Because my blogs are a diversion for me, I try and stay away from things of a more serious nature, but I think that the time has come for me to share a very personal, but meaningful experience that happened not only to me, but my family.
It seems that lately, so many people that I know are having to say painful goodbyes to loved ones that are leaving this life, this earth, and if my true story brings some measure of comfort to them, then it is worth this shift in focus.
And it doesn’t matter what spiritual or religious path you follow. My family is quite diverse in that area, and we were all there to see this with our own eyes. Just please keep an open mind, and an open heart.
My Step Dad Travelled On in 1999, as a result of exposure to Freon gas, an unknown hazard at the time, but an integral part of his refrigeration business. But to get the true meaning of my story, we need delve just a little into his history, back to 1964 when he became an important part of our family, back before he became the beloved Grampa to my children.
He married my Mom in June of that year, and that following November, he started gathering up his gear, announcing that he is going deer hunting! I, who grew up with a Dad who never hunted, and loved animals, was appalled! How could my Mom have married a hunter!!?
But that year, and every year after that, when November rolled around, he would head for the North woods, but never came home with a deer, only gifts for everyone from the local crafts shops. It got to be a running joke that he had to remember to take his gun, just to keep up his image. If the truth be known, yes, he loved going up to Munising, in the U.P. to visit with some friends who lived there, swap stories at the local pub, and sit out in the woods, being a part of nature. He thought that deer were one of the most beautiful creatures. Why he had to go through the façade of being the hunter, I don’t know. I’m guessing it was because it was the way that he was raised, but he never said.
Back here at home, their home edged on woods that banked a river, with tall grassy fields extending past their mowed garden area, so deer were a familiar sight moving in the shadowy perimeter of their patio and glass enclosed porches.
He loved nothing better on quiet summer evenings, to sit out and watch and count the number of deer grazing their fields, or lazily making their way down to the river bank. Like all of us deer watchers do, he could recognize and point out the regulars, and looked forward to seeing the fawns each year.
Sometime during those years, they decided that their home was too big for the two of them, so they sold it, keeping the tall grass fields that were dotted with apple and oak trees. They built a smaller home; still keeping some land that went down to the river. Deer would sometimes meander through, looking for acorns or fallen apples, but they became more of a treat to see, rather than familiar friends, when for various reasons, my folks started having the remaining trees removed, and the extended fields mowed. My Mom didn’t like having to rake all of the leaves, the acorns messed up her patio, and she didn’t like the apples rotting in her yard. So sadly, the trees disappeared, and so did the deer. My parents were left with a sterile, completely mowed surface that turned brown under the hot summer sun. Not an inviting habitat for wildlife.
I know that my Dad missed having the deer around, but contented himself with his yearly trip up North, and then, after we bought a home up in the upper tier of the Lower Peninsula, coming to our home.
We had a mechanical feeder that sprayed corn out in a wide radius, and we had a healthy deer herd that came to feed every night. During the day, they would bed down in the shade of our house, or under the many trees.
My Dad would sit out in a lawn chair, with the biggest grin on his face as he watched the deer come down our long curving drive through the pines, walking right toward him, only veering off to go eat. In the few years of his illness, he sat with his portable oxygen tank at his side, still able to be out with the deer.
But toward the end, even that became too much for him to do, and he remained at their home, where on a hot July day, he slipped into a coma, and within a few hours, took his final labored breath.
My Mom, who had been his sole caregiver, and preparing herself for this moment, was suddenly shaken with this huge concern that he was in a good place. She was to the point of being frantic, with not knowing.
The next morning, after a very sleepless night, I sat her down, and told her that I knew that she was going to get a sign, but that she had to be aware of it, so that she would recognize it for what it was. I wasn’t telling her that, to make her feel good. I really did feel it. But she was so distraught, I had to keep reminding her.
Just as the afternoon had settled into another hot and steamy afternoon, with the sun shining it’s brightest, all of the immediate family had gathered in the family room once again to discuss the plans for a memorial. Adjacent to the three walled glass enclosed porch, we were able to look out over the huge expanse of open lawn.
I had my head down, composing my Dad's obituary when my son said, “Mom! Look out the window!”, and of course, 10 pairs of eyes turned toward the bank of windows. There, standing in the bright afternoon glare of the sun, stood a solitary deer, early antlers wrapped in velvet. He not only stood in the open yard, but calmly walked up to the porch windows and stopped, looking in. While everyone else was oohing and aaahing over the sight of a deer in this stark surrounding, I quietly came up behind my Mom and whispered to her that there was her sign.
I could feel the tension and stress whoosh out of her, as she quietly made her way across the room, and up to the window. She stood there, reaching her hand out toward the window pane, with the deer’s nose only inches away on the other side of the glass. The buck didn’t run, but stood there, looking at my Mom. What transpired between them, I don't know. It was a very personal moment. He was there for her, with us as witnesses. Then, with a bow of his head, he slowly turned, and ambled across the huge expanse of open lawn, heading back into the distant tree line. Once there, he turned to look back, then disappeared into the trees.
Then with a collective exhaling of held breaths, all of the chattering inside started. My grandkids were excited to see a deer! My kids were talking about how strange it was that one showed up in the middle of the day, when none had been around for years. My hubby and I looked at each other with knowing smiles, and my Mom looked at me with tears in her eyes, saying that a huge weight had been lifted from the middle of her chest.
My older daughter sadly thought that her Grammie had lost any threads of rational thought, fearing that she thought that the deer was Grampa. I told her “No, it is the miracle of the deer showing up now”, but personally, I keep an open mind because I don’t know for sure. If it is possible, that is definitely the form he would take. But what I do truly feel, is that the deer was a Messenger, especially considering in all of the years since, no deer has shown up in my Mom’s yard. Believe me, she has looked, and hoped.
I remind her to be thankful for that very special gift that she received, and she is. She also admits that if she were alone, she probably would have missed the significance of it until maybe a long time later, which would have made her feel even worse. So the timing was key, as was the awareness to look for it.
We may have received a special gift, but I know that we weren’t special in being gifted. In talking with others, some have their own stories of the Veil being lifted. I think that it happens more often than we are aware, and we should keep our senses finely tuned, so as to not miss that true magical moment.
Do you have an experience of receiving a sign from the Other Side? I would love to hear your story. Thank you for reading mine.
Wishing everyone a beautiful day!
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