90: Just the Sign I Wanted

90: Just the Sign I Wanted

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and More

Just the Sign I Wanted

Music is well said to be the speech of angels.

~Thomas Carlyle

It had been a birthday to remember. Two of my three grown children and their spouses, my grandson and his fiancée, and eight of my closest friends all gathered to help me celebrate at a beautiful restaurant. There was love all around, and laughter filled the room. For a while, I even managed to forget that my soul mate wouldn’t be there.

Paul and I were married forty-plus years when he died suddenly. Although that was five years earlier, I thought of him every day, but this night I could be carefree. I could forget about all the birthdays that Paul had made special by arranging a surprise party or dinner.

The last birthday I spent with him, he invited thirty friends and family members to a Buca di Beppo feast in the “Pope’s room” — a fun, rowdy place for Italian food. He wasn’t a “diamonds” kind of guy, but more into people having fun and being loving. His personality was larger than life, and he swept me off my feet at sixteen. We grew up together, marrying at nineteen and twenty-two respectively. He learned early on in our marriage that birthdays were a special day for me.

My actual birthday was Monday, but I had decided to hold my celebratory dinner Sunday night. I wanted those who had to work Monday to get home at a reasonable hour. After the restaurant, those who could came back to my house to party and visit.

The next day, my daughter Mary and I went shopping and then to a spa. Finally, we joined her husband for pizza later at their house. It was a laidback day, but it was perfect after the dinner and party the night before.

I left Mary’s house about 10:00 p.m. feeling a little dejected. As I drove home down the coast route from my daughter’s house, I told Paul, “Did you forget what day this is? I haven’t seen any signs that you remembered my birthday, and you always have.”

In the past, he had always talked to me through my Sirius radio. It wasn’t a coincidence that every time I turned it on, they played, “Earth Angel.” I always felt him near when that song came on. Tonight, I yearned to hear from him. Would he come through? Would he remember?

The first song I heard was “If Tomorrow Never Comes” by Garth Brooks, one of our favorite country singers. When the kids were younger, before they married, we would all go dirt-bike riding in the desert. Garth was our go-to guy for dancing around the campfire.

I was amazed at how relevant his lyrics were that night.

If tomorrow never comes

Will she know how much I loved her

Did I try in every way to show her every day

That she’s my only one

Wow. Was Paul telling me I was still his only one? I was a little sad at the next part of the song.

And if my time on earth were through

And she must face this world without me

Is the love I gave her in the past

Gonna be enough to last

Of course, Paul’s love was enough to “last” for me. I was so grateful and awestruck to have “received” this song on my car radio as I finished my birthday. I dissolved into tears. I had gotten my sign.

Then, just in case I wasn’t sure, the next song was “Happy, Happy Birthday Baby” by The Tune Weavers.

Okay, I had no doubts. My guy knew what day it was, and I drove home sobbing but happy. He remembered. Paul was with me in spirit once again.

~Sallie A. Rodman

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