We have a large China cabinet in our dining room with a lighting feature which, when turned on, nicely showcases meaningful items to us, such as wedding gifts and family heirlooms.
In the 15 years since we’ve had this unit, we’ve never really used the lights. In retrospect, they would’ve been a nice touch during Thanksgiving dinners and other events, adding greatly to the ambiance.
I see this cabinet every time I walk downstairs, as it is catty-cornered to the staircase. One morning, just a few days after Matthew, David’s son, passed away – almost 10 years ago – I almost fainted.
The lights were on in the cabinet.
My first thought was WTF???
And then I ran to David to tell him that Matthew is signaling something to us.
I generally don’t think about communicating with loved ones who have passed; it’s just that the dining room lights had never gone on independently before, so it seemed plausible that, if I were open to signs, these lights could be one of them.
David, not a believer in this kind of thinking and reeling from a broken heart, shut the conversation down. Although I let it go, I always believed that Matthew may have been conveying some kind of message to us, even if a simple “Hi, miss you guys.”
One morning years later, I noticed the lights on again as I came downstairs. Was it a coincidence that Lauren – Matthew’s sister – was getting married that day?
I told David that Matthew made another appearance, this time to let us know that he’s here, and he’ll be at Lauren’s wedding too, cheering on his sister and brother-in-law. “OK Jewel,” he said to me, in that tone – the one that means he doesn’t want to engage in that kind of conversation.
Since Matthew’s passing, I’ve noticed the lights have gone on periodically – once a year or so. Each time, I’ve wondered…What is Matthew trying to say? Is he relaying feelings of missing us? Expressing frustration with the Mets? Sharing his affection for his beloved Shea Doggy?
I realize of course that the presence of the lights may have indicted absolutely NO correlation to Matthew, or to a particular situation. Maybe, as David said, there is no explanation other than the electrical connection in the cabinet didn’t work as it should have.
About 3 months ago, after a fairly long hiatus, the lights reappeared. I said “Hi” to Matthew and turned them off, without reading too much into it. The next day was a repeat. Several days later, they came on before dinner, too. Before long, they were going on at different times of the day. I couldn’t keep up; I felt like every time I walked by the room, I had to return to shut off the lights.
When I went to David freaking out about this, he stuck to his mindset - based on reason and logic – to explain that the lights could be reacting to a variation in the power voltage. I asked if maybe they were going to burn out momentarily, following the pattern of our kitchen bulbs. I would have been satisfied had the answer been “Yes, that’s what’s happening”; instead, he said “No,” and went back to his business.
Meanwhile, I had become a wreck! While part of me was excited to be communicating with Matthew so regularly – I took full advantage to update him on our growing family and other goings-on – I was getting such an eerie feeling, too.
I didn’t mention this to David but, with every passing day, I began to wonder…Are these lights a warning of some kind? Is something terrible going to happen to someone I love, or is the world coming to an end?
I wondered if maybe David felt it too – although he’d never admit it – but he did end up unplugging the cord. He later told me he did that because he was sick of hearing me talk about it.
I was somewhat nervous that maybe the lights would STILL go on, which in theory would’ve been impossible…but, luckily, I didn’t have to obsess further as that didn’t happen.
Shortly after the cabinet was disconnected, news of the pandemic hit, and life as we know it changed. Was Matthew trying to warn us? To let us know he’d be here with us, as always? I know David would say that’s totally ridiculous and that anyone can draw a line between two points, if they are looking for a particular outcome.
I will never know for sure, but I do know that I want to plug that cabinet back in one of these days.
I’ve continued to feel comforted by Matthew’s presence, even without the lights.
Matthew’s birthday is tomorrow – Monday, April 27th.
He’d have been 30 years old.