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How a license plate helped me through hard times this year

letting go resiliency self care stress

Twice this year I’ve found myself driving down the road behind the same random car, laughing and crying. 

The car’s vanity license plate contained the exact message that I most needed to hear. 

The first time I saw it was over the summer, while I was living through one of my greatest fears: losing my dog Boogie. 

In the months leading up to his death I was constantly worried about how I would cope with his loss, but even more so about how he would die.  

I was afraid there would be a medical emergency that would force us to take him to the ER (he was afraid of the vet) and that the end of his life would be traumatic for all of us.

I was a mess.

You know how, when you’re struggling, you just want a sign that things are going to be ok?

I desperately wanted that kind of sign. 

But I didn’t find it anywhere.

And then one day at a traffic light, I looked at the car stopped in front of me.


I stared at it for a moment and then started laughing.

Signs don't get any clearer than that.


The laughter changed to tears.

I felt a massive wave of relief wash over me.

I never expected that a license plate could provide real comfort.

But, hey, when you ask for signs, you don't argue with the formatting.

Months later it did, in fact, end well.

Boogie peacefully passed at home with the help of a hospice vet. I’ll save that story for another day.

Then this fall, after adopting a new dog, Billy, we were going through a stressful first month trying to slowly, safely integrate him into our home with two cats.

There were days that I wasn’t sure it was going to work out. I felt overwhelmed.

And then, driving home one day, I looked up and that car was ahead of me again.


Cue the laughter and tears.

It did work out. Billy is doing great with the cats.

And I haven’t seen the car since.

Just those two times when I most needed to believe that things were going to be okay.

Here’s the icing on the cake: some of you might remember that every January I choose a “word of the year.”

Knowing that Boogie would likely leave us this year, I chose “trust” as my word for 2022.

As in, trust that all will be well.

I even hung an illustration of Julian of Norwich (and her cat) on my wall with her famous words as a reminder:

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

But I kept forgetting.

Thankfully, that car was there to remind me.

I'm so grateful that someone chose to spread that particular sentiment via their license plate.

It felt like a gift to me, one that should be passed on.

So, whatever you’re going through right now, here’s the sign you’ve been hoping for:



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