Archive for the 'afterlife' Category

We first met Nancy and her terminally ill mother, Zelda, in the post Heavenly Helpers (4/29/13) when Angels aided Nancy in removing her mother from a fragile, solid glass coffee table. Not long after, Zelda passed on. A day or so after the event, Nancy was idly thinking of her mother and wondering whether Zelda would try to contact her. Meandering to the master bathroom with this thought in mind, Nancy went to the sink to wash her hands. What should appear right in front of her face but a teensy weensy brown spider, lowering itself on a silk thread. Nancy leaped a mile and disposed of the spider. “Ma, is that you?” she asked, laughing.

At this point, Nancy interrupted her narrative to give me some background information. Zelda, her mother, had something of a quirky personality, which manifested itself in strange ways at time. Nancy had never been very fond of spiders, and she avoided them at all costs. One day she was outside when her mother said, “What’s that crawling on you?” Immediately, Nancy began screaming, “Get it off!! Get it off!” and brushing her arms, head, and back. Zelda just laughed, despite knowing her daughters hatred of spiders.

Having disposed of the little spider in the bathroom, Nancy went back to her tasks. A few days later, she was in the kitchen and saw another tiny brown spider on the counter. She got rid of that one too, then turned to a different counter. There, on a plate, was yet another tiny spider, crawling away. Nancy had had it. “OK, Ma,” she said, “that’s enough.” From that time onward, she never saw another spider in her house.

What an inventively humorous way for Zelda (who had passed on) to get in touch with her daughter! Nancy knew immediately on seeing the first spider that her mother was behind it and was trying to communicate her that she (Zelda) was still around and in a good place. It is not uncommon for “deceased” relatives to contact us in this manner, using specific cues known only to the family to both substantiate an identity and to unambiguously call attention to themselves. No one outside the family knew of Nancy and Zelda’s earlier incident with spiders, so Zelda’s choice of subject satisfied both the use of a specific cue and that of calling attention to herself. As Nancy said, she knew instantly that her mother was behind the spider phenomena, and she tired of it after the third incident. On hearing Nancy’s thought, “Ok, Ma, that’s enough”, Zelda knew she had made contact and so was free to pursue her next adventure in the Other World. Although we no longer have them in their physical bodies, our friends, relatives, and acquaintances who have passed on are nevertheless in perfect health and in a much more real environment than we are, for they have gone Home.

Once in a while, direct evidence comes showing that, indeed, the greater world really, truly exists. Such an experience came to me not long ago, and I am thrilled to share this with you, dear Readers. One of my co-workers, Sue, told me this story that totally gave me goose bumps.

Just recently, Sue’s mother-in-law had collapsed suddenly from a stroke and was taken to the hospital. While there, she lay in a coma, unresponsive. One of her adult children, who had been born with Down’s syndrome and had lived at home all of his life, visited his mother in the hospital. At his visit, the mother, although in a coma, began singing “Over the Rainbow” with her handicapped son as the rest of the family stood nearby, aghast.

While in the hospital, Sue noticed a particular smell surrounding her mother-in-law, which seemed to emanate from her breath. Despite the excellent mouth care given by the staff, Sue’s mother-in-law’s breath had a particular odor, which, Sue says, she had smelled on her father, as well, as he neared the transition that we call “death”.

The day that the mother-in-law died, Sue was in the car with her husband. Turning her head, she suddenly smelled her mother-in-law’s breath. Surprised and shocked, Sue turned to her husband: “Did you smell that? It’s your mother!” The husband concurred; he had also detected that particular smell. Not much later, Sue’s brother-in-law, the son, also detected the smell, which was a shock to him, since he does not believe in any of this “hocus-pocus”.

In questioning Sue closely, she told me that she had smelled this particular odor first when her father began to fail. Up until then, he had exuded no particular odor, but as he took a turn for the worse, Sue began to smell the odor. As with her mother-in-law, Sue’s father “appeared” to his family through their sense of smell. Sue and her mother were sitting in the kitchen, talking, when suddenly Sue spoke up: “It’s Dad! I can smell him!” Then it was Sue’s mother turn. She also smelled the odor, which quickly faded.

The mother-in-law passed, but she had another trick up her “sleeve”. A funeral was planned. Sue went to the funeral home to pick up the small prayer cards that are traditional in some services. One of them fell to the floor. She picked it up and read it. At the bottom of the card were the words “somewhere over the rainbow”. Confused, she called the funeral home, asking how it happened that those words were included at the bottom of the card, when no one had ordered it. The reply was that those words could only have been included if someone had requested this inclusion—but no one living had.

This story is intriguing on many levels. First, of course, it corroborates the fact that none of us “die” but continue intact into the afterlife. Not only that, but for some reason, many who have passed feel a strong need to communicate with the loved ones left behind, to reassure them that they are not gone, but are just in a different reality. Secondly, the sense of smell is not one that I have ever associated with messages from the “other side”. For myself, I have had the experience of seeing a strange whiteness that began emanating from someone’s body a few days before that person made the transition. This experience was so unusual that it took me quite aback. I was working in a long-term care facility. One of the residents was a dynamic elderly man, who had recently had a stroke, but was recovering. Nothing kept him down. If he couldn’t walk, he rode in a wheelchair. If something was out of his reach, he devised a way of reaching it anyway. Nothing was keeping him down for any reason. In the midst of this amazing recovery, I happened to walk past his room. The door was open and he was sitting in his wheelchair, eating. His body was in profile to me and his face was clearly visible. As I glanced in, he appeared to emanate a whiteness from within. He did not glow, just emanated whiteness. The vision was so strange that I stopped momentarily, trying to understand what I had seen. When no explanation was forthcoming, I continued on my duties. Three days later, he died. Subsequently, I noticed this whiteness on several women, who also died a short time after the color was visible on them.

The odor Sue and her family was able to detect on their loved ones is the first I had heard of this phenomenon. Apparently, our loved ones are quite capable of determining which sense would be most useful in alerting us to their continued existence and tailor their communication to us with this thought in mind. My experiences have been only with sight. Sue’s have been only with the sense of smell.

Whatever method of communication deceased loved ones choose, their ties to family show how much they still care and how much they seek to reassure the ones left behind. As we hone our ability to receive from the spiritual world, we, too, become the recipients of untold blessings.