Burton Farbman gives us signs he’s watching over us

Hunter and little Beau receive a rainbow GodSign from Grandpa Burt.

Soul: noun. The spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal regarded as immortal.  Emotional or intellectual energy or intensity.

I like to think my dear late husband Burt’s soul is Up There—Up Everywhere—hovering, protecting, sending loving vibes. He spent his living years as the family provider and protector.  No doubt he’s spending his spiritual, immortal years with the same watchful attention.

We’ve had signs he’s watching over us.

The most dramatic GodSign happened during Burton’s funeral service.  Burton adored being a grandpa.  Five months before Burton died, our grandson River, at 12, was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)—an illness that’s 90% curable but involves over two years of grueling treatment. River had bravely undergone several chemotherapy infusions, involving numerous hospital stays and lumbar punctures.

An early test had shown cancer cells in River’s bone marrow. Months later, after treatment, River received a second lumbar puncture. It was a few days before the funeral. Our family anxiously awaited the outcome.

River’s adored Grandpa Burt had been sick for over four years. Burton died on July 1; his funeral took place four days later. Minutes before David stood up to give a powerful eulogy about his dad, “the man, the myth, the legend,” he received a text: “River’s treatment is working. No more cancer cells in his bone marrow.”

“Baruch HaShem,” I said. “Dad’s already on the case.”

Other Godsigns occurred. A few days before Burton died, our sons took me out for lunch. As we got back into the car, a song I’d never heard played: Riley Green’s “I Wish Grandpas Never Died.”  I used the song in a photo montage video we created for a celebration of Burton’s life.

At the cemetery our family plot is near a train track. When visiting, I’ve never seen a train pass by. In their eulogies, both David and Andy referenced the “train bound for nowhere” in Willie Nelson’s “The Gambler”—one of Burton’s favorite songs. As we shoveled dirt on Burton’s grave, a train rumbled by.

Burton’s spirit, on the move.

Another GodSign occurred in Traverse City, MI. David’s wife Nadine has an identical twin sister.  Natalie Shirley was dining with her family at Sleder’s Tavern in Petoskey. Burton and I ate there once, several years ago. Photos of patrons hang on the walls. Connor Shirley, Natalie’s son, pointed to a photo hanging nearby. “There’s Grandpa Burt,” he said.

On July 8, three days after Burton’s funeral, the heavens smiled on grandsons Hunter and Beau. They went outside to practice baseball. Hunter’s a talented JV pitcher at Bloomfield Hills High School. After a brief rain shower, a double rainbow appeared. A celestial special effect, compliments of a recent heavenly arrival.

Lately I read the book Signs. Author Laura Lynne Jackson, a medium, recommends deciding on a symbol that represents your departed loved one and consciously looking for it. I decided upon a white horse. Burton loved horses, and I saw him as a good guy in a white hat. At an antiques show, I came upon three white toy horses.

In a life filled with high highs and low lows, as an Oprah-endorsed author and relationship expert, I’ve concluded one thing:  relationships are complicated. Nobody gets through a long marriage without challenges.

Three weeks after Burton died, I took myself to a healing retreat, “Calm Your Nervous System,” at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. Facilitator Priti Jane Ross gave attendees a handout on which participants rated our stress from 1 to 10.

Losing a spouse: 10.

The hundreds of notes, cards and donations our family has received mostly say the same thing: time heals.

Until then, I’ll take all the GodSigns I can get.

The Farbman family at Timber Ridge farm

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One thought on “Burton Farbman gives us signs he’s watching over us

  1. Carol Roberts

    I understand your feelings Suzy. On Thanksgiving this year, my great grandson 6 months old, saw a picture of Skip, the great grandfather he didn’t get a chance to meet, and started a “long conversation” with his photo. He did it 3 times that evening! I believe they got to know each other that day. Can’t wait till he can talk to me about him.

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