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Hope, Faith and Belief – Connections that End, Connections that Remain

waves of grief

The experiences and ideas we are going to talk about may or may not happen to you. They are not required to happen, there are no judgements associated with whether you have experienced any of these things or not. They are just possibilities. They have been reported by many people but surely not by all. Their meaning is always open to how you interpret them if you do experience them.

My purpose here is just to suggest that if you do experience things like this, that you might consider them in a way you perhaps have not in the past and again, if you do experience them, that they can be used to help in your growth and healing. If you do not experience them or you do not find the explanations that I propose resonate with you, that is fine as well. 

We all have to find our own way through our grief and what works for you is the important thing for your growth and healing. These ideas are what I took from my own experiences. How I interpreted them is how they seemed to be for me as I was experiencing them. I share them in hopes that if you are trying to understand similar experiences you can use what I learned to help you with your understanding.

Definitions:  My terminology for the discussion…

Spirit or soul: The animating force within us.

The veil: The boundary between the material world and wherever spirits or souls exist when they are not within a body.

Confluence defined as I use it:

Through the years of my grief journey, there have been numerous times when I experienced what I came to call confluences. These were times when I had a thought or a feeling, and at that exact moment, something happened that was totally unexpected, but at that moment, things came together at the perfect time and place. I gradually began to see that those moments were Andi sort of tapping me on the shoulder and saying, “I’m still here.”

Ideas to consider:  Connections that end, connections that remain

There are many places where the spiritual nature of life and death are discussed and written about and most religions have very strong pictures of the part spirit (soul) plays in ones life and on how the spirit (soul) behaves and where it goes after it is free of its earthly body. It is not for this discussion to talk about any of those things in a religious way. 

Again, my purpose here is to share my interpretation of things that I have experienced, that I’ve seen and heard during my bereavement and to propose some thoughts to help you perhaps recognize that a manifestation and communication of spirit might be possible within the context of your own grief. It is also a chance for you to share any of your own experiences that may be of a similar nature.

Some things to think about:

We are our spirits (souls):

If you believe that there is an animating force within us that is who we are and that it is usually called soul or spirit when we talk about it, then it seems possible that who we are isn’t limited by the body that surrounds us. 

If spirit is really who we are, then when our bodies die, it is possible that our spirits are then free of the constraints of the material world and are free to move onward. Again, where they go and how or why that happens is usually in the realm of religion and not for this discussion. In the way I see it, what is important in this context is that if who we are is not just our bodies, and if we are truly our spirits or souls, then the passing of our bodies in no way ends the existence of the essence that is ourselves. 

Love flows both ways: 

I think that for most of us, we can agree that our spouses or partners loved us as we loved them and throughout our lives together, the love that we shared may have built a spiritual connection between us. 

If you believe, as it says in so many different places, that when you die, you are reunited with your loved ones, then they need to be able to recognize you, spirit to spirit, and you need to be able to recognize them, spirit to spirit when you are reunited. I believe that we learn that recognition, not only of the bodies we occupy but also of both of our spirits all throughout our lives together and through the love that we build and share. 

Also, it is possible (probable) that our loved ones would not want us to be hurting or sad or lonely as much as we would not want to be those things ourselves. We surely would not have wanted that to be true for them if the roles were reversed. So, should it not also be possible that they can and would want to reach back across the veil to give us reassurance if they could, to sooth us, to comfort us, to hold us with spirit arms just to let us know they are safe and at peace and that they are still with us in spirit and they are and will be a part of us forever.

Dreams, visions, voices from across the veil: 

With those ideas in mind, it also seems, from so many conversations I have had, that the passing of a spouse or partner can often be a reality altering experience. 

Sometimes, in our extreme sadness, disorientation and emotional pain, it may seem like we can see a bit more of the universe than we normally do. Sometimes we seem to be able to see or hear our loved ones reaching out to us in dreams or visions, voices or seeming coincidences (confluences). 

Perhaps, instead of these things just being a product of our grief or our imagination, we actually can experience different things during our bereavement that we may not be able to do under more ordinary circumstances.

Perhaps in a sense, the veil to the spirit world thins with the passage of a soul through it and creates an increase in permeability through which we can experience things that we may not be able to do otherwise. Perhaps the veil is only an illusion and as our reality is shaken by the passing of our loved ones, we can briefly see past the illusion to another level of reality behind it.

The thinning of the veil between the everyday world and the world of soul, between the material world and the world where spirits exist when they are not animating bodies, may allow us to experience dreams, visions, voices and events that are truly messages if you will, from our loved ones. 

Suspending our disbelief, a new way to look at the world:

If we experience these moments of perceptual change, if we see or hear more than we are used to and are experiencing things we may not understand or may not have believed in, we have a choice. We can decide that what we are perceiving is not real and hold tight to the world as we knew it or we can suspend our disbelief and accept that the world is a larger and stranger place than we thought. Either way is ok..

If we choose to, we can perhaps come to see that there are things that are possible that we may not be able to explain or fit into the seemingly rational way of looking at the world we may have grown up with, been taught or have lived with all our lives to this point. 

The thinning of the veil (or the illusion) between the material world and the spirit world with the passage of a soul across it, added to the emotional turmoil of our grief, at least for a brief time, may sometimes actually allow us to experience these messages from our loved ones; not as hallucinations, but as actual transcendent experiences, as reality, not illusion.

We may not be able to explain them but by suspending our disbelief, we can take the dreams, visions, voices and coincidences and listen to them and accept that we hear, see and experience them, and be joyful and honored that our love could open these pathways and allow these messages to reach in both directions across the veil. 

And if you do experience things outside of your normal perceptions and way of looking at the world, I believe that you can also choose how involved you want to be – you may choose to just experience them and let them go or you may choose to continue to let them into your life and encourage them to continue, to give your love the freedom to keep expressing itself or to begin to do so at any time down the road. It may be easier at the beginning when we are most open and shaken loose from the world as we believed it to be. Or not.

But please remember, if you don’t experience any of these things, it doesn’t mean your love wasn’t or isn’t strong, it just means that you didn’t experience them now (or yet)… It also doesn’t mean that you might not experience them at some time in the future. There are no judgements here about good or bad, right or wrong, these are just experiences we may or may not encounter along the way.


  • How do you see it? 
  • What does it look like to you? 
  • What do these types of experiences mean to you?
  • If you have not had any of these experiences, how does hearing about them impact you? 
  • Would you be willing to try to “suspend your disbelief” if it meant you had to change how you view the world? What if it allowed you to have additional connections with your loved ones?
  • If you have had any of these experiences, do you see them as hallucinations or do you think they are indeed real communications from your loved one? Even if you don’t understand how that might happen.
  • No matter whether you have had them or not, do you see these as possible and real or are they too strange and “out there” to believe?
  • What do you think these things mean in the context of your grief?
  • If you have experienced things like this, do you see them as a way to continue to have your loved ones be a presence in your life? Is that a good thing or not?
  • How might we encourage these types of experiences to continue if we want them to?