Eleven months ago when my brother passed over to heaven, my good friend Karen sent me a beautiful flower basket. It was overflowing with plant goodness and although I know I took pictures, of course, I can’t find those today. Here is the basket today. I’m so glad that I saved it, as many plants do insist on continued life. When the first one came up this time, we pulled it out of the garage. When it snowed, it temporarily went back in!

Do you believe that the dead speak from heaven?

My daughter is convinced that red-tailed hawks are the spirit animal of her father, who passed in 2013. Without fail, these birds have appeared on special days and she even got a tattoo to commemorate this. When they appear, she feels peace and knows that her father is there.

“This is God’s way of telling you He loves you.” I tell her.

I see a few occasionally, and recently I realized that these sightings that I have as well are also sometimes on special days. Recently when my middle son and fiancée announced their engagement, I looked out my bedroom that evening to see one sitting there, after never seeing one in our neighborhood before. And haven’t since either. His dad won’t be here to see the wedding, and experience holding our very first granddaughter. I can only hope that someday there will be a very big reunion in heaven. That someday he will get to meet and hug all of his descendants.

Why is this on my heart? Well, since Rick died eleven months ago, I’ve had a few dreams with him in them. And in each dream, he was either unable to speak or wouldn’t speak. My friends on Facebook also agreed-they also had dreams about loved ones who have passed-but they didn’t speak.

Never before have I been without hearing from my brother for a year’s time.

But last night was different.

In last night’s dream, we had kiddos roaming around us. And he was holding one on his hip. And I got a half-hug (since one arm/hip was occupied). I told him that I loved him. And then he clearly said: “I love you too. Hang in there with me. This is how it needs to be for a while. Be strong.” He then pulled away and talked about how this next section in these children’s lives was so very important and how he wanted to make a forever impact on their lives. The second part of the conversation was very typical of him and reminded me of how he would talk of his passion to change Hollywood and impact the industry for Jesus.

The first part, I’ve not heard before.

Well, perhaps I have. When I was a single mom a long time ago, he was so proud to give me a framed picture of a migrant pea worker who was a single mom and literally moved farm-to-farm to pick and provide for her kids. I questioned it at the time. Since then, many have told me the story behind the photo and that he was saying to me:

You are strong and courageous.

I am. I will be. And although the tears are close today, I know that I will see him again. I take comfort in that.