Monday, July 22, 2019
On Friday evening, my brother and his wife arrived at our cabin for a family weekend that would include fishing, golfing, arts and crafts, along with water play, meals on the beach and late evening campfire stories. For the first time ever, they would sleep in our little trailer (we bought about seven years ago) since all our cabin bedrooms were full, and they had decided against bringing up their trailer. My husband and I had arrived Thursday, and our oldest daughter and her family had already been up here for a week.
Saturday morning, my sister-in-law received the shocking news from Spain that her youngest sister (one of eight siblings, all living in Spain) had died of a heart attack, in her sleep. It was of course devastating news, and communicating with her siblings to find out more about the situation was made even more difficult due to the different time zones.
This morning, I found out that my brother and his wife had been awakened around 5am today by a persistent beeping alarm in the trailer. After much searching, my brother finally found the source of the noise - a CO2/propane alarm located under the bed. After checking the trailer inside and out, he realized there wasn’t a propane tank to be found and no furnace or gas stove was in use so he couldn’t figure out what was causing the beeping. He was eventually able to reach far enough underneath the bed to push the reset button on the alarm which shut off the beeping noise, allowing them to both to doze off again for a couple of hours. My sister-in-law noticed that the beeping had occurred the same time that her sibling were at the tanatorio (funeral parlour) to say their last goodbyes before the funeral which had been arranged for the following day.
Later this morning, after we all said our goodbyes with big hugs near the top of the stairs, my brother and his wife drove off. Our oldest daughter and her family then got into their truck and as I walked over to them for a last goodbye, I noticed a small, green, plastic heart lying in the grass in the precise spot where we had all just gathered. I could hardly believe that it had not been spotted before now. Each one of us had walked over this exact area many, many times over the course of the weekend.
While I began cleaning up the cabin, my husband pulled out some trailer information to try and figure out what had caused the alarm’s beeping sound to go off in the first place. After reading it through, he announced, “It looks like it’s an end of life situation”. What?? He showed me the particular paragraph he was reading - its heading: “End of Life Mode”. Communication received with love, loud and clear.
Saturday, July 13, 2019
A while back, on a cool and cloudy Sunday morning, my husband and I were wondering where to go for a good, long walk. I was thinking False Creek, an area we frequent regularly, when he threw out the idea of the 11 km loop trail around Burnaby Lake. It had been more that a year since we last explored that area, so off we went.
About 1/2 hour in on our nature walk, I mentioned to him that seeing a hummingbird nest is still high up on my wish list but that I had no idea how to find one. Even though we have numerous hummers visiting our backyard feeders daily, finding a nest has been fruitless. I continued thinking out loud that maybe I should contact a local Birding Association for some direction. Moments later, my husband said he had a Facebook friend Rob who is an avid birder and photographer, and that maybe he would be able to give me some direction. He told me that they had known each other in high school but were in different grades and not spent much time together. Then a few years ago, Rob had sent my husband a FB request which he accepted.
It seemed like this man might be a good resource so I filed the idea to contact him in the future. Then a few minutes later, I decided - Why not now? I asked my husband for his phone and messaged Rob explaining who I was and asking if he had any suggestions on how to find these elusive nests.
About 45 minutes later, we were now on the other side of the lake when we passed a man and a woman walking together towards us. A few moments after we passed each other, my husband stopped in his tracks, turned around and walked back to where the couple had paused to take photos. He asked the man if his name was Rob. Oh yes, it was - the same Rob I had just messaged! We explained who we were and mentioned the text message which he had not yet noticed. After a short visit during which Rob shared, among other things, some information with us about hummers and their nests, my husband and I carried on walking the loop trail, both gobsmacked by what we had just experienced. My husband could not get over, a) he had actually taken note of the couple as we passed ( he is generally daydreaming, not noticing much in the way of details), b) walked back to ask the man's name (his nature is to second guess himself, then dismiss a thought like this), and incredulous that he would recognize him. Turns out that Rob only posts his nature photos on FB, none of himself, not even in his profile picture.
All of this unfolded on a day when I was deeply missing Michael. All morning, it had taken great resolve to keep the intense sadness from tipping into despair, the heartache only beginning to ease midway through our walk. I am still searching for the tiny hummingbird nest but confident that I will have the joy of seeing one someday. In the meantime, I cherish this sustaining experience of electrifying synchronicity.
Image courtesy of Brigitte Werner