This HuffPost Canada page is maintained as part of an online archive.

Messages From the Other Side

Messages From the Other Side
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Once upon a time, a woman, let's call her Shirley, lost her husband to the ravages of cancer. It had been a long and arduous battle. Shirley was completely depleted on every level.

After the funeral service, everyone returned to the house. The coffee pot was plugged in; neighbors brought in food. Shirley excused herself from the din of family and friends and retreated to her bedroom, whereupon she fell into their king-size marital bed. She was utterly devastated and was totally lost without her husband, Charlie.

Then, a remarkable thing happened: Shirley felt Charlie hold her and comfort her as she lay cocooned in her grief. She wondered if she was simply imagining the very thing she wanted most in the world.

Fast forward a good six months. Shirley has now sold their home and moved into a small apartment. After the movers had finished their deliveries, Shirley walked about aimlessly and surveyed the disarray. Her once-familiar furniture seemed very out of place in the plain vanilla box of what was to be her new home, her new home without the man she called the love of her life.

Shirley was overwhelmed and, as she was wont to do, Shirley, once again, took to her bed. And as you might guess, Charlie appeared again. He stood in the doorway and reassured her. Shirley told me that Charlie appeared about once a month for a number of months. Each and every time, Charlie stood in the doorway, leaning into the jamb in his own inimitable way. On his last visit, Charlie told Shirley that this was going to be his last visit as he knew she would now be OK.

Shirley asked me if I thought she was crazy. My answer was no, I believed that her Charlie was there to hold her and help her through her debilitating grief. I was happy for Shirley. She had had the comfort and reassurance of the connection; she had received, to my way of thinking, both a healing and a blessing -- and it came from her husband on the "other side."

From my perspective, the Other Side is thrumming with activity. I believe that those that have gone before us are cheering us forward towards a soulful, happy and joyous life. I believe that we are less alone than we imagine. Not only do we hold the memories in our minds, but we also hold the memories in our cell tissue and our hearts.

Death does not have to end a relationship. It can continue, albeit in new form, such as dreams, where, perhaps, you are given an answer to a question or affirmation for the next right step or, simply, a loving connection that fills your empty heart.

There can be the waft of a familiar scent, such as perfume, pipe smoke, roses or, even, alcohol that tells you your loved one is nearby.

There can be personal symbology as well. I know one man who feels affirmed by and connected with his deceased father every time he sees a blue heron -- and in an area where blue herons are not known to populate. There is another woman who recognizes her deceased mother by the yellow butterflies that come to rest on her arm and hair for a good 20-30 minutes at a time.

There are the odd mechanical happenings, such as the woman whose deceased mother regularly turns on the radio to let her daughter know that they are still connected. Or, for another woman, there is the broken mantle clock that chimes every year on the date of her husband's death.

The messages can come in all shapes and sizes.There is no one right way. It can be looking down and seeing a green heart in middle of the city on the death anniversary of your mom and knowing, without a doubt, that it is a message for you.

Are you open to the possibility? And, whatever is presented or unfolded, does it resonate within you?

This HuffPost Canada page is maintained as part of an online archive. If you have questions or concerns, please check our FAQ or contact