What if the strongest signs are the very absence of things I would expect?

When we lose someone we love it’s really normal that we look for signs that they are in Spirit, that they are well and still connecting with us.

We might eagerly anticipate smells, sounds, songs, dreams and so much more. When we experience these things our hearts are comforted.

I’ve had some of these experiences and I am incredibly grateful each time. Another reminder that someone I love is okay.

But what if things are a bit different?

So many write about sleeping with a shirt or another article of clothing that their loved one wore, allowing the aroma of their loved one to comfort them as they go to sleep. But after my son died, there were no aromas in his room.  None. Nada. Zilch. I was disappointed, to say the least.

In fact, even on the day he died, I remember standing in his bedroom and telling others that it was his time because he was gone so very completely.

Mike’s bed pillows – no aroma at all.
His sheets and blankets – nothing.
Mike, often wore cowboy boots – again, nothing.
He showered every day after work and put on cologne, but there was no hint of that cologne in his room either.

How was that possible?

As I ponder this, I find myself returning to a very basic fact. The memory of smell is one that our brain holds onto for years, we’re wired that way. Smells can take us back to our childhood in an instant.  Close your eyes and just think about cookies or fresh grass. I am willing to bet that a very strong part of your memory is what those things smell like as you take a nice deep breath.

Smells are usually very difficult to eliminate, which is why odor-neutralizing sprays are a huge business. Yet there was no aroma remaining in that room whatsoever. Believe me, I put my nose right into everything!

The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that was in fact the first sign that Mikey sent to us.

A sign that it was his time.
The message was that it was okay that he left the planet.

When Mike died, he left totally and completely, not even leaving behind a smell. And I have to come to believe wholeheartedly, that was his first sign that he had left this earthly experience and arrived Home.


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Certified Grief Coach Sandy Walden