They’re Still With Me

Saturday , 31, May 2014 Comments Off on They’re Still With Me

My MorningI woke rather early this morning. I know that’s not unusual for me but I felt something in the air that was somewhat strange to me. It was as if I wasn’t alone which, if you take a look around my house these days, I most assuredly am. No, not today. I began feeling this yesterday morning as I rode home from the beach. Something was happening this weekend… and I think I’m going to like it. This is my story for today…

It was quite as I rose today. There was a strange peacefulness in the house as I heard the early morning birds serenading the dawn. I dragged my feet wearily towards the kitchen to grab my morning coffee. As I always do, I had prepared it last night and set the timer for 3:50 AM. I knew it only took ten minutes to brew and would be waiting for me, hot and steaming, when I awoke at 4:00. It was, and I poured my first cup.

I made my way to the patio and pulled a chair from beneath the table to sit for a while. I knew I had plenty of time to gather my thoughts before making my way to the shore for my favorite weekend activity… Sunrise.

It was so peaceful outside. I heard no cars, people, barking dogs or radios blasting their speakers echoing across the lake. No, this morning I could only hear the sounds of Nature. The birds, crickets and an occasional “plop” in the lake as a fish leaped to grab an insect innocently flying too close to the surface of the water. I knew this was what life is supposed to be for all of us. Serenity.

I finished one cup of coffee and stood to fetch another. I was careful not to open the slider too quickly as I knew it would squeak out loudly and possibly wake my slumbering neighbors. This was something I didn’t want to happen just yet. I was enjoying this calm morning and desired to prolong it as much as I could. I poured my brew and meandered back out to the patio for some more thinking.

It has been a tough year for me. I pondered all I’ve lost in the last twelve months and wondered how I made it through. Was it God? Was it my survival skills? As I thought about it, I really wasn’t quite sure and still question my resilience. The challenges put before me this year have most certainly tested my innermost being and tore at my heart. Am I stronger as a result? I’m beginning to believe this may be the case.

I glanced from the patio at the digital clock on the oven in the kitchen. It was nearing 5:45 AM and I knew it was time to go. I drank down my last two swallows of coffee and walked back inside to rinse my mug. The house is dirty enough. I didn’t need to leave coffee-stained cups lying all over.

I turned off the lights in the kitchen and made my way back to my bedroom through the still dark house. I grabbed my jeans, threw on a t-shirt and… after a quick brushing of my teeth, walked out towards the garage. As I passed through the kitchen once more, I grabbed the fortune cookie off the counter from last night’s Chinese dinner. After pressing the little button on the wall to open the garage door, I gently wheeled Betsy out to the driveway and fired her up as quietly as I could. I let her warm as I donned my leather vest, stashed the cookie in a pocket and slipped on my sunglasses and riding gloves. I skipped the helmet today.

Before mounting my steed, I dropped to one knee on the asphalt and spoke to my Angels. As I knelt, an elbow on my knee and clenched fist to my forehead, these were my words: “Please keep me safe this morning and watch over me as I make my way to honor all those I’ve lost. Let me feel and hear them within me to know their peace and remind me of their everlasting Love. Thank you.”

I stood, threw one leg over the bike and firmly gripped my handlebars. “Here we go Betsy. Let’s make it a good morning.” Off we were!

As Betsy quietly purred beneath me, I thought of them. All of them… how I missed them so! We rode down the highway towards the East as the wind cleansed my soul and chilly morning air wakened my still tired body. My headlight pierced the darkness and the path in front of me was clear. I was beginning to feel what I had asked for…

My first sign…

As I mentioned, it was a little chilly this morning. Well, as chilly as it gets on a typical May morning in South Florida. Seventy, maybe seventy-four degrees? I didn’t really know but felt myself shivering from time to time as I rode.

The road ahead of me was completely free of traffic. I didn’t see another car for miles. It was strange. Each light I came upon seemed to turn to green as I approached. I had been maintaining the speed limit but began going a little faster the nearer I got to the beach. I glanced down at my speedometer and noticed I had increased my speed 10 miles per hour over the limit. At that very moment, the next light quickly turned to yellow forcing me to pull the reins and bring my steed to a halt. Miffed, I thought “What the heck? There isn’t anyone to trip the light! Why am I having to stop?!”

As I sat in neutral at this obstacle I felt a sudden warming. I know what you’re thinking… its Florida, of course you’re going to warm-up! No, this was something different. The warmth was just around my neck, shoulders and chest. The legs and ankles were still quite chilly. Still, it was very comforting.

My second sign…

Once at the beach, I found my way to my favorite perch… drudging through the sand to Lifeguard Stand #2 just down the shore from the entrance to the beach. I slid-off my gloves and laid them beside me. I then grabbed my cellphone from its holster and awaited the Sun. As I snapped my first photo, I heard a little “mew” coming from behind me. A small, black kitten had made its way up the stairs to visit with me. How cute!

He seemed a little hungry so I took the cookie from my vest, crushed it up a bit and sprinkled the pieces just inches from my leg. Sure enough, he hesitantly approached and gobbled up each little morsel making his way to my knee. Seemingly now content, he then climbed in my lap and purred away as I scratched his tiny head. As cats often do, he grew tired of this and scampered away. Before he left though, he thought it appropriate to pee on my gloves! Was this his way of thanking me?!

My third sign…

I had snapped plenty of photos, posting some to Facebook and sending others to a local television station hopefully winning a spot on their page. It was then time to leave.

Before I rose, I felt something else… something soft, as if goose down, brushed across my face. It was amazingly calming! I closed my eyes and simply absorbed the sensation. Oddly, it was only on my left side. Nonetheless, it relaxed my emotions to the point I could have easily fallen calmly asleep right there on that stand. Knowing this would be unwise, I stood up, brushed the sand from my jeans and turned towards the stairs to make my way back to Betsy.

As I reached the bottom I noticed the wrapper from my cookie had somehow fallen under the lifeguard stand. Being the kind of man I am and not wanting to “litter-up” Nature’s great beaches, I bent beneath the crossbeams of the stand and snatched-up the wrapper. As I stood… WHACK! I banged my head on the wood! “Ouch, dammit… that hurt!”

My Fourth sign…

Still aching from my self-inflicted injury, I managed to get back to Betsy. I cranked her up, switched on my radio, pointed my finger one last time towards the Sun and made my departure…heading back home to prepare for a friend’s holiday barbeque feast.

I’m not sure why but, as I rode, I suddenly started singing with the songs on my radio. Not just the little, stifled singing or humming we all do once in a while in our cars, but at the top of my lungs with mouth wide open! The people around me looked at me in fear! Who in God’s great name is this raging lunatic riding a motorcycle and serenading himself as he makes his way down the highway?! This guy’s crazy for sure!

Did you get them? Did you see my signs and feel them as I did? Let me try and explain…

#1: My path had been cleared so my journey was safe. As I began to break the law by speeding, I was quickly slowed. As I sat and waited for green, I was embraced. I explained it to you. My neck, shoulders and chest… I was being hugged. Mom, I know this was you! …still keeping me in line but displaying your Love by cradling your son in your arms.

#2: That darn little cat! He ate my only morning treat and then proceeded to pee on my gloves! That was you wasn’t it Tink?! You gave me a little affection to let me know you cared and then reminded me of who’s still in charge! I miss you little buddy.

#3: This one should be pretty clear. The gentle, calming ways of my Kimmie! The softness I felt on my left cheek was her head on my shoulder… hair, caressing my skin. No one has ever brought such peace to my life. No one has ever shown me so much Love. The peace I felt at that moment could not have been provided to me by anyone other than she. I still feel you every day Kimmie! I know you’re watching over me as the signs are ever-present… and that last little whack on the head for not wearing my helmet was all too clear to me. Only you could show me Love and punish me in the same moment! I still Love you so!

#4: Margaret… may I call you Peggy? After all, that’s all I ever called you as we raised our Son. I know how you Loved to sing. I must say, you’ve gotten much better over the years. When we were together, you couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket! Thanks for brightening-up the ride home. We sure looked like wacko’s but were probably very entertaining!

Thank you my Angels! Thank you for allowing me to share my morning with them and letting me know they’re still with me. Its clear to me they are still who they always were! I miss them all so much. Please take good care of them until you’ve decided I’ve completed my mission and can be by their sides.

May God, our Angels and the spirits of our Loved ones past always be with us… here on Earth, and into eternity!