One Year After My Dad Passed Away – Signs are Everywhere…

He was larger than life so it’s not at all surprising how much my dad is missed on earth. I think of him every single day. He died on September 20, 2017. It’s still hard to believe – to be honest.

Right after his death – I was really upset because I wasn’t seeing signs. I wondered if I ever would.

Turns out I needed what my dad always told me I was short on – patience.

Of course, some days are harder than others. Sometimes I see a bluebird and think of my dad. In fact, one time there were what seemed like dozens of bluebirds in my trees – so many that as I was staring at them out my window, my neighbor sent me a text – she too could not believe all of those bluebirds. Never before and never again – but that one time there they were and it was amazing.

Sometimes I’ll think of something he said or did and smile in delight. Sometimes it’s a song. That happened a few weeks ago while in the car. I was playing my spotify playlist and singing along with Emma and Ella in the backseat. It was on shuffle so you never know what you’ll get.

We got, “My Way.” Good ole’ Frank Sinatra – a staple of my childhood.


I skipped it as fast as I could and Emma called me out. My 6-year-old sweetie said, “Mom, that’s one of Papa’s favorites – we should listen to it.”

It’s not ONE of his favorites – it is his absolute favorite. Was. Was his absolute favorite. It was also the soundtrack of his life. He really did do everything his way.

At any rate – I went back to the song.

It hit me like a ton of bricks; like a gut-punch. I could feel my tears and then sobs came. I turned up the radio – hoping the girls wouldn’t hear.

Of course I hear Emma say with such kindness and love, “Mom, I hear you crying. Are you sad? I thought Papa loved this song.”

So we had a discussion about how sometimes I miss him so much that it hurts my heart. She politely informed me that it was okay if we just picked another song.

We did. Something My Little Pony.

Another recent day, Ella and I were sitting at the kitchen table and she screams, “Mommy – there’s Papa. Look!”

She was pointing to a big, beautiful butterfly that was flying past our window. It took my breath away. She’s three and I’m not quite sure where that came from, but I loved it.

99 percent of the time I love the signs. 99 percent of the time they make me happy.

But man that one percent. Oh, that one percent can be tough.

Of course every time I go to a funeral I think of him. I’ve been to two recently. Two beautiful families who’ve lost so much – two beautiful families saying goodbye to remarkable people. Two families mourning, remembering, honoring. It’s what we do and I think it makes us feel better.

I know it made me feel better. Even through my grief – I loved hearing the wonderful memories, the hilarious stories. I loved seeing so many people gather. I loved being with my sisters and brother. In fact – and I feel like this might sound strange- but I truly wish we had recorded the entire funeral service. I wish there was a video to watch whenever I wanted to. It was a beautiful service – filled with love. I know I would watch it.

I realize we love to record happy times: weddings, baptisms, birthday parties. But, I think there are many benefits to recording a funeral service as well.

  • For family and friends who cannot attend the service in person.
  • Preserve the memories of your loved one forever. You can share the memories of your loved one with future generations – your children and your children’s children, to let them know, who grandpa was and how much they were loved by others.
  • It could help in the healing process. It can be a source of comfort realizing how much your loved one was loved by others.
  • You can truly experience the service after you’ve had time to rest and recover from all the stress and emotion you experienced while preparing for the funeral as well as the funeral day itself.

I try and tell my little ones stories about their Papa all the time. My husband is great about that, too. I know how lucky I was to have such a wonderful father who loved me so much. I know that and that does give me comfort. It really does. Doesn’t make me miss him less but surely makes me remember the great man and father he was.

I feel like when someone dies – it makes us reflect and think about how we can be a better person. I do that. I always try to be better – live a better life, do more for others, concentrate on community service, love deeper, be more understanding and on and on.

Maybe that’s the gift our loved ones leave us with.  Perhaps that is truly their last gift to us. If so, we can’t fail them. We just can’t.



Mary Friona

Mary Friona

Following my heart with my husband and four daughters. An Emmy Award winning journalist lucky enough to work in television & radio for 20 years - seeing wonderful places, meeting great people and telling their stories.

Leave a comment