Keeping loved ones close after they've passed

Do you believe in the spirit world? Most people do, but only to a certain point. They may not believe in a haunting, but do agree that those who have departed still come to visit. It may not be in the way we remember them, but maybe just an object that appears or even a butterfly.

When my mother was alive she would often remark that when she would awaken from a nap, the digital clock next to her bed would be at 5:55. She told me she thought perhaps it might be the time she would leave this world. She mentioned it more than once. As it turned out, this was not the time of her passing. However, just a day or two after her passing, I, of course, was a total mess. I could not stop crying and had not been able to sleep. I recall putting on a pot of coffee and actually saying out loud, "Mama, I miss you so much I don't know how I will get through this." When I poured the coffee, I noticed the digital clock on the coffee maker was 5:55. I felt a deep breath, and a calmness that came over me. I truly believed that my mother was sending me a message it would all be OK, and she was alright.

Many times over these twenty some years since my mother left, the 5:55 has appeared at the most critical times in my life. It always seems to be there when I need the faith and encouragement I always got from her.

A week or so ago, while sitting at the computer, I noticed my dog, Timmy, was staring at the bedroom ceiling. I looked up and expected to see a shadow or perhaps a fly. He often tries to catch flies. I saw absolutely nothing! He stared for a few more seconds and then leaped from the bed in a state of panic. When I caught up with him, he was shaking. Something had obviously scared him bad.

That night Timmy started having night terrors. Yes, dogs do get them, but not any dog I have ever had. He wakes from a sound sleep, and he is crying and shaking horribly. I hold him, take him in my bed, and rock him like a scared child. It takes about an hour to calm him down enough to go back to sleep. Is this related to whatever he saw on the bedroom ceiling? He has not said so. Personally, I believe that maybe it is. Animals do have an enhanced sense of pretty much everything. They have great noses for smelling things and are often much better judges of character than we humans are. We know they are much more forgiving, and their loyalty is unending.

Many of us believe that our loved ones often come to visit after they are gone. Sometimes in a dream, sometimes with a feather attaching to your shoe, or a butterfly that seems to be following you around. These comforting moments are very special when they happen. They usually make us smile, as well as reminding us that they are OK where they are.

I will never know for sure what Timmy saw on the ceiling. It was, however, on the 11th anniversary of a death of someone I was very close to. Maybe he came by to see me, and Timmy actually saw him. Whatever the answers are, I will never know for sure. I am still helping my dog with these horrible night terrors. He is far too old to use medications. And Timmy has remained tight lipped about it.

Is it possible to believe in the spirit of those departed and not believe in ghosts? I think it is. Did my mother leave the 5:55 to help me get through any painful times in my life? I believe she did. I tell my children that I will find a way to let them know I am OK, when my turn comes.

I hope everyone can find something special to keep them close while they are left behind.