The Number 8
In Ted Andrews book, Animal Speak, there is a page devoted specifically to the meanings of numbers as they relate to our understanding of nature. The number 8 signifies, among other things, the symbol for infinity or eternal life. It is ironic that eternal life arises from death, an event so emotionally painful to those who bear witness to it. Death is an event that all of us would wish to avoid or talk about. However, death is woven into the fabric of our very existence and can be one of life’s greatest teachers and can help us achieve a greater purpose in life.
I live in a rural area, only minutes from Utica, New York. I reside in a three-bedroom ranch house nestled off of a road labeled Oneida County Route 26(the sum of the individual numbers is 8). After over a year of looking at houses of all shapes and sizes, my wife Cheri and I fell in love immediately with this one. I think it was the beautiful backyard and in ground swimming pool that sealed the deal for us. The road is surrounded by landscaping reminiscent of something that one would envision, if they believed in an after life. I have lived in this area for close to 28 years and with my wife Cheri, raised three children. One of my children, Jeannine, entered eternal life at the age of 18, on March 1,2003. She had a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
The “Why” Questions
Parents whom I have talked with have asked the “why” questions after experiencing the death of their children. I had plenty of “why” questions myself. Though the “why “questions never resulted in answers that would satisfy me, they did help me eventually help me make sense of a world, where the rules changed due to Jeannine’s death.
Different Kinds of Questions
I have learned that there are messages inherent to all that is part of the world around us. Being aware that insight can come from anywhere and being open to it, can provide us with moments of clarity that can help us on this sometimes uncertain road of grief upon which we travel. I would like to share with you some recent observations and questions that have arisen from living in the proximity of Oneida County Route 26:
- The main road leading to our house was only recently designated as Oneida County Route 26. Given the fact that I am a parent who has experienced the death of a child, did this area pick my family and me over 28 years ago? Was this the area chosen for me as the setting where the redefinition of myself would evolve? I have to consider the possibility that the decision that we made to buy our house 28 years ago, is intimately connected to what is transpiring on my journey in this present moment.
- Is the passage of time viewed differently when we experience the death of a child? The time-space continuum became different for me after Jeannine’s death. Depending on what was happening with me, five years could seem like five minutes, and vice versa. What I am further proposing is that the passage of time may also be viewed through synchronicity of events regardless of the number of years that have elapsed. If we believe this to be true for our own journeys, then time is truly relative.
- Another event that occurred within the past year was the appearance of a perfectly formed number 8 on the inside of our garage window. I recently photographed this in April of this year. I interpreted the appearance of the number 8 as a message from Jeannine that her death and entrance into eternal life was destined from her birth. I have discussed in previous articles my guilt over not doing enough to prevent my daughter’s death. Guilt over Jeannine’s death has not been a part of my journey for many years. Jeannine’s message reinforces to me that guilt should no longer be a part of my journey honoring our relationship, nor should ever get in the way of our relationship…. only love should rule.
Today I consider myself to be a permanent resident of Infinity Boulevard. It is a road that I believe all of us travel when we experience the death of a child, or other catastrophic loss. It is a road where lessons about life and death are revealed regardless of time passed. It is also a road where insight and knowledge developed is not, nor never should be, attached to conventional wisdom…… and therefore knows no limits.
You are a soul
You have a body