Tuesday, August 16, 2011
I See Dead People
Spirituality was something that I never really understood until David came along. It was only after he was gone that I began to view death in a different light. If you have read any of my previous posts involving feathers then you know that David was a dear friend of mine who passed away in October of 2005. His death consumed me, in fact it still does to this day but for more diverse reasons.
Throughout his funeral I was inconsolable. During the service, a small, white feather landed on the sleeve of my friend Trish who was seated next to me. Without thinking she plucked it off and handed it to me. She whispered for me to hold onto it and focus, somehow knowing that the distraction would help get me through. It worked. I walked out of the funeral home with it still firmly gripped in my hand.
For reasons unknown to me then, I felt compelled to keep that feather. I put it in my wallet to protect it and started my new life without David in it.
The next day I was the opening manager at the Pottery Barn where David and I had worked. It was quiet as I went through my morning routine of preparing the store for business. My associates had yet to arrive, so it was just me and my thoughts. I paused in the Design Studio where I had last seen his smile to say "Hello." And right there, on the verge of falling to pieces, I saw it...another feather. David had found a way to say hello back to me in a way that I could understand.
That was the day that I learned to accept the unexpected. Even though I found it impossible to comprehend, I opened my mind and heart to the fact that certain things defied explanation. All it took was a leap of faith on my part and I'd know that even in death, David would be with me always.
In the nearly six years since his passing, he still finds a way to communicate with me. I have found feathers of all shapes and sizes in the most surprising places. I always pause after picking them up and look into the sky and say "Hello" right back to my friend. The feathers serve as a reminder that with hope, anything is possible, even in the most impossible of circumstances. Where there is a will, there is a way.
In my line of work, I see people die right before my eyes. It is the harsh reality of working in the Emergency Department and unfortunately, it comes with the job. No matter how I try to man up and accept it, death still haunts me. Ironically, not only did I work in an environment where David was very much alive, I now work in the same place where he died. I was put there for a reason and embrace it for what it's worth. I help people in sickness and pray for those departed.
When someone dies in the ER, my emotions automatically go back to the Thursday afternoon in late October, 2005 when I first heard the news that David was gone. It is a natural reaction to put myself into the shoes of the family and friends who will mourn their own losses. Being in a room with a lifeless body is surreal, it's just not something that you get used to. We're not supposed to unless perhaps your profession is that of a funeral director or pathologist.
I always pause to say "Goodbye," remind them that they we're loved and the love they gave love in return was so appreciated. Their life touched the lives of others and they will be dearly missed, but it's not over. It's never over unless you make that choice. I hope that their loved ones find their own form of feathers in which to comfort and communicate.
In life it's all about the heart, we follow it and live by the emotions it generates. The soul is immortal, it survives death and lives on in spirit and in my world through feathers. That's crazy, right? Maybe...but to me it makes perfect sense.