Two months ago my grandfather, only in his mid-50’s, passed away. Quick and unexpected, Grandpa apparently left a lot of unfinished business. The night of his visitation something knocked the power out to the house when the family had gathered for dinner. The night of his funeral there was a shooting star over my aunt’s farm. It was so low it literally looked like someone waved a sparkler in the sky above the pasture. Coincidence? Maybe. It’s entirely possible I’m reading things into this because I miss him.
BUT. My 5 and 7 year old cousins were incredibly close to him, especially the 7 year old. They had a special bond: kindred spirits from the day she was born. A couple of weeks ago she refused to ride her aunt’s new horse (something Shayne would NEVER refuse to do: she’s absolutely fearless) without any explanation. After some cajoling my aunt finally gave up and put the new mare out to pasture: where a frezied bout of kicking, bucking, and general wild behavior ensued. Later Shayne told her mom “Grandpa said not to ride that horse.” My aunt acquired the new mare AFTER Grandpa’s death. The 5 year old, Shayne’s younger sister, has randomly said things like “why would I miss Grandpa? He’s right here! Can’t you see him???” and go on about her playtime without a second thought.
And as for the rest of us, us adults who miss him so? Another aunt (there’s 8 kids in that family) was mysteriously gifted today with a kitten who looks quite disturbingly like her favorite cat. The cat who’d had to be put down this spring for various health reasons. This kitten appeared in the middle of their pasture, a long way from the road, by himself. Coincidence that the new squirt is exactly the same color and sex as her old cat, and randomly appeared in a section of the pasture she rarely visits on the day she’s there?
My grandmother has dreams that she’s crying and Grandpa’s holding her, telling her it will get better and she’ll be ok. The night before she took her horses down to the big show they did as a couple every year for 15 years she had a dream where Grandpa very clearly said “if they want to buy the team SELL.” The 2nd day of the show someone wanted to buy one of her 4-up hitch team. She sold.
I’m certain there are simple coincidental explanations for all of these. I’m sure logic and science can put each occurrence into its own compartment, removing any connection and proving he had nothing to do with them. How much of faith is truly blind? I’m a very logical person, but there are some things I just can’t explain away by logic. Am I simply ignorant, or is there a point where I have to leave logic behind and simply believe that 1) I don’t know everything, nor should I, and 2) there is something out there bigger than I am.
I may be logical, I may have grown up in a scientific age. I still see magic in science, I see poetry and art and a Power in nature. Do I believe in afterlife? Absofuckinglutely. Do I believe in the traditional Judeo-Christian version of God? Not really. I’m more of a Lord and Lady person: balance and recurring cycles are in nature, why wouldn’t they apply to us? As humans we are not above the laws of nature, much as we’d like to forget. So it makes sense that death is only another phase of a cycle. And there are times I know in the core of my soul that there IS something, someone, a Power, out there. Because I’m a feminist I see It as Her…and I see Her everywhere: in art, in beauty, in creativity, in Spring and Fall, in the way trees bend under the violence of a good thunderstorm, in the destructive wake of a tornado, and most especially in the Gloaming: that time of day when the sun is just dipping below the horizon and the clouds glow across the sky.
Maybe it’s a silly thing, to take comfort in the idea that Grandpa is out there waiting. In my mind he’s hanging out with the Goddess discussing planting strategies and looking out for Grandma and the rest of us. I hope so.