Thursday, November 15, 2012

Encounters with Deceased Loved Ones

There are countless stories that reflect the fact that people experience a loved one or friend that returns after death, in a variety of ways, to reassure or comfort the people they have left behind. These experiences happen more often then is acknowledged. Each of these stories is unique but they all have one thing in common—the people who have experienced this phenomenon believe they were real and not imagined.

Skeptics on the other hand are quick to debunk these experiences stating they are just wishful thinking. Another ‘theory' put forth is that the real cause of these experiences is just people's brains tricking them. In other words when humans grieve they are in such a heightened emotional state they are not thinking rationally. Another theory along this same line is that this heightened mournful state causes people to associate everyday things with their lost loved ones-- so they interpret what they see, hear etc. incorrectly. An example of this is when people smell a deceased ones favorite scent and then conclude their deceased loved one visited them.

The reasons I listed above and the countless others put forth by skeptics have not been scientifically proven. The reason for this is these instances of paranormal activity are as hard to debunk, as they are to prove. I stated in another post that the scientific method and the paranormal realm do not have much in common therefore to use the one (scientific) to disprove the other (paranormal) is ludicrous. It must be noted here that a large majority of people who report these encounters with a deceased loved one state they did not believe in ghosts beforehand.

Celtic Triple Spiral
symbol of afterlife.
Another controversy that always arises when these stories are shared is centered on this question-- do these encounters mean that there really is an afterlife. There is no definitive answer for this question but despite this fact many people around the world believe there is an afterlife and they also believe in the following—that the bond between loved ones and their deceased relatives or friends is not erased at death. I believe this as well. In future posts I will share a variety of these stories—they are all compelling. One thing I do know for sure is this kind of encounter does provide comfort. The following story is mine.

I lost my mother to breast cancer when I was young. I was the youngest child in my family and I still lived at home when my mother passed. My father, a very strong man to his credit took over the maternal role in my life. Knowing I had his unconditional love during this period in my life helped me adjust to my mother’s death. For years after this I naively felt that since I had survived my mother’s death at a young age that when my father passed it would be easier for me to deal with.

Many years later my father took ill and slowly went downhill. My family had a hospital bed placed in his bedroom because his wish was to die at home. One evening I stood at my father’s side and held his hand. After months of struggle and suffering I watched as he drifted in and out of consciousness. Knowing he was a fighter and would continue to struggle I summoned the strength within myself to reassure my father that everyone in the family was fine and that it was okay for him to let go.

The following morning around 3:00 a.m., I received a call from my stepmom informing me my father had passed. I spent the next hour calling my siblings. By the time I got off the phone I was numb. I laid down knowing I would need the rest for the following days. I stared at the ceiling trying to keep my thoughts on the joyous times I had spent with my father. 

I turned on my side and flung my arm out to the edge of the bed. From the time I was little I had always loved my fathers large strong hands—they brushed my hair and put it up in ponytails, they built my favorite bookshelves, they cooked the best meals I have ever eaten. Now I was stunned to see these familiar hands reach out and take my hand. I felt my father’s hands squeeze mine and then they slowly faded away. A great sense of peace came over me and I was able to fall asleep.

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