The Adventure Continues…

One Fish, Five Horses & A Birthday

by | May 8, 2019

“Your grief path is yours alone, and no one else can walk it, and no one else can understand it.”
– Terri Irwin

Truth be told, I wasn’t sure how I would be on Jeremiah’s birthday. Weeks ago, on the second anniversary of his passing, I reacted like an over-the-top-dramatic b-movie actress drunkenly stumbling on stage during the taping of a 1970’s horror flick. That might be a slight exaggeration. But then, maybe not. 

The one message I continue to hear Jeremiah communicate to me over and over is “Go have fun.” 

Last week I joined Sandie and her two dogs for a walk through her neighborhood. We spent a portion of the time talking about the prep work she and her co-workers at Iron Fish Distilleries (IFD) were doing to get ready for the event they were hosting on Saturday. The Hats, Horses and Bowties: Iron Fish Distillery’s 3rd annual Kentucky Derby Party sounded fun and interesting. I’ve never been to a horse race and it intrigued me. I decided it would be good for me to get out of the “house” (on wheels) and do something new and outside of my normal. What better way to honor myself and celebrate Jeremiah’s life on his birthday then to be with friends?

The idea of spending another monumental day living in a grieving puddle of tears and snotty tissues did not appeal to me. Life goes on, right? Although I miss the sound of the human-version of his voice, I take great comfort knowing I can still hear his sass and pearls of wisdom in the moments I am relaxed mentally and emotionally. The biggest shift in how our relationship is transitioning occurred when I came to the realization that only one of us is in a state of resistance to “being connected” is ME (in the glory of all things humanness).

A long line of men wearing colorful bow ties and women adorning hats in all sizes and shapes had already formed at the entrance when Sandie’s husband and I arrived at IFD’s event. He had work to do so I joined the end of the line-up by myself. I did my best to avoid photo-bombing the various group-selfies several clusters of people were taking while we waited our turn to enter.

Prior to the the start of their derby, the horses and “jockeys” paraded in front of the crowd. It was fun to eavesdrop and listen to the men and women talk about Easy as Pie, Chic’s Irish Coffee, Cowboy, Down Home Luck and Indigo Moonlight (the names of the five horses) and place their fundraising bets on who was going to win the derby.

At 6:16, with a drop of a flag, the mile-long race started down the dirt road toward the finish line in front of us. This was my first derby race and it was wild to be a participant in the cheering crowd.

Between the appetizers and the main dinner course, I sat in one of the adirondack chairs facing the rye field soaking in the festive derby atmosphere and evening sunlight. A red tailed hawk flew the length of the field parallel to the tree-line. It reminded me of my travels. Everywhere I went, I saw a hawk either perched in a tree, on a road sign or in flight near the highway I traversed. It’s one of the signs that confirmed I was on the right path. I smiled and tears welled up. I could feel my baby was with me. Happy Birthday, Jeremiah. See… it is possible for your momma to enjoy life again. Thank you for your birth-day gift. 

Interested in learning more about Iron Fish Distillery?
Visit Tell David and Heidi, and Richard and Sarah I sent ya.

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About The Author

C.K. Kochis

I am a writer; it's what I do. My mission in life is to guide women exhausted from nurturing others and the stagnation of daily routines to ignite self-love through the power of their words. I am utilizing my Integrative Nutrition Health Coach education as the foundation of to create a platform for coaches and leaders to share pearls of wisdom and professional insights. I wrote, designed and published “Get A Compass Not A Clock” and “UnLeash Your Story: A Journal Writer's Guidebook”. My virtual assistant clients keep me creatively busy, while my grandsons teach me about the importance of play.


  1. Heather

    I’m so glad he is sending you messages and that you can hear them. Many often forget they would never want us to be sad. They would want us to live life fully. There are many times I miss the people who are not here with me physically but I never forget they are still here with me on the other side, only in different form. I continue to celebrate their life and honor what they brought to my life for the time that they were here. Glad you are doing better and having fun. May you continue to be blessed with his thoughts and communication.

    • C.K. Kochis

      Thank you for the beautiful message, Heather. May the celebrations of life continue…

  2. Laura

    What a beautiful post about how you deal with grief and the partnership you created with the divine to embrace the difficult times we as humans experience. I love the Spirit messages hawk sends. There is never a coincidence. I am glad you found a way to celebrate and have fun. Thank you so much for sharing this journey with us. May your heart continue to expand with more amazing days of every day magic.

    • C.K. Kochis

      Thank you, Laura, for your kind words. You’re right. The signs are never a coincidence. And, they are abundant.

  3. Vatsala Shukla

    We cannot bring back the loved ones who have gone before us but we can celebrate the time we had with them in this life, Cindy. I celebrate my father’s birthday and those of my pet dachshunds (they were born in our home). It’s my way of letting them know that they have not been forgotten. On those days as well as the dates of their transition, I often see crows and even butterflies and I take it as a sign that they are sending me their love.

    • C.K. Kochis

      Thank you, Vatsala, for sharing your touching story with me. I love that you see crows and butterflies on those specials days. How wonderful to recognize the gifts. Much love and joy to you…

  4. Barb Parcells

    I am so glad you found some happy time in which to connect with your son and, even more importantly, with your happy self.

    • C.K. Kochis

      Me, too. I’m grateful to my friends for purchasing my ticket and allowing me to tag along. It was a good time.

  5. Pamela Thompson

    I so enjoyed your post Cindy. Your vivid descriptions of the derby made me feel like I was there with you. I so admire your courage and heart.

    • C.K. Kochis

      I appreciate your kindness, Pamela. Thank you.

  6. Suzie Cheel

    Cindy, I loved reading this, what a beautiful day and i loved that the hawk tail gave you the sign you are on your path. Yes Go have fun, the tears will pass and i sense J is walking beside you I love reading of you adventure xxoo

    • C.K. Kochis

      It was a beautiful day, Suzie. The sun was shining, the temperature was in the low 70’s and there was barely a breeze (but enough to keep the bugs at bay). Thank you for joining on this journey week after week. Hugs & Giggles to you.

  7. Rachel

    Our departed loved ones want us to keep on living fully and joyfully. I am so glad you can hear Jeremiah’s voice telling you to have fun. You are inspiring me to start communicating with my departed parents more, I know they are still here like sunlight and heartbeats, part of the fabric of our lives but not in the same compact form.

    • C.K. Kochis

      I love your comment, “…they are still here like sunlight and heartbeats.” That’s very poetic and true, Rachel.

  8. Lisa Hutchison

    It is a gift to be able to receive messages from our deceased loved ones. I too have had many reminders of their everlasting spirit and love.I also know nothing replaces their physical presence with us. I am glad you listened and went out despite your grief. I learned I can enjoy parts of life while feeling sad, it doesn’t have to be either/or. Thanks for sharing your healing journey, Cindy. Many Blessings xx

    • C.K. Kochis

      I believe there are no endings, only transformations. Our loved ones are always with us, loving and guiding us. Their love is pure and unrestricted by human thoughts and emotions. May you always feel their love and appreciation for you, Lisa.


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