The first occurrence was while I was on the back porch the night of his death. I was inconsolable, and couldn't stop crying. I sat staring out the windows into the starlit night. During our marriage, he and I would sit on our open deck many nights - watching the stars especially on nights there were meteor showers. Unfortunately, we never saw a meteor shower because it would inevitably be cloudy the night we watched. Anyhow, I was staring out the window - wondering how on earth I could continue on with life without him. Before my eyes - directly in front of my line of sight - a falling star. It was like it was slow motion - I saw it as plain as day. My heart leapt....and just after the star, an owl started hooting off to my left side in the woods. And during our marriage, he would 'talk' to the owls many nights - he would hoot and they'd hoot back. I knew, instinctively, that he was with me. But my grief was so intense, he obviously knew I needed more comfort.
We purchased a chiming mantel clock when we first married - and it had stopped chiming the correct hour many years previously. We talked all the time about taking it in to get it fixed, but never did. Earl got to the point where he just wound the clock and left the chime unwound. The day I retrieved his ashes from the funeral home - I moved that clock from the mantel so I could position his box there. When I did, the clock started chiming. And it chimed the correct hour. I found myself winding the chime and the clock before placing it on the cabinet counter where it would remain for weeks. For almost two months - that clock chimed on the hour, every hour - just as it should. I dreaded the day that it stopped working properly - as if that would mean he knew it was okay to move on - that I was able to continue on without him.
Slowly over time, I was able to go for a few hours at a time without breaking into tears - but when I did feel my heart breaking - I would go to the back porch and it NEVER failed - night or day - an owl would hoot off in the distance. As if to remind me that Yes, my dear. I am nearby. While he was alive, and when I was still working - he would write me a brief note every night after I went to bed. Before leaving for work in the morning, I would find his note on the kitchen table. Most often, it just had the words I love you with a smiley face, sometimes more. I saved those notes over the years, and when I retired I packed them away in a 'safe' place. After he passed, I was frantic to find those notes. For days, I was devastated. I just couldn't remember where they were. Then one morning I woke up and decided to go out to one of our sheds that we store Christmas and other seasonal items in. I opened the shed door, went straight to the tote containing the basket of notes. I cried tears of joy. I know he played a role in my finding them.
With the passing of my husband - my financial well being was very bad. It was necessary for me to sell many things at auction to get by those first months. I was cleaning out my sewing room, packing up what was to be sold - and in the bottom of a box of notions lay a still sealed envelope with my name written on the front. First of all, you must understand my husband was an amputee and wheelchair bound. His wheelchair would not fit through the sewing room door so when he wanted to talk to me, he would come sit outside the door. He did not have access to the room. Yet, here was this letter in a sealed envelope. I would include it with this description if there were a way to do so. I was having a particularly difficult time that day, with the realization of his loss and the life changes necessary to continue on. I found that letter, and had to sit down when I opened it. In it, he stated that he knew when he passed I would have a really hard time dealing with him not being here. But he wanted me to know that he will be here - he will always be here. My heart burst into joy. He is alive. He is here with me, and I am not alone.
Shortly after that, I had my first dream of him. It had been weeks since he left. I have never been a person who would be comfortable with ghosts. I think my conscious self would not allow me to know he was available in my dreams - in anticipation that I would revert to the terrible grief I suffered in the beginning. In my dream, he and I sat at the kitchen table - as we had done for many years - drinking our morning coffee and talking. He tried to stand or something, and I frantically reached out to stop him - after all, he only had one leg. He began laughing and pulled the lap quilt from his lap. He had both legs, and was fully capable of standing on his own.
Since then, I know when he is near - I can sense it somehow.
Love never dies.
Was this experience difficult to express in words? No
Did you ONLY sense an awareness of presence of the deceased without actually seeing, hearing, feeling or smelling them? Yes
Did you hear the deceased or hear something associated with the deceased? Yes
Describe what you heard, how clearly you heard it and what was communicated: The hooting of the owl, heard it very clearly and comfort was being communicated.
Did the voice or sound seem to originate externally or outside of you, inside you, or did you not hear a voice or sound, but had a sense of knowing what was communicated? The sound originated outside of myself but I knew it was there for me.
If you heard a voice or sound, was it similar or dissimilar from the voice or sound the deceased made when they were alive? Oh yes. He was amazing at mimicking owls.
Is there any possibility what you heard was from any other source present in the surroundings at the time of your experience? Of course - there always is that possibility. But to come at just the times when I was most needy or grief stricken seems to me to be self explanatory.
Was there any possible impairment to your hearing at the time of the experience? No.
Did you feel a touch or experience any physical contact from the deceased? Yes
One night while lying in bed ( I always slept with my feet outside the covers), I felt him caress my foot.
Was the touch familiar or unfamiliar? Familiar - he would do that occasionally when passing by the bed.
Was anything communicated by the touch? Love. Peace. Awareness of his presence.
Is there any possibility what you felt was from any other source present in the surroundings at the time of your experience? No.
Did you see the deceased? No
Did you smell a distinct smell, scent, fragrance or odor associated with the deceased? No
How long did the experience last? Weeks
Was the beginning and end of the experience gradual or more sudden? Sudden, and continually present - in one way or another. The owl hooting - the clock chiming.
Could you sense the emotions or mood of the deceased? Yes
Did the deceased give you information you did not previously know? The letter. He had never stated anything about being here with me if anything happened to him.
How do you currently view the reality of your experience? Experience was definitely real
Please explain why you view the reality of your experience as real or not real: There were simply too many co-incidences of happenings for it to be simply accidental. There was an underlying 'knowing' in my heart that if he could reach out to me, he would. I know that I felt that way myself.
Was the experience dream like in any way? No
Describe in detail your feelings/emotions during the experience: My grief was the level of despair that you reach when suicidal. I wanted to join him, more than anything. But we had promised each other that whoever remained behind would not do anything like that - that we had a responsibility to the children and grandchildren. Twice I tried to watch the movie 'What Dreams May come' shortly after he died and both times the movie stopped playing right before she contemplates suicide. I believe that he blocked me from being able to watch that movie out of concern that I would not keep my promise if I did.
Was there any emotional healing in any way following the experience? Yes
I am able to cope now. I have a journal I write to him often. I miss him immensely, but I have work yet to do.
What was the best and worst part of your experience? The best part was the knowing he had not truly left me. The worst part? that I couldn't reach out and touch him, hold his hand, kiss his lips, have him hold me in his arms.
Has your life changed specifically as a result of your experience? Yes Describe: I am more convinced than ever that there is life after death and that one person can reach back and touch the ones left behind. I have always been fearful of 'ghosts' or physical manifestations of deceased persons - and Earl was aware of that. So everything progressed the only way it could without terrifying me.