By Pat Schwiebert, R.N.
As we were out walking in the woods near her home, she said, “Wait till you see this sign.” At that point we were at the bottom of a very steep climb to the top of the path. The tall trees protected us from the sun. It was like we were in a timeless protected space. No noise. No reminders of the world we came from.
Just as we were about to turn the corner of this dirt path to make our way back up and out, I noticed some green and pink sprayed arrows leading the way. Almost like what you see on the city streets when water mains are going to be dug and repaired. Seemed strange out there in the woods. But I’m getting used to strange. We talked as we climbed... of life, of death, of new beginnings. As we came to the clearing at the top she said, “Look, over there at that rock.” And there for anyone who happened by, sprayed on that rock in metallic green, were the words
“Who did that? Who was that meant for? Why was it there? What does it mean?“ She said she didn’t know.
It could have been a sign for someone else. But was it?
Signs are around all the time. Ten people can see the same sign and assume it was meant for them. Ten other people can see it and not even be moved by it. Sometimes we look for signs to help us make decisions that we don’t want to make. Sometimes bereaved persons look for signs that let them know their loved one is all right.
She had been walking these hills for her entire pregnancy. Enjoying the fresh air, the challenge of the strenuous climb. Wondering if there was a point when she could no longer make the hard climb.
After her baby died unexpectedly in her arms shortly after his birth, she returned to the hills to walk out her grieving time. There was familiar comfort in this solitude that she shared with her first born.
Now it is time for another baby to make its journey to her heart. Was this sign telling her to make room for the next little person? Or was this a thoughtless suggestion that someone was imposing on her, telling her how she was supposed to act and feel? Do you ever stop crying for someone you loved and lost?
Or, maybe it was a sign for me. Maybe it was telling me to stop whining about all the terrible stuff I see in the world every day and to begin seeing the good that is also all around.
Who put it there?