Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Date of Encounter: October 18, 2002
My father died when I was 18 months old and I've felt the loss pretty strongly over the years. I really didn't meet any of his relatives (aunt, uncle, cousins, and grandmother) until 1996 when I went to Kansas to meet them. I've really loved getting to know them all and each time I visit, I come away with having learned something special either about myself or about the family traits.
In October of 2002, I was lucky enough to attend my cousin's wedding with many other relatives on my father's side. After the ceremony, my cousin and her new husband wanted a group picture taken of everyone who had attended the wedding. I was pretty happy to be there as I don't get to visit much with my father's relatives. Directly after the group picture, my uncle's daughter (my other cousin) came up to me and asked me to take a picture of her dad, step mom, and herself. I gladly did this and as soon as I took the camera from her, I felt this wave of sadness wash over me. I can remember thinking, "Gosh, I really wish my dad was here. I'd really love to get my picture taken with him." Lots of wishful thinking on my part, believe me!
Now, like I said, I was pretty happy to be there. It was a beautiful autumn day, the weather was crisp, there wasn't a cloud in the sky, and the sun was really bright. Coming from Florida where everyone I knew was still wearing shorts, I was in total heaven with the cool, crisp weather. So when this wave of sadness washed over me, I hid it rather well. Everyone went down to the church basement for the reception except for me. I wanted to take a time out to compose myself and not drag the others down with my mood. An aside here: I've always been prone to mood swings, but never like I experienced that day. That one surely took the cake!
I stepped out in back of the church to have a smoke and to get myself together. As I sat there on the church steps, smoking and berating myself for my mood i.e.: Get a grip on yourself, what's the matter with you…here you are in Kansas with your family around you, it's a beautiful day, the weather couldn't be nicer, etc. And my eyes kept being drawn to this tree just to my left. It was a really serene place, with a little flower garden and there were a couple of circular stone benches where one could sit and reflect on different things. All of a sudden, as I sat there reflecting and smoking, this little gust of wind came up behind me and kind of ruffled my hair and as soon as it had dissipated, my mood went from sad to happy. And right as this mood was changing, a flock of birds flew out of this tree by the garden. And I should mention that when this gust of wind ruffled my hair, not a single blade of grass or tree leaf moved. It was solely concentrated at my back.
Call me crazy, but I really think it was my father checking up on me and saying, "Don't be sad, I'm right here with you." When I related this to my aunt and uncle (well after the wedding) they both speculated that indeed, it was my father making himself known to me. I should also mention that my uncle is a bit of skeptic with occurrences such as these. My aunt, on the other hand, is not.
Thanks for letting me share this.