Many of you have shared how comforting it is to read about all the funny and fascinating, touching and sweet ways my mother has left signs of her presence. If you know of others who would find this writing of comfort, please feel free to pass it on. The more love is shared, the better. Especially when a loved has recently departed, we are helped in feeling ever connected to those who have left their bodies. It is important to remember that, even if you have not noticed clear “signs,” it does not mean they are not happening. Most of us find it all to easy to discount the little coincidences or to fear that, in believing if they are from one who has “died,” it is a little too spooky (like a spooky ghost), to accept them.
At one point, I was “spooked” by these things, particularly because the signs were so frequent. Luckily, my husband and I were usually both witness to my mother’s messages. We could testify for each other. The fact that both of us experienced these events is not so common. More often, there is only one person receiving the attention of the departed, and usually the signs do not come in the form of hundreds and hundreds of signature pieces.
I say “signature” because the spirit world often chooses common themes or forms to communicate their presence. Some of these are butterflies, dragonflies, various types of birds and other wild life, feathers, rainbows, fragrances, certain tunes, lights flashing, water running, the moon. There are many. Over time, my mom’s special forms became clear to us, but they weren’t at the beginning.
In short order, we knew that butterflies, violets, Dvorak’s Symphony “From the New World”, and the moon were some of her favorites. But she was ever creative, almost as if she was playing a fun game with us. We had the feeling that she was grinning from ear to ear when one of her carefully grafted events were recognized. At times, we thought she was getting carried away and we would say, “Mom, we get it; We know you are here with us!”
As we continued our Memorial Day Weekend activities, Mother came up with a few new ones to entertain, not just Richard and me, but my brother and sister in law as well.
As the four of us walked through the greenhouse and garden areas, selecting plants to adorn her and my father’s gravesite. We discussed the merits of each we considered. Would they be hardy, survive without the need for watering, what combination of shapes and colors were best? Judy, with a bit of whimsy, suggested we plant some catnip. Good idea! Mother adored her many cats and maybe some cats would be attracted to visit her at the cemetery. (Not that she was still restricted to the place where her body had been placed.)
Where we live in Connecticut, there is a lot of wildlife. My mother, Richard and I grew to relish seeing the many that came onto our property. I even went so far as to name some of them. The deer were special favorites; we spent countless hours watching the drama of deer life – the does expecting their young in the spring then later bringing their fawns for an introduction, the mighty bucks regally displaying their antlers of all sizes, some with as many as 12 points. We were honored when the bucks “dropped” their antlers on our property. We saw this as a priced possession that they left for us to enjoy and a form of thanks for the corn we fed them in the deep of winter. The deer, however, could be destructive, eating plants and shrubbery. With this in mind, I asked my brother if we needed to get deer resistant plants, something we always consider for our property.
“I’ve never seen deer at the cemetery,” my brother said. So we let it go. Most of our relatives, aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, in Michigan were buried there, so there had been many visits to this place.
With shovels and all the usual gardening equipment we arrived at Bethlehem Cemetery. It was the first time I had been there since the markers had been changed showing the year of Mother’s death. I steadied myself for the experience and felt again sad when I read it. To me, it had always seemed that the second date was far away when, of course, it wasn’t.
We did our work, said some words of comfort and personal feeling. I took one of my mother’s little ceramic Siamese cats she had collected and cherished for years and quietly placed it next to the head stone. I told her that it was from Dasher, the cat that was with her to the end and now was our cherished friend.
As we began to drive through the cemetery to stop at the graves of other relatives, something caught our eye. It was a large deer running among the stones. Aha! There were deer there after all or did one just drop by to bid adieu to my mother? We were surprised.
Then something else caught our eye. We were stunned to see a woodchuck roaming about with its head stuck in a large pale green can. It careened with each step. We all became concerned and longed to help it, the sight was so pathetic, but there was nothing we could do. The cemetery attendant was not present so we drove home. As we did we wondered if this was some vision mother had arranged. When she lived in Ann Arbor, she did many battles with groundhogs that made a home under her deck, then chomped away on the wood siding. She complained about them all the time. “So there,” she might have said, “I just put a can on your head. No more chewing on my deck!” But Judy and I fretted all day about that poor woodchuck and even made calls to seek help for the little creature.
A few days later, we returned to Connecticut. We were greeted by a family woodchucks waiting for us under our side porch – a mother and three little babies. We found them charming. We had never had a family reception like that before.
As I was midway in writing these words and looked out the window, right on cue and by our side porch were a mother and four little fur ball groundhogs. It was the first time they emerged, as I said, right on cue. Another signature theme, the groundhog.
Oh! Something else. Also midway through this writing and also right on cue – Dvorak’s Symphony was playing on the radio again. That makes three of the four times I have written, Mother struck up the band. You must have quite an orchestra up there in heaven.