I’m not sure how much I believe about spirits, hauntings, and messages from those who have passed on. I tend to think almost anything is possible, but since I’ve never really experienced any paranormal activity personally (and I’m ok with that!), I can’t vouch for the validity of the concept. My husband has “seen” his father several times, like in our kitchen and in his workshop, and his dad has helped him locate lost hardware pieces in the garage. So, like I said, anything is possible.
What I do believe very firmly in are signs. I believe that our loved ones conveniently send us signs to let us know they are somehow there for us, thinking about us, and to remind us to think about them. Or maybe to pop us a quick love note when we most need it. I’m sure not everyone believes the same as I do, and that’s fine. I understand that coincidences happen. But since every sign I see makes me feel better, I’m sticking to my theory.
Let me give you a few examples. Both of my parents were nature lovers and avid bird-watchers. My mom and I were often referred to as Big Mouse and Little Mouse. Not long after my mom passed, I was going through a bit of a challenging time and was missing her a lot. I was out for a walk in the middle of the day, and there, sitting on the sidewalk in front of me, was a mouse. Not running away, not dead, not ill or attacked by a bird. Just a mouse. Sitting there. It watched me walk by, then hustled off into the grass. Basically any time a bird or an animal shows up in an unusual place or way, I take it as a sign. My brother and I shared stories of visits to the cemetery… when I stopped with my family, a fox ran out of the woods and right across the cemetery, near my mom’s stone. When my brother paid his visit, on the way out, he said a butterfly literally flew alongside his car all the way out.
My dad adored elephants. I swear that for the past year or so since he passed, I have seen elephants everywhere. People were posting cute elephant videos on Facebook, when I shopped, I saw elephant jewelry, home décor, books, artwork – even a giant stuffed elephant in Home Goods. Sure, this all could have been a coincidence, and perhaps there has always been a plethora of elephant-themed items in my world and I’ve never happened to notice them. Or maybe elephants just happened to get trendy… who knows. It doesn’t really matter, because each time, it made me think of him.
Signs don’t have to be as big and as obvious as an elephant. They can be common things, in an uncommon way. Growing up, our yard was a veritable mini wild animal kingdom. One of my activities with Dad when I was a girl was to help set the Have-a-Heart traps to catch chipmunks (and sometimes squirrels), then I’d go with him to drive a couple miles away to a parking area at the end of the local lake to let them loose. We would joke about whether or not the chipmunk would turn around and beat us back home. The other night, on my way home from work, it was a beautiful day, and I had my windows open. I stopped at a light, and heard a rustling in the wooded area along the road. I glanced over and saw a chipmunk pop up on a piece of wood, stop, and – I’m not making this up – stare straight at me. The light changed, he scampered off. Nothing unusual about a forest rodent, I know. But why would I happen to notice it then? Why would it stop and stare at me?
I’ve started to wonder what kind of fun signs I might want to send in the future when I’ve “gone beyond.” I doubt I’ll be big and showy and come back as some kind of apparition or run around opening and closing cabinet doors… as much as I’d find that funny, I’d hate to scare my loved ones. So instead, what kind of signs would make someone think about me?
I doubt my son would care much, or make the connection, if a pair of fabulous women’s shoes suddenly appeared on a sale rack in front of him. So that won’t work. Birds are a convenient sign… there is a fairly common belief out there that whenever you see a cardinal, it is a sign that an angel is near, or a loved one is visiting. Ok, maybe, but that seems like a big burden to all cardinals. Can’t they just come by the feeder because they are hungry? No, I’d send one of my favorites, like a goldfinch or hummingbird, and have it land on someone’s head or perch by the window and stare in the house. Something really obvious. Maybe I’ll send my messages and personality through a future pet puppy…Or, hey, I know, I will somehow manifest myself in the form of a Christmas cookie! You know what? This sign-sending thing could be fun!
But I’m in no rush. For now, I’m happy to keep going through my days here on earth, trying to stay alert to what others are trying to tell me when they can no longer pick up the phone or stop by for a hug. Call me crazy if you want. But when I see a Great Blue Heron fly alongside me while I’m out biking, I’m still going to say “hi mom & dad, love you too.”
So what’s your sign?