Several years ago I decided to plant my first flower garden and my mom wanted to give me some gladiolus bulbs. My late grandmother in her typically droll way said, “You’d better tell her which end is up.” My mom was stunned and said that of course, I would know that.
But my grandmother was right; I had no idea that I was supposed to plant them with the pointy end up. My gladiolus would have been blooming “all the way down to China”, or more accurately, into the Indian Ocean.
My mom passed away a couple of weeks ago so she and my grandmother are together again. I can imagine the conversation shortly after she arrived. “I want to send Kathy a sign that I’m OK,” she’d say to my grandmother.
Is it a fly?
A few days after my mom died I was sitting with my dad in his favourite coffee shop when a green (my mom’s favourite colour) fly appeared on my left hand. Its tiny torso shone like a water droplet on a green leaf. I noticed how beautiful it was but a moment later, I smucked it. Gone. Not a trace of fly to be seen. Then I thought, “Oh! Was that a sign?”
Up in heaven my grandmother was saying, “Don’t send Kathy another bug”.
Is it a bird?
My parents’ house is on the bank of a river. I stayed there with my dad for several days after my mom’s passing. One day my brother mentioned the Canada birds he’d heard. I had no idea which ones they were but once he pointed out the sound, I realized I’d been hearing them constantly, especially outside the bathroom window in the early morning. They were one of my mom’s favourite birds, but if they were a sign I almost missed them.
It’s a hanger!
On our first visit to the funeral home to make the arrangements, my dad and I took a look around. As we walked through the main entryway, I saw long closets on either side of us. Hanging from each one were rows and rows of big, green, plastic hangers. In most public places, especially a funeral home, you would expect to see stately wooden hangers or sleek, brushed steel, but here were all these green ones. “It’s a sign!” I said to my dad. “Mom would love these!”
It was a sign that this was the right place, that our plans to honour my mom here would work out just fine, with lots of love and lots of green.
c 2013 Kathy Barthel
I look for signs from my mom. She’s been gone almost 5 years now – hard to believe. The first sign from my mom came from my daughter, who said “Grandmom” one day while I was changing her (she was 2 when my mom died). I explained to her that Grandmom was gone, and she replied “I know, Grandmom angel.” Her words surprised me, and when I asked if she saw my mom, my little girl pointed to a corner of our living room. I asked my mom for a sign if she was really visiting. I stepped in the same place every night to turn off the light when we put our daughter to bed, and that night there was something cold under my foot – a dime. I knew it was from my mom. I know that she still visits me, even though it’s been years since she died. I hope you see more signs and I wish you peace.
Hi Kathy. Thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing that beautiful story. I took a look at your blog. You are providing a great service to those who have lost family or friends to cancer. Thank you for checking in. I wish you peace also. Have a wonderful day.:)