Friday, March 18, 2016

The Handprint

Janis and her husband Max.
“I thought I was crazy but it turns out thousands of others have had similar experiences.”

In August of 2004 my husband passed after a six-month battle with Cancer.

In our conversations before his death we had discussed our doubts about the existence of God and if there was an afterlife. At one point I wondered if my husband could find a way to let me know that death was not just an “end.”

The first signs were subtle and I did not immediately make connections.

My husband passed at 12:44 with friends and family around him. Beneath the overhang of our roof we had hung 2 large wind chimes a few years before.

As he drifted away from us these chimes range out in rich tones. We all turned to look and I realized there was no wind outside.

A few days later, returning from taking the family dog for a walk, I glanced up at the mantle clock. It had stopped at 12:44. I felt this was just a coincidence.

My housekeeper left a note after this stating the lights in the house had flickered and the clock on the mantle had restarted.

Still in shock from my husband’s death I did not pay close enough attention to these events.

Photo Janis took of handprint in 2005 on 1st
anniversary of Max's death.
A year to the day after my husband’s death something happened that changed my perception of reality for good.

I discovered a handprint on the guest bathroom mirror. No one had been in the house that morning and it had not been there the night before.

This print was too large to be my teenage sons and its long fingers reminded me of my husband’s hand. I grabbed my camera and took several pictures. A strange powdery substance surrounded the print.

This stunned me. Was my husband leaving me proof, like we had discussed?

Before his illness and death the family had planned to visit Italy. In honor of his memory my son and I went on this trip.

It was in the days before digital cameras so when we returned to the states I took the film in to be developed. In one shot we had asked a passerby to take a picture of us standing on a bridge overlooking a harbor.

Viewing the photos from this trip I saw a boat in the background of this shot. It was positioned between me and my son—just where my husband would have stood if he had been with us.

I looked closer and discovered the name of the boat was my husband’s name, Max .

I now thought back on the series of strange incidents that had happened since my husband’s death.

Another photo taken on 3rd
anniversary of Max's death.
In shock, I consulted a priest and a sociologist. Both reassured me that my experiences were not that unusual. The sociologist mentioned he knew of thousands of cases where widows told stories about their husband’s returning and making contact with them.

Interestingly, many of these women professed they had not believed in life after death until after these contacts.

This first-person account was published in the October 2015 edition of the Reader’s Digest. Janis Heaphy Durham shared her personal story. She wrote a book about her experiences entitled, The Hand on the Mirror.

No comments: