"I'm sure there are those who get tired of these posts (to which I say, 'Don't read them.'), but for me, they help me through my grieving process.
"I am and always have been a mama's boy. My mom was one of my very best friends. Even though her early passing saved herself and her family from a lot of suffering, there are days when I still can't believe she's gone.
"Many days I'm fine, but there are days like today when I miss her terribly and long for her immediate presence.
"Since her passing nearly five months ago, she has let me know many times that she is still around and very much a part of my life. That is comforting, but it's not the same.
"I just miss her. I hope it gets easier. I guess it's a testament to our deep love that the deep pain of her passing still remains.
I discover that I miss Mom terribly. While the rational part of me knows that things worked out for the best, the emotional part of me just wishes she were here.
Yet she has shown me many times that she is very much around.
They're just little things, and others might chalk them up to coincidence, but I believe Mom is letting me know she is still very much a part of my life.
I've already talked about the Josh Groban concert. The song "Smile" has become a way for Mom to let me know she's around. Recently my brother and sister-in-law and their kids through town and we agreed to meet at a local IHOP. I started my car to meet them, and a version of "Smile" by Barbra Streisand began to play. I felt maybe it was Mom's way of letting me know she'd be attending breakfast with us (and sure enough there were two empty seats at our table, so maybe Dad was with us as well).
That's actually happened a lot (the two empty seats). I attended a fairly full house of the show Rock of Ages, and there were two seats next to me (although I'm not sure either Mom or Dad liked the show), and at a Kristen Chenoweth concert the same thing happened.
I recently visited my family in Utah and we had dinner at Su Casa, one of Mom and Dad's favorite places, and again, there were two empty chairs at a rather full table. I also saw a rehearsal of one of Mom's favorite shows, A Few Good Men, and found myself beside two empty seats. (I know Mom loved that one.)
I've also felt Mom communicate to me through music. Not just "Smile," but other stuff as well - the Josh Groban and Kristen Chenoweth concerts; songs on the radio; etc. I was playing a rendition of a song I like (which I imagine Mom would have liked) called "And I Love You So,"
and I got in my car to go to work, and the exact song started playing on the radio.
It just felt like too much to be just a coincidence.
One unexpected song has become a sign for me. About a month or two ago I had seen "The Story of My Life" performed by One Direction. I liked the song and wanted to watch the video, which I did and which left me a weeping mess.
I don't know if it's because I've been dealing with Mom's journals and photos, but the whole idea of the video (these frozen memories in time; the moving on of time even after loved ones have left us) just really connected with me.
During my visit home when I was visiting Mom and Dad's grave at the cemetery for what turned out to be the last time it was warming up a little after a cold week and I could feel the sunshine on my body, and I closed my eyes and imagined Mom and Dad were beside me, much as I felt Dad beside me when I was on my mission shortly after he died. I don't know if I've ever shared that story here, but the week he died, I was in church and bore my testimony and when I sat down I felt like Dad's hand was on my shoulder (and I believe it was). Much in the same way, I felt like Mom and Dad were standing beside me in the cemetery, and I felt that same feeling in St. George recently when Jonah and I were married. After I basked in that feeling, I got into the car and what should start playing but “The Story of My Life” by One Direction , and I started crying because I just felt sure it was Mom telling me she and Dad had been there.
Other remarkable things that happened two other times I visited the cemetery. The first time I visited it was a windless day a bit cold. I'm not really a cemetery-going kind of guy, but the cemetery was only three blocks from where I was staying so I figured why not? I was met at the grave site by several geese who were milling around, and it felt like kind of a sign to me. I guess the life that was present felt like Mom reminding me that she's not really dead, just on another plane of existence.
I hadn't been to Mom's grave since the week she was buried and I broke down. I just miss her. Sometimes I feel bad because I didn't behave the way I did with Dad's passing as I am with Mom's. It's certainly not because I loved Dad any less. I adored my father. But Mom and I just had more in common (plus 21 more years together than Dad and I had). Plus I was away when Dad died, so it didn't seem as present in my mind as Mom's death, when I was stroking her hair and looking at her face at the exact moment she passed.
There were two pinwheels on the graves of a nearby couple, and although I did not feel any wind, they both began to turn.
I wondered if maybe Mom and Dad were making it happen. It made me feel good to think they did. I just let them know how much I missed them.
My other visit to the cemetery was at dusk so it was dark, but as I drove in I saw a herd of seven deer leaping and bounding about the cemetery. While it is not uncommon to see deer in this part of Utah, the cemetery is in a fairly suburban area where deer don't frequent. I was actually afraid to get out of the car until the deer departed, but they were a truly beautiful sight to see. And then I saw a flock of the same geese I had seen previously honking and flying above me. I took it as another sign of Mom's presence. It was almost magical.
Recently, for their tenth anniversary, Facebook created commemorative movies based on each individual's photos and posts. Somehow I felt mine was tailor-made to let me know Mom was around. Yeah, I know it's based on algorithms and popular posts and photos, but it just felt like Mom had a hand in it.
The movie starts out with my profile photo of my headshot. Then as it shows my first moments, we see the house Jonah and I bought together when it was just in its beginning stages. Then there is a cast photo and a teaching job I had. My most liked posts have to do with acting and my job and the day Mom died. Then there's a shot of the sun breaking through the clouds the day after Mom died that was my sign from her that she was okay. Then more shows, a trip to Disneyland I took with Jonah and a close friend, a favorite photo of my cat, the march I did with Mormons Building Bridges at the Gay Pride Parade in 2012, a picture my niece drew of Jonah and me, my current job, a silly photo of me, my family in the early 80s (complete with Dad, Mom, and my siblings), my recent trip to Disneyland with Jonah, and then as the movie ends with a compilation of several photos, there's Mom right in the middle smiling at me, and I think to myself, Facebook could have picked any photo. I think the center one is based on a profile photo, but if it had chosen the most used or popular one, my headshot would have been at the center, but no, it's Mom.
I just felt her love, and when I showed it to Jonah I just wept and wept in his arms because I felt so close to my dear, departed mother.
People can call these coincidences. I don't believe they are. Even if they were, they bring me great comfort, so I'm taking them as little signs.