A Robin, sits outside waiting


Sign~ noun
plural noun~ Signs ~ an object, quality, or event whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else.

They say our loved ones can send us ‘signs’. I am sure the grief we live with can make us, the bereaved, more susceptible to these kinds of ‘signs’. We seek them out. We ask for these ‘signs’, regardless of our religious beliefs.
I have never seen so many Robins or feathers randomly strewn across any path I walk since my brother Liam and son Ethan passed away.

A Robin earlier in the year, having a bath outside our back garden.
A Robin earlier in the year, having a bath outside our back garden.

It is an odd thing to see. We have often opened our front door to find not only white feathers but pink ones too. I have no idea how they got there, but I pick them up and place them in my house. I find myself thanking Ethan and Liam, but really, I don’t know if these are the ‘signs’ that people speak of when they refer to ‘signs’ from our loved ones.

Who would tell a grieving person that they are wrong about these ‘signs’? No one would. I think we all find a way of living with our grief, and those around us are just relieved that we are talking, and they can support us by listening to all the ‘signs’ we have had from our loved ones.

I never thought much about these ‘signs’ before Ethan and Liam passed, but now I can’t stop wondering about them.

I remember losing both my grannies as a child and thinking I could still hear them when I went into their houses. Although, I felt at that time that I could have imagined it. Now, I am not so sure.

Grief changes a person, which I am sure about.
Grief forces us to not only face a reality we don’t want but to face our mortality and the mortality of those around us.

We use many, many tools or crutches to get us through the daily grief.
I find myself looking to ‘signs’ to assure me that my son and brother are okay. When I say that aloud, it sounds ‘airy fairy’ or, even worse, that perhaps I am a little deluded. Looking for these ‘signs’ can often leave those who haven’t experienced grief looking at you with sympathy. I am okay with that because the more I learn about these ‘signs’, the more I find myself comforted by them. Comfort amidst grief is very, very hard to find. I will embrace any form of comfort I can find.

Today, it is the 23rd of June, nine months since Ethan left us and 15 months and one day since my brother left us.
Yesterday, as I walked the well-worn paths of the City of the Tribes, making my way towards the one and only Charlie Byrnes Bookshop in the hopes that they would stock my book, a bunch of white feathers danced along beside us (my husband and I). These feathers seemed to stay with us to the Cornstore, where you will find the most magical treasure throve of books within the walls of Charlie Byrnes. I smiled at the feathers as they danced at my feet. Then, I took a deep breath and entered the bookshop.

Ten minutes later, I was back outside feeling so proud that Vinny, the manager of Charlie Byrnes, had agreed to stock my book. Then, there across the road, lay some white feathers and a Robin.

Vinny & I in Charlie Byrnes Bookshop - Galway
Vinny & I in Charlie Byrnes Bookshop – Galway

Was that a ‘sign’ from Ethan and Liam? I don’t know, but I know it made me feel warm and eased my mind and heart.

A few nights previously, I asked Ethan for a ‘sign’ simply because I was reading some posts in a private bereavement group where the parents received such vivid dreams and saw obvious ‘signs’ from their children. I felt the most I had seen were a Robin and some feathers. I have not had a dream about Ethan or Liam since they passed. I was feeling more and more upset the more I read, so I stopped. I closed the laptop and asked Ethan to show me anything to let me know that he is okay.

The following day, as I opened the kitchen door, sitting happily on my countertop, was a small Robin enjoying a bit of cheese. He ate while calmly moving around the kitchen. The Robin sat for a few minutes looking out the window. He looked right at me while I let the tears come.
David came down, and we both stood looking at this beautiful red-breasted Robin who was having a nice look around our kitchen. Our dogs sat at the door. Only when the Robin flew from the window shelf to the bananas did we realise that dogs and birds don’t generally get on. So I asked the Robin to wait while I put the dogs into the other room. He did.
David opened the window, and slowly the Robin flew away but not without turning to us both before taking flight.
Was that the ‘sign’ I had asked Ethan for?
I believe it was.

The Robin, enjoying some cheese while in our Kitchen
The Robin, enjoying some cheese while in our Kitchen

And if that makes me deluded, then so be it.

We sat and wondered how the Robin entered the house, let alone the kitchen. Finally, we decided it had to be through the back door, through the dining room and through to Ethans favourite place in the house, where the food is!

The Robin sits on top of our microwave just having a little time to himself, apparently
The Robin sits on top of our microwave just having a little time to himself, apparently



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