Pride, Hawks, Dreams, Oh My!

selective photography of flying black falcon
Photo by Nigam Machchhar on


Hello from my daughter’s home. LL Cool Dog is laying at my side like a cat I think she secretly wishes she could be as I type. LL is seeking my attention, but wait, no, a squirrel. Off she goes to the window. My daughter is still sleeping from a long day yesterday, a long and glorious day spent wine tasting, flea marketing (got a $5 dollar mirror that will be perfect for my new apartment!), shopping and going to a sushi place. During my seven hours driving in the rain, and my time here, I did some thinking. I haven’t done this in a while, so I’d like to share my thoughts, some insights, and some unsettling dreams this Sunday morning. And here I go…

1). Peter would have continued to be proud of our kids. They have carved out their little pieces of this world with confidence, tenacity, kindness, and passion. I see the light in my son’s eyes when he talks about his students. I hear the drive and eagerness in my daughter’s voice as she tells stories of her career just beginning its ascent. They are adults now and their adult beginnings are filled with possibilities, potentials, desires and pulls forward. I hope Peter is proud, wherever he is. I know I am enough for both of us.

2). So far this weekend, I’ve seen five hawks. I saw three on my way up here and two yesterday on our drive to and from places. I’ve been seeing more and more hawks since Peter died. My daughter thinks it’s Peter’s spirit. During our last prayer together as a family, with only my son, my daughter, Peter’s body and me in the room, my daughter asked for Peter to let us see and feel him among nature –  the grass, the snow, the water, and the birds. It was a beautiful prayer and one we all understood. These were the connections he held when he was alive – to the outdoors, the waves, the roads in the open country and in particular, the birds. Peter loved birds. Maybe it’s the freeness in their soar, or their abilities to watch over in observation, or their songs of love, or all of it. Peter loved the freedom of an open road. He watched in observation before he spoke. And he loved melodic sounds. I don’t know. Maybe I grasping, or maybe there is truth to the spiritual guidance of dead ones through the animal world. And maybe I look for hawks more now that Peter has died.  All I know is the remembrance of my daughter’s prayer and now, when I see a hawk, I feel Peter. And this weekend,  I saw five of them and I felt Peter every time.

3). As I drove in the rain on Friday, I tried to pray, but see, I’m still struggling to talk with God, pray to God. I try. I do. And I’m trying more often. Not as often as I once did, but a lot of things of once did have changed. I don’t really like it. I liked the blind faith I had before and the feel of God being with me, in me. I miss it. After Peter died, that changed. I felt abandoned, full of unanswered questions, and worse, left wondering about God’s existence. I’ve always accepted God’s ways, God’s choices as part of the mystery of God. Even with seeing my father’s suffering and death, I thought God has Her/His/No Gender plan. Maybe it was easier for me because I was a child, with childish thoughts, or none at all. Or maybe my parent’s blind faith helped my own faith’s vision. When Peter died, I couldn’t hold onto any of it. It scares me how easily I let go by the hurt of my husband’s sudden death. Almost like it was too easy. I still have so many doubts and questions. I am starting to look toward other definitions of God bought to me by other religions, readings and investigations. I am starting discussions with God which I suppose these are great first steps, albeit shaky ones.

4). I broke down in sobs yesterday in my daughter’s car. Oh, I break down a lot, for various reasons, sometimes for no reason at all, until I figure it out later. But yesterday, I was talking to the leasing company in my new apartment. I called them after my daughter asked me logistics about the move, things I never thought about – cable boxes, routers, etc. As I talked to the young lady, I said, “I haven’t had my own place for thirty years. I’m not sure what to do.” The reality of this statement hit me like a ninety-five per hour fastball at my head. I  bit down my emotions…until I hung up. Then, I let it all go, in the confines of my daughter’s KIA, I let it all go. I sobbed out the truth I was holding back for some time.  I am alone, will be alone, for the first time in thirty years. Now, whether I am alone in a house filled with PeterandBetsy memories, or in an apartment with a Peter essence, but all Betsy, doesn’t matter. I am and will be alone. For the first time in 30 years. I’m not even an empty nester. I have no nest at all. I have to build one anew. This was an unexpected thought. I mean, I know Peter died. I know he will never come back. I know I am a widow. I know I’ll never have him back. Yet, I will be completely alone for the first time in thirty years and that packed a hurtful punch.  It is inevitable. I can fight it. I don’t have to like it. But deep down, I know it is happening. Oh, I think I will emerge from being on my own for the first time in thirty years. But come on now. That’s scary shit.

5). These past two nights, I’ve been having dreams with Peter in them. I have dreamed about hugging an earlier version of my daughter and ignoring hugging Peter. When he asks why I respond, “you’re dead. I can’t hug a dead man.” In another dream, he and my father in the kitchen of my youth and I tell them both, “go, you’re not supposed to be here”.  I had a dream of Peter being beside me and saying “don’t worry. I’m not really here.”  And there were a few more I can’t remember right now. I know it doesn’t take a psychic or psychologist to tell me Peter’s been on my mind and I am still grappling with his absence in my world. Or that I’m angry at Peter for dying. Or, maybe, wine has a strange effect on my dream state. Whatever the case may be, I dreamed of him more on this visit with my daughter. I am sure it’s because my daughter reminds me so much of him. When I look at either of my kids, I see Peter. And memories of him have slipped into every conversation we’ve had this weekend. How could they not? The last time I visited my daughter it was as part of a pair. So I get the reason and my dreams about Peter have left me restless. I think I need to have a serious talk with him when I see him in the sky… as a hawk.

Thank you for letting me share some of my thoughts this weekend. It’s a little scrambled and I hope you were able to follow along. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great weekend with my daughter. Aside from my meltdown, my memories, my hawk sightings, my unsettling dreams, we laughed together, dreamed together, shared together, watched old Carol Burnett shows together…we were just together, as daughter and mom. I needed this weekend. I needed my daughter….okay, and a dose of LL Cool Dog.