Can Death Heal A Relationship?



Often, when a loved-one dies, we refer to having “lost” them. We feel the absence of their physical person as a kind of loss. But, what if that loss from our outer life can translate into a gain for our inner life? What if our loved-one’s departure opens a door into another stage in our relationship that actually boosts our spiritual and psychological well-being? In this story, Kim tells of just such a gain.


Mom – Home in Heaven and in My Heart

By Kim Ward

My mom died in a nursing home from a heart attack and complications of Alzheimer’s Disease on October 11, 2020, at 8:45 P.M.  She had chosen that home six years earlier because she wanted to be with my severely disabled brother Scott, who already resided there.  

When Covid-19 became a significant problem at nursing homes in Ontario, Canada, my sister Shannon and I would have “window visits” with Mom, where we would stand outside and wave to her while talking on cell phones with her nurse, who stood beside her. My mom had years before lost her ability to speak as well as her ability to recognize who we were. Nevertheless, my sister and I visited her as often as we could.

On Friday, October 9, the nursing home called early in the morning to tell us that Mom had gone into a coma and we should come as quickly as we could. Now, with Mom’s death imminent, my sister and I, or my husband Steve and I, could sit by her bedside as long as we were “gowned up’’ and wearing masks and gloves.  

She lay back down, took three breaths and passed away. Steve and I just looked at each other and felt the room filled with love.

The night she died, Steve and I were there. She had not moved or been responsive in any way to anything we said or did. Then I noticed that my brother Scott, who had passed on three years before, was in the room with us. Previously, I had heard that those closest to the dying individual could come and accompany them to Heaven. I saw Scott as a little blue globe hovering near the ceiling in a corner of her room, and I knew it was him. He’d come to take Mom to Heaven.

Scott had been Mom’s favorite. He was her first born and had been medically challenged through most of his life. At birth, Scott had severely crossed eyes and had to have several surgeries to correct that problem. At age eight, he was diagnosed with severe Type One Diabetes and was so ill that he was not expected to live. Later as a young man, he developed Multiple Sclerosis. Mom had always dedicated herself to Scott and he was closest to her. So, it made sense that he would be the one to accompany her to heaven.

As soon as I saw Scott as the blue globe I said, “Mom, Scott is here. He’s waiting to take you to Heaven.” Immediately, Mom came out of her coma and sat up in bed, her eyes wide open with a huge smile on her face. Then, there was just calm. She lay back down, took three breaths and passed away. Steve and I just looked at each other and felt the room filled with love.

I was not overwhelmingly sad when Mom died because her Alzheimer’s meant that we had been saying goodbye to her for a long time. However, it took a few weeks after her death for me to forgive her for having so little time for me throughout my life. I had felt animosity towards Mom for not being there as a nurturing, protecting, loving mother. Now all that animosity is gone.

It happened this way: A friend told me that, often when people have a Near-Death experiences, they meet with a “Love Being” or a ”Being of Light” and are given a review of their lives. Well, perhaps my Mom had that experience at some point, because she seems more “enlightened” now when we meet. She comes to me often, and we communicate telepathically. She has apologized profusely for not giving me the parenting, love, and nurturing that every child needs. She knows she should have better protected me to prevent me from being repeatedly sexually abused by men.

Mom has changed since passing over, and I have changed too.

Mom has changed since passing over, and I have changed too. I have more appreciation of the various factors that kept Mom from having quality time with me. She had four children, two of whom had significant health needs; and, she had a husband who had paranoid schizophrenia, was a severe alcoholic and stayed in the basement all the time. Mom was responsible for the family finances as well as for care of our home and all of us children.

I now know that Mom had always loved me, but dealing with all she had to deal with, she simply had no time or energy for me. Now our relationship is one of all-encompassing acceptance, forgiveness and abiding love. Everything I have been through is worth the love I now feel. Death didn’t take Mom away from me. It gave her back to me.

You might ask how I am able to have this loving and healing contact with my Mom after her death. My answer would be that I know my Mom is alive in Heaven. Only her physical body has died. With an open, willing, and loving heart, I ask my Mom to come to be with me. Then she does.


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.

Greetings from The Other Side–or Just Coincidences?

This story was originally published on our December 16, 2018, blog. We thought you might like to see it again here–with an update at the end.


Bonnie, a retired Registered Nurse, describes herself as “steeped in Western science,” so it’s with a healthy dose of self-doubt that she recounts the following experiences.

Last August, she helped nurse her dear friend Jennifer through the late stages of an aggressive cancer called mesothelioma. Bonnie sensed that her friend would soon die, but she and her husband had a long-standing annual commitment to host another couple at their summer cottage in Northern Ontario.

Like Bonnie, Jennifer was a practical, matter-of-fact person; so, when Bonnie explained she would be absent for a few days, Jennifer understood. And, when Bonnie asked her friend for a favour in case she died before they were able to speak again, Jennifer agreed. Despite her own skepticism, Bonnie asked that Jennifer pass along greetings in the afterlife to some departed loved ones: Jean, a friend and mother of Bonnie’s God-children, who died more than 20 years ago; then, Bonnie’s parents, and the parents of her husband.

Just to make sure, Jennifer ticked off the names on her fingers before Bonnie left: “Jean, Don and Jean, Phyllis and Andy. Right?”

“Right,” said Bonnie.

While at the cottage, Bonnie would sit at a small desk in the kitchen to keep in touch with Jenifer’s family through phone calls and text messages. One night, she awakened suddenly and went to the kitchen thinking a cup of hot milk might help put her back to sleep. There, she found the light above the desk illuminated. This was strange, because Bonnie and her husband Kenn are sticklers for turning off lights that are not in use. Before returning to bed, Bonnie made sure to switch it off. The following morning Kenn, who’d been first in the kitchen, asked Bonnie why that light was still on when he got up. Bonnie said, “I think Jennifer was here last night! Twice!” Jennifer died later that day.

Just to make sure, Jennifer ticked off the names on her fingers before Bonnie left: “Jean, Don and Jean, Phyllis and Andy. Right?”

Three weeks afterward, Bonnie and Kenn settled into their usual seats at a concert hall looking forward to another performance by the philharmonic orchestra. They’d made a nodding acquaintance with the couple normally seated next to them but, on this occasion, those seats were occupied by someone else. The woman looked oddly familiar.

“I have an extraordinary memory for names and faces,” recalls Bonnie, “but I just couldn’t pull this one together.”

They spoke for a while, trying to place each other. Then, finally, Bonnie turned to her seat neighbor and asked, “Are you Dorothy, Jean’s friend?”

“Yes,” replied the woman. “I am.”

The last time Bonnie had seen Dorothy was at her friend Jean’s funeral two decades before. This was a coincidence too extraordinary for even a skeptic to ignore.

“Okay, Jennifer,” thought Bonnie. “First one off the list.”

Bonnie has a ring and a pair of earrings set with diamonds from jewelry left by her mother, who was also named Jean, and her mother-in-law, Phyllis. She was wearing them—plus a cameo from Phyllis that she’d put on for the first time—one evening in late fall after an early snow. She and Kenn had a date to meet their son for dinner but they had errands to run first, including a stop at the community mail box.

Finally seated at the dinner table, Bonnie realized one of her earrings was missing. Immediately, they searched under the table, then husband and son retraced their steps to the car and searched there but came up empty handed. Strangely, Bonnie felt no distress. She knew the earring would turn up. As she and Kenn drove home after dinner, they made a stop at the mailbox once again. There, he shone the headlights from various angles while Bonnie searched in the snow for the missing earring.

“Just as I was about to give up, what do I see sitting on top of the snow but my earring!” says Bonnie. “So I said, Thank you, Phyllis.”

Number two off the list.

“It’s like Jennifer is taking her time saying hello to these people,” says Bonnie with a smile in her voice. “And they are saying hello back to me.”

The stories move into early December now, and this one has Bonnie and Kenn getting ready to attend a funeral home visitation for Cameron, the middle-aged son of long-time friends, who died very suddenly. They’ve come to the point of picking a tie to go with the jacket Kenn plans to wear. Bonnie looks on as Kenn brings out his collection. A tie neither of them has seen before catches her eye. It has just the right colours.

When they turn it over to read the label, they realize it comes from a shop in Bermuda, where Bonnie’s parents often vacationed. Kenn must have acquired the tie after his father-in-law’s death, but neither of them recalls seeing it in the 17 years since. Perhaps this is a hello from Don at a time when reassurance from “the other side” means a lot.

So, keeping score to this stage: Bonnie has now received signals from Jean, her beloved friend who passed away many years ago; from Phyllis, her mother-in-law; and, from Don and Jean, Bonnie’s parents.

A week later, after having attended Cameron’s funeral earlier in the day, Bonnie is out with friends where she relates her stories about Jean and Phyllis. As she returns home, despite their habit of not keeping lights on unnecessarily, she notices Kenn has left a light on in the hallway. She turns it off and goes to bed, leaving the house in darkness. The next morning when she comes downstairs, the Christmas Village scene in the family room is illuminated.

The message from these lights? “It takes a village to look after a family,” says Bonnie, thinking of Cameron, his grieving parents, his young widow and his two very wee children.

Having retired from nursing, Bonnie now has time to pursue another passion, which is writing. With one book published, she’s been working lately on her second. But, given the upheaval of the past few months, she hasn’t been particularly motivated or inspired.

“It takes a village to look after a family,” says Bonnie, thinking of Cameron, his grieving parents, his young widow and his two very wee children.

For two days recently, though, all that changed. Bonnie wonders if it has something to do with a necklace she was wearing—because for those two days, Bonnie wrote freely. Normally, she doesn’t wear jewelry around the house, but she felt the urge to this one time. The necklace had been a gift from her mother.

“I had two exhilarating writing days. I was just over the moon ecstatic,” she says. “I wonder if it had something to do with her…

“As I’m saying this, it just sounds absurd to me,” says Bonnie, “but I’ve learned to trust in my experience.”

And, even though the skeptic “steeped in Western science” still questions whether her experiences were real, Bonnie looks forward to hearing from the one remaining loved one on the list she gave to Jennifer.

“It might take some time for the ones we love to get in touch,” says Bonnie, “but they will when the time is right.”


Postscript

In preparation for re-posting Bonnie’s story, we reached out to ask whether she’s heard from her father-in-law Andy yet. Here’s her reply:

“That fall, in early December we went to a play…and the young male lead had Andy’s mannerisms, frame, and hairstyling from his youth. That was as close as we got though. At the time, we both commented on the remarkable similarity.”

What do you think? Was that Andy dropping in to finish off Bonnie’s list of greetings from the afterlife, or was it just one more coincidence to round off a remarkable streak of coincidences?


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.