08 June 2009

More on Death

This time of year tends to keep me focused on death. The anniversary of my dad's death was just a week ago, and the anniversary of my mom's death is on June 13th.

While thinking about my dad in the last week, I remembered some of the things that happened after his death, things that would bring him to mind and make me wonder whether or not the dead can actually try to communicate with the living. I know this goes against every single thing a "Christian" believes, but these things really happened and I have believed them to be a sign from my dad, a sign letting me know he was ok, and that I would see him again one day.

When my dad died I had a 3 year old and a 1 year old. We still did the family bed at our house, so I would go to bed with my girls and we all watched a bedtime video while they drifted off to sleep. One night about a week after getting back from Florida (and my dad's funeral) I was thinking about him while laying in bed watching a video with my girls. Just then the tv turned off. No reason, it just turned off. I was able to hit power on the remote and it turned right back on. The same thing happened on two other occasions over the next few weeks while I was thinking about my dad. In all 3 instances, nothing was wrong with the tv, no one sat on the remote, the tv just turned off. Now that may seem like nothing, but at the time, I truly felt like my dad was there, that he knew I was thinking about him and worried about him and it was his way of making his presence known. I felt oddly at peace after those episodes.

In October of the year my dad died ( he died May 31), I was still going to the Catholic church. Every year they hold a service for those who have died that year. The service is in the evening, the lights are dimmed and there are votive candles on the altar. When they call your loved ones name, you are able to go up and light a candle for them. At the end all the candles are glowing, it is a very moving service. After I left the service that night and got back in my car, there on the floor of the passengers seat was a shark's tooth. I live in IL, no where near the ocean. My dad was an avid beachcomber of shells and sharks teeth. He had quite the collection of both at his home in Florida. I had been to Florida the previous year when he was dying, but this was 5 months after his death, and the car had been cleaned out many times since our returning from Florida. Plus I don't recall us ever bringing home any of his shark's teeth. But here was one, right in the middle of the floor mat in the front seat of my car. Right after a very moving service of remembrance for my dad. To me it was a sign. Another sign from him telling me he was ok, that there really is an afterlife and that I would see him again one day.

Now you might think I am crazy, you might think these things were all just weird coincidences. I suppose you could be right. But there really was no other explanation than the fact that I had been thinking about my dad at these moments. I know in my heart that somehow my dad was able to send me a message that he was ok. Or maybe it was God sending me the message. Whatever it was, it brought a sense of peace to me at a time when the world made no sense. How does one make sense of a 56 year old man having 6 months from diagnosis to death? It wasn't fair that my dad had to die so young. He had so many plans for his retirement. So much he and my mom wanted to do. My dad did everything right during his life. He worked hard, he was honest, he always did the right thing. And his reward was an early death? So it was very comforting to me to somehow get a sign from him that he was ok. And I do believe he is ok, and that my mom is now with him and I will see them both again someday.

I believe the dead send us signs after they die, we just need to look for them. I think many people never see the signs that have been given to them, signs that will bring them peace, because of some fear that it is not of God or that it just isn't real. I encourage everyone to remember to look for the signs after losing a loved one. They'll let you know they are ok, I know they will.

Death is nothing else but going home to God, the bond of love will be unbroken for all eternity.
~ Mother Teresa~

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