One of the many ways my son Nick sends me signs is through music. I don’t have to tell anyone who has lost a loved one about the issues surrounding birthdays and anniversaries. I decided to spend the first anniversary of his death serving meals to the homeless in our community to honor him, and give myself some structure.
I looked for an organization online, and after passing on a few, submitted my name and information to one. Upon further investigation, I noted that they served twice a week, Tuesdays and Fridays, at two different churches. This was about two weeks before the anniversary on 8/23. That date would fall on a Tuesday. Perfect. I looked for the location: Saint Nicholas Church (Nick) !! Yep, that was the one! So I served meals a few weeks before to make sure it felt right. It did. I continued volunteering there for about a year.
Music was often a part of the evening. One night, one of our volunteers got up and sang a song that left me standing there with a tray in my hand and tears rolling fast down my cheeks. She had the voice of an angel. I later looked the song up. It’s called I HOPE YOU DANCE and was originally sung by Lee Ann Womak, a country artist. Musical taste is so personal, and I’ve never really been a fan of country music, nor had my children. However, when my son was in the army he began to develop a real appreciation for Country. I discovered another version of the song by Gladys Knight and preferred it over the original.
As I drove on the freeway one day, I had this whole conversation in my head with Nick that went something like “I know you sent me that song. It’s beautiful! Thank you. Would it hurt your feelings if I chose the other version?” Just then a semi-truck traveling from the opposite direction passed with giant letters on the side that read: KNIGHT.
Here’s a favorite photo of Nicholas, THE MAESTRO.
Postscript: It’s now been almost three and a half years since Nick passed. After several more of these types of experiences, (they continue to this day), and much study and exploration on my part, I now know that my son is not lost to me. He is very present in my life and the lives of those he loves.