THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO MICHELLE, LISA, ABBIGAIL, and all the women who lost their lives too soon. They were the daughters of parents who will now grieve for them forever.

When Mary passed away, it made me think I was someone unique. In my first blog, I spoke of my fellow widows and widowers. I commented that is was a group of people no one wished to join.

While widows and widowers belong to a group that no one wants to belong to, parents who outlive their children are even more special. If there is a group more grievous than ours, it would be this one. They will all, forever be shaped by the pain of the loss. They will all, forever be shaped by unanswered grief. They will all, forever be impacted by the support of their community during their time of need.

This time of year the weather takes frequent swings from cold, wet, and windy, to breezy, warm, and sunny – all in the space of the same day! The changeover from winter to spring is a turbulent time, both physically and emotionally. Still, every time I see the buds that appear on the trees, the grass turning emerald green and the crocuses and daffodil tips poking their heads out of the still cold ground, I get excited.

New growth is happening. A new season is about to begin. I believe it is the Buddhists that believe in re-incarnation. And in spring, I can see the magic in their thinking.

One crow sorrow, two crows joy……
A poem my mother used to say every time she saw crows. I think it goes up to describing the meaning of up to eight crows, but I seldom get past the first two lines. I am not sure why, but the poem has stuck with me throughout my life like a favorite song. Whenever I see crows, the words come back….one crow sorrow, two crows joy…..

I was recently given a book called The Story of Your Life. It had an exercise in it about naming what plant or animal you might like to come back as – if you had a choice.

During my mother’s funeral procession a crow suddenly flew across the hood of my car. I could not help myself from saying the start of the poem. One crow sorrow, …I think to this day it was her saying goodbye. Several years later, crows still remind me of my mother, and in a very strange way, it makes me think she may have come chosen to come back as a crow. The idea gives me comfort that she is still watching me.

My wife was an avid gardener. One of her favorite flowers was the simple white daisy. My daughter, Carrie, thought it would be fitting to give a package of daisy seeds to everyone who attended her mother’s celebration of life. Daisies also attract butterflies. To this day, I cannot go by a bunch of daisies, or see a butterfly without thinking of Mary. I believe she speaks to me through the new life in spring gardens and especially through butterflies and daisies.

My new partner and I think of our spouses whenever we see rainbows. On a trip around South America we frequently saw double rainbows in Patagonia. We believed it was the spirits of our former spouses telling us that they were ok, and that they were, at the same time, happy for us.

Getting back to the book’s exercise, I wondered what plant or animal I might come back as if it were an option that I could control. What would I choose to be? Maybe a dolphin carefree and happy? No, I do not like the water that much. Maybe a rose? No, I doubt I am delicate enough. Would I come back as something very different from my current personality, or would I choose the opportunity to be something similar to what I am today? If it were up to my kids or friends to decide, what would they choose? Some of my best friends might think I should come back as a jackass!

All faiths believe in a form of life after death. To many, the belief that they will see a loved one again is a great comfort to them. While we remain on earth, while we grieve our loss, having something like a crow or a daisy or even a jackass to act as a reminder of them, and how much we miss them, might be our only comfort.

As this long spring turns to summer, I am reminded of the circle of life and hope for more crows and more daisies and more butterflies and more rainbows!