closer than we think

Symbols and Signs

It used to be that I’d hear people talk about “signs” from their deceased loved ones and it sounded more to me like an over-active imagination…wanting something so much that they were creating meaning out of a circumstance that was nothing more than happen chance. When my Grandma died, the thing became watching for pennies sent from her. There were tons of penny moments. They were found in her pew at church as Grandpa went to sit alone in his usual spot, on his pillow, on the doorstep to their house where she would always come to greet us, falling out of a childhood book that she would read to us, rolling across the floor out of nowhere in an otherwise empty house, and many more. Some of those I blamed on just chance, some of those I wondered who might have planted it there, some of those just made me wonder if it was really possible. 
Most of us are bashful to say much about these experiences. It sounds crazy. People think you’re making something out of nothing. I thought that. But then I was on the receiving end of some of those. At first, I put it off as just coincidence, but there are simply too many moments like that to be closed minded to the possibility that those things weren’t actually little hellos from heaven that were meant for me.
The dragonfly is the symbol that we came very quickly to associate with Lachlan. Shortly after he died I went for a walk with a neighbor and a dragonfly (a bug that typically has a very erratic flight pattern) flew right with us, lingering within a few feet of us for several blocks. On days when my heart ached the most, a dragonfly or many of them would cross my path. On my rainbow baby, Emmett’s, first birthday, I went for a run and there were dragonflies everywhere. Often I’d see a couple out on a run, but when I began to notice the unusual abundance of them, and started counting, there were at least a couple dozen more. One day my mom randomly found a penny sitting on her dragonfly solar light that sits in her front yard. More recently, as I was texting a group of bereaved mamas working on setting up a time to get together, I was interrupted by a text from my sister-in-law, with a beautiful picture of the canyon and the trees from Lach’s spot at the cemetery. She doesn’t usually hang out at the cemetery on a random week night. Just pure coincidence that of all times either of us could be doing those things, they happen to cross paths, or that she decided to send me that picture then and there? Maybe… or maybe not. Then the next day while I was visiting with those lovely bereaved mamas, as we were chatting, I glanced through the storm door to see the FedEx guy come up to the porch, set down a package, and almost tiptoe away. I wondered why he didn’t ring the doorbell like they usually do, but was glad he didn’t interrupt the conversation. I wasn’t expecting anything, and wondered what it was. When we wrapped up our time together, I opened the package. It was a beautiful garden dragonfly from a childhood friend who lives in Florida. Someone who I rarely get the opportunity to see or talk to. Just coincidence? Maybe…or maybe not.
One of the most profound for me was on Lach’s 8th birthday. I woke up thinking of my boy and as I sat in my usual spot to start my morning prayer, and I looked out the window to see this enormous dragonfly sitting on the side of the deck drying his wings. He was an impressive little dragonfly and being that he showed up on Lach’s birthday, I decided to take a picture. I started from inside and took a few through the window, then went outside to get a couple before he flew away. I often try to take pictures of the dragonflies I see, but they always fly away. I’ve never gotten a decent picture of one of them. But on this day, I crept closer and closer until I was taking pictures of this dragonfly from just inches away. Hmmm…why this unique experience with a dragonfly today of all days?
And then the next morning, I got a text of this video. Leah is my niece, born just 3 days before Lachlan died. She had spent the weekend with her dad, so had not been in a place where there was any discussion of Lach’s upcoming birthday. She woke up that morning and as she was opening her eyes, said to her mama that she had a dream about Lachlan, so her mom grabbed her phone and recorded as she described her dream. It’s interesting that she noted some ages of the kids, but they were older than they were in real life. Their age spans were accurate. When Talia will be 4, Emmett will be 7. More typically in dreams, things are all mixed up and strange combinations of people and events and places are all mashed up together. That’s weird that she would note the ages of the kids and that they are in the future, but still correct age differences. The other thing I find interesting is the WAY she tells the dream. She is obviously still sleepy, but she doesn’t tell the story in quite the same way as kids usually talk about their dreams. There’s something just a little different, as if she’s remembering something that actually happened….or maybe that’s just my imagination. ;) She's never talked about a dream like this before and has not done it again since then. Why in 7 years worth of nights, did her dream occur on the night of Lach's birthday?
I prayed and begged for a long time to have a dream of Lachlan…or, better yet, one of those very real night time visits that so many people describe. I wanted to see his face and know in one more way that he is happy and whole and well. Nothing. No matter how much I wanted it, no matter how much I prayed, I never got that dream. I was beginning to give up on the idea when one night I did finally dream of him. It wasn’t anything profound, I don’t even remember any of the details, but when I woke up, I had to realize that he wasn’t here and my heart ached that much more because of that experience. I thought I would find peace and happiness with a dream of him, and instead, it just brought heartache. My point is, that if those hellos from heaven are not happening for you, or not happening in the way you’d like, there just might be a reason for that. Maybe, just maybe, heaven knows your reaction better than you do, and only has your best interest in mind! My own dream of Lachlan brought heartache, but Leah's dream of him brought me smiles and warm fuzzies.
There is a book called “Rare Bird” that is a story written by a mother chronicling the first year after the death of her son. In there, she is talking to a friend who had a message for her from Jack, her deceased child. As quoted from the book, he said:
“Thank you for being my mom.” He is expressing so much gratitude in a cuddly blanket kind of way. “You will always be my mom. I don’t live in the sky. Why does everyone look up? I’m not up. I’m here (pointing to your heart).” He does not mean as a memory. He means alive in your heart.
Maybe…just maybe…they are closer than we think.