I see you Nolan!

Let’s talk more about signs from your loved one that has passed.

Death only implies the expiration of the physical body. Our spirit exists eternally and is everlasting. Normally when a loved one dies they wish to send signs to let us know that they are still around us and are looking over us. They want us to know they are happy and safe and free from what caused them pain or suffering during their life on earth. A spirit is energy – and energy can interact in our world in various ways. We have our 5 senses and yes, a sixth sense.  Our loved one connects and sends us signs using all of our senses.

I have to explain how my signs come to me from Nolan, from my parents, and recently from my Aunt Marge. I certainly have asked my loved ones that have passed to give me a sign.

Most recently I asked for a sign on the anniversary of Nolan’s death.

Did I get any? Nope.

Did that discourage me? Or make me not believe I get signs? Absolutely not.

eyes-eye-conditions-s1This blog will give you insight into my experiences with signs using sight or vision.

This is the most common sense we use to accept a spirit’s communication to us.

-DREAMS The one way we can experience a visual sign is with a dream. Some people have dreams often where a loved one visits, and with some of us it happens very rarely. I have had only a few dreams. The few I had with Nolan are not visits, but dreams where he is still here and we are doing something mundane. I had a dream after my Aunt Marge passed. She was much younger in my dream, and so beautiful with her red hair. She hugged me. I felt her love with that hug. She asked what was wrong with me – I guess I looked sad or upset. That is all I remember but I can recall how happy and radiant she was.

-SEEING AN OBJECT Common ones are birds, dimes and pennies, a street sign, a feather, repetitive numbers, something you see on the news… anything visual can be a sign.

A key signature of spirit, however, is that the visual item will stand out in a very unique way.

My visual signs come when I am not thinking of Nolan – they show up and say – “Hello – I am here Mom!”


Dime: I found this dime on my driveway I think a year after Nolan passed. I was doing 20180607_103120602691608231470008.jpgyard work and happened to look down. Sam wasn’t driving yet and so no cars were parked on our driveway at the time. I picked it up and immediately I thought “check the year”- it was 1997- Nolan’s birth year.





Birds: I did not get signs from my mom much in her first years gone (but she did give my dad a BIG one the day she died – another blog) but now she visits me with birds.  It makes sense since she loved bird watching and identifying them. Cardinals come to visit sometimes in my backyard. In 2017 I was in my kitchen practicing a speech I was giving that day presenting a scholarship in memory of Nolan. While I was practicing it out loud I saw a male and female cardinal land together and sit on a fence facing me. They watched me a good 5+ minutes before they flew away. I felt the love of my mom and dad during those minutes.

I sometimes see a robin in Nolan’s memorial tree. The first spring he was gone I saw a robin in his tree very often. No other birds, just a robin. I didn’t know it at the time, but after seeing this bird so often in his tree I read its meaning: seeing a robin is a sign from a deceased person trying to tell you not to worry and that they love you. It is also a sign encouraging you to be brave.

Numbers: I don’t get repeated numbers as a sign very often- it has been only recently. Sometimes I wake up and it will be 3:03am or 3:33 am. I am not sure of this sign.  I interpret it to be my knowledge that Nolan is with my parents in heaven and so the three are together in spirit. That is possible, as well as lately I have been thinking about the holy trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

But by far the most common visual sign I have is Nolan’s car.

It is a weird sign I know. Nolan loved his car. The night he died the police had Scott drive his car from the site of his suicide back to our house. I couldn’t stand seeing it parked in front of our house. To me it meant Nolan was home – and he certainly was not.  I made Scott sell that car just days after his passing. I just couldn’t look at it.

It was weeks later that I had my first Nolan car sighting. While running outside I had a blue Honda civic, exactly his color, 4 door model and year, drive past me going the other way.

It has happened many many other times. I don’t search the car out. I am not counting other years of the model civic or cars of like color or style to it. It will be driving the other direction usually – and it grabs my eye. Or I park somewhere and when I pull in or return to my car there is the blue Honda civic.

My favorite sighting was recently – It was my day off and I was in a relaxed mood. (this can be helpful in seeing signs- I believe you are open to seeing them when you are not stressed out) I was driving to a friend’s house. Taking a usual road, I wasn’t thinking of anything, just driving. An electronic sign at a church caught my eye, flashing the message I love – “Let Go, Let God” and at that same moment, seconds later, here comes the blue Honda civic driving the other way.

20915087_10214079675531484_6932518699150884280_nI smiled. Hello Nolan !!! I love you!

69916158_2993628913986573_6359923366450692096_oHis message? “I love you too Mom”

“I love you Mom”



I have saved my discussion of this subject for a long time. I am writing about it now, the month of Nolan’s anniversary of passing, (Angelversary is what I call it) because it is a subject that some people think is crazy. Or that a person with grief needs to believe or else they cannot cope.

So if you don’t want to believe in signs, don’t read this.  Move on and credit my discussion of this subject to my living a life with grief.

In my profession the practice of medicine and care of patients is based on science, medical knowledge and experience, so I hesitate to discuss my thoughts on this subject as I have no proof of what I believe. But it is what I have experienced. And many many others have experienced signs too. I met a woman last week at the AFSP walk that I knew through Facebook, and within minutes she was sharing with me the signs her daughter sends to her and her husband.

I remember those parents that trust me with their children do not see me as solely a physician. They understand I am a woman of faith, a mother, a wife, a friend — a human being that like them experiences the joys and hardships of life.

If you believe miracles can happen, if you believe that things happen in our lives that are not easy to explain, then you have to consider that our loved ones who have passed give us signs that they are with us. 

I tried to write about signs in just one blog entry, but it was inadequate. Please understand I don’t ask for a sign and suddenly it appears. Many times in my hard days of grief I would plead to Nolan and my relatives to grace me with a sign that day. I would even give instruction to them- “I need to hear your voice” “Please bring me a cardinal Mom” But it doesn’t work that way. They just happen.

Death only implies the expiration of the physical body. Our spirit exists eternally and is everlasting. Normally when a loved one dies they wish to send signs to let us know that they are still around us and are looking over us. They want us to know they are happy and safe and free from what caused them pain or suffering during their life on earth.

A spirit is energy – and energy can interact in our world in various ways. We have our 5 senses and yes, a sixth sense.  Our loved one connects and sends us signs using all of our senses.


To describe the signs I have experienced I will break them down by the five types.r6ohHixMFXn6eSkKxrG3Zh-320-80.jpg



This post will focus on signs experienced by sense of hearing. Subsequent posts will be describing other signs I have experienced by other senses.

HEARING A SIGN:shutterstock_78186766

A sign that uses our hearing comes in two forms: the auditory sound and the mental sound.

Hearing their voice

I have not heard Nolan’s voice but only once – days after his passing I heard his voice say “OK” which I took to mean “I am ok now Mom, I am at rest.” Spirit does not have a voice box so to hear their true voice is very difficult.

Since then I hear his message by “internal clairaudience” or his response to my invitation to talk. That is considered a mental sound – it is not his voice per say, but it is his message that I can hear in my mind. Most of the time it is in the “twilight hour” around 3-4 am. Sometimes I wake and talk to him and I internally hear a response. The most common?


Other times I have a burning feel or sound in my head that I wake to. I understand that is his invite for me to communicate.  Or I have woken and had a distinct command to do something, such as checking Sam. And most of the time I follow that command.

Did you ever have a voice that you suddenly heard in your head telling you to do something? Like “turn now down this road, or “check on your sister”? Could it be a sign/message to you from someone you love?


Sounds/noises and songs

Another instance was when Scott and I were in bed around 1 am I think 4 days after Nolan passed. My sister Mary was up writing the eulogy for Nolan’s funeral. We were almost asleep when a distinct knock- 3 times – was felt under our bed. We have never had that happen before or since. I credit my parents that have passed to giving that sign. I responded by getting out of bed and checking on Mary. She was having writer’s block just then – almost in tears from fatigue and frustration – and relieved that I was there to help her at that exact time in her work. Coincidence? I think not.

Have you ever turned on your car’s radio or changed the station and you hear a song that immediately reminds you of a loved one that passed? It may not always be a sign – but at times – at the RIGHT times- it is.

You may remember a post I did when I was driving to a friend’s house the first months after Nolan passed. My car’s radio suddenly stopped playing music. That got my attention. I made a turn onto the street where my friend lives and RIGHT then a blue Honda Civic, the exact model/year of Nolan’s car (which he absolutely loved) drove past me the opposite direction…..

Which brings me to a common sign Nolan gives to me…  tell you with my next entry.


It feels like yesterday



I was working on a post about signs from Nolan. It is finally time to talk about my spiritual experiences since he passed. I wanted my writing to be perfect, so you would not think the good doctor was losing her marbles- but that kind of writing takes time. I will share with you I promise… just not right now.

Instead I give you a great video clip a FB fellow angel mom named Carla Kay made for me:

I love the song. We listened to it when we went to Hawaii,  the four of us Nolan’s senior year.

Have your kleenex ready.


See you on the other side of the rainbow Nolan.


Love, Your mom

Let the good times roll….


You haven’t seen any blog posts from me in the past few months.

Why? Am I done grieving?

No – I didn’t forget. That is not possible. But just as we have our moods change, influenced by the seasons or milestones in our lives, so too does a life with loss.

The summer months are good to me. They are not months filled with past memories of the harder times or contain the dates that mark sad or difficult anniversaries.

No – this is the time when I can put my grief in the back of my mind. It is always there but not immediately in my mind’s eye.

And to be honest I needed a break from the intensity of my grief.

I got to spend more time outside – as you see with my collage of outside fun.

I had a long weekend with my sisters, uncles and cousins. Success!! We finally got together as a family celebrating life and spending a fun time together.


Weddings, birthdays, hikes, parades and pooltime.

We had such a short summer but I think I filled it the best I could spending time with people I love.

I miss Nolan every day. But here I am almost three years without him, and I feel my life is having more happy times, times where I really feel joy. I know he wants me to continue to live, to be happy.


At our Compassionate Friends meeting we talk about our “new normal.” We are not the same person we were before our child died. We can’t go back to our old self. This is our new normal. 


I guess I am getting more comfortable with this side of normal. 

I saw God last Thursday

I saw God last Thursday.

I saw Him when I went to work and looked into the eyes of a beautiful newborn.


I saw Him….

  • in the next exam room with a grumpy teenager and a mother struggling to address her concerns of her son’s health
  • in the hallway with my staff helping each other with the tasks of our office in care of our patients
  • in the grocery store where I saw a friend and got a warm hug of support
  • at home- for the quick minute I saw my husband and my son, gave them each a kiss, and left to join my sister at the nursing home

I saw God… In the nurses and aides that cared for my aunt and all the residents at Colonial.

I saw God when he welcomed my aunt Home. 



I see God everyday.

In you.

In me.

Aunt Marge.jpeg

Margaret Ann Stryck

February 26, 1938 – May 2, 2019


I love you Aunt Marge. I will miss you. A lot. 

Too much loss

I learned a new term in the grief vernaculum: cumulative grief.

It can be grief due to multiple losses at once, or repeated losses over a short period. A “short” time is relative too. It can be loss of loved ones or friends, in addition to loss of independence, identity, home or purpose, as the elderly in their late years can experience.


Cumulative grief can be more difficult and complex.

Another difficult type of grief is the loss of a child. Yes – adult child too.


I take an inventory of my last 29 months: I have lost my 19 year old son, two dear aunts, a loving uncle, and now my sisters and I are caring for our ailing aunt after her major stroke. …. 

Can you say GRIEF OVERLOAD???

Our Dreams

As I am ever the researcher I read about what I am experiencing. What to do, what not to do.

What can I do to take care of myself? I know self care is a priority. That is why I say no sometimes.

When I feel I have to wear my mask of “normalcy” too much, I take it off and I let my emotions out. I know I cannot ignore my feelings. And that means sometimes I want to be alone. Because I know my intense grief is not easy to be around and quite frankly it even brings me down sometimes. 

And sometimes I cry to the point of being tired of crying and feeling sad.

Other times I am good to be around others where the little things of life are talked and complained about and I feel I can relate. Lately these times are not as often as I would like, and that is hard, but it won’t be that way forever.

I cannot rush this time. Although it is really really hard to not feel tired from it and I wish I would have this intensely sorrowful time of my life be behind me, I cannot.

I loved all these people that are gone now. My love for them did not go away with their passing. Thus I grieve intensely. As much as I loved them intensely. 



Grief and farts

Today I was looking at other grief support pages and found the best quote I read in a long time. After a really bad day this made me laugh:

“Anne Enright has a great line about bereavement in The Gathering – your grief is comparable to your farts: Basically, you can happily dwell in your own, but, dear god, you want nothing to do with someone else’s.”

                                                                                                              – Orla Ryan


download (2)I guess because I am a mom of boys this talk of farts is funny to me.

Orla also wrote how when you are grieving it is ok to joke about it – you get a free pass.


You have to joke sometimes when you are overwhelmed with grief. Maybe someone else doesn’t get your sense of humor, and it may be as well they can’t, because they are not dealing with the load of stress that grief brings to understand the punchline.

Thank you to my family and friends that share in my grief. That let me talk about Nolan and how I miss him and my parents and other family members.

I am used to bodily functions in my line of work. I have checked poopy diapers, sniffed urine soaked diapers and been peed, pooped and barfed on by my patients.


So hanging out in a room smelling of farts is fine by me if it means I can cry and laugh and hug someone who also has deep grief like mine.


Divine Love

a_little_deer_vintage_valentine_postcard-r60e4e431a10c412a9e659f4aea12810b_b8ubx_307For me Valentine’s Day is not a day for lovers – it is the day I celebrate my love with others.


Before I had kids I regarded the day as one of romance and all the Hallmark stuff. When Nolan and Sam were old enough I would have them make Valentine cards or projects to give to their grandparents and godmothers. I like giving out stickers and candy to my patients at the office. In their younger ages my boys got cute cards with candy wishing them a fun day from mommy and daddy.

In the teenage years the cards get a little serious and I share with them how much I love them and wish them joy and happiness.

It made me smile when we went through Nolan’s belongings and we found he kept a few of those Valentine’s Day cards.

During this hard month of February this is one day I focus on love and I feel happy.  The Beatles say it perfectly- “all you need is love.”

And you have it. Always . All the time.

I focus on the divine love that we all have. It unites us. 51635729_10218579971956082_6610603431943995392_n

So Happy Valentine’s Day from me.

I love you. valentines-day-quotes-paulo-coelho-1547219200

A holiday from grief

Vacation time.

Or as the British say – going on holiday.

When you have grief brain you cherish the days when you don’t cry. You still grieve your loss but it is not fresh on the top of your thoughts.

Grief is like an app that is always running. It drains your battery.

Recently Scott, Sam and I went to London for a week. I have been there many times before and for me it is one of the best places to visit. I have good memories there as my parents took my sisters and me to London a few times.20181229_145848.jpg

We did the things they wanted to do. I loved it. I had multiple days in a row where I did not cry.20190101_000341.jpg

20181231_222858.jpgDon’t get me wrong – I don’t cry every day for hours at a time – thankfully those days are very few. But I do cry almost everyday. Maybe it is just when I am in the shower. Or driving home. Or before I go to bed or wake up to start my day. I cry when I read posts from fellow grieving parents. Maybe a few tears, maybe minutes of crying.

I know I have to feel grief,  but it is exhausting.


Taking a holiday from my grief is good for my missing mama soul.