When I was a young girl I was often made fun of by other children for having big ears. It was especially bad when my left ear would turn bright red, catching the attention of all of those in my immediate surroundings. I hated my big ears and I hated that my left ear would spontaneously feel as if it was on fire.
One afternoon following an especially painful day at school my dad came home from work and found me curled up on the floor of our family room. My dad kneeled down next to me and asked me why I was so sad. I felt embarrassed – I didn’t want to tell him. After a few minutes of him patiently waiting for a response, I quietly said, “I hate my Dumbo ears and look at my left ear – it won’t stop burning and everyone laughs at me.”
I then couldn’t control my tears. My dad gently picked me up, and as he sat down on the couch, he placed me onto his lap allowing my head to rest perfectly against his chest. I was comforted by his slow and steady breathing. As I began to cry less, he cleared his throat and asked, "Did I ever tell you the story of how you got your ears?"
Before I could even respond, he wiped the tear off my cheek and gently swept my hair from my face and tucked it behind my ear. He then quietly said, "I loved my grandfather very much. I was incredibly close to him and on the day of his death, I felt heartbroken and lost. I found myself praying, asking God to give me a sign letting me know that I wasn't alone and that my grandfather would always be with me. It wasn't long after that that you were born and it was immediately clear to me that God had heard my prayers. I took one look at you and saw my grandfather's ears. I know it must be difficult for you but you should know that every time I look at you, I'm reminded of my grandfather and the love he always showed me. And as for the reason as to why your ear turns red ... that's how you know I'm thinking of you."
My dad's story helped me get through many years of school age torment. Fortunately, by the time I was in high school the size of my head had mostly caught up with the size of my ears. And for whatever reason, my left ear had stopped burning.
Several years passed before I felt the burning in my left ear again. At the age of twenty I lost my dad to his battle with depression. I was consumed with grief. As I sat alone, crying, I began talking to my dad. I was desperate to know he was alright. I continued to share all of my struggles and pain when I finally shouted, "Do you hear me? I need to know you're alright and that I'll be alright too."
At that very moment my left ear slowly started to burn. Soon it felt like it was on fire and I was reminded of my dad's explanation from when I was a young girl. I lifted my hand to my ear and said, "Hi Dad." I was then overwhelmed with a tremendous sense of comfort.
Over the last 17 years I've been fortunate to have the burning of my ear to remind that my dad is still with me, looking over me and letting me know that everything will be alright.
If you feel comfortable sharing, I would love to hear the experiences of others. What signs have you seen or felt that have helped you to find comfort since losing your loved one to suicide?
Blessed │ Wife │ Mom │ Friend │ Founder of GOOD │ Author │ Public Speaker │ Golf Fanatic
It took me years to find my voice and even longer to learn how to use it so that I’m creating GOOD rather than just fighting the bad. Now I use my voice to heal myself and hopefully others along the way.
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Sending love to all those who struggle with mental health and/or have lost a loved one to suicide.
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