I started feeling griefy on Thursday morning. Nothing triggered it; I just felt what I can only describe as emptiness as I prepared my part of Thanksgiving dinner.
When I feel the griefs, I’ve learned to acknowledge, (“I see you, Grief.”) and allow it (“Here’s some tea, now go sit over there.”) and get about my business, which I did. It’s never easy, but I did it.
Yesterday, I woke up feeling even more griefy. Again, I let it sit there, drinking its tea and being kind of judgy, as I cleaned the house and put up some Christmas decorations. I usually listen to music when I clean or decorate, but I know not to stoke the fire, poke the sleeping bear (insert your own metaphor) and feed griefyness a song that would remind me of something or someone, so I worked in silence.
Decorated my little tree-‘o-antiques.
Unwrapped my 1960s kitschy decorations.
Added some bling to the Buddha.
About 3:30, I got a notification from eBay that I’d sold a vintage car manual. There was no rush to get it ready to mail, but except to shake out the kitchen rugs, I hadn’t been outside all day, so I put on my shoes and coat, called for Zuzu, and we walked over to the garage, where I keep my eBay inventory.
When I walked in, I heard music playing, which isn’t unusual since Jim leaves the radio on when he run errands. Lately, he’s been listening to the George Winston holiday station on Pandora, but after a moment, I realized the song that was playing wasn’t a Christmas song, but the hymn “How Great Thou Art.” In that same moment, Zuzu started barking and my daughter Carlene called me.
Earlier this week, I started reading a book that I heard about on the Good Mourning podcast: Laura Lynne Jackson’s Signs: The Secret Language of the Universe. In the introduction, Jackson writes, “You don’t need a psychic medium to recognize and access the signs that I think of as the secret language of the universe – a form of communication that is all around us every day, available to us all…The universe brings the people, information, and events we most need into our paths…Our job is simply to remain open to receiving these messages of love and guidance.”
While I’m skeptical of many “signs” people claim to witness (the outline of the Virgin Mary in pancake batter, for instance), I’ve experienced enough unexplainable incidents to know that some things are too coincidental to be coincidence: a voice in my head telling me to slow down because there’s a deer on the road just around the bend (there was); a sudden need to call a friend I hadn’t talked to in years and finding out her mom had just died; and this one, About Last Night, which you can read on Medium or in my book Common Ground.
I think what happened yesterday was another one of those too-coincidental-to-be-coincidence things.
First, my late husband Bruce was a really good singer, and when he sang in a church, his most requested song was “How Great Thou Art.” His mother insisted it be sung at his funeral, too. It was her favorite. However…“How Great Thou Art” isn’t a Christmas song. Why was it playing…at that moment…on a Christmas channel?
Second, Zuzu barking. There is a spot between our house and the garage where the former (and long dead) owners, Mae and Stoddy, used to have a camp. It was razed many years ago and all that’s there now is grass. Zuzu sometimes stops in that spot, looks up, wags her tail, and barks. Jim always says it’s Mae and Stoddy paying a visit. In the garage, Zu looked up, wagged her tail, and barked. Someone, maybe, was paying a visiting?:
Third, Carlene. She is Bruce’s daughter, too. Her timing was…coincidental?
When we open ourselves to universal energy, Jackson writes, “…we will know the most powerful truth of all – that the universe is constantly loving and supporting and guiding us, even on our darkest days.”
Remain a skeptic, I get that. You’ll get no judgement here. But let me add something tangible to my story: As soon as I recognized that hymn and Zuzu barked and Carlene called, the griefy feeling lifted and I felt a deep sense of love and support. I also didn’t feel I was alone, and not in a creepy way.
“I think your dad’s here,” I said to Carlene when I answered my phone. “Say hi!”
And it will.
It always does.