Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Someone to Watch Over Me

Monday, February 25, 2013
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One of the platitudes I have heard the most since Chris died is, “He is watching over you.”  Whether I was upset because he didn’t get to see Claire’s first steps, sad because he missed Ian’s first day of kindergarten or feeling cheated because he couldn’t go on our first family vacation with us, someone has always been there with that old stand-by.   It usually goes something like this, “But he was there with you…in spirit.  He is watching over all of you.”  No disrespect to the well-meaning people in my life who have said this to me, but I’ve had very conflicted feelings over this concept.  Putting aside the fact that Chris being with me in spirit falls seriously short of the real thing, I haven't always believed it and, honestly, it kind of gives me the creeps.

I haven’t always been sure that I wanted my dead husband watching over me.  I’m cool with it, for example, if I’m driving in hazardous conditions or if I am having an occasional proud moment as a parent.  But do I really want him staring down at me when I’m screwing up? It’s complicated enough trying to make major decisions without him here.  Do I need the added pressure of wondering if he is disapproving of what I’m about to do, sitting up there shaking his head at me?  No thank you.

This summer, however, I had an experience that made me begin to cherish the thought of Chris watching over me. It was about a week before my surgery to fix a ruptured disc in my back and I had been popping pain killers and muscle relaxers to get some relief.  One night, I fell asleep on the couch after the kids went to bed.  Somewhere between being fully awake and falling asleep--perhaps while enjoying a nice narcotic buzz—I felt something pass through me like a rush of air.  I had been lying on my side and I could feel Chris’s presence between me and the couch.  He started making sounds as if he was gently kissing the back of my head in comfort.  As hot tears ran down my face, I repeatedly told him I was sorry.  Sorry for not noticing he had two massive brain tumors earlier, sorry that he died, sorry that he wasn’t there to enjoy his children, and sorry for all the ways I was sure I disappointing him now that he was gone.  He just continued to silently kiss the back of my head.  I finally said, “Am I doing ok with the kids?”  He said, “yes,” kissed me one last time and left.  Left the same way he came, as a rush of air passing through my body, this time going the opposite direction.

For the next few weeks, I replayed that experience over and over in my head.  I tried to remember and feel  every detail of those few seconds, wondering if it was real or some sort of a dream.  There was no doubt that it brought me comfort to think that Chris approved of the way I have been parenting our children and that he didn’t seem to need an apology from me.  But did I imagine it?   I finally realized that it didn’t matter if I had.  My belief that he approved of how I was moving forward was all I needed.  It released me from a lot of self-doubt and guilt and made me truly appreciate the idea he was watching over me.

Ironically, Chris and I danced to the song, “Someone to Watch Over Me” for our first dance at our wedding.  I’m not sure why we originally picked it other than we liked the melody (listen here).  I remember reviewing the lyrics a few weeks prior to the wedding and not being crazy about the message so I asked the DJ to use a different song.  Or at least I thought I did.  When we got up to do our first dance, our original choice was played. 

Now when I listen to it, I can’t help but wonder if there was some unexplained reason why it was our first song.  Or maybe it is explained and he is watching after all.



How profound, your thoughts are. I'm probably one of those people that keep telling you that Chris is with you in Spirit. I never meant it to be in a creepy way but a positive, reassuring way. It's those gentle breezes that reminds you that he is still with you. Love you, SAD

I love this post. I feel like I could have written the first two paragraphs. My mom likes to tell me to imagine Bruce sitting on my shoulder, and my first reaction is usually "great, someone else I have to carry around/support." It would be amazing to have an experience like you did and really feel he agrees with what I have done since his death. Two weeks ago I had to hire a new nanny, and it was the first time that I really lost it over the fact that I wasn't supposed to have to do this on my own - I was really indecisive (not typical for me) and I really needed to hear his thoughts - but I ended up doing it on my own, and and hoping that she is as good as her references.... Thanks for sharing.

I'm glad to hear that someone else has that same "rush of air" sensation. I had that with me for the first few months after Brian died and I will feel it all of a sudden out of no where once and a great while now. It's comforting.

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