My friend called me up the other day to thank me for a sailing excursion we had taken her family on. “You know,” she told me at the end of the conversation, “I’ve been thinking more about that heart shaped rock. The more I think about it, the more I think it was a sign. It had to be.”
My friend’s teenage daughter had found the heart shaped rock when we anchored for lunch, when she and her friend had paddle-boarded to a nearby beach and taken a walk. My friend’s daughter came back to the boat excited.
“Look what I found!” she exclaimed, showing us a very clear, heart shaped rock.
“That’s really cool,” I replied. And it was, especially because a few days before my mom died, a friend of hers came over to her house for a visit. The friend happened to mention that she collected heart shaped rocks, and she showed us a few that she had in her purse. She insisted that I take the few that she had on her. I kept the rocks in my car, in a little plastic bag, and I had been putting a heart-shaped rock on my mother’s grave each time I went to visit.
Hearing the story, the lovely girl gave the rock to me.
A long discussion ensued about whether this could be a sign from my mother. Is there such a thing as a coincidence? Can dead people send you a sign to let you know they are watching out for you? Can’t you find a “sign” in pretty much anything (that was the skeptic in me)? How long does a person have to be dead before they can send you a sign? What happens to the “energy” of the dead person? This is, of course, one of my favorite topics and one of which I have zero—and I mean zero– personal experience (see previous my post from last year, “Why Don’t Dead People Talk To ME?“)
My friend was sure this was a sign; I was not convinced. I wanted to find my own heart shaped rock. Why didn’t I go for a walk on the beach? Why didn’t I trip or stub my toe on some big mother of a heart shaped rock?
But I kept the rock safely, and the night I said “goodbye” with my brothers to my family home, I placed that heart shaped rock in the backyard, in my mother’s garden that she loved so much.
This past vacation, when I was able to take many walks on the beach and had plenty of time to sit and contemplate my navel, I was particularly attuned to signs from my mother.
I looked for heart shaped rocks. I didn’t find one.
I looked for sea glass—my mother loved sea glass. Sea glass was what she put on the graves of the people she loved. “If I could just find a really unusual color sea glass—a deep blue, a purple, that would be a good sign,” I told myself. But I found no interesting sea glass, just a few small pieces of every day white and green, nothing special.
One day, I did, however, come across this big rock sticking out of the sand (in the spirit of finding Mother Theresa in the toast):
“Are you my mother?” I asked it. But she looked quite pissed and she was sticking out her tongue. My mother hated when people stuck out their tongues. I decided it wasn’t her.
At one point, I sat on the deck of the boat having a drink with Mike. The sun was setting, the mood was just right for romance. Instead, I steered the conversation to my favorite topic (one that he barely tolerates.)
“You know, Mike, if my mother were to give me an obvious sign, it would be a seagull coming down right now and taking a big shit on the deck of the boat– right now, right in front of me. Now THAT would be a sign I could believe in.”
“That would do it,” he agreed.
But no seagull came.
A few days later, we were getting ready to get off the boat to go out to dinner. I was still getting dressed below. Mike went up the stairs to the deck, and as he did, an enormous seagull dropped the biggest load he had ever seen, right in front of him.
“Holy Crap!,” he exclaimed, “you’re not gonna believe this!”
White, sticky goop was all over the deck, and I mean all over. It went over the cushions. It went over the winch handle, the bimini top, the teak. I handed him a roll of paper towels and the soapy water. He spent the next 20 minutes cleaning it all up.
“There’s your sign,” he told me, “that was your mother. Clearly, that was your mother.”
But I know, for sure, it wasn’t. That one was not for me. That one?
That one was definitely his father.