Sunday, September 20, 2015



Reminiscent of the chicken or the egg conundrum—which came first? Matthew, you sometimes leave me speechless and in awe with the signs and synchronicities you send my way. Speechless and always grateful. There are two camps regarding signs—believers and non-believers. I am certainly a believer and have to admit, I arrived at Camp Believer after many questions, doubts, shaking of the head, and voluminous reading. Can death be the end of a relationship? In my heart I knew there had to be more, wanted more, pined for more; yet how do you approach the topic of signs and synchronicities without sounding a little crazy?

Loss shakes us to the core. Loss begs for the searching of answers to life’s major questions. Who am I? Why am I here? Is there a God? Is He/She a good God? Where do we go when we die? What is this life for? Why is there such sorrow, loss, devastation, unfairness? Death is a teacher. She forces us to pull out all the stops, think outside the box, learn all we can about ourselves and this journey called grief. A journey that I would rather not have embarked upon but find myself with a one way ticket. I know you’d want the ticket to be a round trip. So do I, so do all of us that love you. We are slowly making our way.

Loss is archeology for the soul. We know we have to dig and sometimes deeply, clean up what we unearth and inspect it for any connection to the past that may help us in our search for answers. A search that will lead us from the past to our future. A future where we try to reclaim the joy that seems so elusive and always holds the ache of the loss. A search that allows you to look at all of your questions with a little bit of perspective if you’ve delved into the past. The questions have answers with as many facets as a diamond. Facets, angles and cuts  that display a variety of brilliant colors — reflections from the light within. A descriptive of our souls.

Loss creates longing and adds to the list of questions in our search. What is the afterlife? Where is it? Does the soul know it is about to embark on its journey home? This last question holds a lot of intrigue for me. In revisiting the weeks right before your death, I believe your soul knew that your time on earth was ending. We had a 45 minute phone conversation, so many minutes that you did not have time to spare but did. You reviewed your entire life—the joys and the heartaches, the successes and failures, the dreams and the reality. You made sure that I knew you had no regrets. You expressed gratefulness, your love for family, and the lessons that came your way. You couldn’t see the tears and  I tried to muffle the sounds that accompanied them. That phone conversation touched me so deeply and then the amount of comfort it provided when I tried and continue to try to assimilate your passing. My broken heart is shattered, reminiscent of laminated glass that breaks into shards held together as a whole but in a redefined wholeness. Shattered but with the intent of reducing the risk of injury. This is what your signs mean to me. They provide such a sense of comfort. They blanket my heart with joy, temporarily, but joy nonetheless. They keep me connected to you in a way that memories just cannot.

Another soul gift—the gift you’ve given Nikki—the night before Christmas Eve when the two of you were dining at the Copper Door, exhausted and relishing the quiet time. Quiet time away from the kids and in the next moment, you are enjoying your glasses of wine and looking at pictures of the nuggets. Laughing between yourselves that the minute you are away from them, you miss them—immediately. Nikki says you were your usual loving self. The next moment belonged to Nikki—her gift. You stared directly into her eyes, a deep intense stare. A soul to soul stare. You professed your love to her, admitted that you were obsessed with her and let her know how lucky you felt to be in love. She tells me your stare was jolting. Almost intimidating. You were intent on getting your point across. Her memory is that of a “lucky lady . . . whoever says that? My husband, that’s who”. You made her feel special and adored. You left her the best part of you—Addy and Bear. She loves the children with every single ounce of love her heart can hold. Broken and shattered but the broken-ness held together because of your special gift; the verbal expression of your love—a little over a week before you died.

This next re-telling takes my breath away. Synchronicity, not coincidence—stages that develop before the picture comes into focus. After posting the Goodbye . . . Hello . . .  Hallelujah blog, I had a conversation with Brad. He relayed a story that took place at the office the morning of the accident, the morning you died. You went into Brad’s office and asked him to check out a you tube video of Bon Jovi singing Hallelujah. He did and in so doing came upon the Canadian Tenors singing their cover of Hallelujah. You had just been to a Canadian Tenor concert in Florida but had never mentioned the song. This version brought Brad to tears, tears that unsettled him at the time, as it was not his customary reaction to a song, even though it is a very moving rendition. You walked by his office, saw that he was crying, said “B” (your nickname for Brad) and he showed you the video. In typical Matty fashion, you put your arms around him and gave him one of your big ‘ol bear hugs and a kiss on the cheek. He is so honored to have this memory as his last of you. Brad says “my last memory of Matty is so filled with love and I was probably the last person who he ever hugged. To this day I can’t talk about him without tears flowing.” Another soul to soul connection? Perhaps another soul to soul goodbye? Brad’s comfort and peace in your passing. My heart skipped a beat when I heard that you had listened to the song Hallelujah the day you died. Why did you choose to listen to the song? Was it a calling from your soul? Did your soul have the same thoughts as mine. . . hallelujah, the password to heaven? 

I struggled with, and wrote about how I needed to say goodbye to the physical you, hello to your beautiful spirit and accomplished this with the language of Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen’s song Hallelujah. Hallelujah, why did I choose this song? Why did it touch my soul? Why are we coming full circle? Are you gathering your circle and bringing us together, each holding a piece of the puzzle until we come together with our stories and memories to discover the big picture? Are you teaching us to keep your love alive? Are you providing validation that love never dies—that our energy simply transforms? Matthew you are as dynamic in death as you were in life!

Loss—the instrument that allows us to touch nothing-ness. Nothing-ness, the emptiness, the loss of color to our days, the numbness associated with grief seeps into our present, lives in our past and we try so hard to ban its entry into our future. What is nothing-ness? Is it another example of a duality life presents to us? Are we meant to discover complete-ness with a tweak in perspective? What if nothing-ness is the emptiness that holds the key, the arc of the covenant to hope that our grief will soften; that we will accept it as a heartmate and truly find a new direction on our journey? Is grief after all the discovery that joy CAN live with the ache? What if touching nothing-ness turns on the light of happiness and allows us to return to the land of the living—transformed? Transformed, as how can one ever be the same after loss? What will that transformation look like? Still too early to tell, after all. This is a new direction. I’m now taking a different path. I'm searching for a way back to life after the nothing-ness gave me a glimpse of complete-ness. Will that transformation turn words of how to live into experiences of life? If life is all about LOVE will I learn to live LOVE as an action not just as an emotion, a feeling? Will one of my favorite Psalms take on a new meaning . . . LOVE is kind, LOVE is patient . . .  How can I do this? What if I look at nothing-ness not through the context of the past, or the emptiness of the future. What if I tweak my perspective and remove the overwhelmingly desolate feelings the THOUGHT of nothing-ness brings forth by acknowledging the here-and-now moment. Nothing-ness cannot exist in the moment. There simply is not enough room for it. How do I capture the moment? The breath. I close my  eyes, I clear my mind; there is nothing but the breath. I breathe in, I breathe out. There is nothing but the breath. My attention to breath slows time. It creates a focus. How fortunate am I to fill my nose with the scent of the earth on a warm summer day; the cleanliness of fresh air after a rain storm; the crispness and coolness of a winter morning air that makes my nostrils want to meet half way and touch. When I open my eyes, the world is brighter, colors are more vibrant. I am free to observe, to partake in the moment. Joy fills this moment. What if I gain clarity when experiencing a here-and-now moment of joy? What if grief says to the heart “this is you’re here-and-now. I will step aside. Enjoy.” And I will carry that joy for another moment and another and another. Haven’t I just carried my joy from the past through the present and into the future by choosing to link moments of here-and-now joy? Could this be one treasure box unlocked and opened with this new found key? Joy begins with a moment. Hallelujah!!

Signs provide such a sense of comfort. They soften the rough edges of loss for me. They relieve me from the paralysis of numbness. They move me forward. Signs, so many sent to all of us. Addy’s DaddyAngel, words that flow from the pen, Matty II blooming on your wedding anniversary, the helium balloon, an ‘M’ found in NY, the song, the number 13, guidance from others at the exact moment needed. Synchronicities are like the trailer to a really good movie. In these special moments I feel that you are alive, just not in the reality that I can see and feel. The most striking synchronicities were the stages that developed in your Father’s Day communication about the Mourning Dove, The bird, the poem, the art. The art, created 25 years ago with the song of the Mourning Dove placed front and center–‘Coo'. Next, the linking of what I consider a very special gift—the gift of words, when I need them most, that help to make sense of this journey through grief. The link, another drawing created in your childhood, of an Amanuensis.  A modern day scribe equipped with a computer and fancy printer. Finally, the Hallelujah; your soul rejoicing your going home and mine rejoicing a connection with your spirit. You love so intensely that you take care that we are not broken completely. I have to remember to focus on these memories when the tears begin to flow and I am waiting for another sign, more synchronous moments.

So many questions. My prayer to you sweet boy is that you find and share your wisdom. Help me to live this life without regret. Show me how to live LOVE and not just feel LOVE. Lessen my sadness by sending signs . . . lots of signs. Help me to keep my heart open. Help me to realize a connection until we meet again. Help me to breathe into the here-and-now. Help me, help me, help me.
Love you forever and always,

POSTSCRIPT TO SIGNS & SYNCHRONICITIES POST—another revelation! I'm having a 'living in the past' moment this morning and I am drawn to reread the Easter Day blog 'We Had a Good Day' & in that post I mention that the song Hallelujah by Kelley Mooney (she changed Leonard Cohen's lyrics) brought me to a point of reflection about love, sacrifice, faith & renewal and the topic for the Easter post. Hallelujah again! The song HALLELUJAH was first sent to me in April but I must have been too absorbed in grief and missed the sign and never remembered having listened to the song when I finally decided to write about saying goodbye to the physical Matthew months down the road. It wasn't until August that I wrote the Goodbye Hello Hallelujah blog. . . and making this discovery today!  The added steps Matthew takes until the sign is acknowledged . . . AMAZING! Synchronicity at its best!


If you are a believer in signs and enjoy the comfort they bring, you'll find chronicles of signs from Matthew, with more of a description than what has been presented in this post,. on the VOICE OF GRIEF Facebook Page.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Art Print by Jennifer Albin Artist/Owner of Soul Whisper Arts

Discovered this beautiful print in New Paltz while visiting Auntie. The art had an immediate effect on me. The artist is Jennifer Albin of Soul Whisper Arts. I was drawn to the room at the rear of the store where baskets of her treasures were displayed. Such a perfect name for her creations. The art as a collective whispered to me “browse, there is a special gift for your soul you are about to unearth” and in a time-stalled state I began to flip through the prints. My heart stopped when my fingers fell upon “She held his hand forever” and the dam was broken as rivers of tears fell from my eyes. A very public display of grief. This painting was created for us Matthew. There is so much to see, to take in, to allow the soul to feel, to swell— to spew pent up emotion, to regurgitate the grief that’s been trying to take hold of my entire being. Tears, so many tears lately. I am forced to put aside the grief I feel for everyone that loves you and concentrate on me for a little while—my own grief, my own mourning. I lost a son. I lost a son 8 months ago. I died a little myself that day. I thought I was moving forward and yet these monthly anniversaries, these return–to–your–unearthly–blessed–abode dates bring the pain and agony and longing for you deeper into my heart and soul.

Grief — it’s taken up residence. Unlike the voice that we carry around in our heads, grief is greedy. It doesn’t want just one body part, one organ — it wants your everything. I can feel it in my body. It slithered in and took hold. It feels like a wool sweater washed in hot water, shrunken beyond good use. It is uncomfortable. It does not fit properly. It constricts. It causes tightness. It blisters my insides. It is not my friend. It is not my teacher YET. There is no evicting grief. Grief is with me for all seasons. It’s too soon for me to recognize and understand her purpose but an agenda she surely has. I can never return to who I was as you are carrying a part of me with you, so perhaps she will help me become who I am meant to be. Evolve—transform—reconnect—live—love, love, love. We are not friends. I must learn how to live with her until we learn to work together. She makes me tired, very tired. I look over the edge of the abyss that is the dark night of the soul and like a lemming; I want to let myself walk over. Sink to the bottom. Curl up into a fetal position. Ride out the storm. I’ve been there before. This time I’ve learned that you can’t crawl your way out. Much easier to be lifted out. Lifted by love, by prayers, by time. It is amazing to me that life goes on after such a loss. It’s harder to move when you are broken. I feel like I am living in a parallel universe, able to see what is going on in the present yet unable to participate. I just want my universe to stop for a while. I want to sleep. I want to not care. I want to heal. None of those elements singularly hold the key to healing. I know it is my journey and it’s not just a journey through grief. It’s a journey to the return to life. I seem to need a jumpstart.

I’m visiting the Land of Nothing-ness right now. Visiting not taking up residency! This piece of art depicts where I’m at so beautifully. The featureless face. I’m trying to figure out who I am without you. Your featureless face. I’m sure you have some discovering to do to take up your newness in spirit. I see a faint glimmer of a smile. That is our hope. Hope that we will continue to have a relationship. Hope that love never dies. Hope that we will continue to learn from each other. The signs you send my way are amazing and I am forever grateful. The balloon in Accord was the most comical yet. I loved experiencing your sense of humor from the beyond as it is something I miss so terribly here without the physical you. The art—the very large M’s. Mr. Matt—your Alphabits nickname that stuck within our family. This is a canvas that portrays grief—the tears, the fact that we can’t see each other but can feel each other. The orbs and the butterfly—signs from the afterlife. The connected rings represent love, our family, our purpose for the future—to disseminate the love you showered on all for your shortened time here. I love the complexity of the piece. The multiple layers that you can peel back like an onion. The parts that make up the whole. One of the first layers was comprised of words, text. If you look closely at the bottom right of the print, you can make out the words “life is to love”, the only words visible when I enlarge that portion of the print. In the upper left I can make out “family CREATES beauties”, we are made up of parts and if we incorporate LOVE, we can make ourselves whole, beauties from the inside. The colors are so vibrant. They speak of possibilities, of a lightened mood, a happy spirit. It depicts a leg of my journey, the others waiting for discovery.

I know you will consider this Mama’s Funk—but a funk is not a depression, just an incredible amount of sadness. Thank you for listening. I did get your message via a friend today in the song by Yes, “I’ve seen all good people”.  Your message was “don’t surround yourself with yourself, move on back two squares”. What a fine description of the grieving process and motivation to continue forward—resist self-absorption, isolation; take one step forward, two back. Forward, forward, baby steps forward for progress. “Cause it’s time, it’s time in time with your time . . .” and I will find my reconnection—in time, with your time, our time intertwined. I want to carry on for you, for Jason, Beth, Nikki, Dad and the grands.

Loving you so much— holding your hand forever,


With special thanks to Jennifer for allowing me to use a photo of her print and share with you her art that touched my soul.

Jennifer Albin Artist/Owner SOUL WHISPER ARTS

I am a mystic, compulsive coffee drinker, mother to three amazing boys,  and wife to one of the most beautiful souls to walk this Earth. I am also the artist/owner behind Soul Whisper Arts. Although, I have gotten my hands messy with various art mediums since childhood, I fell in love with mixed-media art in 2011 and I haven't looked back!  I now paint because it helps me connect with and make sense of my inner world. In addition to that, you should probably know that I am am a super firm believer that Love conquers all, that the heart of Life is in fact awesomely  good, and that Art heals on some really deep levels. My mission at Soul Whisper Arts is to create art that heals. My art serves as a reminder that you are not alone. When you fumble in the dark, there are torch bearers to light the way. When you are weary from peeling back the layers, there are others alongside you on the journey to lean on. In addition to creating art, I strive to foster community and teach women about the wisdom and beauty waiting to be witnessed within, through art classes and workshops. It is with paint brush in hand that I believe we can discover some of the bravest parts of ourselves. 

Please visit her website to view her gallery: SOULWHISPERARTS.COM 

Jennifer can also be contacted at:

If you are a believer in signs from the afterlife and enjoy the comfort they bring, you'll find chronicles of signs from Matthew on the Voice of Grief Facebook Page.