It was the evening of her funeral.
I was climbing into the bottom bunk to read her youngest grandson a bedtime story. Her grandchildren had looked so handsome for her that day. In crisp clean ironed shirts and formal shorts. They usually look like two small beach bums. She would have been so proud of them.
While I lay back in his bunk bed waiting for him to stop wriggling around and find his beloved Blue Dog so he cuddle into me and be ready for his story. I saw it fall. A tiny white feather appearing out of nowhere. I watched it slowly float down and land upon my chest.
The next morning. Her oldest grandson was sitting on the step of our front door when he found another treasure. A single white feather but this one had a pink heart in its centre. He picked it up and carried it to me. “Mummy look what I just found at our front door ” It was then that I remembered the Feathers from Heaven story . We placed this feather for safe keeping in a recycled glass jar and displayed it on the kitchen window sill.
Do you believe in Angels ?
I decided at a very young age that the Catholic church was not for me. While making my first confession as a very shy and timid 7 year old in Ireland I took a disliking to the priest and the manner in which he spoke to me. That was when I made the decision that the church was not a place for me.
I do however believe in spirits, signs and the power of kindness. The healing potential that nature can offer to the human spirit.
Having spent her school years from the age of 7 in a Catholic boarding school in a small country town in Western Australia. Marie also quickly came to the realisation the Catholic church was not for her. The oppression and the way in which young children were spoken too was enough to awaken the rebel Irish within her.
Yet here we find ourselves believing in feathers from heaven, and feeling comforted by them, the thought that she is leaving us signs.
As I drove in my car this week to meet a new friend for a coffee although me being a non coffee drinker it was a peppermint tea. She popped into my head, Marie, as she has a tendency to do every so often. I still experience that pang, those spilt seconds where my body and mind are not in sync and I must remind myself that she is no longer here. I honoured her memory and allowed her to stay in my thoughts while I drove and tried to look for parking. Being the person I am, I found the most awkward parking spot to try and get into because I like to make life hard for myself , my days would be boring otherwise. After a twenty point turn I finally made it unscathed into my parking spot.
As I walked down the street to the coffee shop I was feeling a little nervous. I had met this new potential friend briefly on a night out with friends. She had just moved to Perth and we connected. I know how hard it can be to move to a new place not knowing anybody. I remember those lonely days looking for work. Desperate to begin some sort of a normal life and feel like you are contributing. We had swapped numbers that night and I made a commitment to stay true to my word and contact her . I was determined not let her think it was just the vodka talking.
As I walked down the street I worried that we might not have anything to talk about, that our meeting would be awkward and I worried that I would be unable to connect with her afraid I would realise were not be suited to be friends.
It was a cold wet day in Perth, yes we do have them. I was wearing a blue jumper and a purple scarf, dark blue jeans and long black boots. I looked down at my jumper and there sitting on my chest was a tiny white feather.
I picked it up and held it between my fingers. “Hello Marie” I said.
Marie loved her friends you see. They were literally her world. Often when you tried ringing her house it was difficult to get through because the phone was always engaged. She would spend hours talking on the phone to her beloved friends and wow did she have a lot of important people in her life. She was admirable at maintaining her friendships.
So I decided that this white feather was a sign from Marie, that I was on the right track. As soon as my new BFF walked into the cafe I knew, I knew that she carried a vibe I could absolutely connect with and for the next hour or so we did not have one moment of awkward silence.
As someone who has struggled greatly with homesickness and missing family it has only taken me 12 years to realise that my friends are very much my family.
It has been a powerful realisation for me personally.
A wise and wonderful friend told me of the famous quote from the esteemed Lego Batman ” Friends are the Family you Choose”
So Thank you Marie.
Have you made any new friends recently ?
Do you find feathers from heaven?