This is how long Ron has been gone: 1½ years, or 18 months, or 78 weeks or 548 days. In the early weeks after Ron died, people would occasionally ask if I could sense his presence with me. I would occasionally fudge my answer and say yes, mostly because people expected that I would and because others reported sensing messages from their loved ones who had passed. I was never actually sure of what the question meant and would answer in different ways according to different people or circumstances. But mostly it seemed true but not in the way people thought. Ron seemed to be with me because the separation was not real to me. The primal connection could not be abruptly severed. It was impossible to suddenly let him go. I have since learned that cells from the child remain inside the brain of the mother for always.
I have been thinking lately that I’m not sure I even want to sense Ron’s presence in a more tangible way because if I did, I would try to reach out in some way and grasp what cannot be grasped and touch what cannot be felt. If I see a shadow of a heart in the sunshine on the path, when the sun moves the heart is gone. Such experiences are as ethereal as a sudden wisp of wind across my cheek or the sensing of light pressure on my back, just where Ron would touch me to guide me across a city street. My body retains the physical memory of that guiding touch and even as the sensation serves to remind me of him, it’s too painful to think that it might actually be Ron.
How often I have sat in prayer or meditation, or listened to a familiar song and said, “Where are you, Ron? Where? Where did you go?” only to be left in the silence with tears brimming my eyes, the questions of where and why gripping my heart yet not expecting answers.
I am of the belief that somewhere on the other side is where God is and where Ron is. And were Jack is. And Leslie. And Mary. And Landy, mom, dad, and all the rest. No amount of praying and pleading has brought them back to us, yet I have lengthy conversations with all of them at various times because I believe that love never ends.
All that is certain is that Ron is no longer here. None of them are. I think that it is better for me to not watch, wish or hope for signs or messages because doing so doesn’t help, maybe even deepens the pain and widens the grief.
When Ron first died, I was sure I would, at some point, visit a medium, someone who has established creds. I wanted to do that because I had so many unanswered questions, most of which centered around things I felt sure I had missed or done wrong that caused him to leave so suddenly, so tragically. I was also desperate for connection, thinking of anything that might mitigate my wrenching grief. Eighteen months later, I do not have answers to any of those questions because there are none.
This is what I believe to be an answer to a prayer: as time goes by, I have come to a deeper understanding of Ron and greater empathy for myself. I realize there is nothing a spirit guide could do that would make any of this right. Nor do I need anyone to assure me that Ron continues to love us, is safely with God and with his beloved ancestors from both sides of his family, including his dad, Joe, and the others who have gone before him. Ron is at peace.
When Tom and I vacationed in Destin, Florida, last year, I had a vivid dream: I was standing in the bathroom of the condo where we were staying. Earlier in the evening I had spilled wildflower seeds on the bathroom floor from a pouch I was carrying them in. (I take wildflower seeds everywhere and scatter them in memory of Ron.) In my dream, I was bending over picking up seeds from the floor when I heard Ron say, “Hi Mom.” Still bent over, I turned my head to the left and saw him standing in the hallway, framed by the door. He had his hands on his hips with his feet planted in a self-assured stance. Standing up, I said, “Ron, is that really you?” He said, “Yes.” I said, sort of incredulously, “What are you doing here?” I don’t think he answered. I slowly stepped into the hallway to be closer to him. He was right in front of me, inches away. I reached up to touch his face and suddenly he was gone. I awoke from the dream with a heart-pounding jolt, slipped out of bed and went into that hallway about 10 steps away, half-expecting to see him there. I stood on the spot where I stood in my dream, reached up and said, “You were right here just now. I know you were!” I stood there for a few minutes as if waiting for him to return or waiting for … I don’t know what. When I went back to bed I whispered, “Please come and visit again. I won’t try to touch you, then maybe you can stay longer.” I have had other dreams of Ron since but none as real as that.
When we visit the Ron Silberstein Healing Bench at Lorimer Park, I experience peace and comfort. I love the sacred space we created there, where we bring our grief, remember sweet times and often pray. We scattered Ron’s ashes there. And then there’s the surreal photo, with what seems to be an image right beside me on the bench.
There will always be something uniquely spiritual around that space which includes a bench for my brother Jack, Ron’s uncle. The space has the sensory feel of a cathedral, except that nature provides the sacred sights and sounds.
Just a few days ago, when Tom and I walked to Ron’s bench for a visit, we met a sweet man there whom we noticed was holding the comfort pillow. We stepped toward him and introduced ourselves. He told us his name is Kevin and that he visits Ron’s bench every day. He said he holds the pillow and prays to Ron and talks to him to help him sort out his own life issues. Here was a complete stranger reminding us to pray to Ron. We were so deeply touched by that, when he walked away, we turned toward each other and laughed, I said, “Well, It looks like Ron is here, alright.”
Celtic spirituality holds that there is a thin veil that separates us from our loved ones on the “other side”. Maybe someday when quantum physics has advanced enough and new dimensions are revealed, that other side may somehow be more tangibly accessible. Would such knowledge enhance life on this side, or not?
When I see an unexpected heart somewhere, or should a butterfly land on my nose (which I would love), I don’t expect to see those things as a sign from Ron but as a joyous miracle of nature reminding me of Ron. Still, who know where one ends and the other begins?
Recently while awake in the still of the night, a window blind rattled ever so slightly from a soft breeze, making a barely discernable sound, almost like a sigh.
Then came a memory of a small boy who would quietly creep to the side of my bed, touch my arm to wake me to tell me of a dream. Taking him by the hand, we would go back to his room, I would tuck him in, sit on the side of his bed and listen while he described his dream so that I could understand or reassure. I am struck how all those years with Ron have a dreamlike quality now. He came, he lived, laughed, loved and left. I was there for it all. Even in profound sadness, I am grateful to have witnessed his life.