Signs from the dead?

English: Photograph of a Monarch Butterfly.

It’s been quite a year….as a family we have been fortunate…there hasn’t been a lot of death within our family…until this year.  But this post isn’t necessarily about the pain of losing our loved ones…it’s about what happened afterwards…and whether or not we believe in signs.

It started with the death of my grandparents a week apart.  We always believed they would go together.  After being married for 70 plus years…their love and life together was truly inspirational…they loved the simple things…they loved their family…and they held hands until the very end.

Caretakers stayed in the home 24/7 for the last two years…and it became less of a home and more of a holding cell. Grandpa could no longer drive or walk without assistance….Grandma became delusional…and because of their health they were rarely able to get out of the house.  Things began to spiral downward the last year along with their depression…misery…and hopelessness.  But we also witnessed how that 70 years of love gave them comfort.  Every day they ate lunch in their tiny kitchen nook…without their wheelchairs…walkers…and oxygen tanks.  The caretakers were moved by their subtle chatter and how Grandma patted Grandpa’s hand as they ate.  It was the only normalcy that remained…and they embraced it every day.

My Grandmother went into the hospital first with the flu, and was expected to make a recovery….but while she was still there, Grandpa was suddenly rushed to the same hospital and died several hours later.  Right after Grandpa’s passing, we walked to Grandma’s room to check in on her, expecting her to be sound asleep.  But when we walked in she was wide awake.  She was deeply agitated and kept mumbling “Isn’t this terrible?”   After that night she didn’t ask about Grandpa at all, she didn’t ask why he wasn’t calling her.  She knew he was gone although nobody actually told her. Grandma had dementia but she always knew Grandpa. Because her condition deteriorated right afterwards, we couldn’t take her to the funeral.  Grandma died a week later.

Some of us in the family took their passing harder than others,   Several days after the funeral my cousin awoke in the morning and instantly “felt” that my grandparents were with her.  According to her….it was powerful and overwhelming and there was no mistaking their presence.  Since my cousin is highly emotional we weren’t sure what to make of her experience.  I certainly wasn’t discounting it…but I just wasn’t sure what she experienced.

So fast forward a few weeks later….and I’m up early getting a cup of coffee…I’m feeling good…getting my head wrapped around the day….when all of a sudden I stopped mid pour…I had THE MOST intense feeling of my life.  It was intense and fleeting but I instantly knew it was them. It wasn’t a guess…or an assumption…I KNEW it was them. I cannot describe to you how I knew…I can’t even describe the details of the feeling because it’s beyond description.   One of the interesting parts to this story is that the mornings were their favorite time of the day…and both my cousin and I had our experience in the morning.  Yep…could be coincidence…or we could just be whack jobs….or it could be a subliminal effort to reconnect to the Grandparents we so dearly missed.  But I can tell you this…I have never in my life experienced that feeling before.

So now fast forward a few more months…and I’m sitting at the lake with my Mom and she tells me of “her” experience.  She was laying on the couch watching TV…and she said

 “All of a sudden I felt something. I wasn’t sure what it was but I looked down at the foot of the couch and I saw Grandpa.  He looked right at me and then turned and walked away.”

She didn’t tell us at first…and I don’t blame her…admitting that you’ve been touched by the other side can be embarrassing.   But I do believe all three of us experienced them.

But I also have another confession…for several months I experienced powerful electrical surges in both my home and lake cottage.  Some people claim that a presence from beyond will affect electricity…all I can say is they were strong power surges…and now they are gone.

And lastly…my beloved Sargie.   It was a simple small sign…but I believe it was him.  On the morning  Sarge was euthanized…I sat on my front patio at the lake…and of course was an emotional wreck.  As I was sitting there…remembering “all things Sarge“…a butterfly landed on my hand.  I’m not going to try and tell you Sarge had a thing for butterflies…I’m not even going to tell you I believe butterflies have a special meaning from the departed.  All I am going to say is this…never in my life have I had a butterfly land on my hand.  In fact we “rarely” see butterflies at the lake…if at all.  So…the fact that a butterfly suddenly appeared at the lake….and landed softly on my hand…on the morning Sarge left us…is really all I need to believe.

I’m not trying to be the next John Edwards, or the Long Island Medium…I’m not trying to convince everybody that there is life after death or that they continue to communicate with us.  And maybe it’s just desperation…that I need to believe the connection is there.  But I do believe in signs…I believe in them because to me the world is full of mysteries and I refuse to believe my bond with them is forever severed.

TODAY I TALK ABOUT CRAP

Ok…I know I’m primarily a dog…cat…blog.  But I can’t help it….this video is priceless on so many levels….soooooooo many.  First of all it totally disses on texting.  I’m not a big texter because I try not to text and drive…or text and eat…and especially text and drink…cause then it gets really really ugly. 

And then there is the total role reversal of the guys and girls…and that’s what makes it freakin priceless….really…I’m not kidding.  Maybe it strikes a chord with me because my husband tends to be the dramatic one in our relationship so I can totally relate…and when there is a relationship breakup the chick that pats “dumped chick” awkwardly on the shoulder…that is totally me…

ELEPHANT SAVES HER BABY

Ok, it’s not about a dog or a cat. But how could you not want to watch this video?  Elephants have always fascinated me. I have decided to post a few elephant facts.

Elephants live in a very social order, the females live among one another.  Mothers, aunts, sisters, daughters all live together in a nice little group.  The lives of the males are very different, they live more solitary lives on the edges of the herds.  Only the most dominant males will be permitted to “ENGAGE” with the female elephants. Sounds like a nice system. See how much smarter they are than we ever realized? The males initiate “the mount” while the female ignores him for a short time. The male attempts such acts as trunk nuzzling, intertwining and placing their trunks in each other’s mouth.  Similar to our act of “french kissing.”

Some species of males will engage in same-sex bonding and mounting.  A male will often extend his trunk along the other’s back, while pushing forward with his tusks to signify his intention to mount. Unlike male on female action in the elephant world, which are always one night stands, those between males result in a “companionship”, consisting of an older individual and one or two younger, attendant males. I’m not sure… but I do not believe the elephant population engages in a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

With a mass just over 11 pounds, elephant brains are larger than those of any other land animal. A wide variety of behaviors associated with intelligence have been attributed to elephants, including those associated with grief, music making, art, altruism, allomothering, play, use of tools, compassion and self-awareness.

In other words…ELEPHANTS FREAKIN ROCK!  Maybe we should think twice before hunting them for their ivory tusks, so we can have pretty little smooth objects to sit on display in our nice little homes.

I WISH I HAD A “DO OVER”

I was listening to my favorite song of all time today….”Waiting for my real life to begin.”  This song moves me to the core every time I hear it…I don’t know why.  I’ve listened to it countless times and I’ve always assumed I related to the words in the song because I am waiting for something fabulous to happen…as everybody does…and sometimes I am disapointed…and sometimes I am not.

But today, it had a different meaning to me.  Today the words were not about a new life…but a do-over.

I wish I had a do-over… as a parent…I raised my son as a divorced parent and I have had guilt for many years, not because I raised him as a single Mother, but because I didn’t raise him…all in…

A line in the song is “Just be here now“….I am quite sure my young son voiced that to me on many occassions…but somehow I didn’t hear it.  I was too busy being pre-occupied with relationships, a career, and just too damn tired.

Of course anybody raising their children as a single parent knows the struggles one can face.  But I’m not going to pretend it was only that.  It was more about putting other things ahead of him because I always thought “tomorrow” would be the day I really engaged in being a great Mother..when all my energy would be focused on him…and I never quite made it. 

Don’t get me wrong…I was always there physically…I attended every ball game and school function.  But there were so many areas where I fell short….So many times when I was just too tired emotionally to put that extra effort in…not realizing that eventually it would be too late…There would come a time when he really wouldn’t  need me anymore. 

He has forgiven me…but I haven’t forgiven myself….not really.  I want a do-over.  I want to raise him as an older wiser parent that knows where her priorities are…not in a relationship…not in her career….and not in waiting for another day…but in the here and now. Not on the horizon… and not when I’m waiting for my new life to begin…but now…when things matter and are real…

I know there are no “do-overs.” There are only regrets.  I’ve never been a believer in reincarnation…but at times I wish there was…I would want my son to find me thru some cosmic wave or divine intervention… and let me try again…

And yes…Religions, Spiritualists, New Agers, and even Quantum all talk about the “NOW.”  It makes great t-shirt sayings and books… but it is so hard to live by. 

The next time I would not only go all in… but I would also double down. 

So to all my friends that have a chance to do it right the first time…don’t let anything become the priority over your children.  When the balance isn’t right….error on the side of your children…there isn’t a better time…or a better day…there is only today…and that’s all that matters…

I don’t know why I’ve chosen this particular time to see a different message in my favorite song…but something is telling me to blog about it…

So…here it is…

A MOTHER-DAUGHTER STORY

“The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”

Ok, so I am doing a different kind of post today. A post about people…It is common knowledge among my friends that the vast majority of my focus is on animal rights. Sometimes, I just seem to overlook the struggles of common everyday folks.

I am currently doing some consulting work for a property management company and was doing some work in one of their leasing offices. So, I’m completely absorbed in my audit and not paying attention to the mother and daughter applying for an apartment. All of a sudden, I hear the Resident Manager say, “You’re approved.” The mother and daughter begin screaming and crying, “I can’t believe we did it! We did it!” They continue standing, crying, and hugging in the middle of the office. Surprised at their reaction my Resident Manager then said, “That’s the biggest reaction I’ve ever seen.” As they continued to hug each other the mother replies “You have no idea what we’ve been through…I did it…I did it.”

So…not wanting to invade in their personal lives but dying to know, we couldn’t resist asking about their story…

As it turned out the mother had been married for over twenty years to an abusive husband/father, and things began escalating the last several years. The only thing keeping her in the middle of the chaos was the impression (reinforced by her husband) that she would never be able to take care of both her and the daughter on her own…so she stayed.

She finally found the “courage” to leave him and start her life completely over with her only daughter. The mother continued thanking us repeatedly for approving her application. “We didn’t do anything out of the ordinary; you did it completely on your own…congratulations” I said. That sent her into another crying jag.

So, my own personal revelation is this…I am always looking for the stray cat or dog, or worthy news story, that furthers my present cause. But I sometimes forget that extraordinary stories and circumstances are constantly happening around me. Everyday folks just trying to live a good life… and for some it’s a harder road. Her struggles have been much more significant than any of my own struggles have been. I sometimes like to think “I’m a pretty big deal,” but then something like this happens and I realize true heroes are everywhere. They don’t always come in the shape of war hero’s, athletes, or pulling cars off of small children…sometimes it’s just about a mother and a daughter finding the courage to start over, and believing it’s the greatest thing in the world.

 

GREAT DEER RESCUE STORY

Just when I thought I had given up on human kindness, a good story comes along and restores my faith in humanity.  Four young Sitka black-tailed bucks fell upon good luck Sunday as they were pulled from the icy waters of Stephens Passage, Alaska by a group of locals on Tom Satre’s 62-foot charter vessel.  The four deer swam directly toward the boat and fortunately, they were met with helping hands.

Once the deer reached the boat, the four began circling, looking directly at the humans on board.  Clearly, the bucks were distressed. With help, the typically skittish and absolutely wild animals came willingly onto the boat.  Once onboard, they collapsed with exhaustion, shivering.

Once rescued, the bucks rested on the back of Tom Satre’s boat, the Alaska Quest. All four deer were transported to Taku Harbour .  Once the group reached the dock, the first buck that had been pulled from the water hopped onto the dock, looked back, then leapt into the harbour, swam to shore, and disappeared into the forest. After a bit of prodding and assistance from the humans, two others followed suit, one deer needed a bit more help.

Tom, Anna and Tim Satre graciously helped the last of the “button” bucks to its feet. They did not know how long the deer had been in the icy waters or if there had been others who did not survive.  The good Samaritans (humans)  describe their experience as “one of those defining moments in life.” 

The meaning of defining moment:  a point at which the essential nature or character of a person, group, etc., is revealed or identified. 

I love a happy ending…..

I AM A REALITY TV ADDICT

Hi, my name is …. and I’m a Reality TV addict. It’s the first step…finally admitting it.

It all started innocently enough, it was 1972 and MTV played music video’s. That was cutting edge enough…but then they introduced a show called “The Real World.”

This is the true story… of eight strangers… picked to live in a house…work together and have their lives taped… to find out what happens… when people stop being polite… and start getting real…The Real World.

It was a social experiment on the behaviors of complete strangers and how they interact with each other. It brought out the voyeurism in me. It was better than watching the neighbors through their front picture window at night when they had all the lights on. (Not that I’ve ever done that) I can still remember the racial tension between Kevin and the cast mates. It wasn’t scripted, it was raw, sometimes boring but very Real World.

And who could forget season Real World San Francisco and the conflict between Puck and Pedro? Puck was a non-bathing, snot shooting rocket launcher, that ate peanut butter out of the jar with his finger, and Pedro was HIV positive, fighting for his life while spending his remaining time educating people about HIV.  You can’t script the fact that Pedro died hours after the final episode was aired. I felt part of the show, and I mourned for Pedro’s loss.

That was the beginning of my addiction. What started out as a simple case of voyeurism became an absolute must see. I had to watch every week to see if Puck was going to bathe.

It spiraled from there, like a junkie starting out with a gateway drug and then jonesing for the harder stuff. A junkie has to get a bigger fix, they need more and they’ll do anything to get it. They start as a  light pot smoker making too many trips to the 7-Eleven and watching endless episodes of Family guy, graduating to a quivering crack addict robbing the 7-Eleven.

 Luckily Reality TV understood my new addiction and gave me shows such as Survivor. How about the first season  when  Richard walked around naked? How I hated him…but he started “The Alliance.” And when Sue gave her rat and snake speech I was hooked for the next 21 seasons, although I have to admit it became predictable until Russell entered the game on Season 19 with his “dumb ass girl” alliance.  Not only did he come up with a completely offensive name for his alliance but he also found 3 immunity idols without a single clue and lied about losing his dog during Katrina! Reality TV had found it’s best villain since Puck-the-non-bather.

That’s all good Reality TV….but now we have the Housewives of Orange County, NY, New Jersey, Beverly Hills and Atlanta. I can’t even begin to tell you how I love watching their narcissism, over-bloated spending, financial disasters, and relationship disasters.  Seriously, it is like watching a bad train wreck…I just can’t turn away.

The best Housewives moment for me was season one Atlanta when Kim declared she was going to be a recording star because she “Asked, Believed, and Received.”  (A reference to the popular DVD “The Secret”) I scoffed at her brazenness. I mean I’ve read “The Secret” and I get the whole Quantum thing and how thoughts have energy, but seriously, the woman couldn’t sing. She was completely dissed by Big Papa‘s recording pals and you know we were all thankful that Kim was never going to sing again

 But then season two came along and Grammy Award winning Kandi produced “Tardy for the Pardy” for Kim, evidently at no charge.  AND IT’S A HIT!!  WTF?

 I watch fat people become thin, I watch Brett Michaels look for love, then become “The Apprentice,” and then become a great dad on his new show.  I watch “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” I mean who knew somebody could date a crap load of people all at the same time and find true love in eight weeks?  And then when Jason blew Melissa off during the season finale, it produced yet another desirable villian, because he changed his mind and didn’t tell her until the finale so he could get paid.

As an addict I know I haven’t hit rock bottom yet…there are more shows to watch, I’ll know when I’ve finally reached the bottom. It will be when I’m sitting on my couch with a pee bottle because I don’t want to stop the TVO long enough to go to the bathroom, or when I start to look like Puck because I refuse to take time out and bathe.

I have to go now…MTV has a new show out called “Dushervention.” It’s about having an intervention to save a dush bag from himself. Pure Genius…it might be the best one yet.