Today is our third meeting of the Helping Parents Heal group.  The first meeting wasn’t.  It was just Tywana and me. The second meeting we had two mothers- one’s child passed two years ago, the other’s child 30 years prior. We wonder who is going to show tonight, but I am at peace with whatever happens is supposed to happen. Tywana has had a couple of people commit to coming  We’re expecting the two people who showed up last month, and we have a new couple who emailed me during the week. So, we could have as many five or six.

At 6:50, the new couple shows up.  OK. So, we know we’re having some sort of meeting.  We won’t be headed home at 7:30 again.   We introduce ourselves and make small talk until 7.  At 7, I read the mission statement of Helping Parents Heal.  It turns out the new couple is with another parents’ grief group and has stopped in to check us out. They have passed the 8-year mark. So, they’re old pros at this.  At a few minutes after 7, our mother from last time comes. This is the mother whose child passed 30 years ago. So, it looks like tonight is going to be about the people who have more time helping Tywana and me. The others who had committed to come never show.  I am 100% at peace with that. If and when they are meant to come, they’ll come. If they’re not meant to come, that’s OK.  We’d like to plan an agenda for the meeting in the future, but until we have a certain number of people, there’s no point in bringing in an outside speaker. We have a few ideas. If we get there, fine. If we don’t, fine too.

Tonight is going to be just an open dialog. I glance at the clock around 7:30.  I’m again thinking we’ll be wrapping this up early with just five people, three of whom were here last month.  But, we go until 9 o’clock again when I have to call the meeting to a close.

One of the topics we discuss is signs.  Tywana and I share that we’ve had many signs in the 15 months since Shayna crossed over.  If you’ve been reading, you know they are documented here.   The other couple has been journaling their signs and they’ve had dozens. The mother who is here alone says she’s never had a sign from her daughter. I explain to her that signs are complicated.  The sender has to be able to send them. The receiver must be in a state of mind to receive them.  And perhaps most importantly, the receiver must be open to them in the form that they may come.  It could be “coincidences”, favorite songs playing on the radio, electrical phenomenon, strange animal behavior, dreams, etc., etc., etc.  We share some of our signs and they’re signs that others might dismiss.  The couple tells stories of finding the garment they put on their son for his funeral, in a bag, with the tags still on it, underneath his bed.  His favorite number on his favorite team’s jersey.  They  tell of finding a journal he had just written a couple of entries in tucked away  in a nightstand, on Valentine’s day. And, one of the couple of entries was about Valentine’s day and the types of love other than romantic love that are not celebrated on that day. Their son had a lifelong chronic illness that kept him dependent on them and living at home.  They tell several other stories as well.

Then, the mother who says she hasn’t had any signs speaks up.  She tells of her second daughter (born a year after her first daughter’s passing) heard knocking in the house and asked if she heard it. She did not.  Then later, while home alone, she heard the knocking again, went to look out from the second story window to see who was at the door and no one was there.  We ask “Wasn’t this a sign?” we ask.  She tells of the second daughter, again she never met her older sister, having dreams of her older sister coming to her giving her career advice (which she has taken) and even taking her into heaven. But, since the sign wasn’t given directly to the mother, she hasn’t counted this one.  She tells of running into her daughter’s best friend multiple times different days, the anniversary of her daughter’s passing, her daughter’s birthday, Christmas.  She was living in a fairly large city at the time.  It’s fascinating to me this stuck out enough in her memory for her to recall it, but she doesn’t count it as a sign.  And, there is the fact that she dreamt of her daughter’s death before it happened and was told by a psychic to look out for her daughter around that time. But, those were before her daughter passed, so they are not After Death Communications. It seems to me she’s had a lot of signs, but they haven’t come in the form she was expecting and maybe not directly to her (the dreams).

I share all of this for a reason.  I will not identify people who attend our meetings or give information that could be used to identify them, but I have a friend who had a very, very dear friend pass a week ago yesterday. She is desperate for a sign.  Not everyone gets a direct sign.  Most parents do, but not all.  The mother who said she did not get a sign referred to parents who have felt their kids tap them on the shoulder or sit on their beds (after passing).  These are very specific types of signs.  And I believe they are very rare.  We have never had anything so dramatic.  The other couple there had not. But, we were and are open to different types of signs and have had many, most in unexpected ways.  To get a sign, the sender must have the skill to send it. The sender must have the intention to send it. The receiver must be open to receive it. The receiver must be ready to receive it.  Christine Duminiak, who runs an After Death Communications group, believes another condition is necessary and that is permission from God (Universe/Source/Creator).  The sign must be in the best interest of all involved. If we want a sign, we should prepare ourselves to receive it, put that intention out into the universe to God and/or our loved one, then be open to whatever results come in whatever form.

The third meeting was a success. I think everybody got something out of it.  Will next month bring more people?  Will it bring different people?  Don’t know.  Doesn’t matter.  We will keep putting the intention out there to help people and we will see what happens.

My reading with Susanne Wilson a week ago has me wondering about my life lessons. What am I here to learn?  One of the themes that keeps recurring my life is my need for validation. I suspect there is something around that, but I’m still not quite able to put my finger on it.

When I was younger, I was called “the sensitive one” by my family. I need lots of validation, attention, affection. These are things I did not get in my family as that’s just not the kind of family I was born into.  I learned how to cope without the human touch I needed, the “atta boys”, the pats on the back, but the craving never went away.

One of the great things about being a Dad was having two little ones who depended on me and who I knew if I said “I love you.” to them, I always got an immediate and sincere “I love you, too.” right back.  I’m seeing now in a very real sense I was very dependent on those girls.  I was guaranteed at least a huge and a kiss good night every night when they were here.  Ahhhh..  those were good days.  I got my needs met big time.  With Kayla off at college and Shayna passed from the physical realm, there is a majorly big hole in my life right now.

As I write this I realize that I write for multiple reasons. Some of it is catharsis, some of it is to carry on Shayna’s legacy, some of it is to help others.  But, every time I post one of these entries, I wonder “Am I reaching anyone?  Is this doing any good?  Does this even make sense?”  I hit the “Post” button, then I keep checking for feedback, Likes on Facebook or even better, a comment.  When I don’t get any feedback the self doubt comes flooding in.

So, there is something about this I think I’m supposed to learn, but I’m not sure what it is.  There is independence, codependence and interdependence.  None of us is an island. As much as Americans value our “independence”, we are not and cannot be independent beings. It’s not who we were made to be.  Codependence isn’t good either. It’s the other extreme.  We do have to learn to get value from within ourselves, to trust ourselves, to believe in ourselves.  Not all of our validation can come from outside.  Interdependence is the understanding that we are all connected, we are all One, we rely on each other. I get the feeling I’m wobbling between independence and codependence, trying to find that balance that is interdependence.  I’d like to get that lesson right this time around.

This is the Weeping Buddha I just acquired for my meditation altar. The story of the Weeping Buddha and how I came to find him is I was watching a television show “Being Mary Jane” a couple of weeks after Shayna passed. There was a statue on the show that caught my eye. It wasn’t featured. It was just in the main character’s house, but it looked like a man in grief. Oddly enough, Ty said it was a Buddha, but I didn’t think it was.  Something about that statue drew me and I needed to know more about it.  As I was thinking of what to put on my meditation altar, the statue came back to mind. So, a few days later Google to the rescue. I Googled “Being Mary Jane” and statue and fortunately someone wrote about a Buddha statue she had in her house, but again, I’m thinking this isn’t a Buddha.  One Google search led to another and finally I found “Weeping Buddha”.

The statue is said to symbolize the Buddha weeping for the suffering in the world to take that suffering away from all of us. What it says to me is that the Buddha wept, Christ wept, even the most “enlightened” among us weep.  People who have had OOBE’s, NDEs and to whom the secrets of the universe have been revealed still weep when they lose a loved one from this physical plane. Weeping is part of being human. It’s part of what we came here to experience.

The statue is carved from a single block of wood. It is a statue that wood carvers must master before they can move on to more intricate carvings. The Buddha is portrayed as powerful in his musculature, yet he weeps. Even the strongest of us can be overtaken by grief.

I saw several Weeping Buddhas ranging from quite expensive to fairly inexpensive, but someone was selling this one used on eBay. It’s a little worn in spots where it looks like someone was handling it. Perfect. It’s vintage. I love it.