When a beloved dies, the veil between the worlds grows thin. We have all heard some version of this. My experience is that this is true.
The year since my son died unexpectedly of complications from a line-of-duty accident has been blessed with some profound an inexplicable occurrences. Last week taking a solo moonlit walk through a northwest forest an owl flew out of a tree about 5 feet away, circled my head, and landed on the other side of the path. I felt only blessing and a strange reassurance that my son is well.
Where I live there are numerous eagles, ravens, owls, and hawks. I don’t think of my son every time I see one. There are birds that fly by; and there are birds that seem to serve as messengers. In the messenger encounters, a feeling of awe and connection accompanies an “unusual” interaction. The animal is both doing what is natural to itself, and engaging with me in ways that seem like a kind of interspecies communication. The feeling is so strong I do not doubt it. I have been called to look up, to pay attention, to notice the extraordinary emerging from the ordinary. My human self feels as though I am standing at the edge of my usual physical world, near to the door of the spirit world.
I don’t understand death or what happens after someone you love dies. I only know it is one of the most heart-wrenching, mysterious things I have ever experienced. And I also know that the feeling I had with the owl last week is the closest I come to confidence that God or Spirit or Mystery is as real as anything else in my life.
For that feeling I am most grateful. It soothes the ache of loss . . .it encourages me to love the days that I am given.