Before I lost my husband I never gave much thought to signs from our loved ones. I guess its just one of those things that you do not consider until it becomes relevant to you. I grew up in a very religious environment and besides the traditional awareness I had no opinion one way or the other. I never looked down on those who believe in signs, I’m a very – live and let live – kind of a girl, but if corned I might have admitted that it was not possible or probable. This attitude was not so much a lack of faith or belief, but more a lack of interest overall. That lack of interest all changed when I became a widow and it felt as if I could not breathe without that connection to my husband.

Within hours of his death my opinion on this touchy subject changed in the most dramatic of fashions. Unexplained and unimaginable connections came to me faster than I could contemplate, or even process. Electronics that had worked perfectly for as long as I could remember, suddenly and inexplicably stopped working and than started again. Songs on the radio, lights flickering, scents coming out of nowhere, and feelings of unexplainable peace that I could only feel in his presence. I’m not 100% sure these signs had not been present in my life all along, but perhaps now I lived in a new realm of awareness, or in a new level of acceptance than before my loss.

I’ve always had deep and extremely strong feelings of knowing. Gut instincts that guide my life, connection to my inner voice, and an ability to feel what’s right at a cellular level. The entire year before Mitch’s loss I had signs, gut instincts, sadness, and an almost foreshadowing to what was going to happen. I’m not saying I’m able to see or know the future, I’m simply saying I feel in tune with my life deeply. Those feelings have magnified tenfold since Mitch’s death. I think I’m more alert and willing to listen to my hearts voice, I’m more willing to trust my journey.

I could go on for pages about all the signs I have received since Mitch passed away in October 2009, but I’m going to leave those connections for a chapter in my book that I will start writing later this year. For now I’m going to leave you with a photo from this past Saturday at my daughter’s soccer tournament. My beautiful girl is 7 and fills my heart with more joy and love than I can put into words. Her heart and spirit embody her father’s, and she has his light and sweet smile. Her father was a very good athlete and loved sports, and was so excited to play with his kids and coach their teams. We were late on Saturday and her team had already taken the field as we ran up to the registration booth to sign her in for the day. I filled out the waiver as they literally threw Addy a jersey from the top of the pile. There was no picking of jersey numbers or even 2 seconds to ask for a particular number. She took the field and played hard, never stopping, and always smiling. I didn’t notice or even look at her number until she walked off the field after her second game. I glanced down and noticed she was wearing #23…her father’s football number.

Once I made the connection the tears fell freely – tears of joy, tears of pain, and tears of acceptance. You see, these are the moments I know he is never far, and while his view is not one that either of use would have asked for, its still good to know that he is watching over us and lighting the path.

At nearly 5 years out I think my life has taken on a new normal and the signs are not as obvious or frequent as they were for the first several years. I don’t believe the signs have stopped, I simply believe that I have stopped looking for them so intently. I can rest peacefully knowing that when he wants me to notice his presence he makes it clear in ways that gives me peace and unbelievable joy. He knows our children are my greatest love, my greatest worry, and my greatest achievement in this life.

Connections to him via our children is a gift that I make a choice to see, because having faith requires that you believe in things you can feel but not necessarily touch.

#23 Forever in our Heart