Message in a Feather

grayscale photo of feather
Photo by Aman Bhatnagar on

Last week when I got run over by the grief bus, thinking about my mom’s last days, I did what I’ve been doing every day since her passing—begging her to give me a sign that she’s still here, still with me. Since last week was an especially low point (hello, grief and major depression!), I needed—and had to get—a sign.

Every morning, Emma and I go for our mile-long walk around the neighborhood. We live on the quiet end of town, so it’s quite peaceful and shady. This one particular morning, I noticed a grey feather on the ground. Nice. I dismissed it, thinking nothing of it. A half a block later, I spotted another grey feather. Okay, two feathers. No big deal. Just a coincidence.

Another half block later, I noticed yet another grey feather and then another. Four grey feathers! In a row! It had to mean something, right? Emma and I walk that same route every morning and I’ve never seen this before.

I had my phone with me so, of course, I googled “meaning of grey feathers” and here’s what came up:


This might not mean much to you. But in addition to losing my mom, a year after her passing, I lost my job. (Yeah, it’s been a sucky two years. The company I worked for went out of business and I still haven’t landed a full-time job yet.) To me, this was a sign. She was letting me know that better days are still ahead (hard to believe, for me, considering she’s not here to share them).

To top it off, two days later, on our morning walk, I found another feather. This one wasn’t grey, though, it was black. Here’s what Google had to say about that one:


Since her passing, I’ve always looked for “signs,” thinking I’ll spot her favorites: butterflies and rainbows. Hah! Signs never come in the way we imagine. It’s usually something out of the ordinary. For me, anyway.

Like when I got the first “sign” the month after she passed away. I’ll never forget this. It was Thanksgiving morning—my first one without her—and I was sobbing my brains out in the shower. (Yes, that’s the best place to sob. No one else will ever hear you! My best sobbing is done in the shower.) I collapsed to sit in the tub, begging for a sign. Immediately, my entire shower curtain—hooks, curtain and liner!—fell off the rod and onto the floor. If I didn’t see it myself, I wouldn’t have believed it.

Whether it’s a feather, shower curtain falling or a double rainbow, to me, these things are signs that my mom can somehow hear me. And, they bring me a sense of comfort, albeit slight, as I navigate this world of living without her.

Keep the signs coming, Mom!

For those of you who have lost a loved one, do you ask for signs? Do you get them? Please share your experience. I’d love to hear about it.

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