IMG_3067The surrealist André Breton said that the world “is a forest of signs.” When we trust and follow intuition, we’re more easily able to recognize those signs. Or when someone we love dies and that loss causes the firm line between the living and the dead to blur. As is my case these days, following the death last Sunday of my father. For the first few days after his death, I felt my father lodged in my heart, now he’s not so near, but not so far, either, apparently…

In 1967, when I was 11 and my sister was 7, my folks bought a brand new green VW Bug, a rather small car for a family of four inclusive of two growing daughters. My parents wanted a change, and apparently, they wanted a big change, so in that small car we drove west from Chicago to California. My sister liked the jump-seat best, that narrow space right behind the back seat where she fit perfectly. I commandeered the back seat. From the passenger seat, my mother read storybook after storybook to keep us kids amused during the many hours, the many days we spent driving—that little car wasn’t known for speed.

My father loved that car! Several years later, when my parents divorced, that car began just his. My bigger-than-life father worked at Stevenson College, and once a group of students looking to shake things up “stole” my father’s car, painted it like a piece of abstract art and drove it onto the stage in the school dining hall! How did they manage that? My dad, who was quite the trickster, though not with his daughters, must have roared with laughter. I’d have loved to have seen the look on his face!

Yesterday, heading to the farmers’ market, in the lane to my right, what did I see, but an old VW Bug! I take it as a sign that wherever my dad is, he’s driving again, that the coast is clear and the road is open, the windows wide to the air, the sun bright. He’d want me to know that he’s at ease, in no hurry, happy, once again, to be back behind the wheel.



  1. Patrice- I do see signs – for many different things, but one is a way for me to connect with loved ones who have passed. I am deeply enjoying your posts about your father, both because I miss my father and because mom is declining so much recently. Dad was cranky most of my life, until the last years of his life when his heart opened wide and expressed all the love he did not feel he needed to hold back in any way. I send you my love, appreciation for your gift of words, and empathy

  2. Patrice,

    I totally understand. Your father sent you a message, and he will send more.
    You may even dream about him. Where he is now we cannot know, but I hope you will sense when he is near.

    In sympathy,

  3. Lovely rememberings, touching and familiar,your father sounds like quite the interesting fellow, it is inspiring that you are able to weave your sadness into such sweet and quirky vignettes .
    for me the blue VW bug is both charmingly retro hip and a symbolic transport of the metaphysical kind and I imagine him taking the scenic route waving to you jauntily as he goes by!, I’ve been thinking life is a road trip everyday new, maybe the afterlife is too! Happy Trails to both of you, and my condolences to you. I feel very fortunate to have met you,my muse is very glad too. You are a gift.thank you.

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