Signs from Dad: Finding Blessings in the Broken Places

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%22To these memories I will hold. I bid you all a very fond farewell. Billy BoydI’ve been wanting to write to you about my Dad ever since he slipped into the great beyond last year. Sitting here at the keyboard, biting my lip, I’m intimidated and perplexed as to how to tackle something so big. A whole lifetime. A sudden loss.

I’m worried my words won’t do him justice. My feelings are too fumbled. I keep rereading my straggly sentences – and deleting. Grief is such an uncharted journey. What I thought I understood about saying goodbye, pales in comparison to the reality. The questions. The unknown.

So I hang on to the signs.

The morning after Dad died, feeling shocked and heartbroken, I asked him to please send a sign that he was watching over Mom – that his spirit was alive and well. That we’d all be ok.

As I sent the prayer, I pushed the backdoor open to let our dog out, and there was sudden thunderous honking from a long V of Canadian geese! They were flying very low, the lead goose cresting right over our home – I flinched in surprise, but my heart hit the sky! I cried and I laughed – it felt jubilant! Triumphant! Holy! Dad’s answer was swift, certain and celebratory – a lot like he was. Is. A free bird!

%22We go to the grave saying, ‘A man is dead,’ but angels throng about him saying, ‘A man is born’.Henry Ward Beecher








Canadian geese are residents at my favorite pond, and after years of taking personal days there, to sit, write and just be, they feel like friends.

Julie & geese Hedden copy

That’s me and my winged friends at the pond :)

Last year, we even untangled a little gosling caught in fishing line. So on that bleak morning, a raucous and victorious V was the perfect messenger :)

In fact, Dad kind of reminds me of those geese. They can be bold and fierce – they’re not afraid to stand up for themselves or their goslings. They’re protective and proud parents (who are known to be black and white.) They hail from Canada where my mom’s family, and now all our families, have a very special summer cottage.

Since the first day without Dad, and that striking sign, I continue to ask for God’s reassurance that Dad hasn’t really left our lives. And Dad never disappoints. When I’ve asked, he has landed a flaming red dragonfly on my finger, sent sand dollars in ocean waves, perched a hawk right outside my window, and drawn a rainbow hawk in the clouds. (When I was a girl, his name in our Indian Princess tribe was “Thunder Hawk.”)

“Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come. ~Tagore

%22fire rainbow hawk






A few weeks ago, I had four blissful days to myself while cat-sitting at a friend’s. The morning I was leaving, I happened to read a post from Karen Noe’s newsletter ~ she recommended asking our loved ones for *without a doubt* signs that they are still with us.

So as I drove over to kitty-sit, I asked Dad for just that. Later in the day, I walked out into my friend’s beautiful backyard and noticed the woodpile. I thought Dad might send a chipmunk, which I adore. Although I don’t see them that often, I then dismissed them as too common to be *indisputable.*

But as I continued to walk, a chipmunk did pop up by the house… and then ran straight at me! I froze in place half wondering if a shy chippy would zip right over for a cuddle. It came within five feet. Wow. As it ducked under the shed, I laughed to myself… but not so sure that this was my sign.

Within a minute, something caught my eye in a nearby birch tree. I don’t know why I noticed it, really – the soft blush color was well hidden amidst the white and gray. As I walked closer, though, I saw her – the sweetest baby robin seamlessly camouflaged in the birch! See her? So precious, she melted my heart. The fuzzy white tuffs of new feathers were softly blowing in the breeze. Awwwwww! (You can see a quick video of her here, close-up! Sorry the video is sideways, I was too excited to realize!)

baby robin camouflaged

beautifully camouflaged baby robin :)

This is Dad’s work! He knows I’m a sucker for nature’s babies! I marveled and cooed and appreciated and photographed that adorable little robin.

As I turned to walk away, thrilled in my treasured discovery, a shadow from above caused me to look up, and there it was: a majestic great blue heron sailing across the sky! Another one of my heroines from my favorite pond. I could just imagine Dad cheering and laughing along with me!

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. Shakespeare

An old photo of my boys watching a V of geese!

Dad knows what I love, and from his heavenly place of camouflage, he speaks fluent heron, chipmunk & baby bird. He hit a loving triple play that afternoon, speaking *indisputably* to my soul.

Keep ‘em coming, Dad. I love you so much.

%22For all that has been - thanks! To all that shall be - yes! Dag Hammarskjold

wishing you victorious signs, comfort, and lotsa love, 

Julie signature copy

P.S. I wanted to invite you to a free online summit called,

The Intuitive Child, Nurturing The Inner Wisdom Within

❤  The Intuitive Child is hosted by my wonderful colleague, Abby Gooch, the founder of Life Force Connection. She’s a talented intuitive coach who helps her clients listen to, trust and act on the guidance their intuition provides.

I’ll be one of the 21+ speakers, so I hope you can join us! I’m looking forward to listening to all the interviews myself :)  Please register here. ❤ 

%22how fortunate are you and I who’s home is timelessness we who have wandered down.e.e.cummings

8 responses to “Signs from Dad: Finding Blessings in the Broken Places

  1. So beautiful and reflective Julie. Coincidentally, I have been unpacking, one drawer or one box at time, things I inherited from my mom’s house. She passed away last summer too. It is bittersweet to see the things she kept that were important to her. I miss her. I’ll have to ask for signs she is watching over us. Sending you healing and loving energy as you remember and experience ties with your dad.

    • Julie Genovese

      Thank you beautiful Brenda! I know you had a long goodbye with your Mom… so difficult… YES ask her to send up a flare and see what signs she offers. It’s very uplifting to search and find the gifts and silver linings that “feel” like them. Sending you comfort and love :)

  2. Julie, this is so beautiful and I can relate. When my dad had a major stroke in 2010, my mom came home from the hospital and out of her nervous energy , she began clearing out his dresser. Underneath a pile of papers in the top drawer she found the letter Dad had written to her on their first anniversary in 1944. He had kept it all those years and it was like his gift to us. All his words about the love they shared and the life he was looking forward to had come true. It helped prepare us fro his eventual death 10 days later. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your dad but we both know that they are still with us. Sending healing vibes and hugs your way.

    • Julie Genovese

      Oh wow Kathy what a beautiful story. My mom has been sorting through many many things and giving us treasures and letters we’ve sent over the years. They are gifts of a lifetime. THANK YOU for reading and commenting, I always appreciate your love and support!

  3. Lisa Delchamps

    Absolutely beautiful Jul❤️ My father’s spirit has been close to me today. Not a coincidence I read your post today as well

    • Julie Genovese

      We are so connected!!!! On Father’s Day we were out to dinner and “Come Sail Away” came on over the speakers. I swear it was Dad winking at me…
      “A gathering of angels appeared above my head
      They sang to me this song of hope and this is what they said
      They said, “Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me lads
      Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me
      Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me baby
      Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me…” Gotta catch up soon, Lis. I love you :)

  4. Such a lovely tribute, Julie! After I read this, I searched for emails that your father had sent to me…I have saved them because they’re always a source of motivation for me and I just can’t bear to delete them. He’d send me a link to an article that he thought I’d be interested in, and then he’d encourage me to do something similar. Here’s a list of the things he nudged me to do: plant milkweed in my apiary to nourish the monarch butterflies; start an apiary at our local elementary school and do some honeybee education with the students; write a screen play for a film about Robert Smalls; finish my novel; purchase your book on March 23 (“to get a bonus gift”); put my honey cream spreads on spoons, dip them in chocolate, then sell them for “big money” because “these honey creams are more sinful than the ritziest bonbons”; sign a petition to eliminate the pesticide associated with the destruction of the honeybee; sign a petition to eliminate “fake honey;” find a local distillery who might be interested in making a honey-based rum (he’d sent me an article on a distillery in Canada that had done something similar with maple syrup)…I’ve never met another human like him!

    • Julie Genovese

      Oh Karen thank you! That is SO DAD! I loved reading that list – his heart was always dreaming about new ways to make a difference. To be seen. To follow our interests and passions (as he did!) I miss him and I miss his emails!! Thanks for sharing with me. Love to you Karen!

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