I respect the beliefs that others hold, but I'm not a religious person. I appreciate that my friends respect me enough not to try to convert me. Even this foxhole is unlikely to change my belief system. However, I have always felt that when someone physically leaves the earth (sorry, I cannot bring myself to say the "d" word yet), part of them - whether it is their "spirit," their energy, their life force - I don't know what - continues.
Anyway, that awful day, the staff at Hartford Hospital said they could give us a memento of Doug if we wanted. A lock of hair was not an option as I kept Doug's thinning hair trimmed to about 1/8" ala Captain Picard on Star Trek:-). So we received several handprints.
Relative to what happened the next day, Doug spent a LOT of time looking at the sky, and watching the Weather Channel. Partly because he spent or wanted to spend so much time outdoors. (Our mailman Kevin called him "the man who never goes inside." When Kevin drove by, it seemed as if Doug was always outside working or standing in the driveway.) And partly for planning purposes - when to mow the lawn, when to go for a hike, when to go to the Transfer Station, best time for us to check bluebird boxes, etc.
I cannot count the times he dragged me away from the computer, yelling "Bet, you've got to come outside see this!" A sunset in Texas at niece Stephanie's rehearsal dinner, even though it was stinking hot outside of the restaurant. A thunderstorm. A stormy sky. A double rainbow ( we saw two in the first days after losing Doug.) He and I looked at clouds a lot together. Sometimes while lying on our backs during a hiking break, we talked about what we thought we saw there.
Anyway, the day after Doug died, Mom Z and I went to their house on the lake. She and Dad Z had kept me company at my house the night before, after we returned from the hospital. Now she needed to pick up some things. She also thought it would be peaceful by the lake.
While she was gathering stuff, I went outside onto the deck that overlooks the lake. I had my head down and was weeping, missing Doug terribly, and feeling sorry for both of us.
Then I looked out over the lake, and up into the sky. The cloud formations (Doug would know what kind) were striking. They looked to me just like a hand reaching out to, or over me, in what felt like sort of a protective or loving way.
I stood and stared at the sky, wishing I had my camera, thinking it would go away momentarily. But it didn't. I remembered my cellphone had a camera, so I went inside and got it, and took a few pictures. Then I got Mom Z . It was still there. We both looked at it for what seemed like a long while. It was very comforting somehow.
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