"Every breath you take, I'll be watching you."
- The Police 1983
August 30th was our anniversary. Our anniversary? My anniversary? Mine and Darcy's anniversary. Sometimes it feels like everything just belongs to me now – the kids, the traditions, the annual events. I have gotten so used to celebrating (or just surviving) these things on my own that it almost feels, at times, like Darcy was never here. Oh, but he was always here.
For 14 years of companionship, 11 years of marriage and 10 years of parenthood he was always here. For mortgages, fertility challenges, renovations, traumatic and glorious births, he was here. We were glued to each other at the hip and I never wished I was elsewhere so sometimes I sit back and take a minute to acknowledge how truly wild and incomprehensible it is that he is gone. He was like a limb of mine. Beautifully attached. Sometimes I sit back and take a minute to recognize that, actually, he is not gone. He is here.
When Darcy died, I had only experienced the loss of a few people close to me. A childhood friend, suddenly at age 20. That was hard to understand. I blocked it out. I didn’t take the time to explore it. I didn’t want to feel that. Later, I lost a really important uncle and a really supportive stepdad. Both were terminally ill before they made their exits so I was prepared and so were they. That kind of morbid notice makes way for communication, connection and condolences. By the time they were gone there was not much more to explore…I mean, besides the meaning of life and all that. We just had to accept it and there was a wave of relief that washed away some of the pain. It was okay to feel okay about their deaths because they hadn’t been living their best lives anymore. There was mercy involved. That made it more bearable. When people die in our culture, many people say things like “she lives on in our hearts” or “he lives on in spirit” … it’s meant to be comforting in the moment and it comes across like a Hallmark greeting card… but the truth is…it’s actually the truth.
This past August 30th my anniversary was about to pass with no notice. You guys know that I don’t intend to allow myself or the kids to be robbed of one more day of our lives and so my thirteenth wedding anniversary wasn’t even on my radar. I try not to anticipate days like that because it can create expectations and bring on unnecessary triggers. It drains me. It’s just a day and I want to believe every day is going to be a great one, so I am not going to sabotage that intention.
It was a random Tuesday and I have a standing date with myself on Tuesdays. My mother’s-helper, Georgia, always comes over to chill with the kids and I try to take a few hours to myself at the cinema, or the mall, the beach or a quiet restaurant. On this particular occasion I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I definitely needed to return a picture frame at the local “Winners/Homesense” so I figured I would start there and see where the wind blew me.
As I drove to the shops, the local radio announcer spoke of the date and suddenly I realized it was our day. Our ‘would-be’ thirteenth anniversary. Maybe I shouldn’t keep counting the years “together” since he’s dead but I couldn’t help acknowledging it all.
Some of you know how I like to talk out loud to Darcy while I am driving. Some of my best downloads and intuitive experiences happen when I am alone and chatting with ‘him’ and I have received some pretty great messages and affirmations while attempting to converse with his stream of consciousness. As soon as he died I wanted to believe that he “lived on in spirit” but I think I always sort of felt that I was just talking to myself, ya know? Like it was just me talking to me and answering my own questions under the guise of asking him for his thoughts. Which was fine. I liked the idea of him “talking” to me, but as long as the wisdom came through, I wasn’t really worried where it came from. It became a meditation of sorts. A stillness, while in motion, that allowed the flow of intel but on this particular day, with those memories of our beautiful wedding, I felt particularly connected. Maybe I wasn’t alone. Maybe I wasn’t just talking to myself to reinforce those hallmark-y ideas. Maybe he knew it was August 30th too. Maybe he was still here.
Gratuitous shot of us on August 30 2009. The best day ever. So far.
For almost two years I had been blogging and writing about possibility, learning about the universal laws and our connection to Source (God, Universe, Spirit, Creator, pick your fave...) so I decided to experiment. I decided to get intentional. I decided to believe that if I spoke to him, he would hear me and show me that he was here. For reals. That he’d give me a “sign”.
Let me interrupt my own story for a hot second to tell you that there have been many “signs” that Darcy’s consciousness lives alongside us. If you have never heard the story of the “brown trout”, the rose in the laneway, the dimes my mom receives every time she looks after my kids or my divine experiences with my “angel-shopper”, well, you will at some point. These are all references to times when Darcy has shown himself to us. Unmistakable affirmations that we are on the right path and that he is aware of how we are bravely moving through this life without him. But this day was different. This day I was asking him for the sign specifically and intentionally. Here is what I said.
“Bear…” I said, turning off the car radio, “it’s our anniversary today.” “Remember that day we got married? We were so scared to be up there in front of everyone but we were so great at it! It was SO FUN! I loved marrying you! I love getting married…”. I went on… “I don’t know if you kept your dominant love language of gift-giving when you died, but if you want to give me a gift, please give it to me today… to celebrate our 13th year of marriage.”
I didn’t know exactly what to ask for so I just said “I am headed to Winners. I have to get a new frame for the picture of my grandparents that lives on the piano, so that is where you will find me. In the frame section at Winners. I will be there in 10 minutes. If you have a gift for me, please put it there and make it obvious.” That was that. I kept driving and allowed myself to get distracted by the quiet car ride with no kids and some mediocre pop radio.
When I pulled into the mall I had to search for a parking spot, answer a few texts, chat with an acquaintance on the way in… so my thoughts of the anniversary had temporarily disappeared from my mind when I entered the department store. I wasn’t thinking about anything but that picture frame I needed so I bypassed the clothing section and breezed past the shoes to make my way to the empty frames.
Here is what I found.
Anyone who knew Darcy (or where he died) will take one look at this and have full-body shivers.
For anyone who doesn’t know my story, I’ll interject here with the fun fact that my incredible devoted husband, the father of my children and champion of us all, literally vanished into the woods of British Columbia on one soggy day in September 2020 and my heart was forever changed. No body found. Two years of logistical challenges, costly legal adventures, excruciating grief, extraordinary joy, immeasurable pain and spiritual elevation have occurred since that day and it hasn’t been easy but I am always comforted by the fact that he somehow left us at the top of his game and sort of just…dissolved into nature. He became an apparition of the landscape. The thought of this has always brought me some peace. In my heart, from the moment he was gone, I knew he was gone. Forever. Even though it made no sense at all – this man who lived for us and wanted to be in our presence every waking moment – even though it was impossible that he was gone, my gut knew it to be true. This sounds nonsensical and strange, but, strangely, it made perfect sense to me. It was like my soul understood. This was what was meant to be. For the highest good of all. It’s fucked up for sure, but there was an other-worldly connection there and somehow, I became aware of it in his immediate absence – I knew where he was and that I would never see him again - and now that understanding has just kind of grown and grown, amplified as the time has passed.
It has taken a lot of strength to trust that intuition – that deep knowing – and to consciously bypass the confusion and additional heartache that comes with any other possible scenario that might explain his disappearance. Foul play, death by suicide, planned escape to live his life alone on a beach in Bali or with his secret family in Belize. In my heart and mind and soul, I knew it was simply his time and, with the perfect storm of mishaps and things divinely-gone-wrong, he literally vanished without a trace so that we never had a trace of additional trauma. No drawn-out illness, no injury or mental collapse. Just the quiet, powerful exit of a quiet, powerful man. Poof. Back to nature. Where he came from. Where we all come from. Where we belong. It's actually very beautiful, if you can allow it to be. And, for the most part, I do.
So, imagine my surprise when on that Tuesday evening in August I found this piece of art waiting for me in the wrong section of Winners. Really. What do you think that felt like? I had asked for a gift… and he had delivered a framed validation of what I had always known to be true. It was the absolute high-five from the universe – my husband’s consciousness – that I was looking for to affirm that I am right about what happened. About this instantaneous tragic moment that brought on his last breath in one of the most extraordinarily beautiful, peaceful places on earth. Even though I will never know…I KNOW. And, even better, it is confirmation that he is truly ALWAYS here with us. He can see us and hear us. He is watching the kids grow. Watching me take the lead of our family and step into life as the new, higher version of me. The me I always wanted to be. You cannot make this shit up, friends.
Look at the picture again. His posture, his clothing, his silhouette with that hand, just so. The landscape, the birds, the sky, the trees, the water. If you knew what he looked like, how he dressed, how he walked, you will know this is him. If you know where he died, you will recognize this scenery. You are looking at my husband’s ultimate earthly departure here in the container of a $19.99 piece of art from a generic store in a suburban mall. It is unmistakably him. I DARE you to tell me that this was not channeled through the artist on behalf of me and my desire to connect with my ghostly husband and the universe in general. I DARE you to tell me that he didn’t send it for me. It is all that I need. This picture; how I found it, where I found it, when I found it… it was divine. Another perfect storm to deliver comfort and confidence in my own faith. And now, hopefully to remind you of yours.
This gift did not arrive because I needed a picture of my late husband to hang on my bedroom wall to be seen first thing every morning when I open my eyes. What I did need, however, was a picture that validates my “knowing” – my strong and trustworthy intuition – a “sign” to hang in my bedroom and greet me first thing each day so that I may move forward with the strength and confidence that I can trust myself. That the truth, by all accounts, comes from within. And so it is. In my direct sight line every morning. Not hung in mournful recognition of Darcy, rather in a glorious recognition of my truth. My keen intuition. My connection to the all. My gratitude for the infinite gifts that have come from this experience.
Imagine knowing in this lifetime that you are so connected to a higher power that you can simply ask and you will receive. Imagine having a direct line of connection to the other side – the spirit world – like an invisible string that allows you to stay tied to the ones you love, long after they are gone. Imagine that. That they aren’t really gone at all. Imagine knowing without a doubt that we are connected to something WAY bigger than ourselves. This is what I know now. And it changes everything. It gives each of us - each individual lonely wave - the power of the entire ocean. One ray of light is now the power of an entire sun. We are that big. We know that much. We are so connected. We are all one. What a gift.
Darcy gave me more gifts in our time together than anyone could ever wish for but this one takes the cake. It's the one thing he could never have offered me during his earthly existence. We had to go through this experience of physical separation for him to give me the ultimate gift on that, otherwise uneventful, Tuesday last August. The gift of faith, belief and trust in my own knowing. And now it’s carefully placed right there on the wall in front of me every morning when I wake. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Consider this a re-gift. You're welcome.
Til Next Time,
Heal & Be Healed.