Monday, December 19, 2016

Best Seats in the House


     Our city rarely gets significant snowfalls but the recent two-week spell of below zero temperatures resulted in a winter wonderland. Yesterday morning, as huge snowflakes continued to fall, my husband and I relaxed with our Sunday morning coffee, enthralled by the beauty just beyond our living room's glass walls. He wondered aloud if hummingbirds flew in these conditions. He had been bringing the feeder in at night, then returning it each morning. We had seen hummingbirds on the clear days, but this morning, nothing. However, just minutes after he spoke, two of them arrived, a male and a female. We were then honoured with a magnificent performance of them flying side by side, for the longest time, all over the back yard. Their endurance was incredible. What a show! Finally, they settled at the base of the feeder pole, the male hovering over the female, and engaged in mating. We could hardly believe our good fortune -  the gift of witnessing these tiny, spirited creatures doing something we had never seen. So the answer to the question is yes, they do, and in the case of these two sweethearts, with gusto!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Priceless Plastic Heart

     And so, the Christmas festivities begin. Just as dusk was falling late yesterday afternoon, our family met up in the forest at Boal Memorial. Decorating the little tree in front of Mike and Kelly's plaques is always a poignant event. The half-moon shining down onto the snow-covered ground added an element of magic to the setting. Gazing upon the faces of my young grandchildren, both mesmerized by the glowing candles and sing-along, my heart was simultaneously filled with a profound love for these two, along with a deep aching for my son. For me, Christmas without him has not become any easier. 
     Our family then made our way back to our younger daughter's home, for a delicious home-cooked meal, where she had laid out a novelty Christmas cracker at each place setting. Crackers were never part of our traditional German festivities, but it certainly was a fun addition to this dinner. After the eight crackers were popped, colourful paper crowns were donned, and tiny gifts discovered, including puzzles, jokes, and decorations. My heart skipped a beat when I realized that my prize was a small, plastic, heart-shaped frame. The only one in our group. An incredibly precious sign of the season.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Precious Bottle of Lotion

     While reaching into the medicine cabinet for my face cream yesterday morning, I noticed that the large container beside it had a puddle of lotion pooled at its base. I did a double take since this pump bottle of aloe lotion is something I have never ever used, lotion no one in this house has ever used. Two-thirds empty and more than five years old, it takes up valuable space in our one and only tiny bathroom. And anyone who knows me well, knows this - I am ruthless when it comes to purging items, a trait that comes in handy when living in a small space. But this, it stays.
     I discovered this bottle of lotion in my son's room soon after he and Kelly died. It had obviously been hers. Two years later, there was no question it would make the move here to this home since it was the only personal item of Kelly's that I had.  
     Now, a puddle. I have seen this happen once before, a year or two ago. Most likely, there is a clear scientific explanation for this, but both times it resulted in a cherished emotional and energetic connection to Kelly. The value of something so seemingly insignificant as an old, no longer in use, bottle of lotion ... precious and priceless.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Still Very Much Here

     Listening to a family member eloquently describe her recent encounter with Mike's spirit was incredible. He touched on aspects of his recent life here, then shared some of his current experiences, including interactions with spirit relatives. Starting out on a serious note, he referred to some regrets, as well as new insights, regarding his family, then lightened the mood with his charisma and sense of humour. The underlying message was I am always with you.
     Whether I enjoy a personal experience with spirit, or hear about it secondhand, the impact is always powerful. Proof of what I know to be true of spirit connection, what many of us know to be true: Our loved ones are always right here. 
     Sitting in my garden, contemplating the hummingbird feeder, all I see in the dish is what appears to be just water. But what I know is that it has added sugar, creating nectar for the birds. Even though the crystals dissolved, the sugar is still very much there. And so it is with spirit.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Pennies Become Pure Gold

     A couple of hours after writing last week's blog post, another beautiful sign from spirit appeared while I was shopping in a downtown department store. A very personable salesman helped me find a cosmetic item, and then, when it came time to pay, accompanied me to the nearby register, where he rang up the purchase. After handing him my money, his cash drawer opened. While making change, his expression became puzzled, and then he commented, "I wonder what this penny is doing here?" An understandable reaction since it has now been three and a half years since the Royal Canadian Mint stopped penny production and merchants began rounding prices up/down in order to omit pennies on cash purchases. I smiled and simply said, "Pennies from heaven".  He looked at me somewhat curiously so I told him that pennies occasionally appear in my life in connection with my son. With kindness, he acknowledged my comment, then returned his attention to the cash drawer where he noticed a second penny and asked if I wanted them both. Of course I did. He placed the coins in my hand, whereupon I promptly checked the dates - both 2011, the year Michael and Kelly died. Two pennies, two hours later, for those two ... moments such as these are pure gold. 
( PS - to top it off, over the following few days, I was notified of winning fabulous prizes from three separate contests! )

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Did That Just Happen?

     In advance of my upcoming overseas trip, I downloaded an app onto my cellphone yesterday afternoon, in order to help me stay connected with family, without incurring any great costs. I had heard reference made to WhatsApp a couple of times, but knew nothing about it. Once downloaded, I noticed an updated list of my phone contacts, notifying me of those using this app. Scrolling down, I saw Michael Gibson listed there, with the notation, "Hey there! I am using WhatsApp". What?! Had he downloaded this app before he died? Was it even around five years ago? Impulsively, I went into the Chat function and typed,
 "Miss you 💗".
     Obviously, he would not actually answer his phone. My assumption was that the message would go out into the ether and that the intention behind it would be felt by my son. Seconds later, I heard an audio alert on my cell and read the reply, "Sorry, but who r u?" In that moment, I felt as if I was in a parallel universe. I walked into my living room and settled into the lounge chair located near the large, open, glass sliding door. It took me a few minutes to figure out that Michael's cell number must have been reassigned to someone else so I typed out a short reply apologizing for the mistaken identity.
     When I was done, I sat there looking out into the yard, contemplating what had just happened when I suddenly caught sight of a tiny feather drifting down, just outside the door opening. I jumped up, stepped outside, and started laughing as I watched it land on the path, right beside the glass door. "Are you kidding?" and "Did that just happen?" swirled around in my mind. This time around it was a light grey feather, instead of the usual white, and I am not yet sure if the colour is of great significance or not. One thing I do know for sure is how grateful I am to have access to the myriad ways of staying connected to family, regardless of where in the world we may be.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Angling In

      A couple of weeks ago, my brother's new life partner texted me, asking for a couple of pictures to be included in the family photo gallery she's creating in their new home. She suggested the family picture be the one taken at Mike's best friend's wedding last year and left it up to me to select a favourite photo of my son. After much deliberation, I chose one showing him smiling ear to ear, taken during one of his many fishing excursions with my brother. He loved his Uncle Walt and the joy of this shared moment on the river is palpable. 
     I ordered a large print of each photo and they arrived at my place two days ago. Gazing at the pictures, I considered whether to mail them to their house or wait until we might next see each other. Less than a minute later, I received a message from my brother inviting my husband and I to go sturgeon fishing with the two of them this weekend. I have only been sturgeon fishing twice, the last time was in 2009, during which this photo was taken - guided by my brother, the day included my husband and all my children, along with their best friends. Great memories! With the bonus of sunshine in the forecast, I am really looking forward to tomorrow's outing, and undoubtedly, Mike will be angling in on our experience.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Motherly Moments


     My young, newly-married mother gave birth to me, her first born, a few months after arriving here from Germany in 1956. With her minimal English and limited options, she cleaned houses for the first ten years to help make ends meet. Happily, she was able to give that up when she realized her dream of becoming a hairdresser. She absolutely loved her job and the clients in Edgemont Village. 
     When she passed away fourteen years ago, her family and friends dedicated a memorial bench to her in this same neighbourhood. If you find yourself in the village on Mother’s Day, you may notice the fresh flowers on her bench. If you have a few minutes, why not sit and enjoy the moment? If you are a young, harried mother, it may be an opportunity to catch your breath. If you are a mother with adult children, you might reminisce about precious moments you enjoyed while raising them. If your own mother is no longer with you, maybe a cherished memory of her will fill your heart. If you are a mother who has lost a child, perhaps you will settle into the deep connection with that love that never dies. And if you are lucky enough to be a grandmother, well, you might sit for a long while, just smiling at your good fortune.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Pink Feather

     Last week, Kelly came to me in a short, but beautiful, vivid dream. With a carefree and happy demeanour, she playfully ran across a grass field, exuding love. It had been years since I dreamt of her - it felt wonderful to feel her presence again. 
     Today, midway through boot camp, our group headed outside for an activity on the back parking lot and while running over to the equipment, I noticed a small, neon pink feather lying on the pavement. I picked it up and looked around to see if there was an obvious source or if there were any others ... no and no. Then, my thoughts turned to Kelly. I could not help but think this feather was linked to the dream, since they were both filled with the same kind of love energy. That fun, free and easy kind of love. Smiling all the way into my heart, I turned the feather this way and that before tucking it into my pocket for safe keeping.  
     I am grateful for both these exquisite events, for heaven knows, one can never experience too much love!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Rest in Peace


     After eighty-five years on this earth, my father died March 5th, achieving a goal he had set for himself decades ago - "I'm going to live to be 85." An adventurer, life-long scholar, health conscious man with a can-do attitude, he lived a long, full life. Fortunately, he did not have to endure a prolonged period of suffering before he died.
     The last time I saw him, before visiting him in the hospice the day before he died, was at my son's funeral, five years ago. The difficult relationship between my father and I resulted in estrangement from one another for the past seven years. However, I am grateful for the many opportunities he offered me for personal growth - no regrets. And he excelled at being an Opa, throwing himself fully into that role with his five grandchildren. 
     Still enjoying downhill skiing a couple of months before he died, it was fitting that he was buried with his ski poles. May he rest in peace and fully experience love on the other side. I continue to send him mine.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Coming Up on Five Years

     Considering that it is coming up on five years without him, some people may be surprised to know that I do not fully comprehend the fact that my son is dead. Despite my lifelong belief in everlasting spirit, and numerous personal experiences of connecting to the invisible, I still shake my head in confusion. It is not about denial, nor a reluctance to access my emotions. And it is certainly not due to an unwillingness to understand. What I put it down to is the very real possibility that a mother can never fully make sense of the death of her child.
     I suspect that our brains are not hardwired for this scenario, nor is an after-market add on available either. Job loss, ill health, end of a significant relationship, death of a parent or friend - I believe that for the most part, we are programmed with the capacity to process these life events. But the death of ones child? How is it possible to reconcile giving birth to this precious being, then day in and day out fully invest oneself in his growth, only to be asked to live without his physical presence years later. I would venture to say that being able to fully comprehend the death of ones child is likely impossible.
     Of course, whether I fully understand it or not hardly affects the journey of living with this loss. Every day, every single day, it simply comes down to focussing on joy, love and gratitude as much as possible.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Michael Comes Through Loud and Clear


     My spontaneous decision to stop by the grand opening of a new metaphysical shop resulted in receiving a most magnificent reading. It had been years since I last had a card reading, and rather than ask for guidance on a specific issue, I opted for being open to hearing whatever came through.  
     There was no doubt that the woman I chose to sit down with had excellent abilities when she began the session with, "I see a young man ... he's in his early twenties ... he's your son." Michael came through loud and clear, reassuring me with, "Wherever you are, there I am," as well as wrapping me in a white ribbon of protection. He also communicated that we will never lose our heart connection. Michael then showed the reader some miniature trains, a reference which I instantly understood. I have strong memories of him as a child amusing himself with his Brio train set - as young as three years old, he would play with it alone in his bedroom for hours upon hours. This set is one of the few playthings I kept for my grandchildren, and last week, when my three-year-old granddaughter was over, she asked to play with the trains, so we did. At some point during that afternoon I explained to her that these had been Uncle Mike's. Now in this reading, the reader explained that Michael was telling her that he had been right there beside us, chuckling while we played.
     For forty-five minutes, she brought forth all this valuable information, as well as tidbits about other aspects of my life. I left feeling connected, supported, and inspired - extremely grateful for further evidence of the everlasting connection between life and death.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Significant Birthdays and Unexpected Gifts

     This week of significant birthdays, along with unexpected gifts, began with my mother's birthday on January 4th. Were she still living she would now be eighty-one years old. Looking to buy flowers for her memorial bench, and with the local shop where I usually bought them now closed, I stopped in at another neighbourhood store where I had see flowers for sale in the past. When I asked the clerk where they were, she told me they no longer carry cut flowers but that they still had some potted white poinsettias, then offered to give me one, no charge. As I approached the till, she insisted I take two, explaining that the bench would look much nicer that way. Such a thoughtful gift!
     Wednesday, I showed up for my weekly boot camp group class to discover that I was the only participant, and as a result, received the gift of a one-hour private session at the drop-in price. So lucky!
     Thursday, I stopped by an outdoor equipment store and when I arrived at the checkout, noticed a promotion - for each pair of snowshoes purchased, the buyer would receive a free snowshoe ticket valid for the Callaghan trails, an area I've never explored. I had given my husband snowshoes for Christmas and when I explained this to the cashier, he was happy to honour the promo. Sweet gift!
     Today is my son's birthday. He would be thirty, were he still here. This morning, I will be meeting up with a friend who also lives with the experience of losing a child. The gift of support from someone who understands. This evening, our family will gather for dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory, as we have every January 8th since Michael died. The gift of each other as we carry on to the best of our abilities without our funny, loving, handsome guy.
     This week finishes out with my best friend's 60th birthday tomorrow. We will be celebrating a woman who has been an integral part of my life for close to forty years. A sister to me, an aunt to my children. The gift of a relationship I cannot imagine living without. Most precious, worth its weight in gold.