A Happy and Thankful Life


Do you believe in signs?

I’m not superstitious. I don’t seek out signs to direct me in my choices. But I do wonder if those coincidences or signs mean something. And sometimes I decide to believe that they are meant to bring comfort.

Today should have been my fourth wedding anniversary. I have my new routines on these special days. It helps me get through the day. For our anniversary, it is to see a movie. The first movie preview was very out of place as it was for an animated movie about a squirrel. For some reason, he had a thing about squirrels. They made him smile and now, when I see them, they make me smile as it reminds me of his smile. I said a silent thank you to him. Logically, I know that it is just another movie preview, but as something that makes me smile in memory of John, I’ll take it.

There are other things, most recently during my vacation in October. The shuttle driver to the LA rental car company was from Akron. I got a mustang convertible when I requested an economy car. The guest on the live show taping I attended is on one of his favorite shows. Squirrels in particular places at particular times. A certain song playing at a certain time. The Titanic exhibition.

Yes, I get that these are coincidences and happenstances. But will it hurt anything or anyone if I take comfort in these things? They remind me of John and I feel, for a small moment, that he is still with me. That’s okay for me.

What do you think of signs?

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Hard. Our closets. Signs.

There has been a powerful TEDx talk shared online this past week. It is about realizing that everyone has something in the closet that needs to come out, that needs to be said. It is hard. Everyone’s hard is different but it’s still hard. If you haven’t seen it yet, please take 10 minutes to watch it now. I’ll wait.

This hits home for me and maybe for you as well. Why do we compare what we are going through with what others are going through? It’s not going to end well. I remember sitting in a holiday grief program and I was starting to compare my pain with others. I had to stop myself – I didn’t know their story and they didn’t know mine. What we were all going through is hard. But we were doing our best to get out of the closet and seek help and support.

That leads to an article that someone had shared in my blog reader. The article is about reading signs. What if we wore signs that identified our battles, our struggles? How would that change our perception and attitude with someone? Would we be more patient, more understanding? Why must we know their sign in order to be kind to others?

One thing that carries on in me is being told by our group grief to be gentle with ourselves. More than once, she had said it to me. It is something I struggle with as I hold myself up to these ridiculous high standards. When I relax, give myself a break, and am gentle – I know that I handle things better in the long run. But her article was about being gentle with others as well.

We don’t know the whole story for those that we work with, live near, and even those we call friends and family. We may never know. Now, I will be the first to admit that when you are going through something so hard that you can’t see the light around the closet door, you might not be able to support those around you. However, we can still be kind and gentle when we see someone is struggling. We can assume that the person has positive intent…and sometimes that choice is because they feel desperate and don’t see another choice. We can be there for one another.