We are approaching our 6th Christmas without Josh. I know it is redundant to say "so hard to believe" but it is true. Where has the time gone? Are we really into our sixth holiday grief season (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, his birthday on Jan. 16th) without him? And on the heels of his birthday will come our day of infamy, March 18th.
The tremendous sadness, as if every cell in the body were filled with its own grief and loss, no longer weighs me down as in the first few years. Now, I am apathetic about the holidays, watching as a dispassionate observer and asking what is all the fuss about? Why do stores need to promote Christmas before Thanksgiving? Why is my inbox continually flooded with promotions, screaming for me to spend money? Why all the added stress and pressure?
Bottom line, I am not into it anymore. Holiday decorations will stay in the basement again this year except for wreaths on the front doors, a white tree and stockings (just like the past 5 years). I've stopped sending cards and as a result am receiving less. But that is OK for while I am happy to see how friend's families have grown, it is a painful reminder of our loss.
Despite all this, I do have some inner peace in my heart because I know Josh is still here. How? Because he has recently sent me two distinct signs of his presence. Side note: I have experienced more signs but to share would mean writing about my daily meditation practice which will be on another post if I ever do decide to share.
Last month, I was at the grocery store re-stocking after being away for Thanksgiving week. I distinctly remember buzzing through the cracker/cookie aisle and thinking, "I don't need any of this."
But when I got home and started unpacking the groceries, two bulk packages of those pre-packed peanut-butter crackers and cheese crackers ended up on the kitchen table that I did not put in my cart, nor did I remember them being put in the re-suable bags that I was helping to pack. When I told Tim about this, he asked if they were on the receipt....they were. All this made me recall his funny habit of putting random things in the cart when he accompanied me to the store - see post.
My face must have had a very strange look when I saw those cracker packages and then a smile when I reasoned it was Josh. In the past, I might have chalked this up to some strange coincidence but not any more. Not after all the unexplainable things that have occurred - see posts. Now, that would mean disrespecting the efforts my son is making to connect.
The other happened just yesterday. I was in Virginia Beach in the lobby of a client's office before going to a meeting. While I was rummaging through my padfolio for a business card to give to a consultant who was waiting with me, the craziest thing occurred.
First, I should preface this story to say that I rarely use either my work or personal iPhone to listen to music.
Long story short, without touching my work phone, it just started playing Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole. This beautiful version of the classic song was found to be one of Josh's favorites based on how often he played it on his computer. So it was a key song featured in his memorial service and set the tone, I think, of the whole morning. Whenever anyone in our family or close friends hear the song, we think of Josh; it is forever linked to him.
Anyway, back to the moment that the song started playing on my phone in my purse. I was in shock and couldn't really process. I looked at the phone, did not recognize the screen as anything I has seen before but figured out how to stop the music so I could get myself in the "business meeting" mindset.
Afterwards however, while in my car, I just smiled, looked up and said, "Dude, really? Before an important meeting? You must've known I was a bit nervous and wanted to give me some moral support? Well, it worked...meeting went well."
I don't believe death is the end. Josh lives on in spirit. I may not be able to see him but I can feel his essence. And somehow, someway, he has figured out how to use his energy to make things happen here - way to go Josh!