This isn't my story, but I have permission to write about it. I'm using initials instead of full names to protect the privacy of those involved.
N lost her mother, G, unexpectedly two summers ago. It happened not long after N's brother, E, got married. After such a happy occasion, the loss of G was especially heartbreaking. It doesn't matter how old someone is; living without a mother is agonizing.
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Sirius Black places his hand on Harry's heart and says, "But know this; the ones that love us never really leave us. And you can always find them in here." Once again, J. K. Rowling says something so simple in a truly beautiful way. N's sweet new nephew will always know his grandmother through the stories told to him by all the people who loved her, and she will forever be in his heart. With all of the bad news and insanity we see daily on the news or on the Internet, I'm happy to know that there are still flashes of beauty and light out there to enrich our world and our spirits. Sometimes I wonder how much we miss because our minds are closed to what is considered improbable or even impossible. I'm going to try to keep my mind and my heart open because I never want to miss a chance to connect with those watching over me.
I know this must have been on everyone's mind when E and his wife, J, announced that they were expecting their first child. G would have been an amazing grandma, so loving and protective. We took N on vacation with us one year; before we went, G met with me to make sure we were fairly normal people and to tell me what to do if N got a headache. (I was supposed to make her drink a Coke or something with caffeine.) I loved that G still saw N as her baby and wanted to be sure we would care for her.
The day that J had her baby was so exciting. I started receiving texts from N early in the morning while she was in the waiting room of the hospital. I can only imagine that G was in everyone's thoughts that day as her new grandson came into the world. He's a gorgeous, healthy boy with many, many people who love him.
Later in the day, N sent me a text to tell me something that gave me goosebumps and still does every time I think about it. It was the afternoon, and J was resting in her hospital room. The nurse in charge of caring for her was named G, the exact same name as N's mom. I know a lot of people would think this was simply a nice coincidence, but I don't buy it. This was G's way of letting her family know that she is still looking out for them and still in their lives.
It doesn't matter who you are, how old you are, or where you are. It's nice to know that someone is thinking about you, that someone cares about you. Call me crazy, but I firmly believe that if we are open to it, the ones who have gone before us will send us signs. I think when we really need it, they are the quiet whispers that help us make difficult decisions, and they are the sudden sense of peace when we are feeling helpless. They're the ones who bring the sun out at the end of a rainstorm, and they're in the familiar smiles we see in the faces of our children as they grow.