My daughter was born at home in the company of her father, two friends, and two midwives. Two cardinals appeared outside the window just as I had my last contraction. I held this amazing, slippery and warm, wide-eyed baby in my arms amid soft candlelight while Billie Holliday crooned in the background.
Yesterday was my first Mother’s Day without her. She passed away at age 42 after long battles with cancer.
Mother’s Day is no different from any other day except for the name we’ve assigned it on the calendar. I was aware of its razor-like significance with my new identity: a mother who had lost a child. My only child.
I knew I had a choice. I could spiral downward watching everyone else receive flowers and cards from their dutiful children. Or I could spend the day recalling memories of my daughter and our lives together, and feeling grateful that I got to be her mom.
I believe our spirits live on after death in the other realm that we are blind to with our physical eyes. Shortly after her death, I was showered with signs that she was still around me. I sensed her presence. This Mother’s Day, I requested–without desperation–a sign from my daughter.
Later that morning, while my husband and I watched a recording of American Idol, I felt a deep love for her as one of the contestants sang Bob Dylan’s, “Make You Feel My Love.” It moved me to tears.
Then, while another contestant crooned “Lilac Wine,” my husband suddenly cried: “Pause it! Quick! Come here!” He was staring out the window waving me over. There on the branches of our lilac tree were two cardinals.
The best ever Mother’s Day “card” from my daughter.