My mother tragically and unexpectedly passed away on September 26, 2016. What was supposed to be our four-year wedding anniversary celebration, was instead spent in the trauma unit surrounded by family and friends under the saddest of circumstances until we ultimately let her go at 5:15 in the evening. My father, sister and Aunt Lorna were with me by my mother’s side as we said our final words to her and kissed our beautiful angel goodbye.
That day in the hospital was the saddest eight hours of my life. I will never be able to erase the memories of that day and holding my mother’s motionless right hand as I sat by her side, oblivious to those around me. I remember how her hand felt. I remember the bend of her fingers. I remember her temperature and trying to warm it with mine. I remember her manicured nails. I remember it all. When I close my eyes, I can still feel her hand in mine.
My mother was a big fan of “God Wink’s.” In fact, when I was sorting through some of her things, I came across this book. I’m pretty sure she owes a lot in overdue library charges on this one (SEE DUE DATE: 3/6/15).
In simple terms, this is how I explained it to my stepdaughter the other day while we were driving in the car: “There is no such thing as a coincidence. Every little thing that happens is part of God’s plan. When He sends you a little sign letting you know that someone special is watching over you or something appears in front of you that helps guide you on a path, THAT is a God Wink.” And with that, we stopped at a red light, looked up and saw this street sign. We had passed that street a million times before and never noticed it. THAT’S a God Wink.
So….what’s up with the blue bird?
My mother always thought small, tasteful tattoos were “cute.” My father did not. The more my mother mentioned wanting one, the more my father resisted. Long story short, a few years back, my mother, her dear friend Carolyn and I headed out. Instead of Target, we wound up at a tattoo parlor.
Searching through the options from the stock images on the wall, my mother finally made a choice. “I’m going to get this little blue bird by my ankle. If your father ever notices it, we will tell him it represents the Holy Spirit.” (Last I checked the Holy Spirit presents in the form of a white dove. But hey, the blue bird was “cute.”) So in her Life is Good shirt and pair of black flats, mom rolled up her jeans and sat for 10 minutes while she got her “ink.”
“Blue birds” became something we talked about often and I had been planning on getting the same tattoo on my back shoulder. Ultimately life got in the way, and I never made it back to the tattoo parlor in time for my mother to see our matching tattoos.
Soon after my mother passed away, a neighborhood friend stopped by to offer condolences and left a painted picture wrapped in tissue paper. This friend knew nothing about any significance of blue birds. This is what she gave me. THAT’S a God Wink.
My sister and I – on separate occasions – were driving behind school buses and took the same exact picture (this is hers – I deleted mine off my phone because I thought I was just “trying too hard to find a sign.”) THAT’S a God Wink.
I have had this picture (from our wedding celebration) hanging in my living room for four years. I was sitting at my desk, looked up, and my eyes were drawn to the date (9.26). Then I saw the blue bird. Then I remembered that one of the finger prints on that canvas belongs to my mother. THAT’S a God Wink.
My sister looked up in the sky the other day and saw a cloud in the likeness of our mother’s blue bird tattoo. THAT’S a God Wink.
I was strolling through the Christmas decorations at Target last night, looked down and saw this bin full off blue bird ornaments starring back at me. Of course my mother would say hi to me in Target! THAT’S a God Wink.
And yes, I finally found the time to get back to the tattoo parlor to get our matching tattoo. In a game day decision, I chose to put it on my wrist so I could see it every day and instead of watching over my shoulder, my blue bird tattoo (representing mom!) would watch over Maggie, Joey and Ryan (my shamrocks tattoo from years back). Shout out to Carolyn for coming with me and getting a blue bird tattoo also!
This one isn’t even my story, but check out this text I received from Carolyn the other day. THAT’S a God Wink.
Be on the lookout for “God Wink’s” from my mother – they don’t have to be in the form of a blue bird, but keep that in the back of your mind. Besides, they are totally “cute” – right mom?
Michele Rita Barone
June 17, 1946 – September 26, 2016