Do you believe in signs? A skeptic wrestles with the ghosts of her faith

Do you think that those were true signs meant for her to see, or that they were simply license plates, three of many, that seemed to fit the situation?   By the way, make sure you read the link that the author provided. It is a good part of her article.    ~5700


By Pamela Cytrynbaum

August 6, 2009 / Psychology Today

I have always believed in something, some other thing, not me, not of me, not controlled by me, that exists on some other plane, but only with great skepticism. I’m no sucker. No snake oil bought here. Trust but verify.

I also, for lack of a better way to put it, see dead people. Not like that. But in this always-have way I’ve always had of feeling an awareness of passings, of pain, of souls. The moment my beloved mother-in-law, Gloria, passed, in the middle of the night, I startled awake, looked over and felt/saw her. My daughter, blessed/cursed with the same Aeolian harp for this kind of thing, at that same moment, jumped awake and yelled “Grandma!” A few minutes later, the phone rang, and we got the news.

I also knew when she moved on, I guess you could call it. For about a year after her physical death I could access her easily…it was like a bright light behind my eyes in the pitch dark. I felt her there, talked to her. And then something very specific changed. I couldn’t get the light anymore. I felt her move from next to me to beyond me. I can still “get” to her, but it feels harder, like work.

I bear unwilling witness; I trust little about anything and don’t have time for hooey. Maybe that is why I believe; because I do not actually believe.

I told the story of the first sighting/sign my brother sent in this post:

I didn’t tell the other two. It all seems so nuts, but here goes.

The first license plate, RIP JOE, astonished me.

That was the night before we let him go.

The day after, I was driving down Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive with my best friend from high school. She’s a Buddhist, too, I should mention. The Lake, Lake Michigan, was always a place of deep love for my brother and me. So we’re driving towards my mom’s house from Chicago and I’m telling my friend, who has born witness to life since middle school, I’m telling her that I’m holding on tightly to my own parents’ divorce, stuff that got all roiled up in the hospital and after the whole thing, and, after 25 years, I think I’m ready to let it go. I said I am simultaneously ready to let it go, and holding white-knuckle hard to it. I was wondering if I could ask G-d to come and take it from me? In Jewish tradition, my sense is you have to be more active in your requests. You need to, you know, walk up to your nose into the Red Sea before G-d parts the waters. What if I can’t walk anywhere? What if I just sit here and hold onto all of this pain and anger and dismay, this toxic ball? If I’m holding on so tightly, will G-d ‘come down’ and take it from me?

My friend said: “I think G-d gets those requests all the time.”

Just as she said that, a car zoomed by. The license plate: “GODSLUV”

“There’s your answer,” she said.

The third sign came at the airport, O’Hare in Chicago, where a dear friend who is an emergency room doc was dropping me off. I had been talking with her about how this all happened, how angry I was, how terrified I was, how stuck I was in my rage and grief and shock. I was wondering aloud how I was going to get through it all, lots of complicated things going on in my life, and where to put my profound guilt and sense of responsibility that I should have done more or researched more or somehow found a way to save my brother. We pulled up to the drop-off curb at the airport and the license plate on the mini-van in front of us said: “BREATHE”


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