Ghost Stories That Comfort: After-death communication

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butterflyAs a child, ghost stories terrified me, often fearful that a ghostly white apparition would suddenly spring forth as the story unfolded. That all changed when a series of deaths in the family hit us. Signs that our loved ones are just around the corner brings so much comfort to me and perhaps the newly bereaved. Sure skeptics will say it’s a figment of your imagination. But whether it is an imagination or not, it’s comforting because of that distinct feeling that our loved one is just nearby, even though he or she can’t be seen or heard. With so many deaths in my family, I have had my share in after-death communication. According to Bill Guggenheim & Judy Guggenheim, an After-Death Communication (ADC) is a spiritual experience which occurs when you are contacted directly and spontaneously by a deceased family member or friend, without the use of psychics, mediums, rituals, or devices. ADCs offer dramatic new evidence of life after death.

The twelve most frequent types of after-death communication people report having with their deceased loved ones:Sensing A Presence, Hearing A Voice, Feeling A Touch, Smelling A Fragrance, Visual Experiences, Visions, Twilight Experiences, ADC Experiences While Asleep, Out-Of-Body ADCs,Telephone Calls, Physical Phenomena, Symbolic ADCs.

Let me illustrate a few of these ADCs I’ve encountered with the deaths in my family:

Smelling A Fragrance: You may smell your relative’s or friend’s favorite cologne, after-shave lotion, or perfume. Other common aromas are: flowers (especially roses), bath powders, tobacco products, favorite foods, and his or her personal scent.

The first death in the family was mom. A week later after mom was buried, I was with Gigi, my roommate inside our dorm room. As we talked in bed, I suddenly smelt a waft of a candle burning mixed with roses. Not about to scare Gigi, I didn’t say anything. But she jumped beside me I can smell candles burning and roses. So I didn’t imagine that. I just smiled at her and said Mom is here much to her horror.

Another friend I talked to related to me how he smelled Kentucky fried Chicken in his bedroom. It was the favorite food of his parents who passed away a few months ago. Is it the sensory nerve cells attached to the memory part of our brain that is playing tricks on him? I don’t know but let me tell you, these “smells” are very comforting.

Symbolic ADCs: People frequently ask a Higher Power, the universe, or their deceased loved one for a sign that he or she still exists. Many receive such a sign, though it may take some time to arrive. Occasionally these signs are so subtle they may be missed, or they may be discounted as mere “coincidences.” Common signs include: butterflies, rainbows, many species of birds and animals, flowers, and a variety of inanimate objects such as coins and pictures.

A month after Luijoe’s death, my husband and I sat on the grass by his resting place at the cemetery. As I placed the flowers on the headstone and with tears rolling down my cheeks, I asked Luijoe, Give me a sign that you’re okay. With a heavy heart, we left for the expressway. Just before our car entered the toll entrance, I saw a commuter bus with words on the side “Guardian Angel”. That made me smile but I still thought it was all a coincidence. Then we drove on till we reached the toll exit gates. That’s when my husband called my attention. “See that bus!. It has the word “footprints” written on the side. (Footprints was one of Luijoe’s favorite prayer before he died). Finally, I told my husband that I was praying for a sign that Luijoe was doing fine out there and that we had nothing to worry about.

Agnes Prieto whom I’ve worked with in a similar grief advocacy wrote how Love bridges divide between living and dead on stories about similar symbolic ADCs. Agnes herself has been widowed twice and lost a son. Imagine finding an unopened letter from him to her saying that The only thing he could be sure of, he said, was his love that would endure despite death.

Physical Phenomena: People who are bereaved often report receiving a wide variety of physical signs from their deceased relative or friend, such as: lights or lamps blinking on and off; lights, radios, televisions, stereos, and mechanical objects being turned on; photographs, pictures, and various other items being turned over or moved; and a long list of “things that go bump in the night.”

Ooh the cynics would scoff and say it’s a bunch of BS and try to offer a scientific explanation. Lauren wrote about this in May 2000.

And then my sister told me that she was watching TV in the den when the grandfather clock in the living room started to go ding-ding-ding. She was alone in the house that time and was very scared when that happened because the grandfather clock hasn’t been working for years. So now I’m thinking, how come I’m the only one who hasn’t experienced my dead brother’s presence? Okay, the lights flickered once when I was using the computer , but still. I didn’t feel cold or any of that stuff when a spirit is around. Well, as long as my brother doesn’t send me ghostly images or throws my things around, I’m perfectly fine with him playing with the lights or whatever.”

But see, all of these ADCs occurred right after the death of our loved one. They gradually disappear as the years pass. The only scientific explanation I can conjure is that our grieving thoughts can trick our brain to see or feel these ADCs. But for those who have never felt the pain of losing a loved one, these ADCs may seem trivial or incredulous. Others find it difficult to reconcile after-death communications with their philosophical or religious beliefs.

I believe that the purpose of these ADCs is to offer comfort, reassurance, and hope to newly bereaved. Their most frequent messages, expressed verbally or non-verbally, include:

“I’m okay … I’¢m fine … Everything is okay … Don’t worry about me …I’m watching over you … I’ll see you again … I love you … Good-bye …”

I have more ADC experiences which can be spine-tingling ghost stories to some of you. But to me, they have expanded my understanding of life and offered a deeper awareness of life after death. My loved ones consistently communicate an essential spiritual message to me that “Love never dies”.

Those “Hello from Heaven” messages remind me that eternal life is in heaven. It takes faith to believe there is a heaven and that God is good. I often remember my son’s innocent statement a few days before he died that “when I die, I will be alive again!!“.

Have you experienced any after-death communication?

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1354 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.


About Noemi Lardizabal-Dado

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

  • emily

    Smelling a fragrance I’ve heard is a common After death communication. I have a friend who talks of a sign that her husband is fine. She prayed for it and one day on the first death anniversary, the orchid plant that he gave years ago suddenly bloomed. I can imagine her comfort after seeing the orchid bloom.

  • Robert

    There’s this friend of mine who swears that he got to talk to his friend at the time of his death, not knowing his friend was at the hospital dying. I found that so eerie

  • @Robert- oh that happened to a friend of my brother. The friend said that my brother Ruben was driving his car at this restaurant. They even got to talk. I forgot the details. The friend didn’t know Ruben died.

    @emily- that’s a wonderful gift. I bet your friend found comfort in that.

  • Glo

    My Mamu (grandmother) who raised me up passed away March last year. She was 71. Before she died, she wanted to listed to this CD called Kiss the Day Goodbye. Being in US, I had no idea what the CD was until I heard it during the funeral. It was songs of breaking up, parting, of leaving a love one. She never got to hear it, since she was already admitted to the ICU. I guess it was her way of telling us, her goodbyes.

    Right after the funeral I lied on the couch where she usually naps. It is positioned next to the window. I closed my eyes for a few seconds and when I look up, there she was outside the window, looking towards me, smiling in her silly face, she normally does when Im upset.

    Months leading to her death sent me into a downward spiral of depression, missing lots of sleep, losing work and just completely ignoring the entire world, including neglecting my husband of few months. I will be up all night aimlessly browsing the internet and be asleep all day. Until one day in September, Mamu showed up in dream. There all she said, in her nagging voice, “Diba sabi ko sayo, alagaan mo sarili mo. Na magpapahinga ka. Look at you magkakasakit ka nyan. Wala nang nangyayari sa buhay mo.” That was all she said. I woke up the following day and started looking for a job. That was a major turnout. I picked myself up again in fear that Mamu is really looking out at me and that I dont want to disappoint her.

    Last month, I was so tired and fell asleep hoping I can go to a spa. I saw mamu again in my dreams. This time she was younger happier and healthier and she comforting me. She was my spa date.

    Monday, I was reminding my mother to go to church today, Nov 1 to say a little prayer for Mamu and all the other departed loved ones and friends. Right after I hung up the phone with my mother, the scent of Mamu’s perfume filled my office for a couple of seconds. And then again, Im comforted that she is just around.

  • ann

    i’ve experienced some brief encounters with my parents within the 40days of their deaths. my dad died last February and on our way home after the first night of his wake, I think he went with us coz our dog howled like crazy at the same hour my dad has died. with my mom, lightbulb falling off, aircon automatically turning on, etc. i’m one such coward, so even though they are my parents, i still get scared. but yeah, i guess it would be comforting to know sometimes that they are around. oh btw, our dog has been barking for a week already every 2am. i think it’s a sign from my parents that we should not forget them this all saints’ day. i also agree that those people who have not experienced death in their families may find all these trivial and incredulous or just a figment of our imagination. but they really happen, right? 🙂

  • hi, noemi. i must say, this post is so chicken soup for the soul 🙂 i am reminded of friends and relatives whove lost dear ones, and they wouldnt be afraid of hellos from heaven, in fact, they request for them.

    medyo high tech na rin ang mga “messages” ngayon diba. they send text messages and give calls na.. i remember you posted your daughter got a call from her cellphone supposedly from your dad, but you deduced it was from luijoe. i remember my uncle got empty text messages from his deceased son’s cell, but the weird thing about it is that that sim card is not being used anymore.

  • @Glo- those dreams are what we call “ADC Experiences While Asleep: Sleep-state ADCs are much more vivid, intense, colorful, and real than dreams”. I have those experiences too but the entry would be too long for me to post here.

    @ann- they really happen. Speaking of the dog, at the church as the priest blessed my dad’s coffin as if on queue, the dog outside the church barked. It was quite eerie but comforting in a way. We laughed later on as we viewed the video

    @cess- I often ask for “Hello from Heaven” messages from time to time. Wow, yes cellphone messages do occur. even calls

  • Toe

    Luijoe really tries to comfort you, doesn’t he? He is a very thoughtful boy even beyond death.

    I have smelt my Lola’s perfume when I used to sleep on her bed. It was just within the perimeter of the bed and the smell would disappear outside of the bed.

  • @toe- lui finds ways to comfort us. Yes, smelling the perfume is one of the most common ADCs ever. Almost everyone I know have encountered it.

  • Yes, I understand what you mean when you say they are otherworldly sensings that comfort. I wanted to see my son just one more time after he passed on — disembodied or not. The same with my parents, my sis, my brod. Butthey have not honored with their presence.

    But I did have a before-death expereince which i will blog about some time soon.

  • Ben P

    Hi Noemi,

    I thought you might be interested in Ghost Stories. I know this is a shameless plug but am hoping that you’d approve this comment/reply :0)

    Here’s the link to my mum-in-law’s ghost stories site.

    http://www.mimighoststories.com.ph/

    And here’s the link to her new blog site. She’s a newbie in blogging and has just published her first blog entry…

    http://franklyfeminine.blogspot.com/

    Ben P

  • My wife died nearly three months ago.( it’s my first time to use the “d” word, as I’ve managed to use up already every possible option in Roget’s.) And I’ve wished every day to see and touch her again. But God or she would not yet allow me that privilege. A did manage a glimpse one morn at 3am, but that’s all. I really miss her so much and can’t wait to be with her again, if not only for our 9- year old daughter… Glad to know you have found life and living again. Wishing you all the best.