The loss of a loved one leaves a void in our hearts that is often never filled. While the grief process generally varies from one individual to another, for many it is long and deeply challenging. It may feel as if it will never end. For some, it never does. But there can be moments of comfort and beauty that surprise us. For those of us who have lost someone significant in our lives, many of us experience a yearning for just one more moment. One more word to be spoken, one more hug, confirmation that our loved one is no longer suffering, or reassurance that they are still with us. For some people – more than you may think – this has happened thanks to After-Death Communication (ADC).
Over the course of seven years (1988 to 1995), pioneering researchers Bill and Judy Guggenheim published the first complete study of After-Death Communication in their book Hello from Heaven! The authors sat down with two thousand people from every province in Canada and every state across the U.S. They collected over 3,300 firsthand accounts from people who believed they had been contacted by a deceased loved one. Their subjects came from a diverse set of backgrounds and ranged in age from young children to senior citizens. Over the years since that time, their research has been expanded on in various ways, but the overall findings remain largely unchanged. Here are some of the ways that you may experience After-Death Communication.
Perhaps one of the most common occurrences of ADC is in a dream. You may wake up to find that you have vivid recollections of a dream in which your loved one played a role, and you may experience a feeling of warmth and peace. These dreams often include a feeling of direct contact, where they turn to face you directly, sit next to you, touch you, smile at you, or offer a message of words. The dream may stay with you for days, weeks, months, or even years afterwards.
Another form of ADC that is often experienced is the unexpected sense of a familiar smell associated with your loved one. This could be anything from the fragrance they were known to wear, a flower they enjoyed, or food they often cooked or ate. This doesn’t mean you’re around the items that are associated with these fragrances. Without a single flower in the house, you may suddenly be overcome with the smell of your loved one’s favourite roses. A sign that they are with you.
There will be moments throughout your life after losing someone close to you where you will desperately yearn for their presence, and sometimes you may physically feel it. Whether it is a reassuring hand on your shoulder or leg, a hug, or a hand suddenly placed on yours, there are numerous ways you may feel the physical touch of your loved one without expectation or explanation.
ADC in an auditory form is also quite common. While audibly hearing a voice – their voice – out in the open may not occur, you may “hear” a voice internally. You may be alone in your living room just reading a magazine with a cup of tea, and unexpectedly hear a voice that is definitively not yours (but not clearly that of someone you know or lost). This could be either jarring or almost unnoticeable if you’re not familiar with ADC. This voice, whether recognized or not, may simply bring comfort or a sense of a safe and familiar presence.
Recognized by Bill and Judy Guggenheim as the most common form of ADC is the sense of a spirit or presence with you. In a room with complete silence or a crowd of people, you may feel that your loved one is nearby or even by your side. Some have gone as far as to say they could even sense the emotion within the presence surrounding them. These instances are sometimes more frequent when the loss was recent, but as with all experiences of ADC, the potential for these spiritual communications is never-ending.
Another very common occurrence is the appearance of symbols. These may be small objects, such as feathers, coins, stones, or flowers. They could be creatures, such as butterflies, dragonflies, ladybugs, birds, squirrels, or deer. Many report seeing rainbows, numbers, or heart shapes, or hearing certain meaningful songs. These symbols may appear in unexpected places or at unexpected times. They often are particularly significant to the grieving person, and they seem to elicit a sense of knowing.
Many bereaved parents have had experiences of After-Death Communication from their child, and they have found that it can bring a profound sense of comfort, providing reassurance, healing, and even guidance. They may not always feel comfortable sharing these experiences, for fear that others will not believe that they truly occurred or that they were indeed a message from their child in spirit.
If you are a bereaved parent, you may be interested in Helping Parents Heal, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping bereaved parents in their healing process by providing support and resources. What sets this organization apart is that they facilitate open discussion about spiritual experiences and evidence for the afterlife. Over the last few years, they have conducted interviews with hundreds of experts in the areas of grief and the afterlife, which can be viewed on their website or their YouTube channel.