I’ve attended church twice since Estelle passed away. This is not because I am protesting the church or blaming God for her death. We just don’t go to church often. Prior to Estelle’s death, my faith was mostly, “God is probably real. I mean, if I die and it turns out he isn’t, I guess there isn’t much left to do about that.”
After Estelle died, my faith changed. It became, “God better be real. Heaven better be real. If I don’t get to see my child ever again someone is going to pay!” Hell hath no fury like a bereaved mother. I have way more thoughts now than I ever did before about whether or not I am living a life that will get me into heaven. Thoughts like, “What if I die, I make it all the way up to pearly gates, I see Estelle on the other side waiting, and Saint Peter is like, “Ufdah, you just missed the mark. Sorry, but no heaven for you.”
Seriously, grief anxiety is real. So so real. I’ve never thought more about what life means, why humans are on earth, and what my life’s purpose is more than I have in the last seven months. It is a bit exhausting, but I will continue to try to figure out. I will try to figure out if God is real or not, if Estelle is in heaven, and if she can see me, hear me, feel me.
I’ve written about signs before, and I feel like I continue to search for her. Seeking her out in everything I do but falling short. I dismiss many signs that could be from Estelle because I can’t really prove they are from her. Sure, I think about her when I see bees, but believing that every bee in the summer, around a flower pot, is Estelle, feels desperate, even though I am, indeed, desperate.
Driving to support group a week and a half ago I saw a man on a bike wearing a tiger helmet. Random, sure, but Estelle? Later that same evening I looked out the window as we drove by Tiger Supermarket. I wondered, but thought, well sure, that supermarket has probably been there for years. It isn’t like God and Estelle got together and built it right before I drove past.
There is this tree in our front yard that looks as if the yellow sun is shining directly on one branch. I saw it, smiled, and walked into the house. A day later I noticed it again. It just looks so strange…the only bright yellow spot on the whole tree. I looked at it for another day or two until I finally took out my phone to take a picture. The patch of leaves hangs directly above my forsythia bush.
Today at work I was thinking more about this patch of yellow leaves and was trying to make sense of it. Should I be accepting these things as hellos from Estelle or am I just being delusional? I started to draft a post on Instagram, as one does, about these leaves. I quickly became frustrated. I came to conclude that these little signs just aren’t good enough. I don’t want to live the rest of my life seeing a bee and thinking of Estelle. I don’t want to wear yellow toenail polish that makes it look like I have a toe fungus just because yellow reminds me of Estelle. I just want Estelle. It isn’t fair and I don’t like it and I don’t want it. So in my post, I wrote, “Why can’t I have tangible proof? Why can’t I get a handwritten note from God that says, ‘Estelle is with me. She is safe. You will see her again.'” It doesn’t feel like I am asking for too much.
Fast forward to later. I discarded the post because I was like, well this will only lead to tears and went on and had a productive work day. Piper and I stopped by Estelle’s library on our way home, as we often do, and then went home. We did our usual routine of letting out Selby through the garage, we brought up the garbage can from the end of the driveway, gathered the mail, and then went inside to start dinner. When I went to let Selby out again, this time through the front door, a pamphlet went flying into the air and landed right in front of me on the step. On the cover, “Will suffering end?” I laughed a bit. Of course, I would get this.
I opened it up, thinking, “Nice of my JW friends to be looking out for me,” and read,
“God…will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain.” Revelation 21:3
So, that is a bit spooky. BUT, it isn’t exactly the handwritten note that I asked for. And it might just be a coincidence, but I also hear the words of a grief friend and fellow bereaved mama saying, “There are no coincidences anymore.”