I’ve always labeled myself agnostic. I feel many people hear that I’m agnostic and automatically put me in the same boat as an atheist, however that couldn’t be further from the truth.
No matter what stories I hear, or what I experience that supports my belief in the other side, the realist in me knows that I can’t be certain. To be honest, I don’t believe we are supposed to be certain in the meaning of life and the purpose of this human, earthly experience. What I can tell you is, I’ve had a few experiences that were so profound to me that my belief in life after death is very strong.
I always had a sense that my grandma who passed years before I was born was with me. It was just a feeling I had, that I had no explanation for. I barely knew anything about her other than the basics about her personality and how she passed.
I never got to know my paternal grandfather or step grandfather. They are both alive and well, and the thought that I have grandparents out there that I know nothing about just so happened to cross my mind one morning. Thinking of them lead me to think about how I wish I would have gotten to meet my paternal grandmother, and wondering what our relationship would have been like if she would have been in my life.
I remember I looked at my phone, and saw it was 8:51. I thought, my husband will be home in about an hour and I had time to take a quick nap before we started our day. I closed my eyes. I began to experience what I can only explain as “a trip to the in-between.”
I remember being in what seemed like an old theatre. It was a huge, open room with dark red carpet. In the distance I could see the opening of a hallway, which I was drawn to. The best way I can describe it was that it was a hallway that seemed like it would lead to a theatre. It didn’t feel like a movie theater, it felt as if it was a building you would go to see a play or a musical.
I wasn’t alone in this room. The room was full of what I could only describe as “faceless” people. It’s not that they didn’t have faces, it was just almost as if those people weren’t relevant to me. They seemed to be blurry, but I had an overwhelming presence of many people in this room.
As I was well aware of my surroundings, my focus was on the opening of the hallway. I felt myself gravitating towards the opening. On my way there, in my peripheral I could see a woman clear as day looking at me. She was standing there, in what felt like a spotlight compared to all the blurry people in the room, and I could feel her starring at me.
I didn’t know what to make of it, but at first I was trying to avoid her, because my focus was on getting to the opening of the hallway. I remember I didn’t look directly at her at this point, but I thought to myself that she looked so much like my aunt (her daughter) but I knew it wasn’t my aunt.
I continued to walk to the opening of the hallway. I was about halfway there. I could still feel this woman starring at me. In fact, I could not only feel her starring at me, I could feel her presence directly behind me.
I turned around, and I saw this woman with eyes so clear it seemed as if they were gems, her hair was long and flowing. She was wearing white. Every detail of her face seemed to be sharpened. She looked more real than real. She had tears streaming down her face and she reached out and grabbed my face and said to me telepathically, I’ve been waiting to meet you.”
I don’t know if I woke myself up, or if that was all I was allowed to experience. But that was it. I was awake. It felt like where I went, I was there for at least 30 minutes, but I came out of it and looked at my phone and it still said 8:51. I couldn’t believe it. No time had passed at all.
The first thing I did was find a picture of my grandmother for a refresher. I honestly didn’t remember what she looked like. I had seen a few pictures of her, but not in years and I definitely didn’t have her face memorized. When I saw a picture of her with long hair, I couldn’t believe it. It was 100% her that I saw in the experience I had. Even though I had felt it was her, it was confirmation to me that it was her.
The experience stuck with me for a long time. I wanted answers. I came out of that experience knowing it wasn’t just a dream. I found out that my grandmother would always grab my dad and aunts faces as a form of affection. A small detail and glimpse of her personality that I experienced in this dream. No one had ever told me that about her before. It was a detail no one ever seemed to mention until I said in the experience she grabbed my face before saying she had been waiting to meet me.
I found myself researching terms I have never heard of for answers. Specifically “visitation dreams” and I found a plethora of people who have experienced very similar things as me. People who experienced “the waiting room” and people having dreams about people who had passed and them appearing to be more real than real in these dreams.
I’m not talking about when you have a dream and you wake up thinking it was real, I’m talking even more real than life itself. The sensory of this place I was in and the way her features illuminated. It was incredible and other worldly. It didn’t feel like heaven, but it felt like we were in a space between earth and wherever we go when we die.
I then reached out to an evidential medium who I had resonated with about my experience. The way evidential mediums work is they work off of evidence. They strive to prove to you they are communicating with the other side. A true evidential medium needs no information from you. Not even your name or who you are trying to reach. As a realist, this is crucial to me.
(Before you say it, I did not pay this woman a dime. So before you say “she could be scamming you, or giving you basic information to draw you in.” She didn’t make any money off this interaction and the information she gave me was far from basic.)
I told her I wanted answers about an experience I had. That was all I said. She was immediately able to tell me my paternal grandmother was with me in spirit every day. She told me when I thought about how I wanted to meet her, she viewed it as the perfect opportunity to finally meet me. She also confirmed, they speak telepathically on the other side. Which was something I was heavily thinking about since when she spoke to me, her mouth didn’t move. I told her nothing about the experience I wanted clarity on, yet she confirmed details of the experience without any way of knowing.
Part of being a realist is also knowing sometimes there’s no explanation for coincidences. I’ve heard every excuse to why “it was just a dream” and since I had thought about my grandmother prior to my nap, that I dreamt of meeting her. I closed my eyes to take a nap at 8:51 and woke up from the “dream” at 8:51. Your body doesn’t enter REM that quick.
The medium also told me a story about how towards the end of her life, my dad had put his hand on her knee when they were very swollen due to her cancer.
I asked my dad about this, and he told me a story about when he went to visit her in the hospital. He put his hand on her knee, and felt her leg had tripled in size. He said this was when it hit him that his mom was dying. He ran out of the hospital room feeling like he was going to pass out. He said the nurses were elevating his legs due to him being so light headed from coming to that realization. He had never talked to anyone about this. Nor was there any way for this medium to know anything about that story. How can that be explained? It can’t.
I also had affirmations in the other side when my maternal grandmother was passing. I really struggled with the idea that “people cease to exist” when they die. I mean, can you really blame me? You spend years of your life knowing a person, and the thought of death being the end of that person is a little damning. How could they just disappear?
Even with my own experience with seemingly meeting the spirit of my grandmother who had passed, there isn’t enough proof out there to comfort you when you are faced with losing someone you never thought would die. People can tell you to have faith in God, but I think we all realistically want more than just faith sometimes. We want a reason to believe. And that’s exactly what I got.
When I knew my grandmother would be passing soon, I was shocked. I really believed that moment would never come. That she would just keep living and living. Death is inevitable, it’s the only thing promised to us once we are born. Yet, even knowing that death eventually meets us all, I really don’t think I ever thought I would live in a world where my grandmother didn’t exist. There was a comfort that came with her existence and for some reason, I lived my life with some sort of supernatural belief that my grandmother was immortal.
I mean, I didn’t actually think she was immortal… but with every year she got older the thought of her passing would cross my mind. But even with her climbing age, it felt like that time was so far into the future that it was never going to come.
When we knew she would be dying soon, my heart was broken. I was filled with so much fear, wondering where she would go. The sugar coated response is, “she’s going with God.” Or “she’s going to heaven.” But when you’re faced with fear and despair, sometimes that answer isn’t good enough.
As much as I believed in my heart that she would be reunited with her family, and she would continue on in a place we aren’t capable of understanding while we are on earth…I desperately wanted to know she would be okay.
I was in the car about to go into the store to get some things for dinner. I remember taking a moment and the tears just wouldn’t stop. Not only was I realizing that I was about to live the rest of my life without my grandmother, but I was really struggling with the thought of what happens to people when they die.
I remember closing my eyes and saying out loud, “whether my grandma is in spirit or on earth, I want to know she will be okay. If she will be okay, I want to see two cardinals by the end of the day.”
I spent 5 minutes in the store. I went to my dads house and sat in his garage for maybe 10 minutes after asking for that sign. I was distracted on my phone, talking to my family about how my grandmother was doing, and coordinating our trip to see her with my husband. I wasn’t really paying attention to much else than that.
All the sudden my dad said, “Oh, look! There’s a cardinal on the tree in my yard. Oh! Look! There’s the other one!” And then he started rambling off about how my grandpa once told him that if you see one cardinal, there’s always another one close by. I’m pretty sure all the blood left my body for a minute. You could argue that a cardinal is Indiana’s state bird, but I’ll be honest, before that moment I couldn’t tell you the last time I had seen a cardinal. I would have completely missed that sign if my dad hadn’t pointed out the cardinals. I feel that was spirits way of making sure I caught the sign, because spirit knew I needed it.
Even though I was confident in the sign, sometimes overthinking gets the best of you and you wonder if that “sign” was a coincidence or just wishful thinking. Once my husband and I were bedside with my grandmother, my husband had a shocked looked on his face and told me to look under her bed. When I looked, I noticed there was a pillow with cardinals on it under her bed. The cardinals were facing us. I had never seen that pillow before in my life. I’m sure she had it for awhile, but it was the first time I had ever seen it. I couldn’t believe THAT was the pillow that was directly under her. It stuck out like a sore thumb.
It felt like a hug from the other side. It felt like spirits way of making sure I believed in my sign and that I knew my grandmother was going to be okay.
In reality, I knew I would be able to grieve my grandmother if I believed she would be okay wherever she was going. At 85, I knew she had lived a long, full life. I wasn’t expecting her to recover. I didn’t need her to live. I just needed her to be okay. I just wanted a reason to believe her soul would go on.
Months later, I was going through old cards and letters from my grandmother. I came across a letter she wrote me about all the cardinals in her backyard and how I was going to love watching them. I believe things happen for a reason. In the moment of her writing me a letter about how I was going to love watching the cardinals, she had no idea just how much I would find comfort in watching for cardinals later in life. How can something so simple come full circle like that?
Believe it or not, cardinals show up when we least expect it. Even after moving to Florida, where they aren’t as common to come across. On the day we brought all our stuff down to Florida, we saw two cardinals at the storage unit we were keeping our stuff. On our first day of work, we saw two cardinals at a park by our home. And now, there’s two cardinals that live in the tree in front of where we live. They love to fly in front of us when we least expect it.
To you, a cardinal may be a cliche sign from the other side. But to me, it’s a huge reason I believe life goes on. You can only gain so much from hearing peoples experiences as to why they believe in God, or the other side. Once you experience a reason to believe in life after death, it changes you.
You can’t experience what I did through reading an article. I have listened to so many stories about what people experienced nearing death, and there’s truly no combination of words that can put an experience like that into perspective for someone. Especially if that person (reasonably) doubts what they are being told. The only thing that truly made me believe that life continues on in some form, was the experiences where I truly felt I got glimpses from another realm.
They say when you experience something from spirit, you will remember every little detail. Some said, “write your experiences down so you don’t forget.” The thing is, I couldn’t forget it even if I wanted to. I could replay the entire dream in my head from start to finish. I can remember every detail of what I saw when I turned my head. I remember very vividly what my grandmother looked like in spirit. The feeling of peace that took over me in these moments is a feeling that hasn’t been replicated since.
I hope my experiences are insightful to you, but I hope you get your own clarification one day if you haven’t already. It will stick with you forever. Because of my experiences, I live my life with ease. I feel life matters, because I feel life continues. It gives me clarity and peace in moments where grief heavy.
The photo that confirmed the woman in my dream was my paternal grandmother.
The letter my grandma wrote me as a child, telling me I was going to love watching cardinals.