You ever feel like life is so in tact that you can’t imagine it as anything other than what it is, in that present moment? I know that was a mouthful but think about it. Outside of what seemed like the smooth sailing plateau of childhood, you never thought you’d grow up.
You never thought that you’d see your parents get divorced or old. You never think you’d feel your first heart break because the love seemed so unrelenting? And you certainly never prepare for losing a loved one. But, ”tis life…. I come from a close knit, spiritual family. My granny had four kids, and they had their own kids who had some more kids and so forth.
My Aunt Cathy was the eldest of her kids. She was the aunt that everyone said I looked like. She was this short, feisty, yet lovable ball of energy that not one person could say no to, no matter how inconvenient the request. Most of all, she was your biggest cheerleader. My twin. A living angel that didn’t show her wings until she was gone. We loved her. But God loved her way more. After a six month journey of medical inflicted mishaps from what started out as a simple hospital visit, one of my favorite people was gone.
The sky was lavender the day that she died. That was her favorite color.
I remember it, not like it was yesterday, but more so like it was a week ago. I was in my senior year of college at Howard. It was December 4th, 2016 and I remember I texted my cousin Chris, my aunt’s grandson, “Happy Birthday” the night before. He texted me at 7am saying something similar to “Thank you Cuzo, my grandma went to be with the Lord this morning. She’s healed now.” I screamed. I sobbed. I balled my eyes out. My best friend and roommate, Khalia, ran to my room and consoled me the best way that she could. I was away from my family. How could this happen? Life had changed just like that.
After the tears (temporarily), I went on Facebook. And just so happened I saw this post about a guy who died, went to heaven and came back.
That video comforted me so much because he talked about about being out of pain and there being a heaven. My aunt was a preacher. One significant thing about this video is that it reminded me of when she was in the hospital. She saw a man who was her friend and couldn’t tell us who it was. We asked her if it was an assortment of people and she could never answer us. That’s how the guy described Jesus in this video.
I remember I was facing away from my window that I often looked out of to see the sunrise and sunset. As soon as the video ended, I felt this light. And when I turned and looked out of the window, the sky was lavender. My aunt’s favorite color. I knew it was her.
That Christmas, we gathered as a family at my uncle’s house. My cousins and I, which included her grandchildren, sat outside on the porch reminiscing about her, our childhoods, our family and whatever else we could think of to tie us even closer together.
Boom. A shooting star. Her eldest grandson and youngest grandson’s wife saw it as we talked about her.
One time, I was driving and talking to God and my aunt Cathy. I asked her to just let me know if she was ok. Boom. A shooting star, shot across the sky as soon as I uttered those words.
Recently, I was outside with my cousin Bryonne on my 24th birthday and told her to look up because “Aunt Cathy might send you a shooting star.” When she looked up, she saw one.
It all made sense. When my mom was a little girl, my aunt would sing to her Frank Sinatra’s “Swinging on a Star.” The words were “Would you like to swing on a star, carry moonbeams home in a jar. And be better off than you are…”
And while she was in the hospital and couldn’t speak, my mom sang it to her. I knew that she was really swinging on a star. She was letting us know that she was truly better off. Life seemed to make more sense. I no longer felt like I had to wait to speak to her in the next lifetime. She was right here with us.
We’ve all been told that death is a part of life but that doesn’t mean that death is the end. My senior year of college, a close friend of mine passed away. His death was unexpected and confusing. It didn’t make sense to anyone and so many people felt the impact of his passing. The morning I found out he was gone, I went to his house and I sat with his roommates, my friends and I cried until there were no more tears. I went outside on the porch and tried to make sense of what was going on and as I sat, a bee flew by and buzzed around everyone. It whizzed inside the house, in the living room, in the kitchen, came back outside and flew away. I remember standing up to look at it fly around and feeling so connected to it. I recalled stories of people seeing signs of their loved ones after they passed but there was so much going on that I thought I was crazy. A few days before the funeral, I went back to the house to check on my friends. I sat in the same spot on the porch with a friend and asked him if he remembered seeing a bee flying around the day our friend died. He told me he did and I asked him what if that bee was our friend letting us know what he was still here with us somehow. He quickly shut down my theory and said he doubted our friend would come back to us as a bee. I told him about how connected I felt to it and how other people have seen and felt similar things after their loved one passed and as we talked, a bee flew in front of us. Jokingly, I called the bee by our friend’s and it stopped to hover in front of us before flying away. From that moment on, I would see bees everywhere all of the time. A swarm flew out of a bush as I walked by, one followed outside my window as I rode the bus and one was crawling on the floor at my job. Every time I saw one, I felt comfort knowing that it was my friend letting me know he was still around. I have a bee tattooed on my left arm to remind me of the first experience that I had. I’m able to look at it and know that he’s still here and that I’ll see him again someday.
For as long as I can remember my mom had always been sick. Despite being a young child I knew that eventually, the cancer would kill her. When that time came I was twelve and barely grasped the concept of death. I didn’t grow up believing in heaven or hell but I knew there was something out there that was more than just a black hole. After days of holding on, she finally passed; a close friend took me outside by my hand where the sunset was illuminating the sky. Pinks and oranges like I’d never seen streaked across this vast expanse above my head. This is where, I was told, my mom was now. Every time I see a sunset now I feel connected to her and experience an enormous love for life.
Death is something they say comes like a thief in the night. It’s been two years since she left and we haven’t fully recovered yet. Slowly but surely.
What’s funny about all of these supernatural stories is that it took each of us to look outside. Maybe it’s symbolic of us looking outside of our sadness and seeing the beauty of life and the beauty in its natural occurrences, death being one of them. Our souls never die. Our love never dies. It just transitions. Our way of communication shifts as our essences shift to the next life which is closer than we know it.