I know that I get messages, and I know that God, and definitely my daughter in heaven, also, have a sense of humor. I woke up last night remembering this picture my mother-in-law sent me, as I was knee-deep in buffalo check, helping my new-found grief mama friend with her awesome foundation. But Buffalo Plaid is not an American invention. Its origins lie in Scotland as the Rob Roy tartan of Clan MacGregor. One of my family’s descendants, I’m from the clan McLain, who settled in Montana in the 1800s traded buffalo pelts (hence the name buffalo plaid) with Native Americans for heavy woven Scottish blankets made in the style of his family’s tartan. Thank you, Wikipedia! My Friend’s son, who also has passed, believed in outdoor therapy, the red and black large squares represent the entire foundation and what her son’s legacy stands for.
I have been searching for my daughter’s legacy. I have known all along that it would also involve the outdoors and my inquiries to the Oregon branch of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention brought me to my new friend. They put us in direct contact with each other. As I have mentioned before, her house was covered in crows and blackbirds when I walked in, only months after Rie had passed. I had just started my blog. Raven and Roses, Blackbirds very dear to my heart. I assumed that was where the signs would stop, and I was wrong.
Sometimes I feel like we are so desperate for answers, so stuck in our personal trauma, that we miss the huge buffalo right in front of our face, so to speak. I believe in God-given intuition, but I can’t tell you how many times I have ignored it. At this point in time, I just want to move in the direction that God wants me to, I used to look forward to plans months and sometimes years ahead. Now, I look only moment to moment and day-to-day.
So backtracking to before I was knee-deep in buffalo plaid in a storage unit, days earlier I was talking to another grief mama in town on the phone. She had been getting word messages on her phone from heaven, she felt very connected. I instantly was jealous. I wanted messages to come on the phone. I never stopped to think about the daily messages I was already getting, I still find myself, at moments, insanely sad and desperate in my grief. Impulsively I opened the app on my phone that was designed to send you word messages from heaven. Instantly my phone started saying weird and bizarre things that made no sense and I quickly erased the app. This is where your true friends come in. Fifteen minutes later as I was freaking out about the app, my friend came to my house from Portland, late in the evening, to pray with me and in case of any weird juju, she burned sage all over my entire 2500 square foot house in every corner. (A native American tradition for clearing bad energy). My youngest daughters came home coughing and hacking as I stood there holding a burning sage bush trying not to set off the smoke alarms. In retrospect, it was downright comical.
Back to the storage unit. I was telling this story to my buffalo plaid friend as we were making auction baskets for her foundation. I was telling her about all the messages I get from God and how I am blessed to get them. I had a direct link to God, why do I need a mediator? We talked about all these types of things for hours. Later as I was driving home on the phone with my oldest daughter, blue-tooth of course, I was talking about how I wasn’t sure if I was on the right road for Rie’s legacy. I got off the phone and walked into the house where my husband had left my mail on the table. I looked down at my nursing organization flyer on top. The road the organization is on is the same name as my friend’s son, Parker and the same name as the organization I was just volunteering for, the Parker Bound Johnson foundation.
I found that to be a direct sign and it made me feel 100 percent better about the still lingering scent of sage in my house. I mentioned it to my husband a bit of a skeptic of God sending me mail, and he kind of mumbled something and moved on. The next day we were off to the Timber’s game. If you are a Timber’s fan, you know the colors are green and gold. If you are lucky enough to be one of the first 1,000 fans or so, you can score a white and green ball cap, or other fan gear, on occasion. This day, two days after helping with PBJ foundation, and for the first time that I had ever seen in the five years of going to Timbers games, Key Bank was giving away buffalo check hats. The exact color, and plaid as the Parker Bounds Foundation.
When I pointed this out to my husband, I got more than a mumble. He actually agreed it was a sign. I spent the next few days considering my daughter’s legacy and what type of philanthropy I wanted to do. Without any difficulty, the answer came to me, a monthly hiking group for at-risk teens and young adults. I named it Hikes 4 Hope, the Mikenna project. I know I will somehow be involved with helping the PBJ foundation and I am positive that’s the message I was meant to get. Scrolling through my phone, as I was thinking on this, I realized my mother-in-law had been sending me pictures of buffalos she was seeing outside her car, at the time I had been working in the foundation’s storage unit full of buffalo check paraphernalia. I had been so busy looking at indecipherable messages on my phone app, I almost missed the humongous buffalo (check) staring me in the face. That makes three signs within 48 hours. I don’t need an app, heaven can message me just fine without it.