My mom, Jackie, always had a strong connection with cardinals, the passerine songbirds. Whenever she’d see one, she said it made her think of God and how much He loves her. When any of her children saw one, it would inevitably remind us of Mom. 

Every day, being with her on the East Coast during her transition, a cardinal would appear in one form or another. After her passing about three weeks ago, cardinals have been a way my siblings and I  have stayed connected. One of us will see a cardinal or another clear sign from Mom and share it with the others. 

The night after arriving back home in Los Angeles, a sad thought struck me, “How will you send me cardinals in California?!” We have lots of incredible nature here on the West Coast, but not once since I moved here in 2007, have I seen or heard a cardinal. That night, I shed quite a few tears as the feeling of separation entered strongly into my heart. 

The next day, our friend Lexi invited us to her basketball game. It was the finals, hers was the home team and playing not far from where we live, and because it was so close to our arriving back from my mom’s funeral, we were not scheduled for a class or event at any of our centers. It isn’t often that the stars align for us to make it to one of Lexi’s games, though we always love to when we can. So, of course, we said “Yes!” 

That evening, as we arrived at the game, I was still a little sad but it wasn’t long before Divine Mother made Her presence known. We found our seats at the gym and as the two teams were getting warmed up, I noticed the team our girls were playing against were all wearing red. I asked our friend Chrissie, who was sitting next to me, “Who is that other team?” “Oh,” she said, “they are from San Bernardino.” As I looked more closely at the 13 young women running around in red, I couldn’t help but smile. Yep, you guessed it! They were the San Bernardino Cardinals!

After so many beautiful messages from Mom, following her exit from the physical plane, I’ve realized we just have to be open to a different form of communication. Her passing has been difficult for me, which of course is normal, but I think it is mostly because I cannot call her or text her like I used to. The form of communication has changed. 

I was reflecting on how I felt when Swami Kriyananda left the body. I was heartbroken, for sure, but it was different. Then I realized why – he trained us to communicate with him on the spiritual plane. Paramhansa Yogananda gave us a hint of this connection and how to commune with him after he was no longer in the body when he said, “When I’m gone, only love can take my place.” When we tune into God as unconditional love, we can commune with all of our loved ones who have gone before us. But that’s not all! We can practice now by communicating more and more with our loved ones on the spiritual plane.

I still have moments of sadness when I think of my mom not being here, but those are now prods to remember that I only have to keep in touch through our never ending bond of love in God.