It was the first summer after my son passed away. Reluctantly, I was talked in to attending my first real outing at a lake. I remember feeling so much pain and sadness inside and just unworthy of enjoying a smile. I wasn’t ready to paint on a smile and intermingle with folks. Yet there I stood struggling to find a reason to stay there. A beautiful Swallowtail butterfly flew around my head and then down to the water. As my eyes followed his lead he took them right down to the lake where this young man was tossing around a little boy in play. He looked nothing like my Joey but acted everything like him. Although he had none of his own, Joey loved kids and he always took time to throw them on his shoulders, tease them, play ball with them at every opportunity. I know he would have been an amazing father. I got lost in the moment watching this young man and thinking about my boy. I loved this stranger for simply “acting” like my son. I fought back the urge to run down and hug him. Imagine my surprise when he turned his back to me and on the backside of his head he had the name J O E Y shaved into his hair. It brought such tears to my eyes. It is these small things……like the butterfly that lead my eyes….that is truly silver linings when we act on something that scares us. I felt like this was a “visit” and I was so grateful for it.
Another time while my sweet hubby was pumping gas I sat in my car and watched a young man get out of his and start to pump his own. I was astonished when I glimpsed up from my phone and saw him. He reminded me so much of my son. I know I gazed too long. I know that he thought I was a nut. I know it might have been freaking him out. However I couldn’t help myself from staring. When he was finished at the pump and started back to his driver’s seat he shared a glance with me, smiled and nodded his head just as my Joey would. I felt like that this too, was a visit.
Then there was the time when I cried myself to sleep on my sofa late one night. I was empty, emotionally devoid, drained from the grief. I never even got up off the couch to go to bed. It must have been the wee hours of the morning when I finally dozed off. I could hear my husband walk softly across the floor, feel him cover me up but I just couldn’t wake up to open my mouth and thank him. I can recall thinking that I will need to do so first thing in the morning. Come sunrise as I brewed our first pot of coffee I apologized. I hated that I couldn’t even find strength to thank him when I felt him cover me but I wanted him to know how much I appreciated it. It is then that he replied “Honey I appreciate your sentiments but I haven’t left our bed all night”. That my dear friends was a visit from my Joey.
To the parents who’ve never experienced the loss of a child this might seem totally absurd…….but to those of us who have, it’s crystal clear and acceptable. I think our senses become extremely sharp when our children pass before us. We’re left with a sense of longing, then searching for any clue that they are still with us, In spirit, the only way they can. When we open our minds to the possibility that they still communicate with us and look for our signs we can begin to feel the visits. Would they ever come back to this ole earth to be with us again……never. However I do believe that their sweet spirit lingers here among us forever more. I thank God for my amazing years as Joey’s mama. I thank God for His promise that I will see him again and I thank God for the precious visits. Do you have visits? Please feel free to share them here. Love and peace to you my friends.