Signs From My Aunt
My Favourite Aunt
Back in August of 2007 my favourite aunt, Aunt Mary, passed away after spending a week in hospital, following a fall outside her apartment. My sister and mother were just arriving to pick her up to go grocery shopping, when they rounded the corner and saw an ambulance at her apartment, only to find out that she had collapsed as soon as she walked outside the door.
I got a phone call, after which my husband and I hurried immediately to emergency. When I got there I thought it odd that she didn't greet me, but almost immediately said she had to get up for the bathroom. I thought she was acting odd and told the nurse so. Upon being asked by the nurse if she knew who I was, she turned her head, looked at me and said "Lynda" and that was the last thing she said.
My concern sparked an immediate CTscan, the results of which showed that she had bleeding on the brain. Within minutes a doctor spoke to both my sister and I (my aunt had no children of her own) and asked us if we knew what her wishes were. He explained a few things to us, which I didn't understand completely, but when I asked the simple question and got the simple answer I immediately said that she did not want to be on any kind of life support. It is unbelievable how quickly this happened. It is not known whether she had a stroke, fell and then banged her head, or if she simply fell and banged her head causing the bleeding on the brain. In the end it doesn't matter, because the outcome would be the same.
The entire family was back and forth at her bedside for the week that she was in hospital. All we could do was hold her hand and talk to her, getting no response at all, but you always want to talk in case they do take it in. This was particularly hard for her two sisters, one younger at age 85 and one older at age 93. They just couldn't understand why she was not being fed and why they were now disconnecting the IV's. After all she was grasping their hand. We couldn't make them understand that this was reflex and that they would not want her to revive, because she would not be the same; she would not be who she was. She passed away on August 4 - 10 minutes before midnight and 10 minutes before my birthday. My mother worried that she would indeed pass on my birthday and I told her that it would not have mattered, I could celebrate her life along with my birthday.
In the weeks following my aunt's death, I was as usual going back and forth to my mother's to take her meals and visit as I had been doing since she was diagnosed with a neuro-muscular disease. I knew she was hurting at losing her sister, because she was particularly close to this one.
One day she looked at me and asked "Lynda, do you think Auntie Mary can see us"? I responded "I don't know Mom, but if it makes you feel good to think so, then there is nothing wrong with that". How damn smug was that answer!
I look back at this conversation now and remind myself of how I feel when people look at me as though I am crazy when I tell them that my husband Craig, who passed away in 2010 is still with me. Indeed, I tell them that I get all kinds of signs and messages, all the while looking hopefully at them desperately wanting them to believe me and not think me mad.
Looking Back At The Signs
Not long after I realized that Craig was still with me and that I was being given the gift of so many signs and messages, I often wondered why I had not had any signs from my Auntie Mary. She was like a second mother to me and I missed her terribly in those months and years after her passing. She was the one who took both my sister Nanci and I on our first trip to Italy, and along with Uncle Nick spent each and every Christmas with our family, as well as other holidays. And after my uncle passed away, she and mom would still come to be with us Christmas Day. She was part of our family.
And then all of a sudden thinking back, I remembered waking up in the middle of the night in the weeks following her death, and smelling food cooking. I couldn't figure out what this was. Was I still smelling that night's dinner that I had cooked. But it didn't seem so. On and off this would happen, I would wake up and smell food. Now I look back and relate it to the fact that she loved to cook, and she in the last years of her life often had just Craig and I down for dinner. It was one of the things she loved doing. Or the three of us would go out to a restaurant, each of us enjoying a good meal out.
And when I looked back, to before Craig passed away, I remembered a special incident that I can only relate to my Auntie Mary. I was coming back from an afternoon of visiting my mom. I was driving up the escarpment on the highway toward the town we lived in. It is a fairly gentle incline going up from the lower city to the upper city where one can enjoy the views of the city below.
I was traveling in the shoulder lane because I would be exiting to the right further up the hill. All of a sudden something caught my eye and I looked to the right to see a dove flying at window level keeping pace with my car, and virtually just outside my window. There it is, wings flapping, framed perfectly in my passenger window, not moving forward, not dropping back. I glanced to the left lanes to see if anyone else noticed this dove but no one was paying attention. When I looked back it was still there. I had been expecting it to take off any minute, but instead it stayed with me right up to my exit.
As I reached the top of the escarpment the dove made a move and now flew to the front of my car, point blank middle and not a foot ahead of me, quite like a hood ornament. And it continued flying along almost as though it was guiding me. I was both dumbstruck and spellbound. It continued this way for the rest of the way to my exit. When I exited, it veered off to the left and that was the last I saw of it. I believe that was a sign for me from my Auntie Mary letting me know that she was well and that she was at peace. What a wonderful sign that was!
Helping My Mom To Understand
Now I decided that I had to start talking to my mother, and wondered how to go about it. It was a sad thing for her because in Craig's last weeks she had not seen him, it being too difficult to move her around in the car. So she was hurting from his death too and was of course concerned for me.
Little by little I started to share some things with her. I did not want to frighten her, but at the same time I thought it would give her a measure of comfort to know that we do not just die, we go on to another life in spirit, and we are very much aware. Over the days and weeks she woudl take all of this in and she was always eager to hear more, then reminding me about the time she saw her cat who had died. She had actually bent down to pet it and then it was gone.
I felt shame because she had told me this story way back when it happened; I listened but I didn't take it seriously. And then I had told her, when she asked that question about her sister, my aunt, that if she wanted to believe Auntie Mary could see us, then there was nothing wrong with that. Now she was hearing me saying the same things.
And then one day she told me a story. She said there was a spider coming down from upstairs. A big spider. Now, she lives in a condo; so of course I am saying to myself there is no way a spider can come down from upstairs. She's confused for sure! She kept mentioning this spider and then I realized she was referring to outside her window straight ahead from the way her wing back chair was facing, and where she would sit every day to look out at Lake Ontario and all the sailboats.
She continued talking about this spider. It would come down and then go back up. Then one day she said "I think that spider has something to do with Auntie Mary, remember how terrified she was of spiders". And then she says "remember the time I told you I was driving along in the car and Auntie Mary was in the passenger seat? Remember there was a spider on the visor in front of her and she was almost jumping out of the car, before I picked up the spider and threw it out of the window"!!
I have to be honest with you here. I thought mom was maybe seeing things, possibly some debris that had blown against her window. But then the day came where I saw this spider too and I couldn't believe it. Mom is on the 19th floor of her condo. I was left wondering what in the heck this big black spider was doing up that high, and how it was managing to stay in that space for days on end no matter the weather. Then one day she announced that the spider was gone, she thinks probably killed by the people upstairs. Nevertheless, we never saw it again.
Was this my mother's very special sign from her sister, whom she missed so very much? This is what I am told, and what I have read in my research. If a situation speaks to you and feels good, if it resonates with you at a time when you need it, then it is a message for you. No coincidences. I think my mom got her sign from her sister, in a way that mom would understand and relate to it. And isn't that wonderful!
Author - A Breath Away