Can Unseen Help Ease Our Last Transition?

Randi Warner - For Blog

For those of us who believe it’s possible, catching some sign that our departed loved one is well and happy in a new existence brings us great comfort. Some of us are also able to discern a guiding hand in things that happen before death which make the transition easier to bear. Randi is one of those people fortunate enough to have experienced both: her grandmother’s call from “the other side”, and a soothing message from a mysterious visitor before her passing.

Randi tells her story:

“My grandmother and I had always been close.  She and my grandfather raised me since I was very young.  I called them Nana and Papa.  Papa died in an accident when he was 58 and I was 19. Grandma had always believed there is something else beyond life on earth. We had conversations about this over the years. She could recall, as a young girl living in Niagara Falls, walking across the bridge with her own grandmother to visit a spiritualist.

“Nana lived to be 93 years old, but her last few months were ones of frustration that her body was on the decline although her mind was still active. She would engage in great conversations with the nursing home care workers, and they would always tell me how they loved to go into her room to chat. She knew more about what was going on in the world than I did and would keep me up to date every day from the nursing home with a 7 a.m. phone call at my work. Before anyone else arrived in the office, she’d tell me the world news and I would tell her news about our boys and what was on the go for the day.

“Nana suffered from Parkinson’s disease, petit mal seizures, and had a very painful blood clot in her leg. Having earlier fallen and broken her shoulder, she could no longer use her right arm. The day came when she called me to say she wanted to discontinue all but her pain medications. She asked if I would sign the necessary documents on her behalf. I went to her, and after many tears from both of us I signed the paperwork. The doctor explained she would go gradually. She’d be lucid for the first day and slowly sink into a deep sleep with no pain.

“This was on Monday. I stayed with her and we talked all through the day but, finally, I told her to rest and that I would go home and return early in the morning. At home I found a blank journal and started writing the experience of the day as a sort of message to her.

“The next day she spoke a little bit but drifted in and out of sleep. Still, I talked to her and held her good hand. I put her stuffed puppy in her right hand as it was soft and would feel good against her skin. The caregivers brought a radio to play peaceful music in the background, and the resident minister came to say a little prayer with us. Throughout the day my husband Dave stopped in, along with and our sons and daughter-in-law. I continued to write in the journal and left it on her night table when I went home.

“When I returned on Wednesday Nana’s breathing was so laboured I could tell she was fighting to keep going. I knew this was the day she would pass over. Still, she looked fresh because the nurses had bathed her and dressed her in a new nightgown. I smoothed her hair and whispered that it was okay to go, that I knew she was worried about me as she always was, and that I would be alright—but only if she promised to give me a sign after she left. She couldn’t answer me in words, but her breathing changed for a moment and I knew she understood. 

“Next, I opened the journal to write about how I was feeling, and there on the page were someone else’s words besides my own. It was a lovely note in beautiful script, and the writer had signed her name. It touched me to see that someone else had come in and sat with Nana, and that she had taken the time to write me this lovely note. As the day went by, I continued to talk to her and hold her hand. My husband joined us after work. 

“Around 9 p.m. I felt the air in the room change and knew it was her time. I put my arms around her and stroked her hair as she took her last breath. I told her how much we all loved her and to say hello to everyone who would be greeting her on the other side. That was Wednesday, so I took the next two days off to collect her things and bring them back to our place. She did not want a funeral, so she was cremated and her ashes returned to us.

“Monday morning, I arrived at work as usual around 6:30 and began to prepare for the day. I reheated my coffee, sat down at my desk, turned on my computer and started to catch up on emails.  At exactly 7 a.m., I was startled by the phone ringing. I stared but didn’t pick it up right away. I thought, don’t be silly it’s just Dave or the boys. I picked up the phone and said hello but there was only static on the line. I said hello again and the static changed in frequency, but I couldn’t hear any words.  Eventually the line went silent and I hung up.

“For some time after Nana’s passing, the phone would ring at 7 a.m. every day. Eventually, though, it became less and less frequent until, finally, the calls stopped. I am certain that this was Nana’s way of telling me she was fine and that she was checking to make sure I was fine too.

“A few weeks later I decided to unpack and sort through her things. Among them was the journal I had been writing in at her bedside. As I opened it, I read again note the other woman had left. Soon after this, I returned to the nursing home and thanked the staff for all they’d done for Nana. I asked the manager if I could meet the lady who wrote that note. I explained she would have been on night shift the Tuesday before Nana passed. The manager looked at the note and then at me and said they didn’t have anyone by that name working there, and no one else could have gotten into the building or had access her room that late at night.

“Thirteen years later, I still have no idea how that note got there or who would have written it.  I like to believe it was one of our angels or spirit guides watching over Nana when I couldn’t be there. I cherish those kind words.”

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 and you can find more about our project on our Facebook page, and our Meaning of Forever Website.





Do Dogs Go To Heaven, Too?

Kathi Murphy - Molson

Photo: Courtesy of Kathi Murphy.

In a recent blog, Kathi told us how the timely playing of favourite family music selections helped comfort her after both her mother and father had passed away. In this story, Kathi tells how a dream with her beloved dog Molson told her he, too, was well and happy in his new life.

“One year ago, our beloved dog Molson passed away suddenly at home in his tenth year.  He was a joyful, loving, fun mix of French Bulldog and Boston Terrier.

“Molson entered our lives when he was nine months old. The woman who originally owned him could not care for him, and my daughter asked if we could take him in. At that time, I was recovering from breast cancer surgery and the loss five months earlier of our previous fur-buddy, Kelsey. 

“Molson was truly a gift in this very difficult time. During the nine years he spent with us, we experienced much love and joy with him. Every day he brought smiles to our lips and love to our hearts.

“After losing him and grieving every day for him, I had the most vivid and wonderful dream.

“I had just entered our house with the same sad, “You’re not here” feeling I’d been having since he died.  Then I heard him leave our bedroom and come down the stairs, the click, click of his nails on the wooden treads. I was standing by the fireplace in the living room and he ran toward me, stopping to spin with joy as he always did when he greeted me. 

“He looked so young and happy. I felt intense joy and happiness as I petted him and rubbed his little body. I could actually feel his warm fur underneath my stroking hand. I was laughing and smiling, and he twirled around and looked straight at me. His eyes were clear and bright, no longer dulled by cataracts, and his expression was exuberant, but also soft and loving. As I stared into his shining eyes, I felt peace and joy that I was with him again, that I could actually feel and see him so vividly.

“As Molson walked away, I asked, “How long can you stay”?  He turned to look at me once more. I felt his goodbye and the sense of, “Do not worry, I am fine, and all is well”.

“This was unlike any dream I have ever had. It felt so real and, throughout, I was aware that Molson had passed. I awoke with tears in my eyes, but not the same despondent tears I felt every day prior. Instead, I had a sense that everything was okay. I had a feeling of great love—no worries, no fear, no regret, and that all was as it should be.

“Not long after that dream, my husband was outside vacuuming the swimming pool. Somehow, a bright purple balloon on a stick with the word “Celebrate” written on it, dropped into our yard and hovered inside the pool. My husband moved it aside and, at that point, heard what sounded like a chime. We do not have windchimes and have never heard them in our neighborhood. 

“We brought the balloon into the house placed it in a corner of the living room where it remained fully inflated for many months. Our grandchildren would often play with it when they came to visit. One day we noticed that there was a halo of light on the wall around the balloon. This began happening each morning, although we have never seen light like that in the 25 years we have lived in our home. 

“In the winter following Molson’s passing, we were dog sitting for my sister-in-law. I took several pictures of “Abby” sitting in the snow outdoors. When I looked at the pictures, I could see that behind her were three bright orbs of light.  Although we have never seen this before or since, we think it’s interesting to note that we have had three rescue dogs during our lifetime.  We found these balls of light comforting because my husband and I both believe that the love and energy, which makes up the beings we cherish on earth, continues forever.”

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 and you can find more about our project on our Facebook page, and our Meaning of Forever Website.

On Finding Peace After a Loved-One Dies

Maria Douvalis - for Blog

In this story, Maria tells how she observed and supported her mother through dementia, liver disease and eventual death. Although Maria did not want to accept at first that her mother was dying, her account of how she coped is a loving answer to this question posed in the book we reviewed in our last post : “How can we all better honor the mystery at the end of life, support our shared humanity, and in turn celebrate life to the fullest?”

Here’s how Maria tells it:

“Three years ago, my Dad (Michael) had an incapacitating stroke. For a while, we weren’t certain he would live. He wasn’t able to swallow or to walk and could not remain at home. Mom (Ourana), who had dementia, couldn’t live at home without him; so, my three siblings and I had to help our parents make the transition to a nursing home.

 “One of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do was pack my Mom’s things for that move. She was very artistically gifted and her lifetime of beautiful creations included crocheting, clothing of her own design, and beautiful bedspreads woven from silk. As a young woman, she had raised the silk worms for this purpose. Now, as I packed to move her to the nursing home, I had to leave all these lovely things behind.

“Mom could not stop wondering why she was in a nursing home when she had four children. We had tried to have her live with us and had taken turns looking after her in her own home, but the dementia was so severe that she needed 24-hour care. Although we had tried very hard, we just could not look after her by ourselves. When we took her out on special occasions, we would have to trick her to go back to the home. About a month before she died, Mom finally accepted that she lived in a nursing home with Dad.

“A time came when Mom didn’t know my name anymore, but she knew I was her daughter and that I was there to see her and take care of her. I was willing to do whatever she needed: feed her, comb her hair, bathe her and dress her. I thought, I am willing to do whatever she needs, but I don’t want to change her diapers. Then, when the time came, and she was in emergency at the hospital, I changed her four times, because that was what she needed. I had no difficulty taking care of her in this way. I did it with love, and it was my pleasure to take care of her.

“On August 15, 2018, Mom became very ill and stopped eating. I began tricking her to eat, one spoonful at a time. I thought, if I can get her to eat, maybe she can live longer. Just a few weeks later her skin turned yellow and the doctors discovered there was something wrong with her liver. Still, I didn’t want to believe she was dying. My siblings and I didn’t want to believe we were losing our Mother. I went almost every day to see her after that. I wanted to do everything I could for her.

“Earlier in the summer, Mom told me she had a dream. In it, her mother said, ‘It’s time for you to come’. Mom knew that her Mother was dead, and she was scared to think of dying in order to be with her mother. Several times she had dreams with her mother telling her it was time to come home. When she told us about them, we denied that we might be losing her. We’d say to Mom, ‘You’ll probably live longer than we will.’ 

“Then she had another dream where her mother said, ‘Ourana, it’s time for you to come.’ This time, Mom said to my father, ‘Michael, it’s time for us to go home.’ Shortly after this, she died.

“The last time I saw her was the day she died. When I arrived, she opened her eyes, then clapped her hands three times. She said, ‘Have my blessings! You came to see me.’ The last words she said to me were, “Move a little bit. The people, they are here. A lot of people are here. They came.” I asked her who, but she didn’t answer.

“I understood that she wanted me to move aside so she could better see those who had passed on earlier and were now coming to greet her. I couldn’t see them, but I thought, She is seeing something. I think a lot of people she knew were there to welcome her. Her face was glowing. She looked very happy and peaceful. I thought, Maybe she is here in this life, but her Soul has already left.

“This powerful moment is going to stay with me all my life, because I was there and saw that she could see the people who had come. After this, the distress she had felt since her emergency visit to the hospital was gone. It was a big change for her. It’s very different to hear someone tell you that they had an experience like this with a loved one, than it is to actually be there to see it, experience it, feel it.

“I kissed Mom on the forehead as I left her that night. ‘Good-bye, Mom,’ I said. I had never kissed her on the forehead or said good-bye like that before. She died later that night after being given communion by a priest.

“Since then, I’ve had three dreams with her. In each she’s been young, beautiful, healthy and peaceful. I believe she is in paradise.

“I have no regrets, no guilt. I am very glad I served my parents, taking care of them, when they were in need. I became very tired from all the work I did to help them, but I’m so glad I did it.

“When I was a child, I felt I had all the time and energy in the world to play and have fun. Then when I got older, I felt I had no time or energy as I worked to make my career a success, get a home, have a family, and take care of that family, including my extended family. Now, I want to use my time and energy to enjoy every day. We never know how much more time we have. This is now my philosophy of life, and I am like my Mother: happy, and at peace.”

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 and you can find more about our project on our Facebook page, and our Meaning of Forever Website.