In the mid-1990s my husband and I had a "commuter marriage," living about 200 miles apart while he attended university and I started my career. I lived alone in a small cabin in a rural central Utah community. "Pony walls," about the height of a kitchen counter, divided the cabin interior into kitchen, sitting area, and bedroom while leaving the interior open. The bathroom, of course, was fully enclosed, but standing in any one of the three other rooms, you could see everything in both of the others. Sunshine pouring through the windows onto the wooden walls gave it a warm, golden glow inside. It was a lovely little place.
My grandma died of age-related causes during this period, and six months later my dad died from cancer. One night some months after his death, I was lying in bed, grieving. I lay on my back with one arm flung out over the edge of the bed when I felt one cool finger stroke down the inside of my arm above my wrist. My eyes immediately flew open, of course, but I saw nothing through the darkness of the room. But I knew it was Dad and I felt soothed by his touch. After a couple more sniffles, I rolled over and went to sleep.
One evening upon arriving home from work, as I stepped through the front door of the cabin my eyes immediately riveted on a little knick-knack shelf in the kitchen, which was on my left at the other side of the cabin. It wasn't a spot where my gaze would naturally fall when I entered the house. Something over there demanded my attention but I didn't know what. I crossed the room to check it out.
On that shelf were some knick-knacks - "what-nots," my grandma had called them - that had come from my grandma's house. Among them was a pair of ceramic deer that would have been in her home during my dad's youth. One was a little doe that sat on her haunches like a dog, with her front legs splayed, her eyes closed, and her muzzle lifted for a kiss. The other was a young buck with budding antlers. He stood on four legs with his eyes closed, his neck stretched, and his muzzle lowered toward the doe. They were meant to be placed so that the buck stood between the doe's splayed front legs as he reached for a kiss, but their muzzles would never meet, no matter how closely the deer were positioned: due to the configuration of their legs, there must always be a gap.
Except this time. As I approached the shelf I realized what was "off." The buck was tipped up, balanced on his two front legs with his muzzle touching the doe's. I was living alone in that cabin and I certainly hadn't positioned the deer that way! I took this to be another loving message from my Dad.
About 18 months after my dad's passing, my husband and I had a child, but we continued to live at a distance from each other during the week. Late one night when our girlie was four or five years old, I was relaxing with a magazine in my easy chair as she slept in our shared bed in the bedroom area behind me. Our big Airedale dozed beside my chair. Suddenly the plank floor squeaked sharply at the passage between kitchen and sitting area, off to my right and slightly behind me. I didn't look up but thought huh, that's different. A few seconds later came another squeak, this one several feet closer to my chair and to the bedroom behind me. This time both the dog and I jerked our heads around and looked. The third squeak was directly behind me at the entrance to the bedroom. The dog's head turned as if he was watching something pass, but maybe, like me, he was just responding to the noises. In any case, he never uttered a sound while this was going on - not a growl or a whine. I twisted around in my chair to look behind me but saw nothing out of the ordinary in the bedroom. I turned back to observe the dog as he stared through the entrance toward the bed. We heard nothing more. The dog laid his head down to resume his nap and I returned to my magazine. I never had heard the floor squeak on its own before, when no one was walking there, and I never heard it do so again afterward. Maybe it was nothing, but I like to think it was Dad letting me know he had stopped by to see his granddaughter.
I always felt secure and protected in that little golden cabin, but eventually our stars aligned and my husband, our daughter, and I were able to move in together in another city be a regular family. I've not had any experiences like that since the move (although were some strange occurrences of a different nature in the new house). Maybe Dad was just keeping an eye on his girls until our family could be together. Hmmm?