’s a recipe for disaster, as well as a little strange. I simply continued my drive, now with tears rolling down my cheeks.
This could be a coincidence, maybe someone gave the bird a big cookie, or maybe just maybe it’s another sign from my Dad. I’m going to believe that it’s a sign from my Dad.