Signs from the Universe
One of the more difficult parts of our extended travel was not being there to comfort dear family friends in the immediate aftermath of losing their husband and father to cancer.
I know that grief is a solitary road. And I know that my friends are bravely travelling that road with plenty of loving support. Still, being unable to stand along the shoulder to offer even a cup of water during the first days of their mourning deepened my own sadness -- for them and with them. For me, news of any death, whether it comes for someone I know or someone I don't, reminds me of my own limited humanity and triggers that deeper fear I know that I am not alone in sharing: that we will forget our beloveds, or be forgotten when our own time comes.
I am thankful that sometimes the universe conspires to connect us to the people we care about, even at a substantial distance, whether they are still walking the earth or have taken their place in the broader cosmos. I am grateful for the symbols and signs it lays on our path, reminding us that those we love are as close as the air we breathe -- or the rocks beneath our feet.
On March 4, the day Mr. D passed away, I looked down on a riverside walkway in Paris and saw this heart-shaped rock. In that instant I felt a jolt of love and knew he was near his family.
I sent the picture to my friend C, just to let her and her family know I was thinking of them.
Call it coincidence, or God, or overactive imagination, or whatever your own heart tells you to call it. But I choose to call this beautiful symbol a gift from someting greater than myself. For lack of a better, more scientific word, I will call it a Grace. And I will believe it was meant to be a sign that their beloved is always with them -- and mine are always with me.
I tend to look for heart-shaped rocks whenever I go for a hike or to the beach. Eventually they make it to my windowsill to gather dust or to my garden or to the windowsills and gardens of my friends and family. In a good month, I might find one or two.
But for whaterver reason -- be it mystical or simply because I opened my eyes wider -- I began seeing heart-shaped rocks multiple times a day. Walking down the streets in four different countries, ten different cities, climbing dusty roads, strolling on cliffs, ambling up castle steps or leaning over tidepools that are usually covered by 40 feet of sea at high tide. I've seen them in the lichen on rocks, carved into lime cliffs, squished into pavement. I found them everywhere, each unique, each one bringing me the same feeling of love and connection as when I passed them on to my friend.
There was a time in my life when I might consider someone who saw “signs” and symbols in things like rocks, well, CRAZY. But, then, we used to think people who believed they could cure illnesses like cancer were crazy too. And yet they do. So maybe it’s possible that the universe delivers signs and connections to and from those who have gone before us after all.
Below are some of my favorites. I know they are a message from the universe to my friends C, M, C and C; reassurance that the ones we most love and lose are always with us; a reminder that none of us is ever alone.
If that makes me crazy, so be it.
Heart-shaped rocks found in Paris, Valletta, Mdina, Marsalock, Sannat, Victora, Liverpool, Manchester, St. Lawrence, St. Aubin, St. John's Village, Gorey, Coriere, St. Heilier, Wallingford . . .