capture your grief, day 10: symbols and signs

I’m glad to have a concrete topic for today. I’m just going to talk about symbols and not signs tonight. I’ve written a lot about signs in the past; perhaps I’ll post those writings to my blog one day.

Kade liked birds of prey. There is a local organization called Hawk Quest that put on live bird programs for Cub and Boy Scouts over the years, so I have fond memories of seeing those with Kade. We have red-tailed hawks, golden eagles, and peregrine falcons around here, among other raptors. He knew which one was sailing high overhead. He would say, “Mom, you can tell that’s a red-tailed/Harris’s Hawk by the tail/wings.” I wish I remembered exactly what he was teaching me.

He told me that in Buena Vista, on one street near his dad’s house, vultures would descend at a certain time of year. He said that the number of vultures that roosted was unbelievable, that it was a little creepy, and quite a sight to behold. I think I remember he said that the pavement was white underneath.

After Kade died, I thought of his spirit soaring. I so hoped that his spirit was soaring, unencumbered, and blissful.

The first horrible Christmas without him we drove to Santa Fe. I picked Santa Fe because it had no memories associated with him, and it was within driving distance. Our crazily grieving family that didn’t know what to do with ourselves, rented a mini-van and headed the hell out of town. I kept seeing crows flying alongside the van along the desolate landscape. At the hotel, on our last day I believe, we saw gigantic crows (or were they ravens? Kade would know) alight on top of a large streetlight outside our room. We took pictures (I think my brother took them). Looking at the pictures later, there was the streetlight but no crows. Did they fly away before the picture snapped? We thought we would have noticed that at the time…


“Huge crows”

Birds, raptors, and especially hawks are a symbol of Kade for me.

Another symbol of Kade for me are shooting stars and stars. At the memorial service that his dad had for him in Buena Vista, his dad said: “The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.” That immediately made me think of a shooting star, and the image stuck. I have a pendant that I had designed especially for Kade in the shape of a shooting star. I have shirts, earrings, candles, and pieces of art that I ordered with a shooting star or star shape. (Grieving can be expensive). My mom has given me star bracelets. I had an artist come over and guide girlfriends and me in a canvas oil painting. The picture she designed had mountains and stars. Star pictures and stickers have popped up at meaningful times. I’ve spotted shooting stars (decorations and the real deal) at poignant times when they seem like they’ve been thrown from Kade, like the crow example above.


Our masterpieces


My sweet friends, game for my crazy schemes


We had “Kade stars” made to leave in places we remembered him. This was left on our day of sledding outside of Santa Fe.

My tattoo incorporates a hawk and a shooting star. I think the symbols of hawks and stars will be in my life for years to come. Oh, and flannels, and the color purple, and rivers, and exotic animals, and skateboards, and bass guitars, and skis, and fishing poles, and dinosaurs, and…


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