Some believe the comforting meaning behind finding feathers is that our loved ones who have passed on are reaching out to us. Could they be offering love, guidance, and support in our moments of need? The saying goes, “When angels are near, feathers appear.” Are you a believer? After losing my grandmother and finding a plethora of feathers, I certainly am.
On February 3, 2012, I lost my mentor, my muse, and the closest thing to a mother I’ve ever known. We were together until the end, just the two of us.
I was desperate for a sign she had crossed over. Months later, during a painful moment when I needed her most, a feather fell onto my path.
While at the grocery store, I’d forgotten my list of ingredients to make her infamous banana nut bread and was desperately trying to recall the recipe. I thought, “NaNa, I could sure use some help here.”
As I placed a bottle of vanilla extract into the cart, I glimpsed down to find a white feather gently resting on the gridded basket. Suddenly, the ingredients came rushing into my mind. I arrived home with all in tow, thanks to NaNa.
While unpacking after our move, I came across NaNa’s mink hat. I smelled it and then opened it to place it on my head. Out fell a feather.
There are far too many feather encounters to mention, but suffice to say, my grandmother who loved me more than anyone in this world, has made her presence known.
Goodbye, Kind Of
The connection my grandmother and I have is irrefutable. During her final days with us, she maintained her unwavering selflessness as she gradually and gracefully began her ascent. We said our goodbyes, I told her she’ll always be a part of me, I’ll miss her like crazy, and that she can go when she’s ready.
…And so she stayed a while longer.
Our last days together were full of heart-hugging mini miracles.
My sixteen-month-old baby was used to receiving a big “Hello, Darlin!” from his NaNa. When he arrived and her welcome was absent, he leaned in at different angles so she could see him better. When still her reaction was void, he took his little hand and rhythmically stroked her arm, as if he knew she needed his touch.
After a mostly unresponsive day, I was combing her hair and telling her she looked beautiful when suddenly she arose and asked for her lipstick. –She always made me laugh at inappropriate times.
Then, there was that rainy night when I exhaustingly slipped into my car. Bellowing a desperate, barbaric shrill, I begged for a sign she’d be all right.
After composing myself enough to drive home, I cranked the ignition… and froze. I had been listening to AM talk radio when I arrived that day. But it was Elton John’s Circle of Life piping from the FM speakers as I left. It was the sign my heart needed.
The next day, her kidneys shut down and her breathing became frightening laborious, but that generous heart kept beating. Her breathing would calm when I spoke — so I never shut up. It reminded me of the numerous times she flew in for a visit and we stayed up all night gossiping like good Christian girls.
We shared everything. We even bought two identical gifts for birthdays and holidays. We’d see each other wearing the gift we’d given and want it back. Hence our motto: Indian givers buy two.
Margaritas + Triple Sex
I was beside her bed that Friday night and still talking. Sharing stories with her gave me the connection I needed. More importantly, repeating the stories was assurance I wouldn’t forget them, including…
- All the times she made coconut icing cupcakes adorned with jelly beans when my birthday landed on Easter.
- Bathing me in a minnow-ridden horse trough when, as a toddler, I fell face first into a cow patty.
- Awakening on Christmas to a smoke-filled house, we’d forgotten about the turkey and then giggled all the way to Honey Baked Ham.
- Her begging me to drive from Los Angeles to Oklahoma to spend the millennium with her and her closest friends, sipping margaritas concocted with their favorite ingredient, ‘triple sex’.
I cried and giggled for both of us. I thanked her for keeping me alive as my circumstances should have landed me in a gutter. And I asked her to commit yet one more selfless act. I asked her to accept comfort and peace and to let go… for me.
Thirty seconds later, as I held her hand and kissed her forehead, she removed her ever-so-stylish foot from the door and crossed to the other side. Besides having my children, it was the most special experience of my life.
Be Generous, NaNa
There are few people who infinitely impress and alter your life for the better. How fortunate I was to have someone love me just because I was born. Someone who adored me more each day no matter my faults. Someone who formed my moral compass shaping the woman I am today.
I never knew life without her infectious laughter, comforting wisdom, nor gentle touch. Thankfully, my boys will always know her joy, insight, and embrace because she instilled them in me.
I love and miss you every day, NaNa. I rest easy knowing you’ll have everything and everyone accessorized and amused by the time we get there. Please remember to be generous with the feathers. …Oh, and don’t forget to buy two.
Bye for now, Darlin’.
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