Missing Loved Ones During the Holidays?
Death is a transition from life in time and space to eternal life. Eternity is an entirely unique mode of being, one that we begin to experience even in time and space.
It’s not as odd as it may sound, then, to suggest that those who have died may, on an unpredictable basis, manifest themselves to loved ones still plodding through history. Indeed, if love transcends time and space yet is present in time and space, there is no reason why deceased loved ones may not, on occasion, be present to and communicate in some loving way with those still living in historical time. Researchers, in fact, have turned up evidence that many people do experience contact, in various ways, with deceased loved ones.
In his book Messages and Miracles: Extraordinary Experiences of the Bereaved, Louis E. LaGrand, PhD, says:
The realization that apparitions of the deceased…have been consistently interacting with the living is one of the little publicized hallmarks of human history. However, the experience is not new to the bereaved, nor is it rare for a selected number of people who are not mourning the death of a loved one.
Based on his research, Professor LaGrand suggests six reasons that deceased loved ones “visit” following their death:
1. To provide comfort and reassurance.
2. To assist those who are themselves dying.
3. To finish unfinished business.
4. To suggest ways to solve problems.
5. To emphasize that love is eternal.
6. To protect by helping a bereaved person avoid a potentially harmful situation before it happens.
Thomas Merton, the well-known Trappist monk and author, wrote a decade or so after the fact about sensing, as an adolescent, the presence of his deceased father. In The Seven Storey Mountain, his autobiography, Merton writes:
I was in my room. It was night. The light was on. Suddenly it seemed to me that Father, who had now been dead more than a year, was there with me. The sense of his presence was as vivid and as real and as startling as if he had touched my arm or spoken to me. The whole thing passed in a flash.…
Mind you, we’re not talking about an experience like Ebenezer Scrooge’s visit from the ghost of Jacob Marley in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
The experiences of real people are never as wild and
dramatic as that. Sometimes, however, what happens
to real people has a similar effect. They become less fearful, more at peace with their lives.