Perhaps the hardest part about losing a loved one is coping with the insatiable desire to hold them close once more… Every part of our being longs for that embrace. Our hearts cry out in agony that they are no longer here in a physical, tangible, solid form. We are left feeling desperate and helpless to touch, hold, caress, and feel them just one more time…

Several weeks after Josie was killed, I found myself surrendering to this helpless state—a longing so intense you feel you might very well die. As I tried to clear my mind and focus on the reality of my situation, and where my precious daughter was now, I understood that she was right there with me—even though I could not see her. My mind was opened to allow me to understand how we truly communicate with one another.

Though the physical touch is so vital to our well-being and expression, I was led to see that sometimes there is no spirit involved in those physical embraces we call “hugs!” It is true… We can give hugs and receive hugs, but sometimes we might experience those embraces and feel absolutely nothing from the giver, or we ourselves may exert little heart and soul in those most precious of gifts we can ever give another human being…

This is when I came to the definite conclusion that has brought me countless blessings and comfort in my grief to this day—I can still hug my Josie Girl, and I can also receive hugs from her in return!!! In essence, our hearts hug as spirit communicates with spirit. This realization made me immediately stand from where I had been kneeling in prayer, as I instantly resolved to give her a tight embrace—spirit to spirit…

Then, something miraculous happened that I will never forget. In that precise moment that I stood and stretched out my arms to embrace my sweet, spirit daughter, my precious son, Julian, came bounding up the stairs to ask me something. Caught off guard, I barely had time to drop my arms to my sides—not wanting to look silly!!! As soon as he looked at me standing there, with tears streaming down my face, he immediately stretched his own tender arms around me and held me in that same tight embrace I had envisioned seconds prior. It was as though Josie brought him up the stairs and into my arms to rescue me!!! Oh how I love this blessed son of mine…

Obviously, I cried all the more when that happened, and again as I write, but I have never mentioned this experience to him—except now, if he happens to be reading! It was far too special and sacred of an experience to even put to words. In sharing, I hope and pray that these personal experiences may give light to others who are navigating their own painful grief paths…

The intricacies of the workings of Heaven and the mechanics of how spirit communicates with spirit is well beyond my current understanding, but I believe it is sooo real!!! The Lord has rained down his tender mercies upon me in countless ways… I will be forever grateful.

Understanding what is “real” and what is not, or what is “authentic” and what is not, has helped me improve my relationships with those around me. I have endeavored each new day to make my communications more honest and sincere. I know that I can still hug and love on my children that are not physically visible at present, and they can receive those hugs just the same!!! In grief, I have learned that it is truly spirit that is real—often far more so than that which we can see…

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