There have many times in my life that I've questioned my sanity, and some of my friends have too! When I would mention to them that I had talked to my daughter and that she also 'spoke' to me, they would get puzzled and concerned looks on their faces. Their bewilderment did not surprise me. You see, my 21-month-old daughter has been dead for seven years.
If you have a significant loved one who has died, or if you have worked with bereaved individuals, then you are probably more familiar and comfortable with this different and very personal form of communication. For me, 'love messages' from my daughter are very real and have sustained me through the darkest of times.
Kristen first 'spoke' to my husband, Dan, and me very soon after her sudden death in 1985. When we arrived at the funeral home to see her before the wake, our first 'message' was awaiting us. While standing at the entrance to the viewing room, Dan's body shuddered and I felt Kristen's presence through my eyes. We stood in astonishment as Kristen's 'spirit' rose from the coffin, then disappeared into the air. It was as if she waited for us ~ so she could let us know she was okay and ready to begin her own 'journey.'
Dan and I held each other tightly as we softly cried. After a few moments, we quietly revealed our identical feeling of an overwhelming sense of release. As painful as our grief was, and realizing how changed our lives had become, we were amazingly comforted by the knowledge that Kristen was okay.
Our unbelievable 'spiritual experience' was not an isolated event, however. The following day, just as the funeral procession was slowly approaching Kristen's gravesite, I glanced out the car window and saw a mourning dove perched on a 'LEE' headstone. To others, that was of no significance, but to me it was another sign that Kristen was with us during this difficult time.
A few weeks before Kristen died, we had kept a daily watch on a mourning dove family making its nest in our front yard tree. Kristen was filled with excitement when two baby doves popped their heads out of the nest. She couldn't wait to see them learn to fly. She never saw that day.
Seeing the dove that morning at the cemetery was comforting to me, but when I noticed it on that particular headstone out of the thousands there, I was overwhelmed ~ 'Lee' happens to be my maiden name. To this day, when I see a lone dove sitting on the telephone wire outside our home, I feel Kristen's presence. To many, it may seem bizarre, but it gives me strength to keep going in this life and to move BEYOND survival, to a life worth living again.
Dan and I KNOW what we've seen and felt. It doesn't bother us that others have a difficult time believing us. What is important is OUR perception of these messages and that we use them as a powerful force in our forever changed lives.
Even though we no longer have a physical connection with our daughter, our eternal connection will forever be with us. I reached a point in my grief that I had to say a final 'good-bye' to an earthly life with my child, but I NEVER had to say 'good-bye' to Kristen!
'Love messages,' for me, have kept Kristen's spirit and memory alive in my heart and mind ~ where they will remain forever.
Deb Lee Gould, Director, FOD Family Support Group
[Another version was printed in the June 1993 issue of 'Bereavement Magazine']