By Angela Gutzer –
“There is no death. Only a change of worlds.” ~ Chief Seattle
Have you grieved the loss of someone and felt you wished you could go back in time and change things with them? Perhaps if you were more available? Made more trips to visit them? Wished you hadn’t done or said certain things?
In our ongoing journey to connect after a loved one has passed on, we are often drawn to the dream world for answers or searching for signs that they are still with us. No one really knows what the great mystery holds beyond death, and it is a highly personal journey for everyone in how we approach the experience of losing someone we love.
This is my personal story about connecting with my mother’s presence after she died.
My mother used to phone me excessively. This is how I felt at the time. I used to not answer the phone knowing it was her. The reason I would avoid it is she had no time limit for these phone calls. I knew I would have to invest at least an hour, if not longer. Even if I said I was busy she would continue to talk pretending I hadn’t spoken those words at all. And even trickier, when I was close to getting off the phone she had the perfect strategy to keep the conversation going: “Soooooo, how are the dogs?” It worked every time. She knew my weakness and used it to her advantage.
When she died, the most devastating loss for me was that of communication. The most heart-wrenching was to reach for the phone and realize she wouldn’t answer. After she transitioned into spirit I thought this might be a difficult part of her journey, as well.
In the book, The After Death Chronicles, Annie Mattingley relays countless stories of communication with loved ones beyond the veil. After death communication (coined ADC by Bill and Judy Guggenheim) is said to occur through many means: olfaction (smell), vision, physical sensations (touch, tingles), dreams, auditory, unlikely encounters in nature, and electrical disturbances. For one woman, she smells her uncle’s cigars. For another, she sees hundreds of butterflies at a place and time that was seemingly impossible. The author has graced the pages of her book with her own stories of communication shared with her deceased daughter. Her daughter was able to send her thought messages, which her mother was able to receive in the hypnopompic (the state right after sleep) period. Because her daughter committed suicide, the communication helped to relieve her mother of the heavy burden of emotions that often cause a mother to crumble with the weight. The communication also drew Mattingley to write her first book thus giving the readers solace that their loved ones are near.
When reading this you may ask, “Why am I not receiving these ADCs?” And according to Mattingley the answer to this question is complex. There are a few examples in the book that suggest the spirit cannot get their communication through to their earthly loved one if the veil of grief is too thick. Or others where the means of communication isn’t clear enough for the earthly soul because they were just not noticing. Also, having an ADC can precipitate deeper grief. The spirit may know it will not assist for your greater good. Mattingley asks us to be alert enough to see, and if we want communication, just ask and be patient.
My whole family has been visited by our mother through dreams. The dreams have brought solace to us and we update each other if we’ve had one. I feel this is our mother keeping us together as she was the pillar of the family. For me, I find dimes and I know she is near. And relating to the overzealous phone calls, she did not disappoint through dimes. I found them everywhere, and at the beginning of the grieving process, all the time. The most poignant was when we were cleaning the home after her death. All that was on her bedside table were two dimes. One Canadian dime and one German 10 pfennig piece (her ancestry was German). Another memory is when I asked my mother if she could show up during an important family phone discussion. I asked specifically for a yes sign. I also asked specifically for an animal sign that was clear. The family discussion was moved to another day and I had forgotten about the request. That day a bird hit the window and I was completely immersed in the family talk so I gently wrapped the bird loosely in a T-shirt and placed it onto my lap checking in on it now and again. Then it hit me! “Mom says she wants us to do this!” The most glorious feeling was later releasing the bird with tears of gratitude.
As this topic is close to my heart it comes up in conversation. So many stories of feathers found in odd places, rare bird sightings, butterflies in large numbers or circling around an event or person. Each story gives me solace as it strengthens my belief that our loved ones are with us.
With love and peace.
Angela’s focus in the next year will be to transition from the veterinary world into the death doula services she hopes to provide. A special interest to her is home funerals, and Green burials with respect to both animals and people. The Cariboo Community Deathcaring circle has been created in the hopes that the community finds a place to address any of their needs relating to the dying.