I’m not a very spiritual person. Sometimes I say this matter-of-factly, other times I say this out of exasperation, other times I say it wistfully. It’s not that I don’t believe in a higher power, because I think I do. I know that I don’t buy all of the religious stuff, and not because I’m an atheist or an agnostic. But more because perhaps the religious stuff was born out of the spiritual stuff. Perhaps people long long ago needed to be able to explain their spiritual awakenings, and thus religions were born. Perhaps I’m batshit crazy and have no idea what I am talking about.
Either way, I don’t dispute other’s beliefs, nor do I necessarily carry my own. But, there are a few things in life that would be inexpiable without a higher power, a spiritual being, something, anything, stepping in. For instance, the timing of my grandfather’s death, or the night I was in a hit-and-run car accident with someone we can only presume was drunk and escaped with only minor injuries – and the accident happened right in front of a house converted into a church.
Or Danielle showing up when I need her most.
Since Danielle’s death in August 2018, I’ve missed her deeply. It wasn’t that we talked every day. It wasn’t even that we were best friends anymore. But, as anyone who may have lost someone may realize, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. And Danielle is gone.
Some days I don’t think about Danielle, and other days, she is in my face, being loud AF, as she would be if she were still alive, schooling me on life’s decisions.
Every day since her Celebration of Life, for about seven or eight months, I happened to look at the clock at 11:11 or 1:11, at least once a day. Every. Damn. Day. It became the daily joke, “It’s 11:11!” I would shout into the next room, only to feel the eye roll that came from whoever was there.
It was so prevalent in my life that I considered incorporating 1:11 into the name of my dream coffee shop. After a few months of this, I decided to Google what 1:11 or 11:11 meant. Turns out, seeing 11:11 is a message from Buddha, Jesus, whoever. It is a reminder that I can make a positive difference in the life of others; it is telling me that I should be paying attention to my thoughts, because opportunity is brewing; it is a message from a departed loved telling me that they are OK, and they are “opening the doorway to an awakening within me;” it is a call to action (Willow Soul).
When I combined that with the sudden explosive presence of feathers in my life – like actual explosive amount of feathers – I decided that 11:11, 1:11, any number of repeated 1’s, in my life, was Danielle trying to kick my ass into action.
You see, Danielle had a large feather tattoo on her neck. I never asked her what it represented, sadly, but it was there, in all its glory.
And the morning of her Celebration of Life, I sat, paralyzed in the hotel room with tears streaming down my face. A feather had weaseled its way out of the down comforter on the bed, and was resting near my foot. I picked it up and held it between my fingers, and cried. It immediately reminded me of the feather on Danielle’s neck – one that I don’t think I ever gave much thought. Fuck, I never even asked her what it meant to her. But here was this feather and so, I decided in that moment that I was going to get a feather tattoo, and it was going to have the Chakra colors because (1) I was (am) a certified yoga instructor and I know the meaning behind the Chakra colors, and (2) Danielle never stopped talking about the damn Chakra colors. Since that moment, feathers began falling out of every item in my home that contained feathers. For a good month, feathers were everywhere. Coming out of the couch, pillows, blankets, falling from the sky, lying in the grass under a tree. There was always a feather. And the time was always 11:11.
And so the time came for me to take action. The Internet said I had to. Danielle insisted. I started the back end of creating the blog, and while the 11:11 and feather sightings decreased in frequency, they still appeared weekly. I took it as Danielle’s way of checking in, saying hello, telling me I’m on the right track, encouraging me to keep going.
And then, while searching for pictures for Meet Danielle, my first blog post, I went on her FaceBook page for the first time since her passing. It was brutal. There were tears, and that lump in my throat wouldn’t subside. And there it was:
On August 6, 2018 – only three days before she died – she posted just that. 1:11.
Fuck. That hurts.
But there it was. There Danielle was.
I still get chills when I think about that moment of discovering that post – a post that I had never seen before, and a post that I saw at precisely the time I needed to see it.
And yesterday wasn’t any different.
It wasn’t a day when I particularly needed the support. Perhaps I haven’t quite figured out what I needed yet, but Danielle was there.
Driving my long commute into work, I hit 111,111 miles on my car. I hardly pay attention to the mileage – except for when I hit 100,000 – because that seems like a big milestone. But yesterday, I happened to look down at the mileage (likely because I knew I was getting low on gas) as it changed from 111,110 to 111,111. I watched it click over in that brief second I took my eyes from the road, and I nearly crashed (not really – I was just caught off guard).
Danielle was with me the entire day, because even as I passed the 111,111, there was still 111,112, 111,113, 111,114 … And then, when I pulled into the driveway last night, the mileage on my car read: 111,188, having driven 44.4 miles since getting gas.
My hockey jersey number when I was a kid. The number my mom has emblazoned on her Ranger blue truck with my brother’s jersey numbers. So many repeat digits.
According to good ol’ Google:
444 – means someone is trying to communicate with me
88 – means abundance and positivity
Maybe I’m a little more spiritual than I thought. I’m also a numbers nerd, so maybe I just like making connections with numbers.
Perhaps Danielle knows I’m sitting in a lake of self-doubt, wondering what it is I’m doing with myself, wondering if I can take my life in the direction I want to take it, or if I am going to be forever stuck in the education world. Perhaps she knows I need a little encouraging.
Perhaps I just need to believe in something bigger than myself. Perhaps I need to believe in myself.
Either way, I know she’s here. I know she believes in me. I know that I’m on the right track.
Miss you, Dani ❤️
Are you spiritual? What signs do you see? What is the message?