. . . in the 2022 Lunar New Year
The float makers in Singapore made a family of Tigers to represent the Year of the Tiger this year. That way all those born in the year of the Tiger are represented, no matter age, gender, and no matter their status in life.
Or in death.
Happy Year of the Tiger, Dan Neff! That would be you, standing at the highest spot on top of the roof, proudly representing your family in this, your animal in the Chinese Zodiac.
This is the year of the Water Tiger, but you, dear husband, are a Metal Tiger.
The Tiger is an extremely daring person. They are very charming figures and usually have very firm views. They are strong minded and determined and perform all their tasks with excitement and importance. They are extremely alert and quick witted and their mind is everlastingly active. They are original thinkers and are always crammed with new ideas or full of interest for some sort of new project or scheme.
Since you died, each of us continue to watch for your schemes.
We are rewarded with constant signs that you may be quite busy in the hereafter.
We saw you in the Monarch and began collecting images of them as we pondered your metamorphosis. Next thing we hear: “Amazing Quarter-Million Monarchs in 2021, Up From Just 2,000 the Year Before in Migration Count”;
We saw you in the “hunders” you used to carry “just in case” and suddenly hunders are showing up here, there, and everywhere at the oddest moments;
We saw you in Her Majesty, the honored Christmas tree that you aquired for Debi to add to the float for the Redlands Christmas Parade….the event you helped with not that long ago with the Busy Bees. We know you arranged it because its strong, hearty, nature that lives on and on beyond the norm. Like you.
We see you in this tiger, in the Year of the Metal Tiger, because although you could be fierce—don’t mess with Dan the Man!—you were mostly like this image. Chill. Peaceful. Ready with a fun quip that was always well timed . . .
. . . so many sightings – I could go on and on.
But, you out-did yourself on Monday morning
At 4:00 am when I decided to take Indy to the vet—a new vet, in the OC where they offer laparoscopic spay surgery—you out-did yourself in signs.
Before I tell you how, you need to know of another widow who wrote a book to her husband in which she mused about these “sightings” in the early days and weeks after his death, using what I thought was an unusual word to describe things she had been noticing. Abide. She was trying to grasp if it was really him—reaching through the veil that keeps the dead unseen. A woman of faith, she found herself not trusting what seemed to be blatant truths of an alternate existence.
I get it.
It kind of feels like being at a masquerade party where you cannot fully recognize who you are seeing behind their disguise.
After noticing one thing after another, she explains how she and her friend:
“…talked a good bit about my doubt and resistance to believing these synchronicities that keep happening are somehow an indication you abide and are interested in making yourself known.” (Jan Richardson, A book of Life and Death: Sparrow)
When I awoke at 4:00 am, my gut told me to get in the car at 5:00 am and drive Indy to the vet to get her checked out. I felt a strength in me that had been missing for weeks.
I intuited it was you.
Quickly packing the car, strategizing how to get post-surgery Indy into the car, I piled in a stack of blankets, her dog bed, and a bag with food and water for her.
Finding it unusually cold, I went back into the house to grab a jacket and I thought….let me wear Dan’s jacket to feel him with me.
The words on the jacket leaped toward me
You see, I’ve been sort of a mess without you. And Indy’s surgery put me right over the edge.
But you were there for me.
And it helped.
The other widow’s husband convinced her, too.
He kept showing up
and showing up
–although it is completely un-explainable with logic;
–although it sometimes makes you feel worse because you want more;
Does a continuation of a beautiful love story abide just beneath the surface between two worlds?
The idea of this shines like the tail of bright comet.
We are attended.
We are accompanied.
We are asked to open our eyes, our hearts to the grace of it, that we might bear witness
not only to the fall of the sparrow
but also to what follows it.
Happy Year of the Tiger, babe.
YOU ARE STILL BURNING BRIGHT!