Posts Tagged ‘bereavement’


Written by Rae Ann Norell on . Posted in Blog

I drank in the sight of my son, David. He looked just like he did the last time I saw him the day before he died— a handsome age 24, although he looked more like 20. Short black hair, beautiful blue eyes, a tan, chiseled face, thin and muscular. I was speechless.

                Finally I asked, “How did you find me at my new house?”

                “Well,” he chuckled, “I hear you talk to me every morning in the room you’ve designated as ‘my room,’ and you gave me the address when you moved.”

                “When you died I thought I could never leave the Meridian house because that was a house you had been in, and what if you came to visit and couldn’t find me? So it was hard to leave that house.”

                “I can see you and also hear you when you talk to me. I can see Dad, Amy and her family, and my friends as well.”

                “I hope you don’t see me at my worst, when I’m swearing and such.”

                “No, I don’t see you when you wouldn’t want to be seen, or in private moments.”

                “What have you been doing? Tell me all about it,” I asked.

                David told me he did indeed kayak where he was, that the rivers were huge and the scenery was gorgeous. He kayaked with his friends who had also passed, Daniel, Charlie, Matt, Toby, Gordon, Ray, Walt, Eric, Kelly, and others. He also kayaked with other boaters who he had not met on this side. There was a large brotherhood of boaters.

                “Also I was there when Grandpa came,” David said. “You should have seen the happy reunion he had with Grandma. I’ve been with her and her heart ached for you when I died. She saw you and knew how hard it was and saw how brave you were. I’ve also met my great grandparents. Grandpa Ray was especially excited to meet his great grandson.”

                “I know,” I said. “ Your great-grandpa always wanted me to hurry up and get married so he could meet his first great grandchild. But he died before I married.”

                “Mom, I’m sorry about the Parkinson’s and you’re having to retire from the Philharmonic before you wanted to, but I’m happy you’re enjoying your retirement from your job. I’m really amazed at all you do, but that doesn’t surprise me, you were always that way.”

                “Thanks sweetie. Did you see me travel to England, France, Hawaii, Peru, China, and Egypt?”

                “Yes! I was along with you on all of those trips. That was fantastic. And I was surprised when you took up motorcycling with Howard. I was along on those three great road trips, too. Way to go! I’m proud of you.”

                “I was hoping you could find out about that. You know I’m scared in big winds, but other than that, it’s so much fun.”   

to be continuedRa David 03  

One More Day- A Magical Story: Part 1 of 4

Written by Rae Ann Norell on . Posted in Blog

Taken 1/2 mile be fore he died.  Photo by K. Johnson, for Idaho Statesman.

My son. Taken 1/2 mile be fore he died. Photo by K. Jones, for Idaho Statesman.

I have recorded dreams about my son David since he died in 2004. Lately, I’ve been concerned that my dreams have dwindled quite a bit. However two weeks ago I was blessed with a vivid dream. I walked into the living room, and David was sitting on my couch, wearing his black Revolution tee shirt. “Hi, Mom,” he said. I was so happy to see him. Surprisingly, I had the same dream two more times in the next few days. I was happy, thinking this was a visitation dream, what some consider to be a type of dream where our loved ones who have passed on visit us in our sleep and talk to us, as opposed to a regular dream.

                A few mornings later, after having showered and dressed, I walked into the living room. There on the couch was David in his Revolution tee shirt and blue jeans! I gasped loudly and fell to the floor, my heart pounding in my chest. Was I dreaming? David said, “Mom, don’t be scared. It’s me, you aren’t dreaming. I was given permission to visit you for a day.”

                I was crying and couldn’t get off the floor. David walked over, knealt down and helped me to my feet. He was real. His physical presence was solid. We hugged a long time while I wept on David’s shoulder. He cried too, although he tried to hide it from me.

                After what seemed like an hour, when my heart beat returned to almost normal, we sat down on the couch. “I can’t believe this, “ I said. “I’ve hoped and prayed for this for eight years, but knew if I did see you I’d be scared and might have a heart attack.”

                “I know it’s shocking,” he said. “I tried to give you a heads up about this visit in your dreams. I couldn’t email or call you in advance,” he laughed.

                “I got the dreams,” I said. “I remember the only other time I had a prophetic dream, it came in a group of three dreams. I was 10 and my cat had been missing for a week. We assumed she was dead. I dreamed three times that the cat woke me up when she hopped on my bed. One morning she really did hop on my bed. How long can you stay?” I asked.

                “About twelve hours. No one else can see me on this visit, so I’ll have to go before Howard gets home.”

To be continued……….

Be Gentle with Yourself

Written by Rae Ann Norell on . Posted in Blog

As a mother who lost her only son a few years back, these are just a few things
I have learned in my own grief walk:

  • Everyone grieves differently.  There are no rules when it comes to grieving.
  • Everyone grieves in their own time frame. This is not a race or a contest.
  •  Be patient with yourself.
  •  Be patient with others—although they may say or do things that are not helpful to you, in most cases they are trying to help.
  •  You do not have to accept people’s well-meaning advice.
  •  Take one step at a time.
  •  Give yourself permission to grieve.
  •  Surround yourself with a few positive, helpful friends/colleagues/relatives, even if it is just one person. Not everyone is cut out to help others grieve.
  •  Give yourself permission to take a break from what others expect from you.
  • Talk about your loved one. By saying their name we help keep their memory alive. 
  • grief tips for grievers


(Image from google images)

Happy Birthday, Son

Written by Rae Ann Norell on . Posted in Blog

May 22, 1979, shortly after midnight, I was blessed with my second child, a son. We hadn’t decided on a name yet and were still debating between David, and Jesse—the latter is the name of my great-great grandfather.   Named or not, what a perfect picture of health, and of course, how beautiful he was. I knew his three-  year-old sister would marvel at him when we brought  him home in a couple days. By the following day, both his father and I knew his name was David—it was meant to be.

                Flash forward to May 22, 2013. What joy our son and daughter  have been to us over the years. It has been nine long years since I hugged David after he dropped me off at my office following  lunch together at Macaroni Grill. I waved and watched his white Nissan pick-up truck, with the kayaks on top, drive out of sight. Little did I know that was the last time I would see him on this side. It was three weeks before his 25th birthday.

                I think of the song “Forever Young” and am sad. The last time I saw David, he was a handsome 24-year-old with the lean, toned build of an athlete. What would he look like today?  I have pictures of  David’s  father at 34 to compare to—he resembled his dad who was also athletic. I have his kayaking friends, who are 33-35 years old, to compare to. Although they not share  family resemblance, at least, like David would be,  they  are still in great shape necessary for the extreme kayaking adventures they continue to enjoy. I have David’s beautiful sister to compare to; they looked a lot alike, and at 37 she remains fit, and looks much younger than her age. I don’t think David would look much different now. Perhaps on his 40th birthday I can find one of those computer programs that ages a person— based on an older photo— to predict what they might look like years later.

The world hasn’t changed much in the nine years since David left. Politics, wars, electronic gadgets, cars—-much of these are the same. Sure the price of gas is a lot higher—that would bug David. There are slicker cell phones, and social media has come a long way since 2004. I’m sure he would fit right in and no one would blink an eye, thinking, “Where has this guy been?”

                I’d give anything to wake up,  walk into my kitchen, and see my son sitting at the table eating breakfast, or pick up the phone and hear him say, “Hi Mom, want to go to lunch today?” Instead, on his birthday I take a pilgrimage to the

David's 21st Birthday

memorial site, eight miles up the mountain road where he died doing something he loved—on a bicycle competing in a race. I call my daughter to share memories of David. I look at his pictures, read some of his journals, and watch  DVDs showing him whooping for joy as he  careens over a huge waterfall in his kayak.

I smile, I laugh, I cry.