Clouds, Coins and Dreams…

Connections from the Other Side?

Lorie’s grandparents were very dear to her. Even though her grandfather died in 1977 and her grandmother in 1998, she is convinced they have remained involved in her life.

The first proof comes from a nightmare in which a bomb had gone off and Lorie was caught in a hysterical crowd. She was trying to find her family by running toward the source of the explosion.

“I had to know they were okay,” she writes, but, “I was in a panic and going the wrong way.”

The feeling of that huge struggle woke Lorie with a start, and as her eyes shot open she could see the silhouette of a male figure by her bed.

“I closed my eyes and said, Grandpa, if this is you, please go. You are scaring me more.”

“I closed my eyes and said, Grandpa, if this is you, please go. You are scaring me more.” When she opened her eyes again, the figure was gone. “I know with all my heart that it was my grandfather, she writes. “(He) had come to comfort me through a horrible nightmare.”

But that’s not where her grandfather’s comfort ends. “I am quite sure it was my grandfather who saved my life, as well as my parents’ lives when our garage was torched by an arsonist,” continues Lorie.

She awoke in the early morning dark to a crackling sound, which she first mistook for her cat scratching at the screen on her bedroom window. Annoyed by its persistence—particularly because she’d left the screen open for the cat to come in on its own—Lorie got up and looked out. Flames shot up in front of her face. Quickly, she grabbed the dog and ran to wake her parents. By the time her disbelieving father opened the front door to find fire framing the doorway, it was already too late to call 911 because the telephone line had been burned through.

Lorie, her parents, and the dog managed to escape the house just as the lawnmower and barbecue exploded in the garage. Because the family car was also in the garage with a three-quarters-full tank of gas, houses on either side of theirs were evacuated. The fire was so intense that firefighters even broke her waterbed to help quell the flames.

Later, investigators allowed Lorie and her family back into the house to find a few important items. “I surveyed my room,” recalls Lorie. “It was a charred mess.” But, there in the corner closest to the window was an old photo of her grandfather’s last Christmas with the family. “Everything that was with this photo was burned beyond recognition,” says Lorie. Yet this irreplaceable image survived.

Meanwhile, the cat had escaped to a field across the road, where he remained—visited and fed daily by Lorie—until the family home was rebuilt. Because the cat had obviously been scared off by the flames, it could not have been him making the noises that woke Lorie the night of the fire. The sound could only have come from one source, she reasoned, and her grandfather’s unscathed photo was the sign she needed to tell her that.

“My grandfather saved our lives early that morning.”

But, even this was not the end of her grandfather’s influence. It seems he continued to make his presence known, mostly through randomly-placed coins. She recalls one incident many years after the house fire, when she worked in a group home for boys in crisis.

“We had our good days and we had our challenging days,” writes Lorie. “On this particular day, it was a non-stop challenge.”

The boys weren’t getting along. They refused to listen to staff or try to solve their own issues, she recalls. She remembers how the stairways between floors were well travelled daily—especially during a crisis like the one on this day. She writes about descending the stairs feeling exasperated, thinking, “What more can happen today?” when something shiny caught her eye.

“I bent over to find a quarter… It was a sign that my grandfather was around. I would survive the day.”

“I bent over to find a quarter. I was amazed this quarter was still there despite numerous people using the stairs. It was unheard of in a home occupied by so many people.”

Lorie knew of the saying that, if you find a coin, an angel is looking out for you. Over the years, Lorie had noticed quarters turning up in strange places, and she’d begun a habit of checking the dates of the ones she found. She checked this one, and—sure enough—it read 1977, the year her grandfather passed away. That made her smile. “It was a sign that my grandfather was around. I would survive the day.”

But Lorie’s experiences with coins and strange sightings don’t end with her grandfather. Her grandmother had always taught her to search the sky for shapes and pictures in the clouds.

“She had me convinced, when I was young, that there really was a man in the moon and he was smiling down at us every night.”

But, one sad day in June of 1998, Lorie got a phone call telling her that her grandmother had passed away peacefully in her retirement home after spending an afternoon out with Lorie’s parents. The next day, she made herself busy doing errands in preparation for the funeral.

“As I was driving to the store, I noticed a cloud that looked like an angel. I smiled to myself, thinking Grandma was letting me know she was okay,” remembers Lorie. “By the time I arrived at the grocery store, the cloud had changed… I saw that it looked like a dog chasing a ball. My grandmother knew how much I loved my dogs and how heartbreaking it was for me to say goodbye to them when their time had come to leave. She always stated that they were off to Dog Heaven.”

Again, Lorie smiled to herself: “My grandmother was showing me, through the clouds, that she was okay and my dog Paddy was okay, too.”

With all this to think about, Lorie didn’t notice a woman nearing with a pay-as-you-go grocery cart. “Do you need this?” she asked.

“Yes,” said Lorie and gave her a quarter in exchange.

She hurried through her shopping and returned the cart to its proper place, where she retrieved the quarter someone else had inserted as a deposit.

“I noticed the date on it.”

Sure enough, it read 1977; a sign her grandfather was with her.

“I received the messages loud and clear from my grandmother: That she was fine; that Paddy, my dog, was fine—and from my grandfather that he was fine, too. I just smiled.”

A few days later, Lorie’s parents were discussing what age to put on her grandmother’s gravestone. This was difficult because, “She would always say a lady never tells her age,” writes Lorie. “She lived by that so much so that she once ripped up and disposed of her birth certificate.

“My mother was saying that Grandma must have been at least ninety-five. My father refused to believe she was that old because she always acted much younger. He said she must be no older than ninety-one. I let them know that Grandma was ninety-three.

“I reached inside the mailbox… I was in possession of 93 cents! …Grandma just wanted me to know I was correct. She died at ninety-three years of age.”

“The both asked how I knew.”

Lorie explained that, while she briefly lived with her grandmother, the older woman let slip the year she was born while telling stories about what life was like in her younger days.

“When I returned home, I reached inside the mailbox for mail. Instead I felt coins. Confused, I took them out and looked around. Who had been playing around in my mailbox? I shrugged it off and went inside.”

Once Lorie put the groceries away, she decided to count the change that had come from the mailbox. “I was in possession of 93 cents! I called my neighbour to ask if she had seen children around my place. She replied she had not and had been at home all day.”

This was Lorie’s confirmation. “Grandma just wanted me to know I was correct. She died at ninety-three years of age.”


The Meaning of Forever Project continues to accept stories of comforting experiences with loved ones who have passed on, and of near-death experiences that have helped to show the continuation of life beyond the physical body. You can email your story to us atthemeaningofforever@gmail.com and you can find more about our project on our Facebook page, and our Meaning of Forever Website.

Might We Find Meaning at the End of Life?

            

Since January, 2017, The Meaning of Forever Project has been following the work of Dr. Christopher Kerr and his team of researchers at Hospice Buffalo, where they have been carefully observing patients in order to answer this question: Are the dreams and visions of people who are dying actually meaningful?

In a new book, Death is but a Dream: Finding Hope and Meaning at Life’s End, Dr. Kerr reports his findings—and, as Joan Olinger tells us in this review, the short answer to the question is, “Yes.”


By Joan Olinger

Through a decade of research and caring for patients, Hospice Physician Dr. Christopher Kerr has found that end-of-life dreams and visions (ELDV’s) serve an important function for the dying by promoting spiritual and psychological healing and growth, thus providing positive resolution at the end of life.

Dr. Kerr writes on page 216 of his new book:

It is at the hour of death that people are able to free themselves from old fears and find their way back to a renewed sense of self. This is the whole self with which we lose touch over the years of accumulated stressors, expectations, mishaps, and negative emotions, but it is also the self that resurfaces in full force at end of life. During the profound resolution that is enabled by the dying process, patients reconnect with those they have loved and lost, mourned but not forgotten.

What Dr. Kerr describes here is the connection patients make with loved ones who have predeceased them. It is these loved ones who now come in dreams or visions to welcome the dying person into what lies beyond death of the physical body.

He describes how, in dreams and visions, long-lost loved ones come to love, comfort, and welcome the dying individual to what lies beyond death.

Dr. Kerr’s new book contains one beautiful love story after another. With love and compassion, he describes each unique person; their characteristics, history, and the events that occur in their dreams or visions at the end of their life. He describes how, in dreams and visions, long-lost loved ones come to love, comfort, and welcome the dying individual to what lies beyond death. These may be a predeceased spouse, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or friends, he says. Or the greeter may be another who has been a further source of unconditional love during the dying person’s life.  

For dying children who have not yet lost a relative or friend to death, a much beloved pet may be the one to shower them with love in their dreams or visions, says Kerr. As with adults, children feel comforted, loved, and know they won’t be alone as they transition from this world to what lies ahead.  They, too, feel an acceptance of their death and be at peace, he says.  

According to Dr. Kerr’s research, most people at the bedside of the dying patient will also feel comforted by the positive dreams and visions their loved ones are experiencing. He says they find it a relief to know their loved one will not be alone after they die, but instead will be in the company of others who love them dearly.   

But not all end-of-life dreams and visions are initially positive, notes Dr. Kerr. Some patients, who have had especially difficult lives, go through a period of disturbing and challenging dreams before coming to wholeness, forgiveness (of self or others), and receptivity to giving and receiving unconditional love. But, concludes Dr. Kerr, they do get there in their own unique ways.

But not all end-of-life dreams and visions are initially positive, notes Dr. Kerr.

Historically, we, as a society have not valued the end of life experiences of our loved ones. All the same, these dreams and visions have been described by patients as being vivid, different from other dreams they have had, and “more real than real.” As such, they have often been misunderstood as hallucinations, the adverse effects of drugs used in treatment, or the effects of an underlying medical condition, such as a dying brain. Thus, dying patients have been afraid to tell of their end of life experiences because they have thought that, either they were losing their minds, or that other people might think they were.

In the past, when doctors were told about these end of life experiences, they tried to medicate them away. That is why Dr. Kerr’s new book and his research published in medical journals are so important.   Validating and valuing these end of life experiences opens the door for a dying person to reach a new wholeness, comfort, peace and acceptance of death. Their fear of death is, then, gone.

An upcoming documentary, called Death is But a Dream, is to be released by Dr. Kerr later in 2020. It will allow you to see for yourself the positive effects of these end of life experiences on the dying patient and their families. It may very well change the way you look at death.


The Meaning of Forever Project continues to accept stories of comforting experiences with loved ones who have passed on, and of near-death experiences that have helped to show the continuation of life beyond the physical body. You can email your story to us at themeaningofforever@gmail.com and you can find more about our project on our Facebook page, and our Meaning of Forever Website. Further resources, including Dr. Kerr’s book, are listed on our “Resources” page https://meaningofforever.wordpress.com/resources/further-reading/

Did John Text Emily from The Other Side?

When a loved-one leaves this life before we–or they–are ready, it can cause a lot of anxiety for those left behind: What has become of the person for whom we still hold all this love ? Are they alright in the place where they’ve gone–if, indeed, they’ve gone anywhere at all? How can we know?

Sometimes, as the story below demonstrates, all it takes is a little trust and a willingness to pay attention to even the strangest things…


By Janine Gwendoline Smith

John and Emily had accomplished 46 years of marriage. In today’s disposable society, that is quite an accomplishment; to consider the needs and well being of another as important as your own, all the while weathering life’s capricious vicissitudes.

Both John and Emily were immigrants and English was not their first language. But they shared a sense of adventure and flexibility as they made their way in a new country and then raised a beautiful daughter together. John and Emily shared many interests, had lively discussions on varied topics, and were always able to laugh together.

They even managed to navigate the tricky waters of diverging ideologies when Emily at long last found a spiritual path that answered the deeply urgent questions burning in her heart. John, on the other hand, was a natural skeptic, perhaps out of self-protection or to ward of disappointment.

Nonetheless, Emily would often assure John with her convictions of the eternal nature of Soul, reincarnation and life after death, the presence of spiritual guides, and the profound love that is showered upon us all. Still he dismissed the lot of it, often with a wave of his hand and his favourite comment, “Bah!”

Emily would often assure John with her convictions of the eternal nature of Soul. Still he dismissed the lot of it, often with a wave of his hand…”Bah!”

The last few years had seen John in a progressively declining state of health. Emily did all she could to encourage him, uplift him, and give him a positive outlook. There were ups and downs but still John managed to come out on the other side of the bouts, and life would resume some sort of balance once again.

Then a malicious flu struck them both. Emily was very sick and John was having trouble breathing. Despite her own illness, Emily desperately wanted to take John to the hospital. He adamantly refused, yet his condition worsened.

Finally, in the early hours of Sunday morning, John collapsed, and the strenuous attempts of both Emily and the paramedics could not revive him. John was gone! A flurry of activity brought the necessary first responders, and the official business of death began.

Sunday evening I received a call from Emily letting me know of John’s passing. She was exhausted and in shock but her foremost worry was for John on the other side. She knew I shared her spiritual understanding and was hoping John would be open to the help and guidance that would be available at his transition from this life.

There was a bittersweet recognition that all she had told him while he was alive would become evident once he left his mortal coil. Still, she was so very anxious to know that he was OK on the other side of the veil. I reassured her as best I could.


Then, Monday afternoon I received a text on my cell phone from Emily: “I’m on my way.”

I was confused. Had we made some plan that I’d inadvertently forgotten? I tried to reach Emily by phone but had no luck. So, I called her daughter to find out if she knew her mom’s whereabouts and if her mom was in fact coming to see me.

I explained the text to Emily’s daughter. Her first comment was that her mother never used texting to communicate. Then she inquired about the number from which the text message had been sent. When I related it to her, and the fact that the message had Emily’s name attached to it, she was astounded.

Monday afternoon, I received a text from Emily: “I’m on my way.”

“That phone was destroyed a long time ago and we haven’t had that number for ages,” she said.

Now we were both astounded but, quickly, we reached the same conclusion: The message had come from John, who knew I was close with both his wife and daughter and as such would not just dismiss the text as some mistaken communication. Somehow, he had managed to reach across the final frontier and let his wife know he was OK and off now to begin a wonderful spiritual adventure.

A huge sigh of relief came from Emily when I told her the story and relayed John’s message. She bid her partner “Happy Trails,” knowing he was well and had finally realized the truth. She will miss him but is beginning a new chapter of her own, enjoying the spiritual freedom her husband, at long last, now shares.


The Meaning of Forever Project continues to accept stories of comforting experiences with loved ones who have passed on, and of near-death experiences that have helped to show the continuation of life beyond the physical body. You can email your story to us atthemeaningofforever@gmail.com and you can find more about our project on our Facebook page, and our Meaning of Forever Website.

Can Aunt Rama be Far, but Near at the Same Time?


By Manisha Sharma

This story is about my Aunt Rama (my mom’s elder sister), who lived close to our house in Delhi, India, and who left us forever in the first week of July 2016 after a brief hospitalization. She was very dear to us, a very loving and selfless soul to whom my mom and I were quite attached.

Aunt Rama had been hospitalized off and on for the last few years due to an ongoing illness, but we always expected her to get well and come back home. This time, however, she did not come back. Her death came as a terrible shock to me, my mom and her own family. This was compounded by the fact we had not been permitted to visit her in hospital, as she was in the ICU (intensive care unit).

Afterwards, thoughts of her never seemed to leave us, even for a moment. The very mention of her name or sight of her photograph brought tears to our eyes.

Afterwards, thoughts of her never seemed to leave us, even for a moment. The very mention of her name or sight of her photograph brought tears to our eyes. It was difficult to believe that she was no longer with us. But a few days after she passed away, I saw her in my dreams in a blue saree (the traditional dress of Indian women, which is made from a six-metre-long piece of fabric). Even though she had died of illness, she looked quite radiant and healthy in my dream and was sitting next to me. I recognized her and the dream ended.

The blue saree seemed familiar but I could not recollect where I had seen it. Again a few days later, while I was meditating and had almost fallen asleep, I saw her standing close in that same saree, smiling. I wanted to call to her and speak with her but I could not move. Just as in the dream, she looked radiant and happy. For some moments I felt as if I had really been with her, and it felt very peaceful. This vision lasted a few seconds until I was wide awake.

It would take some time for me to understand the meaning of this happening and of my dream before that.

A few days later, I was surfing through Facebook and found a photograph of my Aunt Rama in that same blue saree. In the photo she was with her son (my cousin) with whom I am very close. She was smiling with that same sweet radiance I had seen and felt in my dreams. Then I remembered taking that photograph myself a few years earlier during a visit to her home.

As years passed, I stopped missing her so much, and her memories remained as a beautiful thought of someone far but near.

As years passed, I stopped missing her so much, and her memories remained as a beautiful thought of someone far but near. I stopped seeing her in my dreams or thinking of her so often. I feel that the dream and later vision were a message that my Aunt Rama is well and happy, that we should not worry about her and only remember her smiling and happy face. These experiences have helped me recover from the shock of her passing away so suddenly and have helped me to accept the reality of her sudden death

Last week, however, after almost four years, I saw her once again in my dreams in that same blue saree. I got up wondering what message she was trying to give me this time. I immediately called her family and spoke to my cousin, who told me that my uncle (her dear husband), who feels unhappy without her presence, was not keeping well and had undergone a minor surgery the day before. A few years before her death, my aunt and uncle had celebrated their 50th marriage anniversary. I feel her being in my dream was a message that she remembers her family and wants us to be there with them, especially with her husband.

Seeing Aunt Rama in my dream again after four years makes me believe that those whom we love never go away, though they may not be physically present.


The Meaning of Forever Project continues to accept stories of comforting experiences with loved ones who have passed on, and of near-death experiences that have helped to show the continuation of life beyond the physical body. You can email your story to us atthemeaningofforever@gmail.com and you can find more about our project on our Facebook page, and our Meaning of Forever Website.

Is there Life Beyond the Curtain?


By Marlene Chapelle

My mom and I were never really close.  We were always at odds with each other.  She was that way with my sister as well.  My two brothers had children and she would go to their houses for visits.  I had to trick her into finally coming to visit with my three children for a birthday.  I did not want her to die without resolving this difficult situation.

Many, many years passed.  She was seventy-one when, one day, she phoned to say she was losing weight and couldn’t keep any food down.  She said that her doctor suggested she go to the emergency ward of her local hospital.  I went that night to keep her company.  I did not know that she would live for only three more weeks.

The first week the doctors did testing.  She was fully conscious that first week.  My sister, two brothers and I visited each day.  By week two, she was in and out of consciousness.  The doctors finally told us she had pancreatic cancer and was dying.  My brothers stopped coming to visit because they wanted to remember her as she had been and not the gaunt woman she had become in the hospital. 

If she had not been so cold and distant with me, I would not have become the person I am so proud to be today.

From week two onwards my sister and I would visit our mom each day.  She was mostly unconscious now, but while attending to her that second week, I realized something: If she had not been so cold and distant with me, I would not have become the person I am so proud to be today.  I knew the adversity had made me strong.  And as I sat by her bed one afternoon, she woke up. This gave me the chance to tell her she was the best mom I could ever have had.  She said she did not know I felt that way. 

Days passed and by week three, my mom’s organs began shutting down.  She was now completely unconscious and on pain medication.  By the end of that week, both my sister and I sat at her bedside every evening.  One night a relative came to visit.  It was almost closing time for visitors when my sister said that he needed to say good night and let our mom sleep. 

The relative left quickly and my sister told me that our mom was about to pass on.  When I asked how she knew, she said Mom’s breathing had changed and was slowing down.  It was now time for us to begin preparing spiritually for our mother’s death. We sang the word HU, an ancient name for God, and I closed my eyes to see what was happening inwardly. 

I saw my mom and me standing beside a semi-transparent curtain.  In the distance through the curtain, I could see her relatives and friends.  My dad, who had died five years earlier, was also there.  I told my mom she could go through the curtain and be with him, but she did not move.  She was afraid. 

Her deep love had overpowered her fer and taken her through the curtain.

Then I saw her old dog, Perky.  I pointed to him on the other side of the curtain and, right then and there, she made a beeline for her beloved dog.  Her deep love had overpowered her fear and taken her through the curtain.  As she moved towards Perky, she became younger and younger.  Then the relatives, my dad, Perky and my mom turned, walked into the distance and disappeared.

I came out of that experience so excited.  There was life beyond death! I had proof now.  My mom did not die; only her physical body died. I now knew that her essence, Soul, lives on in the inner worlds, just like my dad, Perky and the relatives who were there to greet her.  I told my sister what I saw, and she told me what she heard at the moment of our mother’s death:  a whooshing sound that came out of Mom’s body, then zoomed upward and away. 

Now we both had our proof that there is life beyond death.


The Meaning of Forever Project continues to accept stories of comforting experiences with loved ones who have passed on, and of near-death experiences that have helped to show the continuation of life beyond the physical body. You can email your story to us at themeaningofforever@gmail.com and you can find more about our project on our Facebook page, and our Meaning of Forever Website.

What is Heaven Like?

In this repeat of a post from February of 2017, Suzie derives much comfort from a dream of her deceased father and brother, and she concludes that Heaven is very much an individual experience.


By Suzie Kurz

When my father died of a heart attack, even if I wanted to go home to the Philippines, I couldn’t.

I sorrowed painfully, remembering how my father worked all his life, striving so hard on our farm with a primitive single plow, pulled by a carabao (water buffalo) day in and day out, to ensure that all his eight children finished university in order for them to have a better life and make a difference in this world. I remembered how he taught us to respect resources and how he strove to save every penny for our education.

But Fred, my husband, and I had just started building our dream home in Toronto. It was to be a passive solar house, and we were the contractors for the first time. We were new to this venture and needed to be together to make all the decisions regarding the construction.

A few weeks after my father passed away, while asleep, I had an experience in another world. I found myself on a beautiful coconut plantation. Tied between two coconut tree trunks was a hammock where my father was lying comfortably and swinging gently with the breeze. Surprised and elated I ran to him with tears rolling down my cheeks.

He said, “Oh, you are here! I’m fine. Don’t cry.”

I said, “I am so sorry I couldn’t come home to be with the family at your funeral.”I hugged him.

He said“Look around, see my beautiful coconut plantation.”

When my father was still living in this physical world, he started planting coconuts but he only managed to plant a few trees before he departed.

Suddenly, I heard a chugging sound of a tractor, I turned and there was my brother Carlos, who had passed away two years earlier. I ran to him. Seated high on his tractor wearing a wide brimmed straw hat and looking down at me with a winsome smile said, “See, I told you, I will join papa to do farming one day, and here we are!”

The scene slowly faded away and I woke up. But that experience was so real, I cried with joy. It remains vivid to this day, nearly 40 years later. I always knew that life continues after the physical body dies. This experience with my father and my brother proved that.

I believe a person brings his or her state of consciousness into the new world that they move into. Our aspirations are recorded in our transcendental selves and therefore are taken anywhere we go.

I am truly grateful for this experience.

© SUZY KURZ, 2017


The Meaning of Forever Project continues to accept stories of comforting experiences with loved ones who have passed on, and of near-death experiences that have helped to show the continuation of life beyond the physical body. You can email your story to us at themeaningofforever@gmail.com and you can find more about our project on our Facebook page, and our Meaning of Forever Website.

How Many Ways Can the Cat Say He’s Back?

Bob Lawton - Cat With a Heart
Photo: © https://www.telegraph.co.uk/

In previous posts, we’ve featured stories about the loving connection between animals and humans that sometimes brings them together in more than one life. This one, from a blog called  Animals are Soul, spoke to our hearts and we’d like to share it with you. It’s re-printed here with permission.


The Cat with a Heart

By Bob Lawton

My wife, Luanne, and I got our all-black cat Shadow when he was a kitten. After only eight short years, he started having problems that led to his passing. Luanne was devastated over the loss. What made it even more difficult was that Shadow’s death happened while I was out of town. We weren’t able to all be together when the time came for Shadow to leave us.

Soon after Shadow was gone, I lay in bed one night, when all of a sudden, I saw an image of him walking across the floor and heading toward the bed.

Yes, I saw the cat who had just died walk into the room and change from his cat body into a small sphere of light and then back into the form of a cat. I realized Shadow was still with us in spirit.

I said to Luanne, “I saw the cat in the bedroom.”

“Why can’t I see him?” she asked.

I wondered if my wife’s deep sadness might be a wall between her and Shadow that was too strong for him to break through.

Snuggling with Shadow

On the night after I saw Shadow’s light body, I suddenly felt two taps on the bed. Whenever Shadow wanted to sleep with us, he had this habit of tapping his paw twice on the side of our bed covers. I would lift up the comforter, and the cat would jump onto the bed and snuggle cozily on the blankets, covered by the comforter.

Half asleep, feeling the two taps, as usual, I automatically lifted up the comforter to make room for the cat. His spirit body followed through with our nightly ritual, and he walked over me to sink into his cozy place. I could actually feel the pressure of his form.

That night, I saw Shadow in my dream state. He said to me, “I’m coming back.”

How am I going to find you? I wondered.

A few days later, while I worked on my laptop, the photo of a little black kitten floated across the screen. The caption above the picture read, “Rescue Me.”

You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought. How is this possible?

I’d never had ads of any kind cross my computer screen. The photo and caption made me wonder if Shadow might be coming back to us as the kitten I’d seen in the ad.

That night, I did a spiritual exercise and contemplation. Inwardly I saw Shadow. “How will I know it’s you?” I asked him.

“You’ll know me by my heart,” he answered.

The next morning when I woke up, I could hear Shadow’s words like an echo: “You’ll know me by my heart.”

Another Message

The next day, I stopped at a grocery store and did some shopping. Afterward I was taking the grocery bags out of the cart and putting them into my car when inwardly I heard my spiritual guide, the Mahanta, say, “Pick up the grocery-store flyer in the bottom of the cart.”

I thought, I already have a flyer. I don’t need another one.

Again the inner voice said, “Pick up the flyer.”

Nope, I have one in my pocket and one at home. I don’t need another.

Loud and clear, the Inner Master said, “PICK UP THE FLYER.”

When I picked up the flyer, I saw a magazine under it. A full-size picture of a black cat’s face seemed to be looking up at me from the cover. Amazingly, this cat looked exactly like Shadow.

I threw the magazine onto my car seat and brought it home with the groceries. After putting the groceries away, I placed the magazine on my desk next to the laptop and turned on the computer. Again I saw the picture of a kitten across the screen with the caption “Rescue Me.”

I picked up the magazine and thought, How amazing. It’s as if someone took a picture of Shadow and put it on this magazine. Now looking at the kitten on my laptop, I wondered, Is this my message that Shadow is now back as the kitten on my screen? Then I randomly opened the magazine. On the page I turned to, there was a photo of a little black kitten next to the words “It’s me.”

“You have got to be kidding,” I said out loud.

I have to go see this kitten who keeps popping up on my laptop screen, I thought.

I contacted the woman who had placed the ad I saw on my computer and found out she lived in New Jersey. I live in Connecticut. Who would drive all the way to New Jersey to get a cat?

Well, with all the traffic it turned out to be a three-hour drive. But I finally arrived at the kitten’s home. I picked him up and turned him onto his back, holding him under the lamp so I could look into his eyes.

Wow! I felt an immediate connection. My heart was touched by the feeling of divine love that reached through the eyes of this little being—this beautiful little black kitten. I could feel the consciousness, the essence of that Soul we had called Shadow, now in this new little form. I had no doubt. I needed no further confirmation.

I said to the woman, “I’ll take him.”

She said, “How’d you like to take his sister too? They play so well together. She’s always right at his side. It’s like they’re joined at the hip.” Then she handed me a little black kitten who looked exactly like the one I’d come to meet.

So I drove back to Connecticut with two kittens.

When my wife came home from work, she was so excited to see these two adorable little fur-faces. I watched and felt her sadness melt away as her heart opened to our new kitties.

Of course, we named him Shadow. Luanne named his sister Jersey Girl.

Later that day, I was working in my home office when Luanne called to me and said, “You know, Shadow isn’t totally black. He has a birthmark. You gotta come see this.”

I went out to see what she was talking about and stood there, awestruck. In the middle of the kitten’s chest was a perfectly shaped white heart. I felt goosebumps as I remembered Shadow’s echo from my dream: “You’ll know me by my heart.”

When there’s that bond of divine love, our pets do sometimes come back to be with us again.

Proof Positive

Old Shadow had a favorite spot in our guest bedroom where he liked to curl up under the desk. One day Luanne was trying to find New Shadow, and I said, “Did you look under the desk?” Sure enough, that’s where she found him. He had returned not only to us but also to his best hiding place in our home.

Old Shadow had a favorite toy he would carry around the house. It was a four-inch-long, oblong piece of stiff-but-flexible black fur that looked like a tail. He’d walk with it in his mouth everywhere. It was easy to spot when he played with the black toy on our white carpet. After Shadow died, it was too painful to come across his special toy. So I gathered up all the cat toys, put them in a basket in the basement, and buried Shadow’s toy at the bottom of the basket.

When New Shadow was big enough to climb the stairs, he went down into the basement one day. After he came back up, Luanne said, “I don’t believe it.” I turned around to look. There sat Shadow at the top of the stairs with that favorite black fur toy in his mouth. He had dug through the entire basket to find it.

Now, every so often, while we’re getting ready for bed, we find a sweet present for us on one of our pillows. Just as he always used to do, Shadow has placed his favorite toy there. It’s as if once more he’s saying to us, “See, it’s really me.”

—Photos by Bob Lawton

A Contemplation Seed
By Harold Klemp, from Animals Are Soul Too!

Whether or not your philosophy or religion accepts Souls in forms other than the human is unimportant. If you can accept reincarnation and the fact that Soul takes on many different bodies—and some of these Souls are better vehicles for love than some people—you will find much joy and happiness in your own life. You’ll also find a greater understanding of God’s creation.


The Meaning of Forever Project continues to accept stories of comforting experiences with loved ones who have passed on, and of near-death experiences that have helped to show the continuation of life beyond the physical body. You can email your story to us at themeaningofforever@gmail.com and you can find more about our project on our Facebook page, and our Meaning of Forever Website.

How Many Ways Can the Cat Say He’s Back?

Photo: Copyright https//www.telegraph.co.uk/

In previous posts, we’ve featured stories about the loving connection between animals and humans that sometimes brings us together in more than one life. This one, from a blog called  Animals are Soul, spoke to our hearts and we’d like to share it with you. It’s re-printed here with permission.

***

The Cat with A Heart

By Bob Lawton

My wife, Luanne, and I got our all-black cat Shadow when he was a kitten. After only eight short years, he started having problems that led to his passing. Luanne was devastated over the loss. What made it even more difficult was that Shadow’s death happened while I was out of town. We weren’t able to all be together when the time came for Shadow to leave us.

Soon after Shadow was gone, I lay in bed one night, when all of a sudden, I saw an image of him walking across the floor and heading toward the bed.

Yes, I saw the cat who had just died walk into the room and change from his cat body into a small sphere of light and then back into the form of a cat. I realized Shadow was still with us in spirit.

I said to Luanne, “I saw the cat in the bedroom.”

“Why can’t I see him?” she asked.

I wondered if my wife’s deep sadness might be a wall between her and Shadow that was too strong for him to break through.

Snuggling with Shadow

On the night after I saw Shadow’s light body, I suddenly felt two taps on the bed. Whenever Shadow wanted to sleep with us, he had this habit of tapping his paw twice on the side of our bed covers. I would lift up the comforter, and the cat would jump onto the bed and snuggle cozily on the blankets, covered by the comforter.

Half asleep, feeling the two taps, as usual, I automatically lifted up the comforter to make room for the cat. His spirit body followed through with our nightly ritual, and he walked over me to sink into his cozy place. I could actually feel the pressure of his form.

That night, I saw Shadow in my dream state. He said to me, “I’m coming back.”

How am I going to find you? I wondered.

A few days later, while I worked on my laptop, the photo of a little black kitten floated across the screen. The caption above the picture read, “Rescue Me.”

You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought. How is this possible?

I’d never had ads of any kind cross my computer screen. The photo and caption made me wonder if Shadow might be coming back to us as the kitten I’d seen in the ad.

That night, I did a spiritual exercise and contemplation. Inwardly I saw Shadow. “How will I know it’s you?” I asked him.

“You’ll know me by my heart,” he answered.

The next morning when I woke up, I could hear Shadow’s words like an echo: “You’ll know me by my heart.”

Another Message

The next day, I stopped at a grocery store and did some shopping. Afterward I was taking the grocery bags out of the cart and putting them into my car when inwardly I heard my spiritual guide, the Mahanta, say, “Pick up the grocery-store flyer in the bottom of the cart.”

I thought, I already have a flyer. I don’t need another one.

Again the inner voice said, “Pick up the flyer.”

Nope, I have one in my pocket and one at home. I don’t need another.

Loud and clear, the Inner Master said, “PICK UP THE FLYER.”

When I picked up the flyer, I saw a magazine under it. A full-size picture of a black cat’s face seemed to be looking up at me from the cover. Amazingly, this cat looked exactly like Shadow.

I threw the magazine onto my car seat and brought it home with the groceries. After putting the groceries away, I placed the magazine on my desk next to the laptop and turned on the computer. Again I saw the picture of a kitten across the screen with the caption “Rescue Me.”

I picked up the magazine and thought, How amazing. It’s as if someone took a picture of Shadow and put it on this magazine. Now looking at the kitten on my laptop, I wondered, Is this my message that Shadow is now back as the kitten on my screen? Then I randomly opened the magazine. On the page I turned to, there was a photo of a little black kitten next to the words “It’s me.”

“You have got to be kidding,” I said out loud.

I have to go see this kitten who keeps popping up on my laptop screen, I thought.

I contacted the woman who had placed the ad I saw on my computer and found out she lived in New Jersey. I live in Connecticut. Who would drive all the way to New Jersey to get a cat?

Well, with all the traffic it turned out to be a three-hour drive. But I finally arrived at the kitten’s home. I picked him up and turned him onto his back, holding him under the lamp so I could look into his eyes.

Wow! I felt an immediate connection. My heart was touched by the feeling of divine love that reached through the eyes of this little being—this beautiful little black kitten. I could feel the consciousness, the essence of that Soul we had called Shadow, now in this new little form. I had no doubt. I needed no further confirmation.

I said to the woman, “I’ll take him.”

She said, “How’d you like to take his sister too? They play so well together. She’s always right at his side. It’s like they’re joined at the hip.” Then she handed me a little black kitten who looked exactly like the one I’d come to meet. So I drove back to Connecticut with two kittens.

When my wife came home from work, she was so excited to see these two adorable little fur-faces. I watched and felt her sadness melt away as her heart opened to our new kitties.

Of course, we named him Shadow. Luanne named his sister Jersey Girl.

Later that day, I was working in my home office when Luanne called to me and said, “You know, Shadow isn’t totally black. He has a birthmark. You gotta come see this.”

I went out to see what she was talking about and stood there, awestruck. In the middle of the kitten’s chest was a perfectly shaped white heart. I felt goosebumps as I remembered Shadow’s echo from my dream: “You’ll know me by my heart.”

When there’s that bond of divine love, our pets do sometimes come back to be with us again.

Proof Positive

Old Shadow had a favorite spot in our guest bedroom where he liked to curl up under the desk. One day Luanne was trying to find New Shadow, and I said, “Did you look under the desk?” Sure enough, that’s where she found him. He had returned not only to us but also to his best hiding place in our home.

Old Shadow had a favorite toy he would carry around the house. It was a four-inch-long, oblong piece of stiff-but-flexible black fur that looked like a tail. He’d walk with it in his mouth everywhere. It was easy to spot when he played with the black toy on our white carpet. After Shadow died, it was too painful to come across his special toy. So I gathered up all the cat toys, put them in a basket in the basement, and buried Shadow’s toy at the bottom of the basket.

When New Shadow was big enough to climb the stairs, he went down into the basement one day. After he came back up, Luanne said, “I don’t believe it.” I turned around to look. There sat Shadow at the top of the stairs with that favorite black fur toy in his mouth. He had dug through the entire basket to find it.

Now, every so often, while we’re getting ready for bed, we find a sweet present for us on one of our pillows. Just as he always used to do, Shadow has placed his favorite toy there. It’s as if once more he’s saying to us, “See, it’s really me.”

—Photos by Bob Lawton

***

A Contemplation Seed

By Harold Klemp, from Animals Are Soul Too!

Whether or not your philosophy or religion accepts Souls in forms other than the human is unimportant. If you can accept reincarnation and the fact that Soul takes on many different bodies—and some of these Souls are better vehicles for love than some people—you will find much joy and happiness in your own life. You’ll also find a greater understanding of God’s creation.

***

“The Cat with a Heart” by Bob Lawton is republished with permission from Eckankar. All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 2018 Eckankar, www.Eckankar.org. It was first published in “Animals Are Soul” blog, www.AnimalsAreSoul.blog.

***

The Meaning of Forever Project continues to accept stories of comforting experiences with loved ones who have passed on, and of near-death experiences that have helped to show the continuation of life beyond the physical body. You can email your story to us at themeaningofforever@gmail.com and you can find more about our project on our Facebook page, and our Meaning of Forever Website.

What does “Forever” Really Mean?

Have you ever dreamed of a loved one who has died? Have you felt that, just maybe, he or she is still around in your waking life? Perhaps you’ve never mentioned it to anyone, because you don’t want to be told you’re not moving on from your loss the way you should.

Well, you might be interested to know that scientists and academics are proving that experiences like yours deserve attention and respect.

A version of this post was first published in February of 2017, in which we reported that researchers are finally beginning to catch up with what many of us already know: The love we share with those close to us doesn’t die when they do; it carries on, dare we say… forever.

When psychology student Joshua Black’s father died suddenly a number of years ago, Joshua began having dreams about him that later inspired his research into what he calls “Grief Dreams”. You can see our blog about Joshua’s personal story here. Later a PhD candidate at Brock University in St. Catharine’s, Ontario, Black established a Facebook page (see it here) that encourages others to share their Grief Dreams, and to use them as a way to help them through their loss.

Working toward his PhD, Black began studying the Grief Dreams of others and discovered that 75% of the 250 people who participated had dreams of departed loved ones. Further, 77% of them felt those dreams helped with their grief. But, said Black, he found that many people don’t talk about their Grief Dreams, even with friends or relatives.

“They don’t want people to tell them they aren’t grieving properly, that they aren’t over the loss,” he told the Hamilton Mountain News. “They don’t want them changing the meaning of the dream.”

Black’s Grief Dreams Facebook group is one way he provides a safe space for the bereaved to share their dreams and to feel assured that their experiences are valid. The group recognizes dreams of departed animals as well as humans.

Since our original post, Joshua Black has completed his PhD. with Grief Dreams as its main focus. He continues to publish research and spread awareness about Grief Dreams through workshops and presentations, a regular podcast, a web site, and his Facebook group. Black is now recognized as a leading researcher in this new field of study.

But he is not the only academic interested in dreams of the dead. At Hospice Buffalo in Cheektowaga, New York, the Palliative Care Institute has made a detailed study of the way dreams and visions of departed loved ones affect people who are dying. Led by Dr. Christopher Kerr, these researchers have identified several types of what they call ELDV’s (End-of-Life Dreams and Visions) and concluded these experiences comfort dying patients and help reduce their fear of death. You can click here to see Dr. Kerr’s TEDx Talk about his research and what inspired him to get started.

From interviews with 59 terminally-ill patients, researchers found that 88% had at least one dream or vision (as distinct from hallucinations, which would be characterized by confusion, fear and high anxiety). Ninety-nine per cent of the patients believed these experiences were real. As death approached, patients said comforting dreams of deceased loved ones—including pets—became more common.

But many of these people, too, were reluctant to share their experiences for fear of being thought mentally incompetent.

Nevertheless, say the researchers, these ELDV’s need to be accepted as a valid part of the dying process for terminally ill patients. An article on the Hospice Buffalo website quotes Pei C. Grant, PhD, Director of Research for the Palliative Care Institute:

“The study clearly indicates these dreams and visions are a profound source of potential meaning and comfort for the dying…” he says. “Participants in the study overwhelmingly indicated their dreams and visions lessened the fear of dying, gave them comfort and made the transition from life to death easier.”

Since our original post, Dr. Kerr and a group of colleagues have published results of another study that indicates ELDV’s help, not only dying patients, but their family care givers (FCG’s) as well. In an article published in The Journal of Palliative Medicine, the researchers concluded: “ELDVs’ impact extends beyond those experiencing them to bereaved loved ones. Bereaved FCG’s report that comforting ELDV’s experienced by their dying loved ones influenced their grief process…” (See an abstract of the article here.)

At The Meaning of Forever Project, we are pleased that the work of scientists and academics is moving toward something our contributors already know: That the bond of love between souls does not die with the physical body; that life continues after the human shell is finished—and that this continuation of life and love is what gives true meaning to the word “forever”.

___________

If you would like to share an experience you’ve had with a departed loved one—whether in a dream or in some other way—we would love to hear from you. Just email us at themeaningofforever@gmail.com 

Can NDE’s also Help Us Heal?

Mary Metcalfe - Nov 19 - 2

If Near-Death Experiences (NDE’s) are characterized by overwhelming feelings that we are loved by some power greater than ourselves, is it possible that – besides helping us lose our fear of death – they can also help us heal from hurts and traumas?

In the story below, “Andrea” reveals how attempting suicide to escape an un-loving and abusive father resulted in an experience that set her on a path to the best love of all.


By Andrea Garrett

My birth in the early 1950s was overshadowed by physical and mental health issues my father brought home from World War II. A grenade had exploded near him on a beach in France, and it was months before he could be shipped home to Canada. Despite several surgeries for his traumatic brain injuries, he remained plagued by chronic pain. Added to this was severe psychological injury.

When I was born in 1954 to his second wife, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) had no name nor treatment. His bouts of heavy drinking, unprovoked rage and physical abuse frightened all those around him. My mother finally left him after losing a stillborn boy when I was three. I was left with my grandparents in what became a merry-go-round of staying with them and then sleeping on a couch or camp cot at my dad’s.

Well before I reached my teens, I was developing symptoms of what is now known as Complex PTSD. C-PTSD is experienced by children who grow up in an unpredictable and unstable emotional and/or physical environment. When I was 11, my father’s common-law partner committed suicide after several years of physical and psychological abuse, which I had often witnessed and been a victim of myself.

At age 12, my father took me to a gynecologist to find out if I was still a virgin. He said I was “promiscuous”. He kept me on such a tight leash that I couldn’t have been, even if I had known what the word meant. Decades later, I realized my father made that appointment because he had physically molested me but couldn’t remember what happened. I had fled from that incident in the middle of the night to my grandparents but would not tell them what had happened. I believe my grandfather told his son he needed to have me checked by someone other than our family doctor. I was humiliated to have a total stranger explore ‘down there’.

When I was 13, my father could no longer hold a job or keep an apartment. We moved into my grandparents’ one-bedroom apartment. My dad slept on a day bed in the dining room. I slept on a canvas lounge chair in the same room, which I folded and put away each morning. By this time, my dad was out drinking every day until the last bus. He’d stagger in at midnight and want a cooked meal because he’d missed dinner. He also wanted me to get him up and feed him breakfast before I went to school. But, he could almost never wake up, so I would just go to school, only to be called home to get his breakfast and be raged at for not waking him up.

I couldn’t win. By the time I was 15, I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. My grades were slipping. My morning classes were Math and Physics – not my best subjects and not helped by missing classes. I couldn’t bring friends home and couldn’t join after-school team sports unless I got a note from the coach about the practice and game times so my father could set times for me to be home by “or else”. And then there was the unpredictable and frequent physical abuse. There were days at a time when I couldn’t go to school because of a black eye, swollen face, or cut lip. I lived like this 24/7 for well over two years.

His parents were terrified of his temper. Thankfully, he didn’t attack them, but there were a few shoving matches, with my grandfather threatening to call the police. The one time he did in the summer of 1969, it was to protect me. But the police stayed outside and wouldn’t come in. In my embattled mind, no one could protect me. My spirit was finally broken.

That fall of Grade 11, I took an overdose of my grandmother’s sleeping medication, which landed me in the emergency room and, subsequently, intensive care. While in the ER, I had an out of body experience. I was floating above the bed while nurses were working over me. I then saw out into the hall from the ceiling and watched my father walk out of the hospital, leaving no family to be with me that night. Next I felt myself being drawn to a wonderful, silvery light. It was a soft and caring place. There was an entity there who was ready to welcome me, but I had to make the choice to go there or go back. I wanted to go with that spirit, but I chose to go back after the entity told me there were things my soul needed to learn.

I spent a month on the psychiatric ward. I had few visitors because people weren’t supposed to know where I was. Social services made one home visit, and I came back to a bed with a mattress in my grandparents’ bedroom. There were also no more calls to leave school and no more midnight meals to make. My dad stepped up his drinking. Both he and my grandmother died less than a year later, just eight weeks apart.

I’m now 65 and learning more than I have in all the past years as a teen, adult, mother, and now grandmother. The one thing I have finally learned is to love myself, warts and all. I’m learning that to truly love others, I must first love myself. It’s taken me decades, plus cancer and heart disease, to understand this. I’ve also forgiven my father. My real father was a good, kind, smart, and funny person who became trapped without adequate treatment for his broken mind and body.

I’m now in a much better place and have opened my heart and soul to the spiritual universe that goes far beyond brick and mortar buildings and narrowly defined religiosity. As Susan Aglukark sang back in the 80s: “O Siem, we are all Family. O Siem, we’re all the same . . .”

—Andrea Garrett

November 2019


The author has changed her name to protect her identity .


The Meaning of Forever Project continues to accept stories of comforting experiences with loved ones who have passed on, and of near-death experiences that have helped to show the continuation of life beyond the physical body. You can email your story to us at themeaningofforever@gmail.com and you can find more about our project on our Facebook page, and our Meaning of Forever Website.