So I will tell you a story of redemption and forgiveness. Self forgiveness. It starts with a crow that perched outside of my office as I met with one of my clients last Wednesday. The crow seemed so out of place to me that I tried to point it out to the woman in my office, but she ignored me and talked on. It wasn’t until the next day when out for a walk that I thought of the meaning of the crow but it was still alluding me.
Not minutes before on the walk, I had been getting other messages that I should have noticed, messages from my dead friend Ken to call his wife Cindy. I thought of Cin and my Aunt both people who I owed a phone call to. Ken even joked with me on the walk and said, ‘you are the worst guesser ever.’ Something he used to tease me about when he was alive and I used to lord my psychic powers over him.
I hadn’t called my Aunt on Christmas and hadn’t talked to her in awhile. I had sent her a nice gift for Christmas and she responded with a lovely note. A note that oddly said, hope you have a great 2018. Nothing about seeing her this year. I used to visit her and my family in Rochester so sporadically that I guess she had given up hope that I would make it there this year or maybe she just knew…
When I was growing up she had been my and my siblings second mom. Always there for us when my parents were overextended. Filling in the gap with loving care. Throwing my wedding and baby shower when I was a young woman, taking me to OB appointments, bringing food to our house when we were small, babysitting so my mom could grocery shop. Her kids came a few years later, after she had mothered us for awhile. Even after she and my uncle adopted my cousins she still mothered us. She was there when my mom was hospitalized one summer for a chronic condition and the day that my mom almost died of a massive hemorrhage. The day before Katie, my daughter was born. She and I had just arrived home from my last OB appointment to find my mom unexpectedly home early from work. We heard her fall. I got to her first and screamed for my aunt to call an ambulance. She was a rock for me that day and the following day when I gave birth. She was there visiting when my parents couldn’t be. There for Bill and me with her unassuming reliable presence that was soothing.
Life hadn’t always been kind for my Aunt but she never complained. She was a master at giving. Kind of like the Giving Tree book. This year sadly many in my family weren’t there for her for various reasons. Everyone had good intentions but… .
She had a soft, kind slow patient way of speaking and moving. Steady. I am not sure why I didn’t call her that day when I got the message from Ken or the message from my grandfather, ‘you missed my funeral because of your work.’ Show up for your aunt.’ The gentle urges were there I could feel them telling me to call her. To reach out to her. The mason jar I grabbed to make kombucha and the wave of love I felt for her remembering how she used to can. Mentored Bill in the art of canning. He even named his start up canning business after her, Auntie’s Cupboard. The random thoughts I had of her the day before she died. The thoughts of facetiming with her. Wouldn’t she love to see our home in Asheville? My brother later told me that he thinks my grandfather pulled her out of here. Things had gotten hard for her on this physical plane.
I had all the best intentions to reach out to her. I thought I had time. I will do it later. I will call her next week. My cousin said that she was doing fine the day before she died. There hadn’t been any signs that she was sick.
Friday I ignored a call that I heard coming through thinking it was something I didn’t want to deal with from work. I noticed later that it was from my parents and was surprised they had called me so late. I was thinking I would call them in the am. Then I got the text from my brother Doug, “Does Liam know?” She fell in a parking lot picking up food for dinner. They had asked her when it happened was she ok, did she want them to call an ambulance? No she was fine. She died a few minutes later in her car.
I sobbed when I heard—I just needed one more day to call her. One day to tell her how much I love her. To tell her how much she had meant to me and to thank her for watching over me as I grew up and that I was sorry I couldn’t have done the same for her, as she got older.
Bill and I went to the salt cave the next day in Asheville. It was for a yoga nidra class. The teacher talked about intention and what did we want to bring in and I thought of self forgiveness. How this guilt wasn’t going to serve me. That I needed to let go of it or it would make me sick. The teacher then directed us to our third eye, what image we got there and the crow came through. It had portended death.
I did call Cindy today. She said she was doing well. How one of her adopted kids was acting out. Mommy you were so sad I couldn’t help you anymore her daughter had said to her. How things were better for them today but…and then I knew why Ken wanted me to call. I got off the phone relieved I had called my friend. Maybe I was able to help her. Just by calling.
When I hung up, I was grappling with the big picture. What was the meaning of all of this. What am I to learn from this today?
I texted our teacher for guidance, maybe he would have some random insight. His classes often timely. He texted back that he coincidentally was working on it. And then it came to me. Redemption. Finding a little bit of forgiveness from above and from within.