The first three days after Bella’s passing felt like my soul was being crushed by grief.

Eventually, in an effort to distract myself, I was flipping through a magazine looking for images for a collage. Old school cut-and-paste collage is one of my joys, and I always have a stack of thrift store magazines tucked away out of sight.

As I turned the pages of a new-to-me magazine, something was slightly peeking out from the top, and when I investigated, I discovered a beautifully pressed three leaf clover; it’s petals perfectly heart shaped.

All of Bella’s life, we had a toast that my two children and I cheered daily, “Long may it be the power of three- grateful, grateful, grateful!”

In the depths of my grief, and it being only days after her passing, I interpreted the clover’s appearance as her reminding me how much she loves the three of us.

I sat there for a very tender moment- utterly paused. Tears running down my face, feeling as though my heart was being held in an unseen hug.

When I came back of my happy teary haze I resumed turning pages, a mere moment later, my breath audibly caught as the magazine mysteriously morphed into a children’s pop-up book, a dozen other pressed clovers leaping up from the pages to greet me, just as she would leap up for hugs anytime I returned home.

As much as my heart and my spirit wanted to acknowledge this as a message from her, my logical mind and inner critic was arguing that because I miss her so much, I was grasping.

Until I turned the page and there awaiting me was an image of a dog wearing a “grateful” hoodie.

A message, a hug, and a gift all wrapped in one, from the Other Side to the Keeper of a Grateful Jar.

What I am discovering for myself as I navigate the twisting bends of grief, is that when I am so eyeball deep in missing her, I can’t tune into her energetic presence that remains all around me.

When I am as close to feeling joy as I can, that’s when I have these moments with her.

Which is encouraging me to ask myself more often, “How do I want to feel right now?”

Her teachings continue!

Thumpity thump thump…

Thumpity thump thump…

Beats my grateful, grateful heart.