Thursday, December 27, 2012


I’ve always been one to believe that there are signs all around us when it comes to communicating with loved ones lost.  I think we even receive signs from those we don’t know but have something to share.  Just my view.
Some things have happened since Chris passed and they bring me comfort.  Maybe you’ll agree.  I find them to unique to be coincidence.  Let me share.
The first sign was not too long after Chris passed.  Mike was feeling lousy with a bronchial issue (in addition to his heartache) and went to the doctor.  Of course it was a rainy, dreary day.  When he came out all four of his car windows were down and his sunroof was wide open!  Rain pouring  in.  Thanks Chris, some joke on your poor dad who was already under the weather!!  It was impossible that Mike accidentally did that, cars these days are all computerized.  The car would have had to be turned on to lower the windows not to mention the sunroof is a completely different button unrelated to the window device.
Next came a gorgeous wreath that the Shellenback’s made for us.  SHEN green and white ribbon with a picture of each graduating varsity football player, twenty-six of them this year.  They positioned Chris at the top and all around the wreath are his teammates, each photo inscribed with the nickname Chris called each one.  Not wanting anything to happen to the wreath we secured it to the stairwell railing with duct tape.  The silver stuff that doesn’t ever seem to come off.  You know how it works, you need to tug the roll to use it and work just as hard when removing it.  It was snugly wrapped. 
Or so we thought… next morning we found the wreath on the floor.  We quickly put it back where it was.  It hasn't fallen again.  You need to leave that alone Christopher!

There was a little brown ant on my counter the other day.  Ants in December?  I figured someone spilled something sweet so before I had an army show up I wiped the counter down.  I moved the microwave to clean underneath it and here’s a note I found.  I was so happy!  I usually throw those notes away for cluttering up my counter space.   This was from the middle of November when Chris stayed home because he wasn’t feeling well.  Turned out to be an ear infection plus his knuckles were banged up from his All Star game.  Great note, so glad for that little ant!
I’ll continue… I went to Christmas Eve mass with The Hardy’s and the Wind’s.  A new place I have never been but Pat Hardy invited us and I couldn’t think of anything nicer or anyone more I’d rather be with than Matt and Bailey!  The service was fabulous.  Emotional of course, we fully expected, but amazing and profound.  Christmas has a new meaning.  Toward the end of the mass I smelled body odor… what you might expect when so many people are in an enclosed space.  It came and went.  It wasn’t anything I dwelled on.  I went out to eat afterwards, of course to the Halfmoon Diner.  I smelled it again.  I thought maybe it was me!  I knew I showered and used deodorant.  Even in my sadness I have basic cleansing skill for heaven’s sake.   I forgot about it again, it didn’t linger long.  Went home to settle in on Christmas Eve and take some deep breaths to deal with all the day had brought.  The smell came back.  This time it occurred to me my son was nearby.  It was his sweaty football body that was with me!  Why hadn’t I realized from the start?  I used to tease him about how bad he smelled and that I couldn’t wait for him to get his own car so he’d stop stinking up mine.  I like the smell he brought to me.  He was kind enough only to let it pass my nose briefly which I appreciated.
At 4pm on Christmas eve a very close friend, who knew Christopher very well, was sitting at home.  He was thinking about Christopher and praying for me as the sun was setting.  As if on cue he noticed 2 deer wandering thru his backyard stopping to nibble on some left over pumpkins in the garden. When he walked out into the yard to get closer look, instead of running off into the woods, they stood and stared at him a short distance away, only to slowly disappear into the forest beyond minutes later. These were the only deer to visit his yard this year.
Yesterday I went to my sister’s house for Christmas dinner.  We had a nice, quiet meal with my mom, brother, niece and nephew.  Upon arrival my sister told me to leave my coat on and took me in the yard.  I wasn’t aware of this but the Monday after Christopher passed (two days later) she had some trees taken down.  When she went to inspect the progress of the removal, this is what she saw:
She told me she knew Chris was alright but she had been praying to him and to God for a sign.  I’d say this was one!  Actually every single tree she had down had a different kind of angel on it.  There had to be ten or more.  The tree guy told her this was called the “heart of the tree”.  It sure is!  She had him cut the remaining log into slices so we could keep him close forever.  
Lastly, I started back to work today and when I went to log in I couldn’t remember my new password.  It had expired at the end of November.  I keep a little cheat sheet of sorts with all my login information because there are so many different passwords for the multitude of accounts we use.  What had I changed it to?  CORTLAND2017.
Safe to say where Chris would have been going to school.
I plan to remain open to signs in hopes Chris comes to me often.  I also hope to dream of him so I can see his face.  I don’t know if you subscribe to this sort of thing but it brings me comfort.  I hope it brings you some too.

Thank you for reading.


  1. Regina
    when my mom died in 2007 i have found pennies in the strangest places. i believe my mom throws me pennies to let me know she is with me. when my husband passed when i was pregnant with our first child i found dimes in the strangest places also. i think its their way of lettin me know they are ok and that they are with us.

  2. I believe. :) What wonderful, and sometimes mischievous and quite humorous signs. He's saying, "Ma...I'm FINE!" I had mentioned in an older post the book "Hello From Heaven" by Bill and Judy Guggenheim. It's a great compilation of stories all about these signs from our loves ones, letting us know they may physically be in a different place but they never really leave us. Have a great day, Regina. xx

  3. I absolutely believe. My husband has sent many messages since passing in 2007. Though it had been a while since we had a message, last Friday I was getting ready for work and in my closet, on the floor was a crumpled paper that had not been there the day before, it was a crumpled and partially torn drawing of a ladybug done by my daughter, it said Dad on it. She had drawn it for him many years ago....why was it in my closet and where had it been all these years. Messages from beyond do exist we just have to be open to them. I do believe our loved ones are letting us know all is well.....they want US to heal and be well too. Both of my kids were rowers for Nisky, about a week after their dad passed my son found a tiny (nickel size) pin in a corner of the boathouse....."worlds greatest dad". It still hangs in my car 5 years later, faded but always a reminder. You see Regina, even after 5 years we still talk of our loved ones. We are the keepers of memories, the guardians of their lives. Keep writing, you have a gift. Thank you.....Kathi

  4. Regina....I do you are one of my signs! My Mom passed away 19 years ago, and I talk with her each day. But oh how I wish that I could talk to her in person. I ready your blogs every day and they lift me up, I am a mother of a 14 year old and oh how I wish my mom was still here to talk to some day's....reading your blogs you remind me to remember the small things, don't take anything for granted for we are not promised a minute from now! I am very sorry that I have gotten to know you because of Chris's death, but you keep writing,it is helping you and it helps lots of us! to tell you how your my sign....My Mom's name was thank you for being you!!!!

  5. Good Morning Regina!
    I too believe! The signs are everywhere for us to slow down and take notice of. I thank God that you are able to "see" and "feel" Chris along with your friends and family. Another one of God's gifts to you all I would imagine. I too find comfort in the unexplainable and I thank God every time he allows me to see and recognize the sign of a loved one lost.

    Have a wonderful day!

  6. Hi Regina, Nice to know Chris is checking on you and making sure you know it. Beautiful. Hope you have a peaceful wonderful day today . Always praying for you and your family. Hope you keep seeing and smelling those signs

  7. Regina, when my brother died December 14, 1973, he was 20, my sister who is now a nun, prayed for a sign that Mike was ok, the day of his funeral there was a terrible snow storm, my aunt and uncle told us to look out side there was an amazing double rainbow in the middle of December in upstate NY! We took that as our sign. Last Friday, our school( I am a eacher) along with most every school in the nation had a moment of silence for the CT, victims. During that moment of silence the most vibrant spectacular rainbow appeared over the school! One of our science teachers snapped a picture, Coincidence? No I don't believe in coincidences any more, they ARE signs and blessings sent to us to help us cope and give us hope. God Bless you and keep blogging it helps not only you, but us too.

  8. There is no doubt in my mind that you are receiving signs from your son. My 13 yr old daughter (who was also a Shen student) passed 6 yrs ago. A few days after she passed I was leaving to go to my son's football game (at Shen). When I got into my car and was sitting in the driveway a beautiful monarch butterfly fluttered around my car. Very rarely do I see butterflies near my house. I didn't think anything of it. When I was at the football game and sitting on the bleachers there was another Monarch butterfly. It just keep flying around and never left during the game. I came to realize that the butterfly was a sign from my daughter. My daughter was special needs and had a rough start to life. Like a butterfly, who has a difficult start to life with all of the transitions from caterpillar to cocoon to butterfly, and then only lives for approximately 7 days ... my daughter had a difficult start with her special needs only to live a short time until she was 13. This is only one of many signs she has given me throughout the last 6 yrs. Enjoy the special signs that Chris is giving you. He is still very much with you and your family. Although we miss the physical aspect of our children, the memories we have and knowing we will forever have a guardian angel looking over us is a blessing all in and of itself.

    Another thing I wanted to share with you is that Chris was a great friend to my special needs nephew, Gary Roberts (as is Matt Hardy). These kids took my nephew, who doesn't have many friends, under their wing and treated him "normally". All my nephew has ever wanted was friends who will be there for him, who cares for him and treats him like a normal kid. To not only have friends who do that, but friends who are popular football players, meant the world to Gary. I was recently at his house for his 17th birthday and he was telling me all kinds of stories he had of spending time with Chris and Matt. I was so sad for his loss of his friend, but so proud that he had such an amazing friend in your son. Although I've never met Chris, there is no doubt in my mind what a kind hearted, beautiful soul he was. God bless you and your family and know that not only the community, but I'm here for you if you need anything. I know that I'm but a stranger to you, but I can relate to the loss of a child. Thankfully I don't know many other people who have been through that.

    Much love,

    Marlene (Roberts) Engel

  9. I believe - thank you so much for sharing your incredible relationship with your son. You are an awesome Mom. I have two boys also. You have made me take notice, slow down, pay attention and love harder. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will keep praying and reading. Wishing you a happy Thursday!

  10. The signs really are everywhere. A good friend of mine became very ill when I was in the fourth grade and I prayed to God that I would receive a sign that, if she died (which she eventually did), that she would watch over me and that I would have a guardian angel. I remember the day clearly when I was about to jump into the car with my mom when, for some reason, I looked over at the little flower bed that was by the driveway. It's not something I would normally do. But, in that flower bed (and my friend loved flowers) were two little yellow, plastic angels.

    Then, when she died, I again asked for a sign that she was okay. I found, in an entirely different flower bed, a St. Lucy medal.

    I've been trying to figure out lately why there were two angels on a string together in that first flower bed. I think I figured it out. Since her passing, many others in my life have passed as well. Having more angels is a sign from above that my good friend won't be the only angel I'll ever have.

    I didn't know Chris or Deanna (although I wish I did) but I believe that they are with all of us in the 518 community. They guide my actions as now I consciously try to live the way that I have heart they lived. Angels are everywhere, and I firmly believe in them and their power to heal, protect, and guide us through the seas of our troubles.

    God bless you and your family, once again.
    Hannah Cowley

  11. I am so glad to hear that you are receiving signs from Chris! I absolutely believe in them. The closest person that I have lost so far in my life is my Mom who passed in January of this year. Three days after she passed I received my first sign from her and have been continuing to see signs throughout the year, Christmas Eve included! Since this was my first Christmas without her, it was amazing to receive this sign! I find them very comforting and it only proves to me that they never really leave us. Thanks again for sharing your experiences, thoughts and feelings. God Bless :)

  12. I too believe in signs. My dad passed away 16 days before I got married back in 1985. The night before I got married hurricane Gloria roared into town and it rained cats and dogs up until about one hour before the ceremony. My mom rode with me in the car and on the way to church we saw a beautiful rainbow. We both decided it was my dad making his presence known. I believe my loved ones make their presence known to me in the form of butterflies. I truly believe if your heart and mind are open to the possibility, you will see the signs. I hope you continue to receive them.

    I love the story Marlene shared in her comment about Chris and Matt befriending her special needs nephew, Gary. From all you have written, it seems just like something he would do. How wonderful for Gary to be treated "normal" by these boys. I wish all kids were treated that way...the world would be such a better place if they were! You have so much to be proud of your son.

    Again, thank you for sharing. You continue to inspire me with your writings and amaze me with your courage and grace.

  13. I think that the signs you are receiving are beautiful and can only be one thing... Chris letting you know he's watching over you and leaving you signs.

    I know when we were at the Memorial and the football team let the balloon go, it started to rise and then fell back down and hovered... I was standing football field level and I believe that is what I saw and I cried, believing Chris was guiding that balloon to stay, lingering around his friends to show them that he was still here in some way, shape or form, letting them know he will be around...

    I love the signs you are getting and think it's a beautiful tribute to the relationship you had with Chris, and still have.

    This was a beautiful share today.

  14. Beautiful post Mrs. Stewart!! I completely believe in signs and have a slew of my own experiences as well. They come to people who are willing to 'see' them! What's even funnier, is I am currently flying to Orlando, and decided to purchase wifi, like I normally do. The only website that would quickly load was yours. I usually read your blog first thing in the morning, but ran out of time today. Thank you, Chris, I read the blog finally! :) Have a wonderful day!

  15. You must know, your changing lives. Our family talked about you, Chris, your family at Christmas dinner. I'm sure I'm not the only one who is taking the time to appreciate the ones I love in my life. Thank you.

  16. You were so right when you said, "I think we even receive signs from those we don’t know but have something to share." Two-and-a-half years ago, when I was looking through my grandmother's yearbook, I felt an indescribable connection with one of her classmates. About a year later, he began sending me signs which I recorded (and continue to write down). To find out why he was sending me signs, I visited a gifted clairvoyant who told me that he wanted me to know that we share similar life experiences. After doing some research on the man's life, I was able to confirm the aforementioned. Since he understands my life and what I've been through, he has and continues to help me help myself become a better, more confident person. Moreover, you couldn't have been more correct when you said that even strangers can send signs. Not only can they send signs, but they can positively impact peoples' lives as well. You more than anyone understands this, for the entire community (made up of close friends/family and those you didn't know) came together to support you. Lastly, God Bless you, your family, and all of the strength and courage that you embody. You are inspirational and I thank you for that.

  17. Dear Mrs. Stewart - I've been reading our blog for the last week now, religiously. I'm 28 years old and a Shen grad. my little sister, Allie graduated in 2012 and when I heard the news I have to say I had an instant connection to this tragic and horrifying accident. I too have been seeing signs, the number 69 everywhere - 69% on my cell phone, order #69 at 5guys, and even having to switch my wedding date from June 8th in New Jersey to June 9th - 6.9 - in New York. I feel connected to the situation even more now that I've seen these "instances" in my own life. I wanted to let you know for one and only reason and to help you find peace in knowing other people believe too. I also wanted to thank you for sharing such amazing stories about your son, and helping people like myself and my family TRULY to enjoy eachother, hug a little tighter, a little longer, especially around the holidays. we have prayed as a family and I have prayed in private and even talked to your son, someone I have never met but feel like I now have a connection to somehow. I pray for peace and serenity for you and all the families affected by this untimely tragedy.

  18. Dear Gina,
    Thank You so much for sharing this with us. My apologies for responding a few days late, have been working excessive amounts of overtime again. I read your writings everyday, sometimes before leaving for work, mostly after, but each day I share what's going on with certain people, Christopher and Deanna are always first. Let me explain. My current job is in Malta, Exit 12 off the Northway. Before this tragedy took place, the highway meant nothing to me other than a road I needed to travel in order to get to work or wherever. After the tragedy took place, I had to ask myself like so many others, should I avoid it or continue to drive it? It takes me slightly over an hour with minimal traffic in the morning. I chose to continue my regular route, and it has a very new meaning to me.
    Each morning as I approach the TwinBridges, I Bless myself and begin saying my prayers. My prayers are not the traditional prayers I learned, but are more so focused on what is on my mind, what you have shared with us, and always involve asking both Christopher and Deanna to show some type of sign to the families and friends to help us through each day. Sometimes my prayers are short, and sometimes they last until I get to work, but regardless of how long they last, I look forward to my journey each morning and being able to talk freely. I repeat this on my way home, usually Blessing myself at Exit 9 and ending whenever I'm done.
    On Christmas Eve, as a tradition, I hang the last ornament our tree. It's a piece of crystal from a chandelier that was our Mothers, which was broken when we were children. My sister Ann gave us each a piece some years back, and I always have it hanging in the manger until Christmas Eve. This year, I took a green magic marker and put the numbers 69 and 19 on the crystal. Our tree was up and decorated for about two weeks, and little by little the gifts began accumulating under it. Christmas Eve came, and I removed the crystal from the manger and hung it on one of the tiny fragile branches near the Angel on top as well as one of Chritophers pictures. Christmas morning, I also have a tradition, and it's having my wife unwrap a gift I get her once a year first, so I can have my coffee.....a bottle of Baileys Irish Cream or similar. I made my coffee and raised a toast as you asked, just a little bit earlier than most. I asked both Christopher and Deanna to show some type of sign to let everybody know they were with you as I knew it was going to be a very difficult time. My children all arrived for a Christmas breakfast, as did my two grandchildren. As my wife reached for their gifts, as if on cue for some special reason, the tree began to fall over. It stood there for weeks, not leaning, not needing any assistance, the gifts were not holding it.
    I caught it before it hit the ground. A few ornaments fell off, two broke, but they were not special, but one in particular which hit the ground but did not break was a very special ornament with all my children's names on it, and it's ceramic. Christopher's picture fluttered to the floor landing face up right next to it, with that big beautiful smile. Now, the crystal hanging on the most fragile branch of the tree next to the Angel, it never fell.
    I am so happy you are receiving signs, and I pray each day all the families and Bailey and Matt will receive them as well. Always in my thoughts and prayers, I lLove You, Eddie.

  19. I am a complete believer in signs. Whenever I see a rainbow I know it's one of my friends (I had two of my closest friends pass away too young, May 2000 and May 2004) looking down on me letting me know they are thinking of me. One of these friends visits me frequently in my dreams. It's always nice to see him, his name was Christopher. My dreams are where every one I know who has passed visits me. My uncle passed away this year in May. (it seems odd that 3 wonderful men in my life passed in May) He came to me in a dream, he was young, smiling and wearing his tshirt and jeans... that must be the way he wants me to remember him.
    I love the angel in the heart of the tree. Christopher is a powerful angel.