The Eagle Soars

Yesterday morning I had to make a trip to my hometown which is about an hour and a half away.  Before I left the house, I had my morning coffee while scrolling through facebook.  My memory feed came up first and it contained a memory and pictures from 3 years ago of my sister’s funeral.  I looked at those pictures and the feelings from that day rushed through me.  I remembered every thought, feeling and emotion from that day.  There was so much sadness but in between there was our family joined together with love and laughter, sadness and tears.  I remembered the way everything was laid out at the service and felt my sister’s presence in each item of rememberance. I could see her hands touching each one of those items as she left her imprint to be passed along.

I finshed my coffee and proceeded to get ready for the trip without any more thought to the symbolism of the day.  As I ventured out on the road, something happened.  A bald eagle flew over my car, circled back around and flew alongside my car as I drove the highway.  He was flying very low so I didn’t have to look up in the sky as it were to see him.  He was traveling with me.

My sister had grown spiritually  in the environment of the Native American Community.  Her beliefs were grounded in the Great spirit and Creator of us all.  Although being raised Catholic, she found her home in the Native American Way.  She welcomed me and our family to share in her spiritual journey on this path.  I accepted with open heart and mind and have found much growth, love and peace along the way.

On that morning, my sister’s spirit visited me as that eagle came in my path for a quick hello.  I knew immediately that it was her.  I didn’t hesitate to say hi to her as she let me know once again that she is flying with the Great Spirit and she is very near to me always.  An incredible comfort and peace,  along with excitement came to me at that moment.

When I got to my destination, I visited with my mom and brother and sister-in-law and shared the happenings of the morning.  Every one of them knew it was our beloved making a quick, unmistakable appearance and it lifted us all in joy.  At this time of year, it seems that out of the blue, friends and family are all having their own eagle sightings.  It is clear to us that our spirit guides, our friends and family from our heavenly home are with us always.

I find peace in knowing that our dearly departed haven’t left us at all.  I believe they walk with us and give us signs that they are near.  I am grateful today for this visit from my sister.  It seems that just last week, she visited her daughter and our dear friend in Michigan.  She once again comforts us and tells us that we are never alone.

Actions Speak Louder than Words

The young woman of 27 can’t sit in silence. She’s watching her aging loved ones as they begin on their journey to the next life. Action is all she knows.  Sitting and watching doesn’t suit her.  Her heart wants to make everything better but this is not something that will get better, or will it?

There is a blessing in caring for a person who’s spirit is ready to move on.  As the young woman delegates herself as caregiver, she is determined to give her loved ones every ounce of living that can be accomplished before they pass.  She couldn’t allow her grandmother to just waste away and give up even though they both knew what was coming.  Her grandmother was as strong as they come so she was a willing adventurer.  The young woman wanted a special girl’s day out so she made arrangements  ahead of time with the nail salon.  They greeted her at the door and made room for her wheelchair.  They treated her like a queen.  On the way to the salon, the young girl and her grandmother drove the country roads through the mountains and listened to country music as the grandmother tried to sing along with a smile on her face.  Although her body was tired she was not quite ready to ascend from it.  It was a day full of treasures for both women.  As each day passed, there were new challenges, but little gems were being passed from one generation to the next on those special days.  Every day became special because every moment counted.  The time spent together for these two souls will be forever ingrained  in the heart of the young woman.  Taking after her grandmother, the young woman forged ahead with strength and courage, determined to give this elder all that she had in her.  And, so, she did.  She gave her a beautiful send off, full of love and light.  A family came together for this special moment in time to celebrate the life of  their loved one.  Once again, although she had left this earthly home, the grandmother brought joy and love to her family as they spent several days together, sharing and laughing and enjoying each other.

Several weeks went by after the passing of her grandmother and she tried to get back into some semblance of a routine in her life.  But life doesn’t wait for a person to be ready for the next thing.  The 27 year old woman was informed that her grandfather was in hospice and did not have much longer to live.  All of the recent memories of caring for her grandmother came barrelling back into her heart.  She felt as though she was shot in the heart with an arrow and was ready to just bleed out.  All the pain, sorrow and grief poured out of her.  She didn’t see it coming and wasn’t sure what to do next.  The grieving for her grandmother had just begun and now she would have to face another devastating loss.  But, action is all she knows.  As the grief washed over her, she waited.  She waited for the correct path to lay itself before her.  She decided to sleep and when she awoke, clarity had shown itself.  The young woman made her way to the airport that day and within 24 hours was at the bedside of her grandfather.  After being the caregiver for her grandmother, she absorbed so much knowledge about the needs of a soul trying to pass.  When she layed eyes on her grandfather, it was apparent to her that his medications were not what she considered to be in the right balance of each other.  She had to at least share her concerns with his caregivers.  If nothing else, she had to fight for his life.  Her observances were acknowledged and the next day he asked for a cup of coffee and a newspaper.

This 27 year old woman, young in years but wise beyond, is an action taker.  You will never see her sit on the sidelines of life.  I sat with her, watching her grief just pour out in dignified tears.  At that moment she was having the realization of just how fragile life is and how we are all aging.  She had a glimpse of the need to take care of our elders.  She wanted to shout to all of her elders how much she loved them and how much she valued their words and contributions to her life.

I sat there as she sobbed into my mother’s bosom.  I sat quietly and observed this woman who is my baby girl.  I am a proud mother and so grateful to have a child with such heart and soul and caring running through her veins.

A Moment in Time

This past weekend we said goodbye to my former mother-in-law of 15 years.  She was a good woman; kind, generous and a little quirky.  Her independence however, tipped the richter scale.  This woman single handedly raised her son alone.  She worked as a nurse and made her way through life on her own terms.

She was a people person to the 10th degree.  She never sat alone for breakfast.  She would make her way to the local diner and created her very own version of the breakfast club.  After some time, their group became quite large and breakfast was spread out for a few extra hours.

She worked very hard and at times she took on two jobs.  She had her regular shift of nursing and on the side she worked for a nursing agency, travelling to people’s homes who were unable to get to the doctor , doing blood draws and collections.  She did what she had to do and then some.  She saved her money and planned trips around the world.

Working until retirement wasn’t enough for her.  She liked getting out there with other people so she took a job at a local Walmart.  She loved that job and she loved those people she worked with.

As I stated before, she was my former mother-in-law.  But, she was more than that.  She was the grandmother of my children.  The woman who always made special traditions for my kids.  She impacted their lives until , well, she still does, even after she passed away.

We gathered for her funeral on Saturday.  My children are grown and came together along with their children and I was included ,along with her son.  We celebrated her life as we came together for 3 glorious days of fun, nature, laughter and tears.  And, while her son and I are no longer married , for three days we were a family again.  The perfect send off for a woman that lived and breathed “family”.  She was right there with us as we enjoyed each other in her kitchen, gathered together around the center island eating massive amounts of food which could only make her proud.  We went for long walks in the woods as a family.  We laughed and enjoyed each other.

A moment in time that we may never see again.  And, for that moment, we were one unit.  The joy in my heart of being together with my children and grandchildren is a gift brought to me, courtesy of my former mother-in-law.  In the end, it doesn’t matter that she was my former anything, or that my former husband was involved with us this weekend.  In the end, we were a cohesive family enjoying our differences and celebrating a life well lived.