A few weeks after my husband passed away, our children ventured back to their own homes. Things began to happen, unexplained things. Suddenly, our garage door didn’t seem to work right. In fact, it began to open and close at the strangest of times. I would be sitting in the den and I would hear it go up which would lead me to look in the garage to see if one of our grandchildren or my daughter had opened it. There would be no one there. I would try to close it and it simply would not go shut. Later on in the evening, I would hear it close. This went on for a few weeks. The repair man could find absolutely nothing wrong with the garage door.(He was here on three separate occasions). I began to think that it was my husband putting it up and down, trying to get a message to me from the spirit world. I began to talk to his picture and tell him he better find another way as I was not getting his message. After that, it miraculously stopped. I did thank him for that.
I had always teased my husband that he didn’t do anything around the house. Now, I was beginning to eat my words. I would go by his picture several times a day and apologize. “I am so sorry, I didn’t realize how much you really did do around the house.” Simple things like taking out the garbage on Sunday nights, became a monumental task for me to do. He always checked my gas gauge every evening to see how full my tank was and if it were low, he would run it down to the local gas station and fill it up. He said he never wanted me to run out of gas. After I was settled back in our house, I decided I had to go to Williamsport on an errand. I saw the light come on in my car, but paid little attention to it and went on my merry way. When my car began to choke, (thank God I was within inches of a gas station), I realized that my gauge was on below empty, dangerously low to having none. Again, I thanked my sweet husband for all the times he had put gas in my car.
I was not a wimpy woman. I In the South, they would say I was a Steel Magnolia, sweet as sugar and tough as nails. I knew how to pay bills, pump gas, mow the grass, put pictures on the wall, paint and a multitude of other things. Things that my husband would always organize and delegate to someone else to do if he was too busy or did not know how. (He always said he was left-handed, and it was hard for him to hold a paint brush, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Once he did try to help me paint the walls in our living room and he managed to get paint everywhere but on the walls. He was actually banned from painting anything.) I would be remiss not mention that he always took care of the grass and the outside work and other things that I took for granted like cleaning out the gutters on our two-story house. Who would I get to do all that now that he was gone. Then there was the basement that we were going to clean up every Spring and never did. These tasks became over whelming. Just organizing people to come help me do it was a real hurdle.
The next incident was quite rare. Something that had never happened before or since. I thought I heard a bird flapping its wings in the vent a-hood over my stove. I would stop and listen and would hear nothing. This went on for several days before I realized that there really was a bird in there. I turned the fan on, thinking maybe it would go out the way it came in. Instead, it frightened the poor old bird and he got confused, began squawking with all its might. I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t seem to be able to find the secret of how to unscrew the fan and let him out. I tried again turning the fan on which proved to be disastrous. His leg got caught in the fan. I was frantic. I called my grandson, Aaron, asked him to stop over and see if he could release this poor old bird. He came but we could not figure out how to release him. Aaron suggested that we try turning the fan on and maybe his foot would somehow miraculously get untangled. Wrong. We heard feathers flying, bird squawking, then nothing. It was only a few seconds, but we thought we had done the bird in. We were right about that but we still couldn’t retrieve him. My son-in-law came over, removed the entire hood and the dead bird. I thought my husband was probably chuckling up in heaven. There were many incidents like this in the weeks and years to come. Things that happen out of the ordinary.
On our wedding anniversary, July 31st, the clock on our mantle began to chime at midnight June 30th. It continued to chime all day until midnight on August 1st. I’m sure you are saying what’s so unusual about that. Well, my husband had taken it to the clock repair guy many times and he simply could not get it to chime. He finally reconciled that it wasn’t meant to chime at least not in our house. So you can imagine when it started chiming on our wedding anniversary and stopped as soon as the day was over what I thought. Of course, it was my husband coming to wish me happy anniversary. He was sending me a sign from the great beyond.
Over the years since his departure, I have had many dreams that he has talked to me in them; encountered many incidents that were so eerie that I surmised he had most certainly been there. I found an item that he had been looking for years before he died. We turned the house and the basement upside down hunting for his Citadel watch but could never find it. One day after his passing, I went upstairs and sitting on my dresser was that Citadel watch. No one had been to our house and I had given up looking for it years ago, but there it sat. I think that he probably put it there, just to say hello.
Many people do not believe in super natural incidents. I must say that I was one of those people. I did believe in dreams as my Momma had always spoken of dreams that she had about people she loved and generally, they came true. Like the time, she dreamed three M’s were going to die. Within months of her dream, she would lose her sister, Mae; her sister, Margaret; and her niece, Margie. Coincidence? Maybe. My Momma did not think so. I had a recurring dream several weeks before my husband passed away. I kept dreaming that he was going to leave me, and put me in a nursing home. He wasn’t leaving me for anyone, he was just leaving. I was puzzled about where he was going. Finally, after about the fifth time I had dreamed this, one morning I told him about it. He, being the big tease that he was, said, “When you dream that dream again, try to find out who I’m leaving you for.” I was almost mad at him for saying that until he put his biggest grin on and said, “You know that I would never leave you for anyone else.” I will always think that this dream was God trying to prepare me for what was to come.
I never had the chance to tell my husband good-bye and I regretted that. A week after he died, I was asleep and he kissed me. It was so real that I awaken thinking he would be laying next to me. A month or so after that, one night he came to me in a dream and asked if he could get in on my side of the bed. He did and we spooned the rest of the night. When I awakened, he was not there.
Grief does funny things to us. Things that we could not possibly imagine. Almost all the widows I know have redecorated their homes. I have given this tons of thought, but can only speak for myself. I felt if I changed things up in my house, it would give me more peace. It did for a nano second. I soon realized that we widows are constantly trying to find that balance in our lives that will make some sibilance of order to things. Changing things in your house will not do it for the long haul.
The only thing that can help you is your faith in Jesus Christ. Prayer and more prayer were my constant. I prayed in the house, in the car, in my bed, in the movies, every where I was, I was praying. Oh loving, God, help me through this day. Help me to be able to cope with whatever is thrown at me. Let me not forget that you are with me, holding my hand, helping down this narrow path. I read the Psalms a lot during that time and continue to do so, “As the deer pants for the flowing water, so my soul thirsts for thee, O God”.(Psalms 42) “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for Thou are with me.” (Psalms 23) was my mantra and still is. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, who abides in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, My refuge and my fortress: my God in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91) was my life line.
Were any of these incidents really my husband communicating with me? I like to think so. I guess it doesn’t really matter if it was really him or my imagination. I believe it was him. That’s what counts. I think that my loving God sent them as gifts to my broken heart so that I would not have a broken spirit too. “He will cover you with his pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge. His faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day. (Psalms 91)” He was with me when I was in trouble, He rescued me and I will always lift up His name on High and show Him my faithfulness. When He calls me, I will follow. Now that is real.