When my husband passed away I attended a grief support group. Almost every session, emotional stories of signs from “the other side” were revealed as grieving friends shared their special experiences; a butterfly landing on their windowsill, a shiny penny on a sidewalk, or even images of their loved ones appearing to them at times. While I knew I was in the right place, with people who completely understood me and the painful emotions that are just part of the grief package, I also felt like something was lacking in me. Why wouldn’t my beloved husband want to send me a sign that he was watching over, lending some comfort and heavenly support? I was really rather ticked at him as well as the big Kahuna...God. I must add, I often prayed in those early years of my grieving, for a sign. Anything....some tangible evidence that love survives beyond the earthly body. Please, just one small sign I would beg. But........and I would then tick off my list of restrictions and the type of sign that just wouldn’t be acceptable. No ghostly midnight visits; breathing on me from the side of the bed, no apparitions while traveling in my car, really nothing that would likely frighten me into messing my panties, or stopping my heart cold. I had quite the list of dont’s. As years passed, when things would become difficult and I would feel sorry for myself, I would cry out for JUST A MEASLY CRUMB. Nothing.
The last few years, exercising more of my right brain, has made me much more aware of limitless possibility and the expansiveness of the Universe beyond our five senses. A real faith in the eternal continuity of the human spirit, and beginning to trust my intuition, also began to emerge. The cynic in me appears to have left the building, making room for belief. A few weeks ago, the message I have been seeking for so many years floated right into my Sunday afternoon. It was so big and colorful, and, undeniable. It rose up over my neighbor’s house and hoovered directly over my roof. When I spied it, I knew how Dorothy must have felt when she opened the door of her wind battered home and set eyes on Munchkin Land. I heard the whooshing sounds, opened the blinds, and stared in disbelief. There it was, a massive hot air balloon. Now, just the sight of a hot air balloon within a stones throw of anyone, is cause for open mouthed wonder, but the arrival of this hot air balloon on the afternoon of what would have been my 19th wedding anniversary, made it especially surreal. After I caught my breath, I grabbed my camera and rushed outside to take pictures. I cannot even begin to describe the magnitude of this. It was so highly charged and emotional. When, I came back into the house, energy sucked dry by my awe, I stretched out in the big chair in my den, right next to the spot where my husband took his last breath. I closed my eyes. I must have dozed off at some point.... or, I was transported. I’m not sure, and it really doesn’t matter. The hot air balloon that my husband teasingly threatened to whisk me away in if I refused his proposal of marriage many years ago, had arrived, and brought with it an irrefutable message.
The balloon landed, and he held his hand out to me, helping me to climb inside. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. He looked just like he did on our wedding day. I felt my heart pounding in my chest as he grinned and asked me if this was the sign I was looking for. I nodded my head and asked him, “Am I dead?” He laughed for what seemed like minutes, his trademark,” Ha” laugh, tongue peeking out from the inside of his mouth. He said, “Oh, no. It’s not time. You got some things to get done yet. For God’s, and my sake, just do them. You know what they are. We've all given you so many messages and signs through these years. I think you recognized them for a moment, then let your mind get in the way of trusting yourself. You let others skepticism and judgements affect you and then question your value and destiny. You talked yourself out of the certainty of your instincts, and closed down that place inside of you, where we continually touch your soul, and guide your path. You asked us for crumbs. We gave you the entire cake. I have to admit, Beck, I have been pretty overt in the last few years; signs that you had to know could only come from me. Remember at the cemetery, you stopped to vent your anguish over having to do everything on your own? You kept yelling at me for leaving you and begged me to give you some sign that at least I heard you. I did. The black walnut that bonked you on the top of the head? That was me! And, don’t think that wasn’t a tough one to pull off. It did seem a few years ago, you were becoming more in tune with your sixth sense and less dependent on your eyes and ears. We all, your mom, dad and I, thought perhaps you would shelve the skeptic, listen with your heart instead of your rationale, and allow the awareness of our presence and love for you into your consciousness. My God, the psychic that read for you at White Lily Chapel, specifically detailed that your mom, your aunts and dad were present, using their names and describing the uniform your dad wore! He told you he had never seen anyone so surrounded by spirit love. That should have been enough. But, then my sweetheart, I even made an appearance. You know how much I despise that kind of voodoo magic and drama! He told you there was a “dapper young man” dressed in a suit and red tie, standing behind everyone else. How many “dapper young men” have you known? Dapper, an outdated word but one Mr. Smith used to describe me in the sympathy card he sent you after I died! When did you ever hear that word used again until your reading at White Lily? For the love of God, Becky, we didn’t mess around with butterflies, and pennies on the sidewalk! I had to get pretty aggressive here because you scare us sometimes when you don’t recognize how loved you are, especially those times when you feel so lost and alone. Do you remember the shower incident this spring? Another particularly bad day when things seemed so hopeless for you. It breaks my heart. You were crying in the shower, asking for heavenly support... help, a sign of some kind. You were talking to me. I was there. And, I must say, eleven years later, looking pretty good sweetheart! At least your shower voyeur husband thinks so. I like the ruebensque roundness of your little belly so stop being so hard on yourself and your body. It's strong and healthy. You must always remember those whose health is challenged or fighting illness, and be grateful. I was standing right there, chuckling as you shaved your legs. Don’t you remember how much I used to tease you about convincing our investment club to buy stock in Gillette? You would be retired in your little seaside cottage by now, writing away, to your heart's content. Those perfectly smooth, incredible legs. I was thoroughly enjoying the sight of them and was convinced you would know I was with you if I dropped the razor on the shower floor.... after you left the room. You opened the shower and picked it up and put it back on the shower caddy without even blinking! I even did it two more times! Surely you would know, it had to be me. You know our best talks always took place in the water. Remember, our heart-shaped bathtub in our first apartment? What a conversation piece and great fun for newlyweds! Our own signature love tub. That was just a precursor to our hot tub days. Those snowy nights, steam rising, ice encrusted hair, dreaming and planning. Did you ever fully recognize the shower encounter was a very real manifestation and unique sign, just for you?
So, today, I knew we had to bring out the BIG BALLOON... There can be no more questioning No more rationalizing. A hot air balloon for my girl; right outside her door, on the anniversary of our wedding day. There is no way you can minimize this one away. A part of me is always with you. I am still here...to support you- encourage you - always love you. I am just like the sun, just because you cannot see me in your dark hours, does not mean I don’t exist. Keep your heart open, believe in the magic. It IS real. Follow your instincts. Trust them. We talk to you often through them. I will be back someday to whisk you away in our beautiful balloon, when it’s time. In the interim, follow your dream, have some adventures, raise a glass every day of your life, laugh often; you wear that joy so well..... and most of all, love again. You have the support of heaven, always. What more could you possibly need?"
He held me close, kissed me gently on the cheek and helped me out of the balloon onto solid ground; into the sunshine, into a new reality. We just need to expect an answer, pay mindful attention and welcome, not question the sign; Open our eyes and recognize the gifts presented all the time in simple, gentle ways, by those who have begun their new journey beyond our vision.
Amazingly, but believably now, when I walked back into my den, sitting on the edge of the far left side of the my bookshelves was a treasured book, a special gift from many years ago. It’s name, Laugh, Thought I’d Die if I Didn’t (“Healing through Humor”). I swear yesterday it was lined up in a row with other books in the middle section of the bookshelf. It doesn’t really matter. Opening it to the cover page, the hand scrawled inscription read, “Dearest Rebecca, You have brought so much laughter into my life. I will love you forever.” Mark
And, she lived happily ever after: living, loving, laughing.......confidently, laughing.
And, she lived happily ever after: living, loving, laughing.......confidently, laughing.
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. - Richard Crashaw