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The God Squad: Signs and consolations

Rabbi Marc Gellman, Tribune Content Agency on

Q: My stepson was killed and robbed on May 2021. I have loved this little boy since he was three. I was his first crush and started helping raise him with his father when he was 11. He was 29 when he passed. I see signs from him from cardinals landing right by me as his father and I are talking or crying about him, chirping and singing to us as they hop closer.

It happens almost every time we are outside talking about him. Without fail. His father was saved from an almost life-threatening situation by nothing short of God intervening, and three minutes later he saw his son in the rear-view mirror sitting between the seats smiling at him like he was telling him "that was me, Pops". God is real! Heaven is real and there are loved ones watching over us with the Lord and they can visit when we need them the most.

Two weeks after my stepson passed, my best friend, who was the first person I called to cry to about him, fell out of the shower and slipped and hit her head on the toilet and it killed her. She left five babies behind that I was there to see grow up, too. We always see monarch butterflies (which was her favorite thing and she always referred to herself as that) when her kids and I spend time together. Graduation parties, birthdays, even on the tour of her daughter’s college campus her daughter and I had four of them that stayed right beside us for five minutes. There were about 60 people taking that tour and the monarchs kept pace with only us, then they flew away.

Grief is the worst, like tidal waves that can consume you any minute of any day and make you drown in sorrow. Those are the moments you have to become present and look or listen. That’s when their signs to you and their presence are the strongest. I hope this helps someone going through this. They are with us, as close as they can be, and death is not the end. We will and we do get to see them and be with them again. God bless you. -- (From V)

A: The hardest thing about signs from the other side is that they are real, but they cannot be predicted or controlled. Sometimes natural events that are not really signs appear and out of our grief we think of them as signs. I don’t know how to sort out the natural from the supernatural but this I do know -- we are loved and we are not alone. For you dear, V, I pray that your life will be filled with more butterflies and cardinals and less grief. Thank you for sending me your signs.

Q: Rabbi, I talk to my late, great wife nearly every day. Am I talking to spirits? -- (From S)

A: No. You are simply allowing your grief to maintain a connection to your beloved wife. That is an act of love and memory. You might be in danger of crossing over to more spiritually dangerous territory if you expect your wife to respond to what you are saying to her, become angry or frustrated if she does not engage you in conversation or you pay somebody to get messages from her.

 

I talk to Tommy often, but now mostly my messages to him are all the same -- ”Thank you. I love you.”

Q: I found your article “How long should grief last” very comforting. My daughter lost her husband of 19 years suddenly eight months ago. She and her 11- and 18-year-old daughters are devastated, as am I. It’s hard to breathe. There is so much pain, anger, disbelief. It’s overwhelming. My heart breaks as I watch my daughter carry on, taking on all the responsibility of home and family. We are Christians and know he is with our Father in Heaven. We see his truck in the driveway and think, “Oh, he’s back!” Then we remember. Grief fog is real. Thank you. -- (from D)

A: May God comfort you, dear D, and your daughter and your granddaughters. Mourning changes us and your term for it, “Grief Fog” is perfect. We cannot see things clearly. We cannot think clearly. We cannot believe that we have a right to smile and laugh again. It is a deep fog. You are right. Just trust your spiritual compass. You and your family will emerge from the fog someday, probably within a year, but maybe more. Sadly, the more we loved, the more time it takes to recover. Grief is the price of love. You know all this in your heart. Just be patient with your grief. Your faith will lift your fog and you will breathe again.

(Send ALL QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS to The God Squad via email at godsquadquestion@aol.com. Rabbi Gellman is the author of several books, including “Religion for Dummies,” co-written with Fr. Tom Hartman. Also, the new God Squad podcast is now available.)

©2022 The God Squad. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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