It’s been six days since we learned that we’ll never see Milo again. It’s getting a little easier- but the tears still come in waves.

Two days ago I grabbed a package off the porch before coming in.

What’s that? my hubby asked.

“It’s for Milo’s grave.” I replied somberly.

The words came out easily, and sat with me. Hard.

I went out to the back deck and sat, and cried. Milo’s grave I kept hearing. I didn’t want those words to exist. But they did, and I needed to feel sadness, and I did.

After a little bit, I spotted a hawk in a tree at the edge of our yard. I wished it were an eagle. During the pandemic in 2020, I pegged the eagle as my sign from the universe. During my countless walks and times outside, I’ve never seen one around here, and they are spotted fairly regularly. I look, all the time, but still get the feeling that it’s right In front of my face and I’m missing it.

As I was thinking, the hawk flew towards me and made a sharp turn to fly around the side of our house. It came close to the ground, and I thought that was odd and that it must’ve spotted a mouse or something.

About 5-10 minutes later, it came out of nowhere and landed on the top of our wooden swing about 50 feet away. I was in awe, because I’ve never seen a hawk do that here. I had never seen one so close.

It was only there for a matter of seconds, but what it did next made me laugh. It flew off toward the side yard, and was out of sight. Next thing I know, the rude geese who have been loitering were flying away honking angrily. It was funny because we used to sic our dog on those geese. He would chase them, and they’d fly away honking just like that. We realized it wasn’t the smartest thing to encourage our dog to chase wild animals, so we stopped doing that. I silently thanked the hawk for scaring them away.

I saw that hawk, once more that evening. He came down again, and around the side of the house.

It was cool, and while it wasn’t my eagle, I was in awe nevertheless, and so grateful for the gift of the hawk

My Greatest Teacher

For the first time in 7 years, I felt joy when I saw the date, February 13th.

It was my late mom’s birthday. She died suddenly in 2014. Her birthday, just like her deathday, can be a sad and overwhelming time.

I didn’t allow myself to feel guilty, for feeling joy, on this day, although my ego tried to be persistent.

I would honor her by having a nice, cheery day and would light a candle and say a prayer at 2:13pm, and I did.

When I was five, I found a picture of my uncle Bob. He died of cancer a few years earlier when I was just a toddler.

My mother and I had a conversation about death next. It ended abruptly with me in tears and my mom trying to reassure me.

I was lucky enough, if you call it that, now I call it oblivious and unseasoned, to not have to deal with death much in my early life.

As the years passed, my sisters and I often recognized that it was rare that we were in our 30’s/late 20’s and still had all four of our grandparents.

My mom’s dad was the first to go, from a slew of health issues. He was in his 80’s. It was 2008 and I was 31 years old.

The death, the funeral, all of it was sad, but not unreal. He was old and lived a really great life with a huge family and a lot of kids and grandkids. He lived a fulfilling life and while it was glum, it was a normal thing to have happen at my age.

The next death was much different.

In early July, my mom was rushed to the ER with a bowel obstruction, the day before she was supposed to meet us up north for a family holiday.

My little family had arrived up north the night before, but headed back home when we got the news.

They did surgery that evening, but she died early the next day from being septic. Her car already packed for our Fourth of July holiday.

The days, months and years following were very tough. However, it became apparent to me about a year ago that her death was the worst, and best thing for me to experience in my life.

How ironic, that our conversation about death was cut short so many years ago, never to be brought up again, yet her death turned out to be one of my biggest life lessons.

I’ve grown like never before, since that tragic summer.

The number one, biggest factor in all of my growth was quitting drinking. This was the beginning of a rebirth.

My drinking spiraled after losing my mom. I drank responsibly (for the most part, at least from what I remember 🤷🏼‍♀️), but then again drinking every night was not very responsible. I woke up most mornings not remembering going to bed.

I sank down pretty far, so much that I couldn’t stop drinking. Not even after waking up day after day with miserable hangovers. I would swear that I would quit, or at least cut down. But by evening, the guilt, shame and promises we’re replaced by Betsy, telling me how much I deserve and need a drink. Which of course would turn into half a dozen- or more.

I spent summer 2016 floating in the pool with a drink, telling myself that if I got a sign from my mom or the universe, like a bird landing on the side of the pool, then I would quit. The lack of signs was the perfect excuse to continue sipping away.

And I did, for the entire summer and beyond.

The desire to stop, accompanied by the inability to do so, propelled me into sobriety once I discovered sober groups and started to connect with sober people, who seemed to be having way more fun in life than I was.

This opened the door to an endless path of learning, growth and self-improvement.

My sober studies led to learning about the law of attraction and the life force energy.

My studies on the law of attraction drew me to soul work, where I experienced magic and miracles in everyday life and activities (see all blog entries from the summer 2019- the ‘spiritual’ summer).

The soul work led me to developing a stronger intuition.

Communicating with my intuition urged me to learn more about energy, such as how to perform Reiki and tapping into my psychic abilities.

I never in a million years would have imagined me full out hippie witch in my mid-forties- yet here I am.

Happiness and suffering go hand-in-hand. This may explain why I was such a rotten adult in my 20’s and 30’s. My ego overshadowed everything and I went through life with a ‘poor me’ attitude.

My mom often urged us to be grateful, especially as we all got older. I would reply that “I was grateful, for our home and food.” But I still went through life searching for something that felt empty.

Her death taught me what it’s like to feel grateful, like intrinsically glorious at a given moment for the simplest things in life- and to feel so fortunate for that minute, yet grand, experience.

This post is dedicated to my mom, who continues to teach me deep lessons from the afterlife.

Ironically, the most important thing she and her death taught me is how to find my own peace and happiness amidst the chaos.

Day #690