Leaving work I contemplated muscle memory and how the body and subconscious remember dates long before our conscious mind does. I think of the hippocampus and wonder how my body feeling sore and achy remembered the last day I saw my daughter before I realized the date. I’ve been trying to get my near 50-year-old brain to remember how to learn since I recently took the plunge to go back to school to be a mental health nurse practitioner. Some people say I’m brave, but they don’t know it’s out of necessity. If I leave this earth and have not done all I could do, both in Mikenna’s name and to prevent at least one other family from going through this darkness, then I’ve failed.
Rain pelting me I jogged into the nearest grocery store to grab roses. I debated which flowers to get. It seemed silly to be picking out which roses I would tear all the petals off and scatter around my daughter’s memorial bench but I pondered it anyway. Should I go with all red like last year or find a more colorful bouquet? Three colorful bunches of roses in my arms I dodge the rain and head back in my car towards her grave to chat with her and leave five roses, one for each of her immediate family members left behind, for the deer to have for dinner.
Driving towards the cemetery I was about to pass home and decided to Siri my husband to see if he wanted to join me, as I sent the message a car with her initials on the plates pulled out in front of me. At the light, I snapped a picture and sent it to my husband. He was still busy so I turned up the hill and found my second car same MV initials on the plates.
Grabbing my car blanket, her hat I had in my car, and my roses I decide I am going to camp out for a while. It was drizzling but nothing a PNW girl couldn’t handle. I think of all those cold, wet field trips I took the girls on. It was always outside as the crunchy granola charter school I took them to always utilized any learning that could be done on the inexpensive side and that usually meant outdoors.
I placed the roses in the holder, instantly piercing my hand on a thorn, and settled my blanket on top of where I imagined you to be. I started talking to my daughter about the night she passed, how I was I was on a mission in Peru, how I wish I had known how depressed she was, and felt a pelt of snow hit my face. I looked around and saw no one in the football size stadium cemetery.
Ice and snow hail balls pelted my body as I lay there. Being from Ohio and living in Oregon I knew hail storms were always short-lived. I couldn’t remember one lasting more than a minute.
I lay there determined to keep talking and to wait out the hail. The funny thing was it didn’t stop. I lay there laugh-crying, and my sobbing stopped. Through three layers I was soaked to the bone. I somehow knew the minute I opened my door the snow/ice would stop. Covered in a layer of ice balls that filled my knock-off Uggs, I grabbed the saturated thick blanket and headed to my car. I opened the door. Immediately there was nothing but blue skies. I drove slowly out of the gate and I thought about the two MV license plates driving up the hill to the cemetery, I turned the corner heading down the hill and found MV plated car in front of me, then as I turned toward my street, totally four MV plates, on my two-mile round trip to visit her grave.
It’s hard to put into words a sign from Heaven when you get it. I had been sad that it had been so long since I had any signs or strong spiritual feelings and I was considering reading some of my older blogs to remember the feeling of getting one. The only way I can describe it is to say it is a knowing, that something is meant for you, that it is beyond coincidence. It feels like a gentle hug from Heaven saying something like “Yes I know, have peace.”
I know I looked deranged as I walked by my daughter studying in her room. She wasn’t aware of any snow or hail just the drizzle that had been knocking on her window. She briefly looked me up and down covered in snowballs and soaked through. At this point, she is used to her odd mother and went back to her studies.
I peeled off the saturated layers at home as I hopped into a warm shower. My hair semi-frozen. I was thankful for the moment, the sign, it stopped me right in my tracks of deep pain envisioning that night. What I have to remember is that sometimes the days surrounding an important date can be worse than the date itself and even if we aren’t consciously aware of it our body and our subconscious remembers.
P.S. After I wrote this I remember one of my later blogs talked about using ice or cold water to the face, as an evidence-based treatment during strong emotions, panic attacks, or anxiety. Well touche, well done.