When someone you love dearly dies here on earth, they are gone. But they are not gone. They are here. They are everywhere. And if you perceive very carefully, if you truly pay attention, they are right beside you, every step of the way.
You will feel it. You will hear it. You will sense it. You will know it to be true. If only you allow yourself to feel and know.
I feel you when I am falling asleep at night. When the cool pillow lies beneath my head and you hold my hand or gently kiss me the way only angels can do.
I know you are with me when sleep feels impossible and the night seems scary. I know you sit at my bedside, watching and loving me, when I finally do fall asleep.
I sense you when I am alone in a room and a cool breeze blows across my lips or my cheeks, and I understand to the core of my being that you are with me and want me to know your presence.
I perceive you when I am in the company of others but may feel alone, because even when friends are present, I still miss you and I hear you telling me that it is OK and I should join in and smile and laugh, because that’s how you remember me and that’s how you want me to be.
I hear you when I am talking to you silently and the house knocks in response to my thoughts. I hear you at home, in hotels, outside — anywhere. You find a way to reach my heart, and I love that about you, about us.
I feel you in everyday moments. When I am putting my socks on, drying my hair, gathering laundry or planning dinner, because you want to be there for the everyday moments, however banal. You want to be with me, and I feel that. I feel you.
I hear the songs you send me. They ring out in my head — usually just a line or two of lyrics, and I have to look them up online in order to appreciate the beautiful messages you are sending me. I understand the effort that must take for you, and I appreciate every note, every melody.
I know you are with me when I cry, which I do all too often. I know you want me to remember the happy memories, and I will get there, eventually. I know you want me to get to a better place so the memories can be happy. I know you are trying to help me accomplish this.
I understand you are here, with me, but we are separated right now. And that separation feels small to you but immense to me. I am willing to bear that burden for now, because as long as I am attached to you, I know I will be all right. As long as a part of you stays with me, I can survive.
I see you in the birds flying overhead or the ones you send to the tree outside our bedroom window. I see you in the clouds floating in the sky, or in the sunshine that warms my skin. I see you in twinkling lights or the ones you send to me as I sleep. I see your kind spirit and loving soul, everyday in everything, and I am thankful for that.
I know how hard you are working right now to help me make sense out of a situation that makes no sense. I know you understand when I can’t. I know you feel my pain when I cry. I know you wish you could take it away. I know you want me to go on and do what I’m supposed to do, and I know you are waiting for me. And right now that gets me through the day.
And I thank you for that. I love you. Now. Always. Forever.
— Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.