Grief and Miracles

I am fascinated by owls and live in an area where, in theory, I should be able to see them from time to time. Throughout the many years I have lived here, I have often wondered why owls were so elusive, never having heard or seen one in our neighborhood. That changed five years ago, two nights after my beloved Mom, Kathryn, crossed from this life to the afterlife. Mom left us just nine months after Dad did, though my brother and I were surprised that she had waited that long. She had often told us that she was ready to go well before Dad crossed over, but she did not want to leave him behind. When she did go, the pent-up grief from Dad’s loss, and the deep and profound grief from her death, sent me reeling. Two nights later, on a very cold January night, I went outside and waited, not knowing what I was doing or why. And then I heard it, an owl hooting. I began to cry and a moment later, heard a second owl hooting from a different direction. They called back and forth to each other over and over again. I listened, and cried, and thought, “This feels like a miracle. These seem to be messengers from Mom and Dad.” I still believe that they were.

My grief was erratic and profound, as it was for our whole family, though we all experienced it in different ways, and mostly in ways we did not discuss. Grief was not only an emotional state for me – it affected me physically, too. One morning, a few days after Mom’s funeral, Dave and I decided to take a walk in our neighborhood. Just a couple of minutes into our walk, I felt tightness in my chest and shortness of breath. When it happened again two days later, my doctor recommended several tests that soon confirmed that there was absolutely nothing physically wrong. This was my body expressing my grief.

So a few weeks ago, when I had a similar experience, I quickly realized that it was just days until the fifth anniversary of Mom’s death. This was grief, yet again. And then, the next day, a wonderful surprise. Looking out through our living room window, watching the beautiful snow fall, we saw – for the first time ever – a huge owl perched in a tree in our next door neighbors’ yard. I cried again, and I am crying now, certain that this owl was a gift from Mom, five years later, when this deep grief feels fresh and heavy, when we still feel her love, and Dad’s, but when we so miss their physical presence, their laughter, their voices, and their hugs.
If you are willing, I hope you will share your perspectives about miracles and about navigating grief – just scroll down to the “Leave a Comment” box below. Thank you very much, and sending big hugs to all!💞

Photo credit: © Dalia Kvedaraite |

8 thoughts on “Grief and Miracles”

  1. Sharon, my story is very similar in a lot of ways. I also lost my Mom 5 years ago. She, however, held on nearly 8 years after my Dad left us. She was ready to go every single day since he passed. She joined him on February 13 just in time to be together for Valentine’s Day.

    My story doesn’t have an owl but there is a cardinal in my neighborhood that I like to think follows me around and I call him Dad.
    I still think “I’ll ask Mom” occasionally but it is getting less and less. Memories now make me smile, not cry. I have a picture of each of them on my refrigerator and say “good morning” every day I’m home. It’s makes me happy to see their smiling faces.

    Sending hugs, Carol

  2. My husband of 30 years, the love of my life, passed away 7 years ago on February 23rd- just a few days from now. So this post is timely for me. My grief has changed over the 7 years – but sometimes it is still not far away. A song, a favored dish at a restaurant, or seeing couples strolling down the beach hand in hand, can bring back the grief and loneliness right to the surface. I have learned to honor my feelings and not suppress them. To listen to my heart and what it is telling me. And mostly the answer I am getting is that I was loved so very much and am still loved. And that love will never fade or die.
    I guess that is my miracle – that deep knowing that what we had together overrides anything else and that I am so very blessed to have been loved so deeply and unconditionally.

  3. Dear Sharon – thank you for sharing this beautiful story. Owl sightings are so magical – I am sure it was your mom sending you love. Sending you love and hugs. Helen

  4. Hi Sharon, thank you for that post – a very moving read. I lost my father in 2018 and really haven’t begun to grieve yet. Saying that, there have been moments where I have been aware of his care for me close by… One such moment was a night 5 months after he died. I was driving home from a conference I had spoken at, when suddenly my car was hit by a tractor-trailer and sent spinning across 3 lanes (in the dark, in rush hour) before becoming wedged backwards into the grass verge next to the motorway. I was not harmed. Somehow, all the 70mph traffic had managed to avoid my out-of-control car, despite the road being very busy, and apart from the spinning, I landed safely in the grassy verge. I try not to overthink about that night, but I’m fairly certain my Dad played a role. Much love xxx

  5. Hello Sharon,
    Your articles are always so timely and refreshing. Last year my step-father traveled from the Bahamas to the USA for vacation. While here, he was able to reconnect with his father and older sibling in person after not seeing them for over 20 years. Both his relatives were aged and chronically ailing. The miracle of the visit is that they were able to discuss and forgive each other for several mistakes and misunderstandings that had torn them apart in younger years. His sister passed away late last year and his father passed earlier this year, however there was incredible joy knowing that everyone was able to reconcile and bury the hatchets while they were all still alive. I learnt this significant lesson that made me conclude that forgiveness is a miracle. A few years ago, my father passed tragically and we were not able to resolve certain issues before he died, I was left with guilt and had to learn to forgive my dad and myself retroactively. The moral to learn is that it is a miracle to be able to forgive and make truces with those who are living and even those who have died. Forgiveness is such a miracle that brings true peace and joy. Light and love always.

  6. Hello everyone here, thank you for sharing these strong stories and I appreciate my Sharon for the opportunity to be on this great platform. Mine is a little different from what others have shared. When I got married to my husband we made great progress together at home, farm and garden but some of his relatives got angry With us and initiated land rangles which left us with nothing totally. They killed our 60 pigs, demolishes our house but by then I was pregnant 9 months, I cried untill when I couldn’t breathe any more but my husband encouraged me telling me that you have not lost me neither have you lost a child, take heart this is a step to our success but I couldn’t believe Lossing all that. When I kept quiet I told him to forgive them and that is where our miracle started from. God has protected us, we have managed to buy another land, has given us another piggery and a poultry farm better than what we had. We have bought materials for building another house. Look at how I came from the grief which was going to kill me with my baby in uterus to the miracle that we are sing today. Am I believe that my tomorrow must be greater than today. God who has started a good work will always accomplish it. I love you all and sending you many hugs.

  7. Dearest Sharon, Your moving story brought tears to my eyes and chills that would not stop. You capture so powerfully the miracles embedded in grief — your Dear Mom and Dad — first conversing, then a blessed gift from your Beloved Mom. Just breath-taking. There is so much of the mystical wrapped up in the visceral, in grief — it is so difficult to express and yet you were able to. Thank you for helping me understand and feel some of what has come up for me in my own mourning and grief. With untold love and gratitude <3

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