Slightly over ten years ago I listened to a voice mail that would rock the world in which I lived. I was nearing the end of my work day and called home to see if my best friend had left a message to say she had returned home safely to Halifax from her vacation in England. The message that I received was nothing like what I expected. I played the message one more time, listening carefully to the Newfoundland accent to make sure I heard it correctly, and the handset of the phone fell out of my hand and hit the desk. I stood in utter disbelief as the horror of the words slowly transformed themselves into my new reality. Sandra had passed away.
While on her holiday, she had burned her leg on a propane heater and, unbeknownst to anyone, had been exposed a form of bacteria that would take her life several hours after she stepped on the plane. She had been infected with the Staphylococcus bacteria which presented as Necrotizing Fasciitis, better known as the Flesh Eating Disease.
I flew to Halifax to be with her mom and to attend her funeral. I did my best to articulate the words I had written for her eulogy and can still remember how much my legs shook behind the podium as I tried to capture and convey her beautiful spirit with my words.
When I returned home from the most emotionally draining experience of my life, I was confronted with the most terrifying experience of my life. This picture was taken of the window in the entrance way to my house. The glass spans 45 inches and this charming creature was folded in half basking in the sunshine between the two panes of glass.
This Eastern Milk Snake meandered its way up the window casing and into the ceiling of the entrance way. I’m sure by now you have surmised that I did NOT sleep in my house for a few nights, but knew I couldn’t abandon my home. I moved back in and am still hoping it wasn’t long before it moved out.
After a few weeks I didn’t give it another thought but last week all of that changed. No, it did not resurface, but I was sharing my story with a friend and she told me that a snake symbolizes rebirth. Suddenly my perspective on that whole experience changed. Perhaps Sandra found a way, a terrifying and unique way, to let me know that she was okay. Maybe she was trying to impart her acceptance of her fate and let me know that her soul felt reborn.
Messages are everywhere – we just need to learn how to see them and interpret them. I am sure now that Sandra somehow managed to guide that reptile to my house to send a message in a way that nobody else could. She was as distinctive in death as she was in life and I still miss her every day. (Sandra, in case you are reading this – if you are going to send further communication, any other form of message would be greatly appreciated!!)