Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Rare Bird Part 4



So I teased you a while back by showing you a picture of a bird on my windowsill, promising to fill you in later. I have a story to tell you about him, but I have hesitated in case you are starting to think I’m a whack-job with all of the signs I’ve received since Jack died: the Bible verse that showed up on my phone hours after the accident, the songs that played on their own, the achingly beautiful sunsets for months of rainy Thursdays at the exact time of his death, a divinely-inspired poem that captured the essence of my son, your dreams and visions and experiences that have shouted “Jack is more than fine!”, a “jacked up” Valentine’s crossword puzzle, and a feeling of peace and hope that makes zero sense yet pervades my days.

I thought about keeping this sign, the bird, to myself. But, as I told a friend last week, I care less now than ever before if people think I’m a weirdo. It’s as if having lost a child, there just isn’t much else to lose, you know? I also have a strong sense that sharing what’s going on is important, even if I don’t understand it fully. Important for me in the telling, but perhaps important for you, too.

So here goes:

About 3 months ago I was having a particularly shitty Saturday. I’ve told you weekends are the worst, right? During the week I seem to muddle through with work/school /dinner/homework/bedtime pretty well, but the weekends just kind of ooze with their wretched Jack-less-ness.

So I cried out (inside my head, lest I would scare the neighbors) that I was desperate and hurting and miserable. I didn’t think I could go on. I needed help. Scary images of the accident and my beautiful brown-eyed boy in a terrible situation flashed through my mind again and again. I felt sick about the future of our family.

I cried out, then I did what any grieving blogger would do to while away some time—begin to cruise the internet in my office. I noticed a few tiny fuzzy gray feathers stuck to the window right next to my desk. In my anger and frustration, I may have said to myself, “Great! I need comfort and all I’m going to get is a dead bird. So NOT helpful.” I refused to look more closely because I didn’t think seeing a dead bird on the ground outside my window would provide any solace while I was missing my Rare Bird so terribly.

An hour or so later I stood up to look directly at the windowsill —which is not visible when I’m sitting down. The cutest chubby gray bird sat there looking at me, perhaps stunned from flying into the window earlier. But if it hadn’t been for the tiny bit of feather fuzz stuck to the window from his mishap I never would have known there was anything to see out there, so I was now thankful for that fuzz.

I wasn’t sure what to think. Was this my sign? Another visit from a bird? Was the bird here to keep me company as I blogged and moped and railed? Had it been hanging around all day, for I know it had been there several hours at least. I wasn’t sure what to do next. In such an instance, do I talk to God? Do I talk to Jack? Do I talk to the bird?

I decided to take pictures.

A lot of pictures, with the camera buzzing and flash flashing. The bird let me get super close and still it didn’t budge. He just sat there looking cute as I made my way back to my desk, sheepishly wondering if it was somehow disrespectful to cruise Facebook while experiencing what was most likely a gift of supernatural comfort.

After a while I thought, much as I appreciate my little visitor, what if the little bird COULDN’T fly away? A maimed bird is right up there with a dead bird in my book as far as depressing signs go. I mean, I wanted the bird to be hanging out because he wanted to, not because his wings were broken. So I went outside and walked right up to him. I put my face close to his and then he flew. He flew! He flew into a holly tree next to the window, where he proceeded to... look at me some more.

I felt euphoric that he could fly! I felt surprised that in my time of great distress, once again I was comforted by a little bird. I felt this would make my clever Rare Bird smile.

In a short time, my mind had traveled from the darkest place of hopelessness to a place where I could ponder the humor and creativity of God and of my my sweet boy who, while physically separated from me, still lives on if I really do believe what I say I believe. Once again, I was reminded of how the veil between here and there, earth and heaven seems to be so much thinner than I ever could have imagined. I thought about how we are all in for some neat surprises when it's our turn to go.

But then I wondered, how long do I hang out with the bird? What if I have to go to the bathroom? What if I just have a ridiculously short attention span and am ready to move on with my day? Could I please just take my comfort “to go?” So I picked the tiny gray fuzz off the window to keep, smiled at the bird, and went back inside.

And yes, I washed my hands.

113 comments:

Mrs Changstein said...

Love that you used whack job- so do I! along with 'whack-a-doodle'. And sweet Anna, I'm praying for that peace for you...every morning at 9 a.m. Your time. So happy that our dear Father is caring for you so!!

Franny said...

This is amazing. I believe in the "signs," and if that makes me a whack job, then whack job I will happily remain. Please keep us updated on that bird if he comes by again. Also, I am glad that you washed your hands after handling the feathers - another reason why I am a whack job.

Kelly R said...

He is sooo cute! I am so happy that you are having peaceful moments! What an amazing sign from your sweet boy and our sweet father.
xo

the mama bird diaries said...

I don't think you are a weirdo at all. I think you are a wonderful mother and writer. Always sending love and prayers. xo

Lou said...

Hate Jacklessness. Love the idea of the thin veil. I've had ladybugs watching over me recently. God is creative, humorous, and good. Thanks for sharing. I feel less alone in my whackjobness.

Anonymous said...

you're not a wierdo at all. i completely believe in signs like these. they have happened to me in my own grief. so don't be afraid to share these kinds of stories. i think they are reassuring to everybody.

Kathy said...

What a blessing! I cannot comprehend - it is beyond my understanding, how, in your 'darkest times', you continue to so richly give to your readers. I hope that our prayers and love continue to also give some measure of comfort to you. Your Jack is wonderful.

starnes family said...

I do believe in signs and think this is amazing.

You're amazing, Anna. Your sense of humor still shines through this tough time.

michelle said...

Anna! I was coming over to inch of gray to ask you to please stop leaving us hanging about the bird...thank you, thank you for acknowledging these signs. There is no way your charming boy & loving God are leaving you alone in this earthly existence. My heart is overflowing with love for your family tonight, just as the tears are overflowing my eyes. Tonight though, I feel a warm hug of comfort along with the heart wrenching sense of unfairness & sorrow. Love you. xoxo, michelle

Melanie said...

What an amazing sign! I believe Jack is watching his Mama, keeping an eye on her constantly, wishing her comfort. Along with our heavenly father, of course.

Huge hugs!

Mrs Changstein said...

So weekends are the toughest? Sister On!!! I got the BEST brainwave from God during Bible Study - I was alternating between giving everybody the bum's rush & making an excuse to run to my laptop.
So, how about those who pray each 'sign up' to take time every weekend to pray for Anna, Tim, & Margaret. Choose a time slot & pray. Doesn't have to be for like, an hour. But choose an hour of the weekend to spend a few minutes covering these precious ones in prayer. I'm all anal retentive, & was trying to work out in Bible Study just how to embed a spreadsheet here, adding in time differences, & all that. You can tell that was time well spent, right? But God knows. Pick your slot...I'll go first. I'll take 2am Sunday Eastern time. Cuz I'm out west & that's 11 Sat night here on the coast. Right?? (Yup, spreadsheet would've come in handy) Who'll be next?

New Mom said...

Is that the cutest bird EVER? So chunky and sweet! I love that you are experiencing signs and God's grace! I pray for many many more encounters with Jack and glimpses of heaven. (Mrs Changstein, I'll take a 7am Saturday slot on the west coast)

Dana @ Bungalow'56 said...

I don't think you are a whack job at all. I am thrilled with your bird. He let you walk right up to him? Amazing. I would have been wondering about facebook in light of a huge sign too. Made me chuckle. Your signs give me hope for what we will all eventually have to face.
Dana

Kar said...

You are the bravest woman I have ever encountered. I am a new reader and look forward to your posts. I laugh with you and I cry with you. Your journey towards healing is difficult yet amazing to watch, but know that you are in my daily prayers.

Connie said...

You have all been in my thoughts today. I notice that you are getting together with other parents who have lost a child and a book I read a long time ago came to my mind. It is written by a father who lost his two children as a result of a fire. the book is called Year One and the author is John Tittensor. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Renee said...

You, Anna, are SO far from being a weirdo or a whackjob. Do not ever think of that of yourself. As a mom, I would be feeling the same exact way you are.... looking for signs and questioning EVERYTHING. I have not gone through anything like this, but do know and feel it is normal as a parent, especially for a mom. I have a feeling that bird will be hanging around your yard and window for awhile.

Jeane` said...

I love it, and I know of what you speak. After our stillborn little girl was born, I was given several signs. One, included a bird too... http://thecoffeecottage.blogspot.com/2009/12/in-months-following-our-eldest-daughter.htmlcluded a bird!).
I cannot imagine having lost one you knew so well, our stories are so different, with your pain reaching so much deeper.I do admire the way you are leaning into the pain. So very much. I am just simply so sorry.

PLEASE, forgive me if I presume, but in case you are desperate for reading material, here is another such "sign" I had that is one of my favorites: http://thecoffeecottage.blogspot.com/2011/04/yellow-bench-part-one.html

I am not sharing these because I think we have similar situations that brought us these sign, because they are each so different. Just sharing a similar sign's of God's tender loving care when we can't see past the shit.

Lisa said...

You are not a weirdo, I like to believe in signs also. I like to think it is away that our loved one are trying to say Hello. I think it keeps you going everyday till we all meet up again.

Julie B. said...

My nine-year-old has been going through hell lately with a seizure disorder. I have been so angry and bitter and would rather not talk to anyone who has a "healthy", "normal" child right now. Silly, sort of, because I have a "normal", "healthy" five-year-old. But anyway, I've been at a low point with it all. I want to remember to be thankful that he is here with me. To hug him and just trust that God has a plan for all this. Everytime I read your words, I am encouraged. If Anna can go on; so can I. Your words break my heart for you; because as a mom, I can't fathom your heartbreak. But Anna, you can't possibly know how much your words inspire others. I am one of those who have been inspired to believe more, live more, love more and appreciate more.

I wish I could say something that would make you feel happy. But I think you've instead done that for me today. I pray you get your "happy" today too!

xo

Anonymous said...

"Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin' sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin', "This is my message to you"



Everything's going to be alright. Because you can't wash away love. It beams eternal and you will one day find it again without pain.



Think of you so much xxx

The Empress said...

I think of you every day, Anna, and really wish you'd get on twitter.

You would feel less lonely.

We're all here...I really wish.

It takes a second..

Think about it.

Patricia said...

There is no way that anyone would ever think that you, or anyone, is a "whack job" !! You are acknowledging signs from your little boy, and our heavenly father, that are meant to be acknowledged ! You have the wisdom, and the sensitivity, to see them ! Don't stop looking for, and accepting these signs - they are real

Sherry Carr-Smith (@prcarrs) said...

I think of you and your family all the time. And I would not want to exist in a world without signs. Even if that did make me a weirdo!

Kate said...

Beautiful! Your ability to write so eloquently about exactly where you are is truly heartfelt. My thoughts & prayers go out to you & your family!

The Carens Clan said...

Wow God is so awesome! So happy you shared this, and no you are not a weirdo :) not even close! We all love you!

ella said...

Thank you for sharing this, Anna. I'm praying for you and your family every single day. Love you all.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing, it's sweet not crazy.

ALI said...

God is so good. I'm glad you gave you hope in a time you so desperately needed it, in a form that you could recognize & treasure.

More than half the time we forget to listen. Through this all, you haven't. Another thing to be thankful for.

Prayers & hugs!

Ellie {Musing Momma} said...

All I can think is WOW! Especially after I read through your other posts about bird posts, it seems so clear that was more than a random bird. I've struggled for years with WANTING to believe there is something bigger out there, a place for our spirits live on, and WANTING to be touched spiritually, yet not being able to MAKE it happen. Then I read stories like yours, and I start to believe. Truly, truly I do. Thank you. Anna, I am so glad that this rare bird brought you comfort on a rough day. Jack is looking out for you.

Unknown said...

Love this. Thank you for sharing.

Lisa said...

You are not a weirdo. Nope. I am a firm believer in signs from those who have left us...and whom we will meet again...someday.

I am glad to hear that this little bird brought you so much comfort on a wretched Saturday. It is the little things that get us through our grief day by day...

Stefanie said...

I'm not hugely religious, but I totally believe in signs, and I'm so glad you keep getting them. Nice to know Jack is nearby and still checking in on you. Still wishing you peace, and will continue to do so.

Thanks for sharing, I WAS wondering about the bird story :)

kj said...

I have a 'bird song' on my heart to share with you in case you haven't heard or thought of this one. It's an old Spiritual, "I'll fly away." Some versions have the bird flying from a prison cell. This version has the bird, "thrown, driven by the storm."

I can't fathom how devastating it is to imagine the last moments of Jack's life, but pray that you might see him being "thrown, driven by the storm" through the thin veil, to open his eyes on the other side, and see his Savior face to face.

I'll Fly Away

Some glad morning when this life is over, I'll fly away.
To a home on God's celestial shore, I'll fly away.

I'll fly way, O Glory, I'll fly away.
When I die, Hallelujah by and by, I'll fly away.

When the shadows of this life have flown, I'll fly away.
Like a bird thrown, driven by the storm, I'll fly away.

I'll fly way, O Glory, I'll fly away.
When I die, Hallelujah by and by, I'll fly away.

Just a few more more weary days and then, I'll fly away.
To a land where joy shall never end, I'll fly away.

I'll fly away, O Glory, I'll fly away.
When I die, Hallelujah by and by. I'll fly away.

Christina :) said...

Oh please don't stop sharing your signs! You do not sound like a whack job. I believe in signs...and have experienced lots of them throughout my life. i only wish i had written them all down so that i could remember them during the hard times. Reading about yours makes me smile...they make my heart ache but in a good way. I am thankful for stumbling upon your blog! Bless you sweet friend! And here is to MANY MANY more signs!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing. You're helping us and I hope we're helping you. I know your life will never be the same. I just hope it becomes less painful. I also hope that by sharing your pain and us feeling it with you, helps you heal as well.

Princess Kate said...

My dad was a huge St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan and so the cardinal has always been our family "mascot". Since his death, every time I see a cardinal whether sitting in a tree or floating through the sky, I think of my dad free from his pain of cancer and in a place of indescribable joy. I've even caught myself having conversations with cardinals (they never answer back don't worry -- that would be crazy). But it does give me peace in my heart and a smile on my face.

If this is whacky then I'm whacky. Whack Jobs Unite!!!!

Always praying for peace and comfort (and that time machine).

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants said...

There is such comfort in your words and experiences. Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely believe this is a sign! When my grandmother passed away, often when I thought of her, I would see a butterfly. It's been many years and I still see butterflies when I am really missing her. On my wedding day, I saw one. Which was very strange because it was late fall and very cold -- a unusual time to see a butterfly. I don't know you or your family personally, but read your blog everyday. I pray for you, Jack and your family all the time.

Anonymous said...

That bird is a junco, also known as a snowbird. Beautiful post.

Anne said...

No you are NOT a whack job.Wow... love all these little gifts God is giving you.I know this IS God and Jack speaking to you.He is answering my prayers OUR prayers to watch over you all and bring you comfort.Thank you God for continuing to watch over this family.We will continue praying.

fiwa said...

I'm so glad you are sharing your signs. Sure, some people will think you are crazy, but some of us need that hope. Don't ever think because you are a stranger on the internet that your words can't help others, because they can, and they do.

darsden said...

you are so far from being a whack-job !!! I loss my beloved best freind Mom ... I have been blessed with signs too. Heart stopping head shaking is it real signs!!! I understand and hear you and really appreciate your eloquence in your painful and all too real journey.

Child of God said...

Keep sharing your signs, they encourage me and others. :)

When my mom passed away, I had very life and vivid dreams of her visiting me and comforting me. I cherish these dreams and hold on to them and live them over and over again.

Thanks for sharing, these are so very precious.

<><

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I love hearing about all of these signs. I believe in all of them with all my heart.

Jen G. said...

Thank you for sharing those signs, Anna--I truly believe God and Jack are finding ways to comfort you in a physical way. This is more than faith--this is seeing AND believing that Jack is in Heaven. Praying for peace for you all the days long...
xo
Jen G.

Kim said...

Truth be told, I think the whack jobs are those who refuse to see the miracles all around us...
what a gift that your eyes are open and that you are willing to share. And, the hope and peace that pervades your soul and carries you through your days is so very evident. If that's not a miracle, I don't know what is.

Diana...aka...MeMe said...

I would so be looking for "signs" everyday, every where, if I lost a child. Please don't ever think people would think you were whacky!! Far from it. It gives me a peace in my heart to know your Jack is letting you know he is ok~ letting you know he can soar, still~ letting you know you should too. Prayers and love to you Anna

Leah C said...

Awe inspiring post...you have such a way with words, a gift...thank you sharing so much with us. And here I was reading along, somber & thoughtful, and then you throw out the part about "what if I have to go to the bathroom?"; couldn't help it, Anna, I laughed out loud. I suppose you have many of us laughing and crying with you. I hope knowing that brings you & your family some peace and comfort. As always, hugs and prayers for you...

wild trumpet vine said...

I rejoice with you that your little slate-colored junco flew away! I love these little birds, which winter with us but fly away once the warm weather starts. They are here for the cold, for the tough times. Spirited, strong & charming, this gray bird is an apt symbol for your Jack (and for his Inch of Gray mother, as well)! Another sign that tells you what Jack knew: Nothing is impossible with God!

Gina said...

Anna,

I hope I don't ramble and make some sort of sense. I covet your writing skills and wish I had half your talent. When you mention the thin veil between this life and the eternal I just think how true. How much more alive, vibrant and free. If we could somehow be free from our grief to see how beautiful and wonderful to be at the feet of Jesus forever. I remember being in church several years ago and a father and daughter from another country came to speak (can't remember the country now). They were persecuted, beaten and tortured for their faith and the annointing that was upon them was heavy and palpable. I believe God gives such annointing, peace and power to those who have suffered so terribly and I believe it rests on you as well. Praying for you and your sweet family.

Jori said...

What a wonderful experience. Thank you so much for sharing. My mother in law passed away a few years ago. My father in law said he was able to go on, because he wasn't alone. He said God was always supporting him. I know that is true! Hugs from Las Vegas! :)

Heidi said...

This is just so beautiful. And, yes, I believe in these signs. That bird was for you.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I am so happy that little gray birdie came to visit with you. Just look at what his visit brought into your heart. I heard something this weekend at a Memorial service I attended. The woman who passed away from cancer was 48 years old. She comes from a family of 9 children. She herself has two daughter in their 20's with a precious grandbaby from each one. She also has a 12 year old son who needs to make sense of her untimely death. What I heard that stuck with me was that she was a part of our past but the best thing is that she is part of our future. ((HUGS)) You are not a weirdo!

Salvimom said...

Much as I do not wish the experience of tragedy and loss on ANYONE, I believe the valuable lesson that you have learned of not caring what the world thinks because in essence, there is nothing to lose, should be worldwide. We would get so much more accomplished, and be able to generate our true wants and needs to the world foregoing all the b.s. that society's standards usually try to make us conform to. That being said, Anna, you Rock!! The signs that your are picking up on and experiencing are sure indicators of your tantamount faith in our Father and all the comfort he is sending to you. I see signs all the time, everywhere, un-explainable, yet believable and beautiful. Jack is here, you know it and I know it. Your beautiful sweet boy will never leave you, let alone in your greatest despair. As always, hugs, love and prayers from us to you.

Ury,

Seattle, WA

Rach said...

Our first year out we were besieged with signs from our girl. I thought people would think I was a nutjob too, but I really didn't care. She was sending signs, letting me know she was well and happy. And, you know, I NEEDED those signs.

They have become less frequent as time has passed (I think it's ME, I don't need them as much, so I don't look for them as often), but she's still there, still letting us know she's thinking about us and loves us. Sometimes it's something small, others, something we can't miss.

Enjoy those signs your sweet boy sends you and don't worry about what the rest of the world thinks. This was beautiful and I feel blessed you took the time to share it was us. Thank you for sharing your heart and your sweet boy with us, Anna.

Prayers and hugs,
Rach

Ali said...

If you're a whack job then I'm a vermicious knid.

Love this post. Love that chubby little feathered messenger. And, as always, love that Jack.

Lindsay said...

SO glad you continue sharing the signs you are given...totally believe in all the signs. Thank you for pouring out your heart and being so honest..means the world to all of us. Praying for you all and not a day goes by when I don't think of your Jack.

Mimi said...

I love all the signs that God has given you. I never ever, ever have or would think you were weird. That's just silly to think!

The other day, I was missing my grandmother so much and was hoping to get some God love from her the way you do from Jack. Treasure every single sign you get, they are gifts from above.
xoxo

Orangies Attic said...

I so SO do believe in signs, and I so SO do NOT believe you are a whacko... I am a pretty black and white, realist type of person, but I've had many signs from people who I love who are no longer with us... you just have to have an open enough mind to receive them, and take the comfort in them that I think what they are intended to provide...

Kara said...

My kids think I'm a whack-job because I'm a bird-watcher. In fact, that particular little bird is called a dark-eyed junco and they're one of my favorites because of how sweet they look. I have no doubt that little birdie was sent just for you. I am so happy that God sends us these little love notes to keep us going. I have had many signs from God and yet been so hesitant to share them for the same reasons you have. I am so thankful that you share these intimate messages with us. It confirms my experiences and reassures my faith.

Jeanie said...

That's a wonderful story, and I don't think you're a whack job at all. I love all those "signs" that Jack is doing fine.

Shell Flower said...

Awww. This is such a sweet post. That birdie is so cute, just like Jack and I love how he waited for you by the window until you were ready to check him out. That is definitely a sign. I am so glad you saw him fly. He's a free bird, but he wants to stick close to you. Truly a rare bird. Thanks again for posting. You help me understand what my friend is going through, and I let her know where to find your blog. I know it will help her when she is ready (she just hit the one month milestone). Keep on keeping on. *hugs and prayers*

Recovering Church Lady said...

A sweet kiss from God.

Ashley Taylor said...

I believe very strongly in the signs, so if that makes me a whack job like you, then sign me up.
I wrote about them a bit in a post I did about the first anniversary of the death of my mother today.
I have no doubt that Jack is watching closely and is letting you know that, because he knows that you need it. What a good boy.
Ashley
http://www.thedoseofreality.com

Aimee said...

WOW this was a beautiful post! :) I definitely think that bird was a sign, a sign that Jack is still with us all, and looking over his beautiful & loving momma.

If you're a whacko, than so are the rest of us! :) Birds of a feather...

Annie said...

Anna,

I don't believe in signs. As I have admitted to you in other posts I don't believe in God. I tend to believe that those who believe in signs are indeed maybe just a touch wacky. But I believe in YOUR signs. I truly do. I don't think in even the smallest way the fact that these signs are presenting themselves to you is an indication that your are weird or wacky. I believe that the universe is trying to give you comfort. I wish it could give you more.

LauraC said...

Remember that when Jesus was baptized the Holy Spirit descended on him "like a dove." So it's perfectly reasonable to think that bird is more than just a bird. God's done it before. I haven't commented in a long time, but I have never, ever stopped praying for you and your family.

LauraC

Indigo Tara said...

I will never think you are a whack-job for talking about these signs. I believe there are signs all around us, that God is shouting his love, grace, and mercy to us at all times. I am filled with gratitude that you are receiving AND aware of these signs, these blessings and gifts of amazing grace from Jack and God.

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

The first time I saw a junco(sp?) was in a parking lot on top of one of the Great Smoky Mts....and now I will forever assoicate not just the junco with you and Jack but almost my beloved Smoky mts - God's handiwork. And I cannot , cannot help but to recall...."His eye is on the sparrow." A million yrs ago , I was in a deep dark valley - not grief stricken as your valley is - but I was in a canyon of despair wtih no hope. And - yep- Saturdays and Sundays were the WORST . The WORST. I could plod through Monday, etc but Sat/Sun were the deal breakers. I pray for you throughout the day - my loving God listens to me sooooooo many times throughout the day - but now I will pray more specifically for Saturdays. Oh, Anna - you are loved AND beloved. (I am not proofing this and I've had nary a wink of sleep and it is 5:55 am....so I prolly sound like a whack job.....lol) Be Blessed today.....

Anonymous said...

I felt very moved by your blog today......life lives on in different ways. Interesting story I will share, my Mother passed away and within the family a child was born the same day. God has a way of talking to us in many different actions.....my thoughts are always with you.....

Anonymous said...

My mom used to pack my lunch with notes inside and would always put a special code on them to say she loved me. It was three numbers, 381, but she and I knew what it meant and it was our way of knowing without the embarrassment that I could have suffered at the hands of my classmates. She sent me notes with those three numbers on them until she passed away while I was in college. And today, almost 7 years later, I swear she still sends me notes with 381, whenever I need them the most. The gas station will have gas that costs $3.81 or the license plate in front of me will have 381 on it. But the best was this year on my birthday when I was missing her the most, someone on the Today show was holding a sign behind Al Roker with 381 on it. What a random number to be so prominently displayed. I figure it had to be for me. Keep looking for those signs, they are there! And if you are a whack-job, so am I. More power to the whack-jobs.

Laura said...

I love this - love you - and love that Jack is sending comfort to his sweet Mother.
Continued thoughts and prayers for you and yours, everyday.
xoxo

Anonymous said...

I can relate to your story Anna even though my grief is nothing compared to what you are going through.
My little bird brought me peace, peace that I believe with all my heart came from God.
I admire your strength and your honesty. You are not a weirdo.
Much love,
Joyce

chris from midwest cottage and finds said...

Anna-the bird was a sign. you will continue to see the signs as time goes by--be sure to be open to them as you were with the bird...i think of you often and am so sorry for your loss. i have shared your blog with many of my friends-one who lost a beautiful daughter very tragically...she reads your blog now and i feel it helps her with her feelings and loss also..thank you for addressing what must be the most gut wrenching hurt humanly possible..you and jack are touching more people than you know....chris

Meredith Self said...

So many mystics have described themselves as mad, in some way. I like your description of "whack job." :)

“This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet.” ― Rumi

“A strange passion is moving in my head My heart has become a bird which searches in the sky.
Every part of me goes in different directions.
Is it really so that the one I love is Everywhere?” ― Rumi

“I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.” ― Rumi

“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?” ― Rumi

“Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.” ― Rumi

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ― Rumi

Thanks for sharing your signs that whisper to you through a thin veil. And especially thank you for making it so human and real (I love the part of the story where you wonder how long you have to stay with the bird. :)

Love you.

anymommy said...

I just adore you. That last line - so like me - it made me laugh outright through my tears.

Lady Jennie said...

I'm never afraid of sharing about things God does because people will think I'm weird, it's more because people will think I'm religious. Do you get what I mean by the distinction? I mean, I think God is really cool when he does all those signs and miracles and I feel special enough to have received them to want to share them. But what makes me hesitate is having people think of me as "that religious girl" since I used to be so scornful of people like that.

Now, back to you. I LOVE what you said about the veil being thin between here and hereafter. It is so poetic and so visual and so true! I most definitely think the bird was a sign. After all, Jesus says "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground (or crash into a window) apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

I love getting to know you through your posts Anna. And I'm heartbroken about your Jack-less-ness.

kimber said...

What a sweet and tender picture. I loved your valentine post, too. Heart still pondering and asking… praying without ceasing, friend.
You're the awesomest whack-job. Thank you for your vulnerability. xxoo

Geri said...

I'm not a big believer in signs, probably too pragmatic/practical by nature, but I guess I figure it doesn't matter if it a sign or not. If believing it is brings you any measure of peace about this, grab it and hold on tight. And it very well could be!

Claire P. said...

It is Thursday evening, and the sunset is absolutely beautiful in Vienna!

As to belief, the way I see it is that we all have to take it on faith, whether we do believe in something or we don't believe in something. I don't think that the "default" belief is nothingness. Hope this makes sense.

Thinking of you and Jack and your family as I watch the beautiful sky over here in South Vienna.

Love,
Claire

Princess Kate said...

Sitting here on this Thursday night thinking about your family and praying for peace and understanding. Been thinking about your family a lot today.

Warm hugs to you all.

Vodka Mom said...

i adore you. I adore your strength, your weakness, your courage, your spirit and the amazing way you are sharing your journey.


We weep with you and pray with you. But mostly, we live in your heart. never forget that.

Kim @ A Brush of Whimsy said...

Thanks, Anna. :)

Anonymous said...

Your bird story warmed my heart. My grandfather passed away several years ago and his favorite bird was the Cardinal. I can't tell you how many times, when I'm feeling down, I've looked up to see a Cardinal sitting on my window sill all by himself. It would sit there until I smiled and felt happy..and then fly off. I truly believe in such "signs". Thanks for sharing.

Ross said...

Your certainly no whack job! I'm so thankful that your finding moments of piece, and that God is getting you through this difficult time. That is an amazing story about the bird. What a sign!

Anonymous said...

Ok - your reflection in the glass startled me at first, but what a wonderful post. It is amazing what miracles are all around us as long as we are open and receptive to receiving them. Peace and comfort are being prayed upon you, Tim, and Margaret each and every day.

Leslie said...

Anna, this post is yet another amazing one! The Bible is filled with examples of the Lord communicating with us. How SILLY it would be to think He silent, just sitting there not communicating for all of human history... He's GOD! He can use a rock to give us a sign if he wants. Of course these are loving moments to you from him! I'm thankful for these moments, though they don't fill voids, I'm thankful he lets you know the veil is indeed thin!

Remember when Christ was crucified, the veil in the temple separating the Holy of Holies (the area only the priests used to be allowed to enter to encounter God) was TORN? It just tore that day of the crucifixion. When our sins were taken on by Christ, and He was sacrificed, we, that very moment and on, had complete access to God. The veil is indeed thin... it's us and him, and NOTHING between us as far as communication goes. WOW.

Some other sweet commenters mentioned similar stories. Two of my loved ones, when facing great hardship - cancer, and loss - had encounters with birds. I'll never forget their stories, and those birds were most definitely gifts from the Lord. He certainly used birds in the Bible quite a bit.

I will always want to turn back time for you, I will always be excited about the day you can wrap your arms around him again for eternity. But in the meantime, I'm praying for MORE communication, tons of peace and joy with your wonderful family.

(p.s. My word verification is "praryar functions" - I thought it clearly said "prayer functions" It's close!)

Anonymous said...

I think that that little bird was Jack, or was sent by Jack, or that he knows about Jack somehow. I love that you discovered him, were moved by him, and allowed yourself to take the comfort he offered "to go." Jack knows you.

This might be my all time favorite post of yours, by the way. It's pretty much perfect.

much love on a Friday eve,
jbhat

Suzy said...

Humans like to think of life as Heaven and Hell but the reality is that the soul, when it leaves the body, has over 7 planes it can go to. On some they decide to reincarnate, on some the watch over the people they've left, on some they spend many lifetimes deciding NOT to come back.

Metaphysics is a study that I think would help you find peace with what has happened. That and the book Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian Weiss, PhD., one of the foremost authorities on past lives and what happens when we die. He too, lost a child and that's all I'll say until you read the book, which will make you very happy.

Of COURSE the bird was sent by Jack to help you. NO DOUBT IN MY MIND. I've had many deceased people in my life come to me in different ways. My Dad, my dog (!!) my stepmother, my Russian grandfather.

The more you need them to come, the more they show up.

Trust. Believe.

Megan said...

I came over from YHL and I had to read some of the links you provided. I've read your blog before but it has been awhile as I didn't know you lost your son. I am so sorry. I don't know the loss of a child but I recently lost my brother to cancer and I know your pain.

I also look for signs. I haven't seen them so much with my brother, other than through music, numbers and a few other random things, but my whole family saw signs for my step grandmother after she passed and for my grandfather too. For her, it's a heron. For him, a bald eagle. On a family outing after they both had passed, we saw a heron and a bald eagle flying close to each other. Definitely an odd sight but we all just stared and smiled at the love we have for our loved ones.

DawnGes said...

You, Dear Anna, are a rare bird as well. You alight here and bring so many of us joy and wisdom.

Love, prayers, hugs...

Anonymous said...

You know, none of us remember our own births, though I have a strong suspicion it was pretty uncomfortable and even painful. But we get through it and go on to forget it completely. I have a sneaking suspicion this is what death is like -- frightening and uncomfortable in the moment but we forget about it right away and go on to a new experience of life and glory. The REAL pain is for those left behind. But I hope you are released from these retrospective imaginings, dear Anna. Like his birth, he doesn't even remember it. Memory is the burden that YOU bear, but not him. One day I came into my kitchen and noticed that the word-magnents on my fridge had accidentally been arranged to include the phrase, "Love is." That's it. Love is. It is. And love encircles you. Love, E.

Anonymous said...

I heard something today that made me think of you; it was a discussion about death and faith. The speaker said that just because the death of a loved one hurts so terribly it does not mean that we don't believe in heaven, or that God's word is true. As an example, he spoke of Jesus. Who in the history of earth would have believed in heaven more than Jesus himself? And yet, when Lazarus died, when his cousin John was killed, Jesus wept. Why would he weep, if he knew heaven was true, and that his dear ones were there? Because of the "sting of death," because for even the most faith-filled person, even for Jesus, the death of a beloved hurts. I found this so encouraging, to think that our grief is not a reflection of our faith. I have been so encouraged by your faith, by your honesty. I pray for you daily.

Dawn said...

I'm pretty sure my Mom visits me as a mocking bird. Which is neater than it sounds. Three times over the years since she died one has sat close by and watched me. It does give comfort to think she's visiting me on occasion. I think if it's not actually her then for sure she sent it. Two days after my Dad was killed a bald eagle flew up to my brother's lake house where we were staying. That bird sat there all day, staring at the house. I am certain it was Dad, or Dad sent it, to tell us he was OK.

A Speckled Trout said...

I always think of Tuesdays With Morrie when he said that it is a Buddhist custom to imagine a bird sitting on your shoulder, and every day when you wake you ask the bird, "Is today the day?" And you live your life accordingly.

Jack sounded like he was always aware of the bird on his shoulder, so it is fitting that he sent his feathered friend to pay you a visit.

Jules said...

Brave Anna,

It is indeed a sign. Believe in it, & look for more. They will come in their time, for you.

Is it any coincidence, that as I read your post this morning, the movie "Serendipity" is on tv? A entire movie about signs, & one of my favorites.

God bless you & your birds.
All of them.

Jules

Kim said...

Thinking of you on this extra long weekend and praying for you in your awful Jacklessness and praying, pray-ing that you will feel His comfort.
http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/02/best-advice-for-hard-times/

Laura said...

From the comment above, I see I'm not the only one checking back in to let you know I'm thinking of you right now. (I'm not sure a day has passed since September that I haven't thought of you . . . ) But - just wanted to let you know you're in my thoughts and my prayers as I go about my day today. Sending you hugs on this long weekend.
xoxo

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I believe in these signs; you would be nuts not to take comfort where you can get it.

From a writing standpoint, it is the way you can mix the mundane (Facebook) with the divine (the bird) that makes your storytelling so spellbinding.

Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

That is just the cutest darn bird ever. And I am so, so glad you shared your sign with us.

connie said...

In my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you Anna, hope you're ok.
Pipxx

Anonymous said...

Checking and thinking of you.

Princess Kate said...

Our family signed up to do a fun run for Jack in March. We are very excited. Thinking of you and praying for comfort.

Anonymous said...

Anna, I recently stumbled across your blog. I am devastated about what has happened to your family but I wanted to say that I DO believe in signs and all that you have been experiencing to let you know Jack is ok. My distant aunt lost her beautiful 25 year old son to a freak accident almost two years ago. I write to her sometimes to see how she's doing. Recently she wrote of the feeling of total peace that surrounds her since her son's death and helps keep her grounded. I have had visits from my family members in dreams, including this beautiful cousin Carlo, and I also saw a Medium last year through whom I contacted a few of our deceased relatives, which brought me a lot of peace. Hugs to you as you endure this awful ordeal. Anna (we share the same name)

That gentleman's lady said...

There are always signs. Mine was a duck :)

http://afunnyoldlifeaintit.blogspot.com/2011/07/elie-and-duck.html

Deidra said...

This reminds me of something I heard this weekend:

"There is a Celtic saying that heaven and earth are only three feet apart, but in the thin places that distance is even smaller."

Not so far away at all...

Anonymous said...

You are not crazy at all, Anna! I love all of the ways in which the Lord shows us He cares for us. We often see birds (and deer) appear when we are reading out of the Bible, and we often have birds appear to us at times when we need encouragement. It is like the Holy Spirit is especially watching over us.

Several days recently we have even had squirrels come up and perch on our window sill. We will talk to them and they will move their heads toward us, looking at us as if they understand. The Bible tells us the Lord cares for His creatures, and I think they recognize the Holy Spirit in us when we talk to them. Even the deer look up at us from their grazing, pointing their ears toward us when we talk to them through the window.

We are praying for the Lord to continue to surround you with His love and comfort. :)

Love,
Your Cousin, Emily R.

Ann Imig said...

I love how you merge such beauty and raw courage and sadness with your humor.

Just like life.

Thinking of you. xoxo

PeachPrenni said...

LOVED this post Anna. LOVED it!! It might be my favorite. There is NO doubt in my mind that this sweet little bird was a sign from above, a God-Wink as I like to call it. Wishing you many more God-Winks on the days you need them most!!
Annie P.

Susan said...

Anna,
My sister-in-law sent me your blog. She knew I would be able to relate to your experience. I lost my son Jack last March. He was 16 years old and the kindest boy you could ever imagine. He got into a car accident. His buddy was driving and was going too fast. The tree litterally hit in the exact spot Jack was sitting. With seat belt on and all... he was gone. Our family is so devastated. My sweet boy sends me signs all of the time. I talk to him constantly and he is a very good listener; always has been. I miss him so much and I know how horrible it is for you. Keep looking for signs, as they are such gift. Our boys are right here with us all of the time, we just can't see them as they can see us. Thanks for sharing your story. I am a believer. <3

R~ said...

I believe you.. and I believe your signs.

My Mom has passed and even though it's been 4 years, it may as well have been yesterday. Some times I feel her close.. and every now and again something will flutter by and I know in my soul that it's her. It's spring here in Texas and I saw a monarch butterfly three different times in the same sunday; all in different places.

We're not crazy, we're morning our beloved ones and our hearts are open enough to see these lovely creatures in our day.

I'm so tremendously sorry for your loss... truly.
With love,
Rebekah

Meredith from A Mother Seeking said...

I am way behind on my reading of your blog but I am catching up tonight.

I am most struck by this part in your passage: "Once again, I was reminded of how the veil between here and there, earth and heaven seems to be so much thinner than I ever could have imagined."

I too feel this reminder often. I admire your bravery not only in getting through this difficult time, but in sharing your thoughts which inherently creates vulnerability.

~ Meredith From A Mother Seeking
http://www.amotherseeking.com

A Mother Seeking...