Signs from Loved Ones: Is there life after death?

Looking for signs after the loss of a loved one is comforting – challenging our loved ones to communicate with us can be reassuring .

Keeping an open mind, I believe we can find signs from our loved ones if we accept that it is possible.

My latest sign came from my mom on Mother’s Day.  I spent the day with my sister.  This is our third year without calling mom or sending her flowers.  We didn’t get to have lunch with her so we made plans to visit the Sarasota Jungle gardens and go to lunch with some of our family members. We both miss our mom so a sister is a good substitute.

In our family we have pretty much agreed that seeing a red male cardinal is a visit from our dad.  I don’t see them as much here in Florida, but that is our sign.  For my mom, we got a bit trickier.  She sends us white dolphins.

When the butterfly landed on my beer can and started sipping as I sat in a poolside lounge chair in Thailand on the first anniversary of Mike’s death, I took that as a sign that he was still with me. I visited a psychic medium a few months after Mike died and she told me that he send me blue jays.  Sure enough, I used to see one fly in front of my car on my 3 minute commute to work every day.  I don’t see too many blue jays down here in Florida.

Immediately after he passed, his cousin and mother started finding dimes in the craziest of places. They felt strongly that these were signs.

I spent an amazing summer weekend with the Forever Family Foundation in Connecticut the first year after my husband died. I had a positive experience bonding with other people going through grief. Several certified psychic mediums did group readings and I was fortunate to have Mike come through with messages for me during those sessions.

After the weekend, I bought a book by five year anniversary of our first date and it is true, life goes on.

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Working with the Florida beach horses

I roll over and see the light starting to sneak through the blinds. I’m about to turn over when I remember: I have work today.

Whoopee!

I smile as I get up and grab my phone and glasses. The coffee pot is ready, so I push the button and check the weather for today. Sunny and hot in Florida. No thunderstorms until late in the afternoon. Great. The coffee pot dings and I can sip hot, caffeine into my veins.

I gather some lunch snacks and refill two water bottles. I dress in my black tank swimsuit, black biking shorts and a pink tank top. I’ll ask them for a company tank top today.

I pack a change of clothes and two towels. One for ‘work’ and one for after if I decide to swim at the beach, 5 miles further down the causeway.

Pete makes me a delicious protein-rich breakfast and I take Harry out for his morning walk. I kiss all goodbye and put on my pink baseball cap. I’m heading out to work.

Florida Beach Horses was looking for guides after many of their workers went back to college after the summer. They invited me in to train. I did two rides with the supervision of an experienced guide and was asked to come back. I guess I passed the interview process!

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11 Best Grief Books After the Loss of a Loved One

10 Best Grief books to read after the loss of a loved one. #griefjourney #healingafterloss

After my husband died, and the friends and family all went home or back to work, I was on my own to figure out how to be a widow. I wanted to find a book, the one that tells you what to do after your husband dies and how to deal with grief. Here are a few of the books that helped me move forward and not feel so alone in my grief journey.

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  1.  HEALING AFTER LOSS: Daily Meditations For Working Through Grief

By Martha Whitmore Hickman

If you only get one book, this should be it. Each day has a one page inspiring story and mediation to think about.  The passages are easy to read in under five minutes, which is a blessing for those of us dealing with the lack of concentration that comes with intense grief. The passages contain deep, thought provoking, yet hopeful reflections for those suffering from devastating loss.

2. IT’S OK THAT YOU’RE NOT OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand

By Megan Devine

The title tells it all. We don’t need to fix or solve grief. It’s not something to get over. Megan writes, “Grief no more needs a solution than love needs a solution.” She offers a guide through stories and her experience as a widow and therapist to build a life alongside grief rather than seeking to overcome it.

3. THE LIGHT BETWEEN US: Stories from Heaven. Lessons for the Living.

By Laura Lynne Jackson

I was truly obsessed with the thought of what happens after we die. Convinced that there must be more to life, I found this book and it gave me hope that our loved ones are still with us. Laura is a certified medium with the Forever Family Foundation. She shares her life story and her work that has brought comfort to many families. After reading this book I spent a healing weekend at a grief retreat with this foundation which you can read about here: https://runawaywidow.blog/2017/03/22/why-reaching-out-to-psychic-mediums-in-grief-can-be-comforting/

4. SIGNS OF LIFE: A Memoir 

By Natalie Taylor

After my husband died I went to the local library to get a book that would tell me how to be a widow. This was one of the only 3 books on the shelf so I borrowed it and was actually able to read the whole thing, not an easy task for a new widow since attention span is limited. Natalie, an English teacher, was pregnant and 24 years old when her husband unexpectedly died. She writes an account of the first 16 months as a widow and basically journals her feelings and experiences. Knowing that someone else had been through what I was going through helped me feel not so alone during those first few months.

5. CONFESSIONS OF A MEDIOCRE WIDOW: Or, How I Lost My Husband and My Sanity

By Catherine Tidd

Catherine tells about her husband’s sudden death that left her with 3 young children at the age of 31. The imperfect thoughts and actions she encounters as she wades through grief. Her experiences with single parenting and dating are fun to read and her book keeps it real and at times, even makes you laugh.

6. HEALTHY HEALING: A Guide to Working Out Grief Using the Power of Exercise and Endorphins 

By Michele Steinke-Baumgard

Michele is such an inspiration to the widowed community. She lost her husband suddenly in a plane crash when her children were little. Starting a blog called One Fit Widow, she focused on her healing after loss with exercise. She has since married and blended families and continues to inspire people with her exercise programs, healthy eating and small group adventure trips around the world.

7. FIGHTING FORWARD: A Widow’s Journey from Loss to Life

By Jan J. Owen

After the loss of my husband I joined several Facebook pages for widows and met Jan. She inspired me as we are similar in age and experience. After her husband died, she married again and also went back to school for a degree in counseling. Her book was helpful as I could relate to her journey and her ability to move forward after loss.

8. SIGNS: The Secret Language of the Universe

By Laura Lynn Jackson

After reading her first book and seeing her speak on several occasions I was excited to read her newest book.  She is a psychic medium who teaches us in this book how to recognize and ask for messages from loved ones on the Other Side. After hearing her speak at a local book store and learning how to reach out to my loved ones on the other side, I had a startling experience you can read about here: https://runawaywidow.blog/2019/06/22/signs-from-beyond/

9. A WIDOWS GUIDE TO HEALING: Gentle Support and Advice for the First 5 Years

By Kristin Meekhof and James Windell

The author Kristin Meekhof lost her husband to cancer and shares with grieving widows what to expect in the first 5 years after loss. Dealing with finances, single parenting, working, this book gives guidance and then hope for a new future.

1O. I WASN’T READY TO SAY GOODBYE: Surviving, Coping and Healing After the Sudden Death of a Loved One

By  Brook Noel and Pamela Blair

Understanding the difficulties that come with an unexpected death, the authors guide the reader through the first weeks of grieving to dealing with holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. Helpful suggestions for navigating the grieving process and helping children cope with grief.

SHOUT OUT to a new books in 2022:

11. Different After You: Rediscovering Yourself and Healing after Grief and Trauma

By Michelle Neff Hernandez

Michele became a widow at 39 when her husband died suddenly while riding his bicycle. She took her trauma and grief to new levels as she interviewed hundreds of widows and created Camp Widow and Soaring Spirits International as support groups for widows. Her message to integrate your past and loss, with what you have gained to build a life you love.

Different After You

In addition to reading books, I joined several Facebook groups that can provide instant support and encouragement on the grief jouney.

If you prefer to listen, podcasts are available to listen to while you walk that can also give some support.

I highly recommend joining a bereavement group through your local hospital, church or hospice community.

12 Ways to Memorialize the Loss of a Loved One

How to memorialize and remember loved ones after the funeral. Celebrating life and sharing stories with family and friends.

Headstones, tattoos, ashes in objects, memorial runs and benches: How to memorialize and remember a loved one.  Ways to help process grief after the loss of a loved one are many and is there more guilt if you don’t do it right?

It is impressive how much good and how much craziness comes from memorializing our loved ones.

Each religion has it’s own traditions for the passing of our family members.  In Judaism the body is buried immediately and the family sits shiva for one week.  The word “shiva” means seven for the 7 day mourning period and mourners are supposed to sit low to the ground. Mirrors are covered which symbolize the absence of vanity and self indulgence in a place of grief. People are expected to stop by and may bring a meal or a cake and then sit with the family.

In the Christian religion a casket is presented at a funeral home for a wake prior to a church service.  Mourners visit with the family for one or two days and say prayers in front of the casket which can be closed or open showing a well dressed. deceased body.   A religious service and burial ceremony in a cemetery may follow. 

If the body is cremated the ashes can be interred in a mausoleum or scattered outside.  According to an article by Cremation Solutions, the extreme heat of cremators means that absolutely no organic material remains after cremation  so human ashes do not present any sort of health hazard to the living or the environment.  According to the EPA burial at sea of human remains – cremated or not – is permitted if placed in the ocean at least 3 miles or more from land.

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GRIEF – It’s OK to say their name

It’s OK to say their name. Life after loss of a spouse. Complicated grief. Memorials and celebrating the birthday of a loved one.

After spending the past thirty 4th of July’s together, which was also my husband’s birthday, grief comes back full swing and is one of the more difficult holidays to get through for me.

Year one I made a nice Facebook post with photos. Then I made sure to be away from home. My brother and sister and mom and our kids joined us in Cape Cod for a family reunion. This ensured a good distraction and no one really mentioned Mike. Avoiding pain and sadness was my immediate goal. My family was hopeful that I’d be OK, so I was.

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Unexpected Grief Triggers bring back PTSD 5 years later

Unexpected grief triggers with police brutality and unrest bring back PTSD in 2020, 5 years after my husband’s murder.

On Reuters news this morning and there was no mention of Coronavirus. It hasn’t disappeared but more pressing news across the country is broadcasting this morning.

Cities across the United States have erupted into violent scenes of protests. While some protesters peacefully object to police brutality, others have turned into rioters. Angry crowds looting stores, setting fires to police cars and barricading streets were filmed last night.

This all began last week with the death of George Floyd, a black man in Minnesota, who spent his last moments pinned under a police officer’s knee, begging for his life.

The officers filed a report regarding Floyd’s death as a “medical incident during a police interaction”. Reports from the ambulance that transported Floyd to a nearby hospital stated the male was pulseless and unresponsive .

What infuriates me is that if bystanders had not videotaped the scene, these bad cops would get away with it. The vague ‘medical incident’ would be enough to avoid blame to any of the cops involved.

The former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who refused to move his knee from Floyd’s neck for over 8 minutes despite cries “I cannot breath” has a history on the police force. He shot one suspect, was involved in the fatal shooting of another, and received at least 17 complaints during his nearly two decades with the department, according to police records and archived news reports.

Why was this man still allowed to serve as a police officer?

What good old boys club did he belong to?

The news has set off triggers for me and emotions I haven’t let surface for a while. The night my husband died I was initially told he had had a heart attack. Then more specifically that he died of cardiac arrest.

I saw his body at the hospital and was surprised to see cuts and bruises covering his barefoot, bathing suit and t-shirt attire. I had been sitting with him earlier that evening on the beach with friends and he had been fine.

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