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By Dave Roberts

For the majority of my life, I never believed that our loved ones could survive death by communicating their continued existence to us. I tended to dismiss any phenomenon that couldn’t be verified with concrete physical evidence. However, after my 18-year-old daughter Jeannine’s death in March of 2003, I began to realize that the evidence of the heart was more compelling than the rational, empirical evidence that I had always valued.

My first experience with non-ordinary phenomenon (signs) that I can recall after Jeannine’s death was during the summer of 2003. I was walking around my neighborhood and discovered that a butterfly was following me and hovering over me for a portion of it.

I do, however, believe that Jeannine made her presence known to me almost immediately after her death. During her illness, we never discussed her funeral arrangements and how she wished to be remembered. Shortly after her death, and in the midst of my shock and numbness, I intuitively picked out her funeral song and wrote her eulogy. The process was effortless and I believe, guided by a force greater than myself. Jeannine’s spirit manifested itself quickly, by infusing the knowledge or information that I needed to help plan her celebration of life.

Our deceased loved ones may signal their eternal presence in, among other ways through:

  • Orbs (i.e. balls of light, representing energy from the spiritual realm)
  • Butterflies, dragonflies
  • Pennies or loose change
  • Objects mysteriously disappearing or being moved
  • A song that evokes strong memories of our loved ones.

Signs tell us that our loved ones are ok, they desire to have an ongoing relationship with us, and that we will see them again in the afterlife. I have also learned through conversation with others and through my own experiences that the signs we receive from our loves ones is always a product of what is happening with us in the present moment.

Though the signs I receive from my daughter always give me peace and solidify the bond that I have with her, there are usually other connections for me to discover.

Pictured in this article is a heart sign that I discovered on the kitchen floor of my home on 2/25/13, a few days before Jeannine’s 10th angelversary date. I received several heart signs prior to this date, and continue to receive them today.

When I discovered Jeannine’s heart, I immediately gravitated to the date of my discovery (2/25). I was nudged to add the numbers together. When I did, the sum total was 9. According to Ted Andrews, the number 9 signifies healing and understanding*. Additionally, this discovery was made on the advent of Jeannine’s 10th “angelversary”; in Andrews’s system, the number 1 is about beginnings.

“Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”- Leonardo da Vinci

The significance of Jeannine’s eternal heart and the teachings revealed in the numerology actually became clearer as I completed the 11th year of my experience as a parent whose child had died. Here is what I discovered:

  • It was important for me to own my experience in different terms, terms that were empowering and authentically represented my experience; for example, I blogged that I was able to see Jeannine’s death as a rebirth into a new existence and chose not to see myself as only a bereaved parent.
  • Choosing to not view our journeys or life paths through traditional labels allows us to come to a greater understanding of life and death, promotes ongoing healing and understanding and new beginnings.
  • authentic ownership of our experience and speaking our truth liberates us to fully look at how all around us is connected and to integrate what we discover into our lives.
  • Not only do we learn to live without our loved ones’ physical presence, but eventually we learn to love with their eternal presence.

* See Ted Andrews, Animal Speaks, P.52, for more information.

Dave Roberts, LMSW is a retired addiction professional and an adjunct professor of psychology at Utica College. He is a HuffPost contributor and a speaker on grief and loss locally and nationally. Dave is also the chapter leader for The Compassionate Friends of the Mohawk Valley. Dave may be contacted at: bootsyandangel@gmail.com

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