Go Blue: A sign of her father … out of the blue

Richard Balzhiser center Number 28 with teammates on the University of Michigan football team of 1953

Richard E. Balzhiser playing as No. 38 on the University of Michigan’s 1953 football team.

Michele McHall’s father had died a month before.

The two were “as close as a father and daughter can be,” Michele says. After her mother died, Michele had managed her dad’s caregiving during his battle with Alzheimers.

She “adored” being with him, Michele said. “Even in his compromised state, my father was the consummate gentleman. He’d tear up over singing a familiar song and light up when his children or grandchildren were around.” (You may remember meeting Michele in a column called Numbers Help Heal California Patient.)

For many years, Richard Earl Balzhiser (“Baldy” to friends) seemed invincible. At the University of Michigan, he earned an M.S. in nuclear engineering and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. As a fullback on the U of M football team, he became, in 1952, the first Michigan football player to earn first team academic All-American honors. Two years later he won a Big Ten Medal of Honor for excellence in the classroom and on the football field.

Impressed yet?

Richard E Balzhiser obituary photo

Richard Balzhiser later in life.

In 1967, Dick became a White House Fellow and an assistant to Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense. He eventually became president of a worldwide R&D program, the Electric Power Research Institute. Retiring in 1996, he served on boards of directors of several major companies and received other important awards.

Losing her personal hero tackled his youngest daughter hard. A month later, Michele was still grieving the loss of her father. Riding with a girlfriend, Michele was talking about what her father had meant to her. And about how supportive he’d been, especially since she divorced in 1998 and went through a couple of other relationships.

Michele said she hoped her father would somehow bring a new man into her life. Just then she glanced at the car in front and caught her breath. The initials on the license plate: REB.

“I felt a powerful wave of energy. I knew my father was with me.”

A few days later, another sign occurred. Michele keeps a crystal in the front window of her home in Larkspur, CA. At 10pm, Michele was walking down the hall. In front of her, a radiant, glowing blue light emanated from the crystal.

As a spiritual coach, Michele draws on various traditions. She viewed the light as a visitation of the Blue Pearl. The late Swami Muktananda, who introduced Siddha Yoga meditation to the US, called the Blue Pearl the physical manifestation of the soul. In Sanskrit (a philosophical language of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism), Michele says, “Death is simply the name we give to the departure of the Blue Pearl from the body.”

On many nights since, Michele has looked for the return of the Blue Pearl. It hasn’t reappeared. She hopes it will soon, and with it, “a new man with the heart, soul and character of REB.”

We hope so, too, Michele. Go Blue. And thanks for the inspiring story.

(Godsigns come in all shapes, sizes, colors and seasons. Please share yours.)

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