Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Linda Gail O'Hara Roden Dyson Murray

If you knew my Mother long at all, you soon came to realize how much she revered Native Americans. It wasn't just the paintings and pictures and charcoal drawings she had on her walls, it was how much she respected their view of themselves and their place in the world.

My Mom passed away one morning in late October, 1996. My sister, nephew, aunt and I spent the following week after her death cleaning out her house. That following Monday I returned to work.

After I had gotten settled in at my desk, a co-worker who I knew of, but didn't know much about, stopped by my desk.

"Joan, I would like to talk to you in private when you get a chance."

I followed her to an empty conference room, bracing myself for whatever it was she had to tell me. We sat down and she began to speak:

"Joan, we heard about your Mom passing away after you called Phil and told him. I am so sorry for your loss. Now, before I go further, I need to tell you that I am a Native American. I believe that I have the gift to communicate with the other side, that is, people who have passed on."

She paused for a moment to see how what she said would effect me. I must have not shown anything negative because she then continued her story.

"I was driving home from work that day and I looked out my window and saw a hawk flying beside the freeway. It struck me as very odd since I was practically in downtown Dallas. Hawks don't usually hang around urban places, especially North Central Expressway at rush hour! The next day the very same thing happened again! I felt like I was supposed to pay attention to this sign that had been given to me, and I felt very certain that it had to do with you and your Mom. I got home from work that second day, put on my comfortable clothes and went to think about it on my back porch. There on my back fence was that very same hawk! It startled me, but I settled down and just sat staring at the hawk while the hawk stared at me. I truly believe that this hawk was the embodiment of your Mother's spirit, Joan. I feel like your Mom's spirit wanted me to let you know that she is happy and free now and not to worry about her."

We sat in silence for a few minutes. I could sense that she was feeling self conscious that I was judging her about what she just said. However, in reality, I was just overwhelmed with what I had just heard.

"I know that probably sounds weird to you, but..."

I finally snapped out of my bewilderment and spoke up.

"Oh no! You have no idea how much what you just said meant to me and what a gift it is to me!"

I went on to explain to her about my Mother's great respect for Native American's and their ways and how one of her favorite things to do when she lived in Texas was to watch hawks sail lazy circles in the sky. She was always wistful watching them and marveling at their freedom and how majestic they were.

I thanked my co-worker for taking the time to share her thoughts with me and went back to my desk. At that moment, I was too stunned to really react or respond more than I already had.

That following January, I packed up the U-Haul, put the cats in the front seat, and drove to Atlanta from Dallas to make a new home for myself. On the second day of the trip, I was driving through Alabama on I-20 and passed by a speed limit sign. Perched on that speed limit sign was a hawk. As I passed by the hawk on that sign, I felt a renewed sense of purpose - that what I was doing was the right thing to do, and that Mom had just given me her blessing.

My Mom has been gone from this earth as we know it for eight years. I still miss her terribly and I expect I will until the day I leave this earth as we know it. However, she left me with my beautiful sister and my extraordinary nephew and for that, I am truly grateful.

I love you and miss you more than I can say, Mama. I hope that where ever you are, that you are sailing lazy circles in the sky and that you are happy and free.



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