Loved Ones and Grief
Lately, I have been surrounded by individuals who are grieving over a loved one's terminal illness or recent death. Some of them ask, “Will my loved one come back to me after death?" This question most likely arises due to the thought of losing that person forever, having an empty feeling, or the living are just grief-stricken. I think the question is mostly due to the need to see their loved one again one day or some type of confirmation that the person is ok in the afterlife. It’s hard to think about “never” seeing your loved one again because death seems so permanent, I can understand that point. I also believe that what can make that thought somewhat better is learning whether or not that person will visit you after their death. A few common questions arise each time that I conversate with someone grieving, such as the following:
How Will I Know Signs of Their Presence?
I firmly believe that you will recognize the sign being sent to you. For example, at least twice after a loved one died who was close to me, I saw a white light in my dream. I recall waking up and thinking, I wonder who passed away as I slept? In one of the two instances, the spirit waved to me, and the other was in all-white surrounded by angels.
Other people shared similar stories with me as stated above, but they had their own experiences with symbols, smells, and actual spiritual sightings. My guess is that it may depend upon the type of relationship that you had with the person who died. What I can tell you is that you need to be ready for it to happen. Why do I say that to you? Reason being, I experienced it. Being grief-stricken is difficult and our loved ones visiting might make those feelings worse if we are not ready for it. I remember when a loved one died years ago who used to talk to me in my dreams, had not come to or spoken to the person who had the most grief if that makes sense. Back then I said, "It may hurt worse for now, if you saw that person in your dreams and he or she spoke to you." I was supposed to relay the messages it seemed, which was just a guess because I had no real knowledge or reason to feel as if I was right. Nevertheless, I think that I was, and the person knew it as well. Healing overtime is important in order to receive the message.
What Signs Should I Look For To Know It's My Loved One?
Most people have told me that they did not look for signs, and I agree with them. It just happens. Personally, I never needed to look around for signs. Honestly, I do not want to see ghosts or have any experiences that will freak me out. I think that maybe the reason that I had events occur through dreams or in a manner that does not make me uncomfortable. If my loved ones who have pass one make me nervous, I will get to heaven and tell all of my relatives off for scaring me and they know it. (smile-jk) Seriously, I do welcome knowing that they are perfectly fine by way of my dreams which is enough for me.
I do know that the anticipation of wanting to see loved ones again can be overpowering due to that deep connection that we make with them. It’s a deep desire and need in order to move on with our lives. The problem here is that you must continue to live and do so without hoping daily that you will see your loved ones again. I know that you do not like me right now for saying that to you, but you do need to move forward. That does not mean that you forget about your loved one or that you need to rush, but your life is still valuable. Wanting to die with that person, or allowing grief to permanently overcome you will cause physiological and psychological symptoms that will interfere with you living a healthy lifestyle. As you grow stronger without your loved one, you will learn to to cope with the loss much better day by day. A sign will come when you least expect it.
Can A Sign Come From Our Animals?
I’ll go out on a limb here and say yes. Our loved ones were just as connected to our animals as we are, and vice versa. If we are kind people to our animals, they love us even in after death. How many stories do we hear about where animals have a difficult time recovering from grief after their owners have passed away? It happens, and I would not be surprised if your loved one gives you a sign of their love for you by way of your animals.
I also wrote a blog about animals and ghosts a few months ago, and I encourage you to read it. I do believe that animals have an ability to connect with spirits which would include God’s angels. Many children who can see ghosts have share these experiences with me, and I believe them. I have my own stories about my dogs who passed away and other animals, such as cardinal birds. After your loved one passes away, watch the animals in your yard and observe their behaviors. See if you notice anything in connection to your loved one. You will notice it and smile. Let me know about it.
Will My Children See Our Loved One (Spirit)?
This is actually a common question. So many people believe that it is super cool to see ghosts. If they know one person, even kids who can see ghosts, they are all over that kid to ask if he or she can see the ghost of a lost relative. Or, if they can feel the presence and ask if so, where they are, if they are ok, and if the deceased is in heaven or not? Just overwhelm the kids! Some forget that kids grieve too and even if they can see ghosts, no pressure while grieving would be a great idea.
To answer this question directly, yes, it is possible especially for a child who can see ghosts. Some of the children feel comfort when they do see the spirit of their loved one because it can help their grieving. They just want to see grandpa, or another loved one, and there is no fear because even in spirit form its just grandpa to them. While you’re grieving, if you have suspicions you might find some comfort in determining what your child might be seeing that you cannot but get ready for the answer. It will probably put a smile on your face, make you feel better, or scare you half to death.
I noticed over the years that familiar spirits do not make children afraid of them. We may not agree as adults about the "type" of spirits that children see, but they do see them. You can always ask your kids questions when they seem to have conversations with something that is not there, especially the little ones. Older children can be more reluctant to tell someone what they see, but I would make them comfortable enough to share the information with you. Many children can see ghosts and I would not be surprised if yours tells you yes, I see "Grandpa," or another one of our loved ones.
How To Recover From Grief?
I am one who believes that everyone grieves at their own pace, uses their own coping mechanisms, and the time that it takes to grieve depends upon that person. If, however, your symptoms of grief (sadness) significantly impact your daily living such as feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, or not being able to eat or sleep as examples, then you need to contact a mental health professional. Grieving is healthy and normal because we all have feelings as human beings, so go ahead and cry, get angry, then sad, and do it all over again as much as needed. You will stay sad for a while, and have less energy and motivation to thrive, but it will improve overtime. You will learn to cope in a healthy manner while helps the grieving process. When it does not get better after an extended period of time, is when we as mental health professionals get concerned.
Emotions are normal and we all have them. No one can judge your grief, but there are those of us who take notice of symptoms that significantly impact another’s life to the point of being debilitating. You must allow others to help you on your journey in grief if necessary. That is how your loved one would want you to handle your emotions. Typically, they want us to continue to live because they love us. We need to have the will to do so, and when it is too hard to find that outlet, mental health professionals can help.
Lastly, but this is very important: Allow yourself to grieve around your children if children are involved. Many parents hold emotions inside when around their children, especially when it comes to the death of a relative. I spoke of this in a prior blog and podcast but as a reminder, your children can attend funerals as well. Children can see the body of the loved one, and it can bring them some closure without it being a traumatic experience for them. I think the unknown is harder. Your children can see you cry and become emotional as it happens. Children can learn from us how to cope with and express those difficult emotions, but not if we refuse to teach them. Allow them to learn how to be sad and ways to overcome that grief after a loved one dies. You are their best teacher. You are their best friend and although your child does not realize it yet, I do, so grieve with them.
Love lasts forever...