My closest and dearest friend Maria passed away on February 1, 2010. Just nine days earlier, she had celebrated her 49th birthday. It was so sudden, so unexpected, and so brutally heartbreaking. Maria and I hadn’t seen each other in more than 18 years since I moved to the West Coast. She had remained back East. We lost touch for a few of those years, but the love, the bond, that we shared had never gone away. We were both so delighted when we reconnected with each other a few years ago. It was my birthday, and I received a call from her. It was the best present I could have gotten.
It’s funny because when we first met, I didn’t think I was going to like her. She was friends with my cousin, and her parents had invited my mom and I to go to their vacation house in Upstate New York. I told my mother about the reservations I had about going once I heard that Maria was going to be there as well. But, as Maria always loved to say, we met that weekend and “that was it … we fell in love with each other.” We had so many adventures together, and she’d tell people we were always getting into trouble and that when “one lies, the other one swears.”
When I heard the news that she died, I couldn’t process the information. It was through an email, and as I sat at my computer and began reading it, I only saw bits and pieces, a word here and there. My mind did not want to grasp what it was seeing. But once it did, I felt like a part of me had died along with her.
On the evening of February 22, a Monday, I was on Facebook. A couple of days prior to that, I kept thinking, “February 22nd, February 22nd — what’s happening on February 22nd? Is that date significant? Why?” For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why I was obsessing over that date.
As I was checking my notifications, I saw that the first one on the list stated that I had just received a gift, and I needed to click on it in order to unlock the gift or to send one back. Once I did that, I was redirected to a new page and was greeted by a picture of a cute cartoon creature holding a coffee mug in each hand, and beneath it in large letters was the word “HUGS.”
Now these applications could be very annoying at times because they won’t allow you to see who the gift sender is until you’ve sent a specific number of the same gift to your friends. My curiosity got the best of me, so of course that’s what I did. When I was finally able to click on the received tab to see who my “HUGS” was from, I was in complete shock. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The sender was revealed, and it was Maria! Right there in front of my eyes was her name and smiling face. I can’t even begin to tell you all of the emotions that washed over me, all the thoughts that were running through my mind. But the one thing I can tell you is that I immediately knew that Maria had somehow made contact with me.
Shortly after her death, I called CP several times and spoke with Miss Krystal, Gina Rose, Seha and Red. I needed comfort, and I needed to know if Maria knew how much I loved and missed her. I also wanted to know if she was around me. They very lovingly provided the comfort and reassurances that I was seeking, and for that I’m truly grateful. They also told me that within a few weeks Maria would be contacting me, and she did! Miss Krystal went a little further to say that Maria would eventually become one of my guides.
But this story gets even better. My family was wondering why I was so excited (they probably thought it had something to do with Farmville …I admit it, I’m hooked). We sat in the living room and I told them about the “HUGS” from Maria. My son, who was the only one of my children that Maria met (he was 18 months old at the time), looked at me and asked, “What did you just say? You’re kidding, right?” I asked him why he would say that. He said that earlier that day, he was in him room playing a song on his keyboard. As he was standing next to it, a thought suddenly entered his mind — that I was going to get something on Facebook from Maria, a notification. He knew that I wouldn’t know at first that it was from her, but that I would open it and see that it WAS in fact from her. He also knew that it was going to be a gift of some kind. He thought it was a little odd, but he had no desire to tell me at that point. It was as if he wasn’t supposed to tell me because it was a surprise. When he told me this, I cried.
Here’s a thought . . . Those of you here on the blog that know me are well aware of the fact that I always sign off with the word “hugs.” The gift I received from Maria said, “HUGS.” As so many here like to remind us, there are no coincidences in life. I think Maria used her “HUGS” as validation that the message was truly from her. She knew I would put two and two together and make the connection. This was my sign.
My friend is gone, and I miss her terribly, but she will always be with me. That gives me great comfort. I know now that all I need to do is think about her and she’ll be there for me, just as she always was all those years ago. Just like she always will be. I wonder what new adventures await us?