Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Who Can Read the Signs?
Do you know any of those people who see signs everywhere they look? I do, and I've never been one of them. My aunt swore that my grandfather was sending messages to her through Saint Anthony of Padua mailings that came to her house. After my parents died, she found ways to see signs in a bit of channel surfing. She stopped on Everybody Loves Raymond and it was an episode that reminded her of holidays with her, my mom and my grandparents. Then she flipped over to a home shopping channel and they were selling Judith Ripka jewelry. A month or so before my mom died we went to the Judith Ripka store in Atlantic City to find a gift for my aunt's birthday. There was a third channel in that mix, but at some point she determined that this was a pointed message to her. What it meant, I have no idea. I think she felt like it was just contact.
After my parents were gone and people were always talking about these signs and little contacts (from the other side?) but I wasn't feeling their presence, just their absence. I thought that maybe it was because I was so close to my parents while they were alive. There is so much of them in me. They both died way too young and I know how lucky I am that they had my brother and I so young. I know how much they gave me, not just things, but their time and their love and attention and knowledge. I feel so filled with them that I don't know if I would sense them. Sure, there are plenty of times that I give them a shout out. Usually because I see or hear something that makes me think of them. There are still so many things that make me think about them. I didn't feel like they were there, just that they spent my life filling me with little bits of themselves that they shared that triggered memories. I saw the glass half full version, that they left so much of themselves with me, that maybe I was immune to the signs. When I did get my sign, I had to ask for it, but it was definitely worth it.
When my father was alive, he always loved hawks and the bigger birds of prey. Actually, he loved all animals, and the feeling was mutual. Whenever I saw one of those birds, it made me think of my dad. After my dad passed away (seven years ago this month) whenever I saw a hawk flying over the road as I was driving, or flying overhead when I wasn't, I not only thought of my dad, but liked to imagine that we might both be looking at the same bird at the same time, just from different vantage points. To this day when I see one, I send a hello and my love to my father.
When my mother died three and a half years after my father, one of her dearest and oldest friends told me that my mom would send me signs. She said that I would see butterflies. But, I didn't see butterflies. My mom died in October, in fact, we had her funeral on Halloween. About 5 months after I lost my mom, my boyfriend of 6 years and I split up. The way the whole thing went down was pretty messed up. But, after we broke up he kept calling and coming around. Neither of us had any interest in getting back together, but he made a point of keeping contact. Around this time my ex-husband came back from California and he was calling and coming around. Once again, neither of us had any interest in rekindling anything. I was referring to it as the Invasion of the Exes, telling my friends that men couldn't just quit me, they had to wean themselves off of me.
That didn't stop me from feeling like a screw up. For whatever reason, even though I wasn't nursing a broken heart or needing time to heal to move on with my life, I was just stalled. One day I decided that I needed to stop by the cemetery and check in with my parents. I felt like I should be living my life better for them, if I wasn't caring that much about doing it for myself. Sure, I went to work everyday and paid the bills and spent time with family and friends, but everything was just off. I didn't really feel like me. So, I stopped by the cemetery to talk to my parents in person, so to speak. I told them how I was feeling and the whole deal about the signs. That I wasn't sure if I was too close to notice them, or if I wasn't getting them or if I was just oblivious to them (which, if there were missed signs, was totally how it would go with me).
After work, I would go to the local park on my way home and walk on the trails. It felt good and cleared my head and burned off the daily aggravations and excess energy. There was a big back up at my usual exit, so I drove further down the road to head to the park from another direction. About a half mile from the park I noticed a hawk flying over head. This wasn't that unusual, I notice them all the time when I'm driving as they fly across the roadways. What was unusual was that this hawk stayed with me, driving to the park, parking in the lot, and even stayed overhead for the first leg of my walk. I started to laugh and thought to myself that Arlene said there would be butterflies. When I turned the corner, the first thing I saw was a butterfly and I started to laugh. It was different, and certainly seemed more than coincidental, but I wouldn't have run and called anyone to tell them I got a sign.
The next day I went to run errands on my lunch hour. I got into my car and noticed there was a hawk flying over the parking lot at work. That was definitely unusual. I'd never seen one there, or near the office ever before. I pulled out of my parking space, and was headed toward the driveway, keeping an eye on the hawk overhead, when I said out loud, "Where's the butterfly?" and the same kind of butterfly as I had seen the day before flew in front of my windshield. Even I was willing to accept this as my sign. I haven't seen anything like it since, but I asked and that's what happened. And, that's good enough for me.