I have relied heavily on signs for as long as I can remember. I use them for enjoyment, validation, information, to guide me, to reassure me. With out signs as guide posts I don’t know where I would be today.
One of my most significant experiences with “signs” came after I euthanized one of my horses for a quality of life issue. Prior to that event all other euthanasia’s in my history were due to failing health, catastrophic injury, basically they were all euthanasia’s that were obviously needed. Because of this so much of the pressure of the decision, was in a sense taken out of my hands. Of course there was pain and grief after the euthanasia’s but there wasn’t significant guilt on my part as I felt I had no other choice in the matter.
This story began eleven years ago when I adopted my first off track thoroughbred. His name was Assurance. He was a stunningly beautiful boy, Steel grey, nothing but muscle and an attitude to match his huge presence. He came to me injured. A cracked Seasmoid bone, low level laminitis and hind gut ulcer issues. I was informed of his ill state before he got onto the transport to come to my ranch. I was giving the opportunity to turn him away but something deep inside said “take him”. So I did and I have never regretted that decision. It was a challenge & a journey that I was interested in participating in. I learned more from Assurance during his life and after his passing than I’ve learned from 1000’s of other experiences. Of course on the outset of our journey together I had assumed our story would be of his miraculous healing and wonderful secondary career at a dressage horse or trail horse extraordinaire but that was not to be. Our journey together taught me about life, death, healing, perseverance, intuitive communication, the afterlife, the list is longer than I feel I can put in to words.
Assurance was with me from 2005 to 2008. In the last months of 2008 his bad days so far out numbered his good days that the decision to set him free from his daily life of pain was made. His passing was incredibly difficult for me. I was tortured by guilt, fear and regret that I had done the wrong thing. That I had given up to quickly.
To help me deal with Assurance’s passing I asked him for signs that he was ok and that I had done what was best for him. I let him know or maybe he already knew, that I needed allot of reassurance that he was ok now that he was out of his body. All of the signs I specifically asked for had to do with birds. For some reason it seems very easy for both humans and animals to communicate from the afterlife via birds. One of the very specific things I requested was that a hummingbird come up to me in my back yard and hover right in front of my face for a long period of time – this was the sign I felt I needed to see to be sure he was ok and that he forgave me. I also asked for allot of random bird sightings and to see a turkey on our property. In all the years we have lived here, we have never had any turkeys living on our property or even visiting. I love the wild turkeys and so wished that some of them would adopt our property as their sanctuary.
The day after Assurance left his body, the first turkey arrived. One of my friends, who knew of my wish, named the newly arrived turkey, Assurance. I was in awe that the sign came so quickly and it was of such a special nature.
Almost daily after his passing, something odd and out of the ordinary would occur with a bird. They would fly right in front of my car, so close to my windshield that it would scare me. They would land in the middle of the road in front of me and just sit there and stare at me as I slowed the car to a stop. One day I was in the passenger seat of my car and a duck fly beside my window for a few hundred feet, we just looked at each other as we moved together at about the same speed. I was visiting a client’s horse on their property when we both heard an odd bird noise. I looked up in the Oak tree next to us to see what can only be described as a tropical bird, beautiful, multicolored and huge. No doubt escaped from someone’s home or maybe just on a fly about around the neighborhood, none the less, I had never ever seen a tropical bird perched in an oak tree before.
Over and Over Assurance showed me he was ok via the bird signs. I was feeling better each day but a bit confused as to why he would show me all of these birds but not the one very specific sign I had asked to see regarding the hummingbird. I found it a little odd but I figured I would understand the reason for the delay soon enough.
Assurance had been gone several weeks when I awoke one morning finally starting to feel a little better and owning that maybe it was the right thing to do and maybe he really was ok. I asked him if I could have one more sign, one more little miracle to help me be certain and to put my guilt to rest. I asked him to surprise me with something I wouldn’t expect and couldn’t conceive of on my own. A couple of days later, I received the bill from my vet. It was a busy month here at the ranch so I knew that there would be 3 horses listed on the bill. The vet itemized each procedure under each horse’s name.
The first horse listed was Dreamer, my old horse. He had a stroke 2 days after Assurance’s passing. Dreamer survived his stroke and had a pretty profound recovery. The next horse belonged to one of my boarders, just routine stuff. The third horse should have been Assurance but that was not the name listed.
I immediately assumed they had added a horse that did not belong to me, it happens once in a while. So I looked at the itemization for the unknown horse and it detailed euthanasia. So I looked back at the name of this foreign horse and his name was Spirit, he was detailed as a grey, nine year old, TB gelding. I burst into tears, tears of joy, tears of sadness and tears of knowing that this was very much the communication that I had asked for from Assurance. He had given me another sign, one more miracle that was clear and undeniable. My vet knew Assurance very well. He would never have mistakenly called Assurance “Spirit”. There was so other force at work that helped to send me this sign in this way. It helped me feel like I could finally let go of my guilt and regret.
A few days later, I was out in the back yard watering my plants, when I noticed for about the 100th time the chair that on the day Assurance passed, I had placed Assurances halter, lead rope, name plate and lock of his tail hair. I had not been able to touch those things since the day he left. It was as though if I put those things away he would be gone forever. But today felt different. With all of Assurances help from the other side I had let go of much of my guilt and was now pretty certain that Assurance was ok – Pain free and happily in Spirit. I felt I could now pick up his things and finally put them away. As I stood there watering my plants and thinking about this, a hummingbird flew up to my face and hovered maybe 5 inches away from my nose. The bird was bright red and flying so close to me that I could feel the wind generated by its tiny wing span. This was Assurances final sign. It was his final good bye, his Re-Assurance that he was well and happily in “Spirit” now. The instant it occurred I realized why he had waited to show me this specific sign for this was the first day since his passing that I had forgiven myself for what I had done. I had let go of much of the guilt and pain associated with his euthanasia. Had he shown me this specific sign early on it would not have had the same meaning that it had on this day. I will be forever grateful to the big grey horse that taught as much in life as he did in death. His gifts of Re assurance will never be forgotten.
To read more about Assurances time with me – http://www.harvestmoonranch.net/assurance.html