For the first time in my life (that I can remember) I didn't go to church on Easter Sunday. The thought of getting dressed up depressed me. When I awoke that morning I had a sudden thought - to go to the beach for my own private worship.
I arrived at Leo Carrillo Beach before 9:00 a.m. It was a gloomy day, heavily overcast and chilly, but I didn't care. I was glad to be at the beach again.
I'd walked about ½ mile south along the mostly deserted beach when I saw a large driftwood log. I sat down on it and started to pray, thanking God again for my new granddaughter, Mekenna Rose, for all my grandchildren, my children and the rest of my family and friends. Then I prayed for God's Love and the Christ Spirit to enter my heart.
As I often do when I pray, I felt sudden joy and knew that God's Spirit was indeed there. It was a love fest, just the two of us.
After awhile I felt as if God was smiling and telling me, "Go for a walk, my child. Take a break. Have fun."
So I did. I walked for at least a mile before stopping to look for rocks. I was bent down looking when I suddenly felt a familiar presence. It was the same feeling that I used to get when Bert and I went to the beach and I would go off on a rock search. I'd be searching diligently, looking through piles of beach stones when all of the sudden I would feel his presence, turn my head, and see him standing there watching me.
It was the same this time. I felt him there, but of course I couldn't see him.
I said to him (in my head), "Honey, you came."
He said, "Yes, I'm here. Do you mind if I walk with you?"
I said, "Of course not. It makes me so happy to have you here."
We walked along for a while and then I stopped to look for more stones. He said, "What exactly are we looking for?"
I said, "Oh, you know, mostly surf-polished pieces of glass. And any unusual or particularly pretty stones."
He said, "Got it."
I was soon finding more pieces of glass than I've ever found before. With each wave came more small "jewels" of glass. Some of them were oval shaped and perfectly smooth, like I'd never seen before.
I was absolutely delighted and kept saying, "Oh, it's beautiful. Thanks, Honey."
Then I heard his voice saying, "Heart of my heart," which is what he wrote at the end of a letter to me.
I smiled and said, "You know what I'd really like? I'd like to find something that would be truly special, something to always remind me of this lovely day."
Then a thought came into my head and I said, "I'd like a heart-shaped stone."
Bert teasingly answered, "Hmm. Do you want it with both the right and left ventricles?
I laughed and said, "You know what I mean - a valentine-shaped heart."
He said, "O.K. I'll find one."
I continued to walk, and continued to find pretty stones and more pieces of smooth glass, but no heart-shaped stone. Meanwhile Bert continued to talk, commenting on the beauty of the ocean and other things. He kept me laughing internally with his gentle teasing and funny remarks.
Finally, after walking at least 3 miles down the beach, climbing over large boulders and running from cove to cove just ahead of the crashing surf, I said to Bert, "Honey, it's okay if I don't find a heart-shaped stone. It was probably an impossible request. In all my years of searching beaches for stones, shells and glass, I've never seen a heart-shaped stone. So even if I don't find one, I'll always remember this as a wonderful day."
But he answered, "I said I was going to find one for you, and I will."
It was only a few minutes later that I looked down and saw it. It was lying by itself on a smooth stretch of sand and it was directly in my path. Had I continued walking I would have stepped on it.
I stopped, reached down and picked it up. It was a stone valentine, a perfectly heart-shaped rock, its surface smoothed by the surf.
I stood there for a few seconds just holding it and staring at it because I couldn't believe what I was seeing.
Then I said, "Oh, honey. Thank you. It's beautiful. I can't believe you found it!"
He laughed and said, "You're welcome. Just remember, I love you and I always will, Heart of my Heart."
I repeated to him, "Heart of my Heart."
I continued to look for stones and glass, and got soaked several times because I ventured too close to the incoming surf. Each time I did, I could hear Bert chuckling.
We passed half the afternoon that way until I realized that my hands and feet were numb and I was getting very tired.
I finally made it back to the Leo Carrillo Beach, and left the ocean around 3:30. As I got into my car I realized that Bert was no longer there.
It was almost 5:00 when I arrived home. After greeting Mike (my son) and telling him about my day, I showed him the heart-shaped stone.
He nodded and confirmed, "That's heart shaped all right. You can't get more heart shaped than that."
But it wasn't until much later, after I'd washed all my stones and glass, put the heart shaped stone on Bert's dresser and the rest in various containers, done a couple loads of wash, etc. - after Mike had already gone to bed, that it hit me.
I walked into my bedroom, picked up the heartstone, and held it in my hands. As I turned it over and looked at the "backside" I saw a small heart imprint in the stone. "Heart of my heart," I gasped, and burst into tears. They weren't sad tears. They were tears of wonder and joy……how in the world?
like a small miracle, a miracle of love.
sense an awareness or presence of the deceased without actually seeing, hearing,
feeling or smelling them ?
Did you hear the deceased or hear something associated with the deceased? Yes
Did the voice or sound seem to originate externally, or outside of you, inside of you, or did you not hear a voice or sound but had a knowing of what was communicated? I heard his voice inside my head
If you heard a voice or sound, was it similar or dissimilar to the voice or sound the deceased made when they were alive? Exactly the same voice as when he was alive
How clearly did you hear the deceased? Very
Is there any possibility that what you heard was from any other source in the surroundings at the time of your experience? No
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? No
Where and how were you touched? However I have felt his touch at other times
Was the touch familiar? It was his touch
Was anything communicated by the touch? Love
Is there any possibility what you felt was from any other source present in your surroundings at the time of your experience? No
Did you see the deceased? No
Describe the appearance of the deceased: I didn't see him this time, but I have on other occasions since he died
How clearly did the deceased appear? Completely solid
How much of the deceased did you see? All of him
Did the deceased appear or not appear to be the age at which they died? Much younger, around 35-40, at the prime of his life
How healthy did the deceased appear to be? His body was perfect
Is there any possibility what you saw was from any other source present in your surroundings at the time of your experience? No
Did you smell a distinct smell, fragrance or odor associated with the deceased? No
Describe: Not this time, but I did at another time
Was the smell, scent, fragrance or odor familiar? It was the aftershave he word to the hospital three days before he died
Was anything communicated by the smell? That he was there
Is there any possibility the smell, scent, fragrance or odor was from any other source present in your surroundings at the time of your experience? No
How long did the experience last? About 3 minutes
Was the beginning and end of the experience gradual or more sudden? gradual
How do you currently view the reality of your experience: Experience was definitely real
Describe in detail your feelings/emotions during the experience: The first year after my husband died I grieved deeply for him. In fact I didn't want to continue on without him, although I never thought of ending my own life. Some days were better than others. On the day of this occurrence I was feeling better, but still missing his terribly.
What other attitudes and beliefs about your experience do you currently have: Joy
Was there any emotional healing in any way following the experience? Yes
Did the experience give you any spiritual understandings such as life, death, afterlife, God, etc.? Yes
Describe: But none that I didn't already have
Have you ever made a death compact? Yes
Describe: Yes, my husband and I promised (before he got sick) that whoever died first would try to contact the other and let them know they were okay. (My husband, by the way, didn't have a firm belief in the an afterlife)
died, he's let me know time and time again that he's very much alive - and very
Was the experience dream like in any way? No
Describe: This particular experience wasn't dreamlike, however I've had others that were
Did you see or visit any beautiful or otherwise distinctive locations, levels or dimensions? No
Describe: Not this time, but I did on another occasion
Has the experience affected your relationships? Daily life? Religious practices etc.? Career choices? It only served to lessen my grief
Have you shared this experience with others? Yes
The few people I've shared it with have believed it completely (since I also
show them the heart stone). They usually cry when they read the story.
Have you shared this experience formally or informally with any other researcher or web site? No
What emotions/feelings did you experience following your experience? Happiness
What was the best and worst part of your experience? The best part was feeling like I was with my husband again. The worst part was still missing him.
Is there anything else you would like to add regarding your experience? It speaks for itself. However I would like to add that this was not the only occasion that my husband has made his presence known.