Sensing Our Dearly (Departed) Loved Ones

Last Sunday I had brunch with my lovely friend Vicki at her place, and my dog Harley was also invited.  Talking, cooking and eating all happened seamlessly, creating an enjoyable, blessed time.

At one point as Vicki and I ate our delicious food and sipped coffee now camel-colored from our half and half, Harley had been lying on the floor in the kitchen only for a short time when he startled and came running to me and then rested at my feet.  Given Harley’s rocky beginning before I adopted him, he does startle more easily, so it wasn’t until he had the same reaction, staying even for a shorter time in the kitchen the second time, at least an hour later, that I knew something more was happening. And he had looked in the same area both times before suddenly jumping up and running out of the space.  So, I decided to walk to the area where Harley had looked with a solid gaze and then knew.  My friend Vicki had a deceased loved one in her kitchen.

Wait, you say.  Whoa, really?! Some of you might even read that last paragraph just to be sure. Yes, I am humbled and appreciative to have a gift and have sensed some of my deceased loved ones most of my life—and more recently deceased loved ones of clients and friends. But I don’t always know when or how it will happen, and I was grateful for my host’s openness to such spiritual matters. So, after getting intense, cold shudders through my upper body and arms and feeling like someone was standing nearby, I asked without saying a word, “Who’s here?” Immediately, I felt and just knew “Grandma.” So, I asked Vicki if she had a grandmother or grandmother-like figure who had passed (Yes), and then I received more details (just knew them and saw them): a woman who had smaller stature but was plumper around the middle, a woman with strong opinions who didn’t always express them (I saw her—not even her face in detail—with an active, critical mind and finger-shaking stance but pursed lips for a moment), and a grandma who watched her granddaughter cook at the stove often in both a kind and critical way (making sure things were being done right but being encouraging).

Vicki seemed touched to know that Grandma was checking on her and around her and confirmed some of the details I was getting, and I could tell that Grandma had loving, supportive energy.  She definitely seemed to “pass through” and not linger there too long, as I couldn’t see many of her features in detail, and she faded not long after we acknowledged her.

Having experienced these kinds of encounters several times now, I have to say: I’m not afraid. I am honored to be able to pick up on such energy but also take careful measures to protect myself. For example, even though I am an open channel, I ask only for light energies, beings of the light; when we’re open channels, almost anyone or even darker energies can come in, but if we protect ourselves energetically, which I always recommend if you’re trying to communicate with the deceased or feel “someone” is around (ex. calling on God, Spirit, Archangel Michael, other angels, Jesus or any protective beings), we’re okay. And even if there ever are darker, unwanted energies (those that drain, those that don’t have a good feeling associated with them),  we can always ask them to leave; we’re always in control. A simple, aloud “you need to leave” and perhaps even “you need to go into the light and cannot be here” for any energies that make us uncomfortable are all that are needed. If you’re not familiar with earthbound spirits, clicking here will lead you to a website that does a decent job of explaining.

I know not everyone believes in what I’m referencing, and family and friends who know this side of me seem a little freaked out and very curious. The more I’ve believed and remained open, the more occurrences I’ve had. I’ve experienced several types of visits from the other side. My father has communicated with me the most and in so many ways, including touching my (left) shoulder,  turning on lights or flickering them, showing up in divination cards (ex. angel card Sonya in Doreen Virtue’s Messages from Your Angels oracle card deck, “I bring you a message from your deceased loved one”), and being around through a certain song playing. In client reiki sessions, sometimes a loved one will show me objects; for example, one client’s deceased mother showed me a blank pad, paints and a paintbrush; usually I can just sense some of the deceased person’s features, such as hair type and color, demeanor, height or weight, but I don’t usually see them as a clear apparition, and they appear more shadowy to me. I don’t always know the significance of things, such as those painting supplies I mentioned, but the client confirmed, “Oh, my mother was a painter and very creative.” At times, the beings don’t offer me a lot, but I can sense male or female and possibly a role like “aunt” (which sometimes is a blood-related aunt or even a family friend who had an aunt-like role). I’ve also had pets come through in client sessions, such as a couple of dogs. Overall, sometimes loved ones or friends who have died will have specific messages and things to say, or they may just do something (ex. touch my client’s hand or have a certain facial expression) or have a particular energy that I can share. While I may not always understand their words or objects, the client does, and I share messages exactly as I hear them.

Having this gift is, again, humbling and appreciated. I am grateful to finally understand more. When I was young, I was awoken in the middle of the night while sleeping at my dad’s place to a loud whisper of “Good-bye, Erika. I love you” and sensed my Aunt Candy, who was very ill with pulmonary hypertension and only 32 years old.  I had sat up straight, looked around and expected to see someone there.  I felt as though I had just been hugged. About an hour or two later, the phone rang, and my dad came down the stairs, tears streaming down his face, phone in hand. I knew. I ran to him, embraced him and said, “Candy’s gone, isn’t she?” He looked at me, a little surprised, and asked, “How did you know?”

As I got older, I noticed that I had trouble sleeping in certain places, such as one particular apartment building in Green Bay, WI, where I lived for a year after college. At certain apartments or hotels, I’ve noticed that I felt beings in the room; sometimes I couldn’t fall asleep or would sleep with a candle lit because I felt uncomfortable with these spirits. I didn’t understand what was happening or know what to do, and I didn’t have the resources I’ve had more recently. At times, I’d wake up, even sit up, feeling as though someone woke me or was right next to me. Now, thankfully, I get it. I’ve always been this channel, but I know how to better handle such communication and even such beings. At places like hotels and apartment buildings, older energies and even beings sometimes are trapped and are unsettled, especially in places where so many people are transient (apartments, hotels, multi-unit residences).  These spirits often don’t mean harm, but they’re often earthbound, so they can disrupt sleep, drain energy, do pesky things and so forth. When I stay in hotels now, I have to clear the room (ex. upon entering or even before arriving, just say, “I need all beings who are not in the light to leave. Thank you” or “I ask all beings, except my dad, to leave.”).

If I don’t clear (forget to clear) a new space where I’m staying? I might experience what I did a couple of years ago at a hotel in Omaha, Nebraska, when I was making the long drive with my dog Harley to Wisconsin, where my family and some friends live. I kept waking up to a little boy shadow figure next to my bed. Harley confirmed this presence, as his head was up many of the times I was startled awake, looking in the direction of where I saw the shadow boy. After asking the spirit, “Honey, do you need something? Do you need to tell me something?” with no response and multiple times of being woken, I finally, firmly said aloud, “You need to leave. I need to sleep, I’m exhausted, and you need to go into the light.” After that, no more disrupted sleep.

I could say a lot more and share several additional personal stories about this wonderful topic, but I just want to close with an important consideration: We have so many loved ones who have crossed into the light (see the link earlier in this post about earthbound spirits and those who have crossed over) and really just want to guide us and still love us. If we’re open, it’s amazing what can happen. I’m sure a lot of you have your own delightful stories of how loved ones have guided you or shown up and when you’ve just felt them there. With everything I’ve experienced, sensed and heard, I believe in an afterlife, a spiritual side and love that always lives on.

Finally, a note on the inspiration for the title of this blog post: When I had an intuitive reading done years ago at the Boulder Creek Festival, the woman, also a medium, immediately acknowledged that my dad was right next to me. Then, she started laughing and tried to relay that my dad was introducing himself and saying that he was a “dearly loved one,” purposely playing on the phrase “dearly departed loved one” but leaving out “departed.” So like my dad, as he had a playful side.

***Dear friends, some of you have lost loved ones, particularly parents, recently. While I started this post a few days ago, I send extra love and light and belief in this post’s messages and examples out to Schmi and some other friends. My father, even if we had an imperfect relationship while he was on this earth, has become an amazing guide, coach and loving presence in my life in this decade since he passed.


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