How to tell when passed loved ones are around you
Two weeks after my father died he came to visit me in my meditation. It was an incredible and beautiful gift, one I will always treasure. I was able to sit with him and talk, not only about his passing but how I was feeling and practicalities surrounding his death. You might think that being contacted by a loved one who has died is rare, but this is not the case.
Over the last thirty years of working as a therapist and medium I have listened to hundreds of accounts from people of all ages, ethnicities, faith and backgrounds on how deceased loved ones have made their presence known and sent messages from beyond the grave. The aim of these communications is always the same, to let you know they are near, to bring you reassurance, comfort and love.
Whilst every experience is unique, the ways in which the departed try to contact us are in fact very common. I thought I would share the ten most common of these with you along with some of the wonderful stories I have been told or experienced myself.
1. Strange phenomena
It is very common after a loved one dies to experience odd and strange occurrences and phenomena. Orbs (or balls of light – considered to be manifestation of energy) can appear, hover or move around a room/s. Orbs can also be seen in photographs even though no one noticed anything in the room when the photo was taken. Many people speak of seeing sparkling or shimmering light/s, sometimes flashing or twinkling light/s in their periphery vision but nothing is there when they turn to look. Don’t forget that when your loved ones pass over they become pure energy. They can attract our attention by manipulating energy so that we see shimmering lights and orbs.
Hearing footsteps and doors closing as well as thuds, bangs and other such noises is a regular occurrence. Equipment that isn’t turned on can make noises and even turn on. There can even be knocks on doors and windows (with no one and nothing there to explain it). A friend of mine would wake in the night to hear the radio had turned itself on and play Classic FM, not the local radio station she listened to.
Clocks and watches often stop, sometimes at the exact moment your loved one has died. Many people report that a particular object such as an ornament or object can move around to different locations. A friend told me of how a small wooden duck her mother had bought her appeared on her pillow one day and by the kettle the next. She took it as a sign her mum wanted her to know she was okay.
2. Fragrance and aromas
Scent is a powerful trigger of memories and this is one of the most common ways in which our loved ones in the afterlife can let us know they are there. It might be the smell of tobacco from a cigarette or cigar (especially noticeable when you are not a smoker!). It could be the aroma of a particular perfume or cologne. I have also heard people talk of smelling the fragrance of certain flower or favourite food they associate with someone they have lost. And whilst for the most part people frequently detect these smells at home I have heard people pick up aromas everywhere from the office to their car. Some people also pick up on smells of the hobbies, jobs or activities they associate with their loved one when they were alive. A co-worker of mine once said she knew if she smelt petrol fumes her son was around – he was mad about off road motor bike racing.
It is much easier for the spirit of your loved one to connect with you in your dream state than it is for them to reach you on the physical plane. Sometimes your loved may appear in the background of your dream, however, it is also possible to have much more intimate contact with them where important messages, insights and even symbolic gifts can be given directly. Either of these encounters can leave a lasting impression with us and unlike normal dreams spiritual dreams are clear, coherent often contextual and the memory of them does not fade over time.
There are no rules to the spirit world revealing themselves to us in dreams. It is possible for you to see groups and combinations of friends and loved ones. It is even possible to see babies, infants and children that have passed over. Even the spirit of children lost or terminated, for whatever reason, in pregnancy!
It is also very common to dream of someone only to find out in the following days that they passed away on or around that night or date. A friend of mine dreamt she put her brother on a train and waved him off. In the morning she was told he had died in the night from a heart attack.
4. Sensing a presence or even feeling a touch
I think loved ones nearly always come and visit us, most often we are so distracted in grief or just busy juggling life’s demands that we can’t sense it. The ethereal presence and signals of a loved one who has passed away can be very subtle. People have said to me it’s a “strange feeling in my tummy” others that it’s an intangible, intuitive sense. It can also be much more powerful. Many speak of the energy in the room shifting when a loved one draws close (a spaciousness, a lightness, a sense of calm) and they “just know” they are not alone. Changes in air pressure, room temperature, tingling or buzzing sensations, goose bumps, cold or warm wafts of air around you or through your body – these are just some of the ways your physical and spiritual bodies can detect the presence of a loved one.
Many people actually experience touch, for some a direct touch for others a sensation on the skin. People have felt a hug, a tap, a touch on the hand or shoulder, hair being stroked, even the mattress on the bed sinking as if someone has sat on it. Strangely this is rarely frightening – nearly 99% of the time people ‘know’ exactly who is trying to communicate with them and feel comfort. A gentleman I was chatting to once told me his grandfather would hover around his ‘right shoulder.’ He knew who it was as this feeling was always accompanied by the waft of delicious smelling pipe tobacco his grandfather smoked. He said on the odd occasion he had even seen a momentary swirl of smoke. He said, “it took away my fear of dying for I know there is life after death and he will be there when my time comes.”
5. Hearing a voice or particular sound
Some speak of hearing a whisper close to their ear, others the voice is far away others hear their loved ones voice inside their head. A friend of mine occasionally hears the clink of ice in a crystal, brandy tumbler, her father’s favourite tipple. She only ever hears this when she is super stressed and knows her father is saying he is nearby. So it’s not just voices that you may hear. It could be noises associated with the jobs, tools or activities that you associate with the person when they were alive.
6. Meditation and alpha states
When you are deep in meditation, breath work or prayer your brain drops into an, “alpha state.” In this super relaxed frequency it is easier to see, sense and tune into your loved ones. When my father died I had been unable to meditate, my friend drove me to Chithurst Buddhist Monastery (Midhurst, U.K) to sit in the Dharma Hall which I knew was a magnificent and spiritually charged place of worship. I had gone in hope of finding a moments breath from the pain of grief and had no idea it would be one of the most remarkable spiritual moments of my life. But over the years I have spoken to many people who have told me their loved ones have casually strolled into their meditations to say hello and sometimes goodbye. One lady I knew said she would always say her prayers at night and would on occasion ‘see’ her deceased sister kneeling by her side as they had as children to pray together.
7. Partial and even full spirit visitations
My flat mate once woke in the night and saw her grandfather standing by her bed. She said he looked solid and real not at all like a ghost which would have scared her. He smiled at her and she said she smiled back before rolling over and going straight back to sleep. In the morning she said she couldn’t believe she had gone straight back to sleep!
Our loved ones can appear to us both in our mind’s eye and in front of us as seemingly real human beings. In the above case as a solid looking version of themselves but sometimes as a more hazy, transparent and see through form. Often they appear not as the elderly and or deathly ill person we lost but as younger versions of themselves glowing with youth, strength and vitality. Our loved ones often choose to show themselves in the prime of the life. My first spiritual teacher always sees the form of her first husband come to stand behind her when she is about to give Reiki. In life he had been a sailor and she knows when he stands, ‘on watch’ he is protecting her.
8. Strange electrical activity
At the end of the day we are all just energy, death means we transfer from one vibration of energy to another. It makes sense therefore that those in the spirit realm find it easy to manipulate electricity. Light bulbs flickering or blowing repeatedly, power coming on and off and all sorts of unusual and inexplicable disturbances with electrical devices like the TV, radio, phones, computers and appliances (even car’s) can be signs from our loved one. I have been at a family celebration where all the lights flickered when the toast to absent friends and loved ones was made. Everyone laughed that they obviously weren’t ‘so absent.’
9. Signs and symbols
I think we are surrounded by signs and symbols every day but are generally so busy we don’t notice them. Whilst we would love signs from our dearly departed to come with a ‘breaking news alert’ the reality is that spirit signs are subtle and easily missed.
I love white feathers and always associate those with my father and my spirit guides, I love how they can literally float right across my face as if out of nowhere! Others associate the spirit of a loved one with a certain butterfly, insect, bird or animal. Even songs and events (like a rainbow). Have you ever thought of a loved one only for their favourite song to come on the radio? Other signs include things disappearing and reappearing like earrings, rings and keys. One minute they are there then they disappear only for them to re-appear a while later.
Some people see repetition of numbers like 11:11 or patterns like 2121 possibly even number combinations that relate to special dates like birthdays, anniversaries or the date or time of death.
Sometimes the most bizarre things can happen. Many years ago I tiptoed into my son’s bedroom to put his freshly washed baby grows in his cupboard. It was night-time and as I re-arranged the small stack of clothes a pocket book guide of the ‘Celestine Prophecy’ fell out and the corner of the book hit my bare foot. I have no recollection of ever buying or being gifted this tiny book and I have no idea how it came to be amongst his baby clothes. What I do know is that I had been feeling so sad and guilt ridden as I adjusted back into life as a working mum that I had asked for a sign from my dad to help me.
10. Pets, toddlers and children
I was taught that children see spirit so much more easily than we do as they have only just left that realm. They live in the present moment and are highly sensitive energetic and emotional barometers (yet to be blunted and bashed by the world or told they are being ridiculous). My young son was three when his great aunt, his grandmother and myself were playing a game of snap with him. Out of nowhere he said, “Alwen has been very poorly.” We were all stunned, he carried on quite unaware he had said anything at all. Later as we huddled to talk about it we decided it was a message that my Aunt’s teenage love, whom she hadn’t seen in over fifty years and whose name was rarely spoken of, had passed away. It was extraordinary. So be open to the possibility that toddlers and young children are far more receptive to spirit than we are and sometimes as the saying says, “out of the mouth of babes” can come wisdom, insight and messages from beyond.
It is also very common for cats and dogs who are also highly sensitive to energy to pick up on the energy of a spirit. Unusual behaviour in which they respond, interact or become hyper fixated on a spot or track a movement can be a sign they are tuning into to your loved one. Only you know your pet and can identify unusual or curious behaviour. I believe it’s even possible for deceased pets to come back and visit us as well as the fury loved ones they have left behind on the earth.
Being contacted by those that have passed over is gaining creditability, so much so it has been given the title, After-Death-Communication or ADC for short. I think this is a good thing as it helps to validate the fact that this really does happen. It is so easy for us to doubt and second guess such experiences. I have met so many people who have received a beautiful message or affirmation of life after death only for them to question and doubt themselves. If I had a penny for every time I have heard, ‘maybe I imagine it?’ I’d be very rich. Why do we always do this to ourselves?
I also find it sad when such experiences are written off as grief and trauma. The person isn’t ‘in their right mind,’ so it can’t have happened. Can you imagine how heart breaking it is for you and your loved one in spirit to have their attempts at communication rejected by self-doubt or the negativity of a sceptical relative.
The human mind likes things to fit in neat, evidential boxes and yet we know that life doesn’t fit in neat, easily labelled boxes. My spiritual teacher once said to me, ‘you have a very smart mind but it will get in your way when it comes to all things spiritual.’ Gosh she was right.
So if you “think” you have had a message from beyond the grave, signs from loved ones that have passed over, then YES you did and NO you didn’t make it up. It was a gift, accept it as such. And if you yearn for a sign from the heavenly realm then ask for a sign and keep your heart and mind open to receiving one.
I hope that this blog brings you comfort, insight and maybe validation and that love really is eternal.
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