I am a HUGE believer in signs. I have also always believed that “everything happens for a reason”… although in Gemma’s case, I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that there was a reason for her passing. True, her passing gave her relief from living in the NICU her entire life, it got her out of the little bed she was literally stuck in, and got rid of the tubes and wires that held her down. But what reason was given to Dan and I? It still doesn’t make sense to me.

I mean, we had been trying to have a baby for such a long time..she was a miracle baby. And having conceived Gemma in the month of October (my favorite month), and even though she entered the world 3 almost weeks early, her actual due date was July 5th (super close to the anniversary of when Dan and I started dating)..there just seemed to be so many positive signs!

I know a lot of people take feathers and butterflies as signs from loved ones in heaven. I even found a PINK feather just days before I took my pregnancy test! While those signs are nice, they are a bit generic for our situation. We nicknamed Gemma “Cupcake,” so in our case, anything with cupcakes we take as a direct sign from our angel. And as her middle name was Ariel (like the Little Mermaid), mermaids are definitely a sign from her as well. One day while scrolling my Facebook newsfeed, I even saw a recipe and picture for a mermaid cupcake!!

Signs can appear daily for some grieving parents, but if you’re like me, they mostly appear when one REALLY needs them. To me, those signs are the ones that bring the most comfort. Those are the moments when I can say that, in my daughter’s case, everything happens for a reason. Those are the days and moments when I can say I am still a mother.

Do you feel that your angel leaves you signs a lot of the time? Or is it more sporadic? Maybe you’re like me, and get signs at those times when you REALLY need them. What signs or symbols do you take as a special “hello” from your little angel? I’m always curious if anyone else sees things other than feathers and butterflies as a sign. We would love to hear your connections!


Deanna Sichel is 30 years old and lives on Long Island with her husband, Dan, and their kitten, Payton. Their first and only child, Gemma Ariel, passed away in the NICU after only 4 months and 4 days from complications of a congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome. Deanna is a 2-time ovarian cancer survivor, and is used to spreading awareness. Since Gemma’s passing, Deanna and Dan have been huge advocates for spreading CHD awareness. Everything they do is to honor their beautiful angel, Gemma. Their wish is that their tragedy will help a future family, so that they will never have to endure the pain that Deanna and Dan are still feeling.

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2 thoughts on “Signs”

  1. Thank you for sharing Deanna. Sending much warmth and kindness to you.
    I also feel my beautiful angel son Jonty leaves me signs. He is always with me in my heart, with me each step, etched in my soul, missing him dearly ……… when I having an overwhelming day emotionally or a very busy challenging day at work and I feel disconnected from him, often out of the blue a little white butterfly flutters by if I am outside or one of his songs plays on the radio if in the office of work. On a recent overseas trip that I was reluctant to go on and experienced feelings of trepidation with, after I had checked in and left the room for the first time a beautiful, large purple butterfly fluttered about and throughout the trip appeared many times and seemed to be always round my room. Truly amazing and comforting. This provides so much comfort and brings back that connection to him when under stress or struggling. I like what Heidi mentions as her daughter Avery’s way to say hello. I feel this too.
    I am finding myself talking to butterflies! Thank you for sharing Deanne. My thoughts to you and your beautiful angel Gemma

  2. I, too, am a HUGE believer in signs. I see them as the universe’s way of sending us love, comfort and peace — especially when we need it the most. After my daughter, Avery Quinn, passed away the pastor who presided over her memorial service spoke about dragonflies. Now, whenever I see one (or even an image of one), I think of it as her way of saying ‘hello.’ Each instance of these signs, and there are too many to count, makes my soul a little lighter.

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