Cheryl's Blog

Are we connected?

The day after my friend Ileen died, I was standing by a window that overlooks our backyard comforting one of her friends in London, when a bald eagle flew overhead. Amazed by the sight of such a majestic bird, I shared the experience with her friend and said, If Ileen were to come back as a bird, it would be an eagle. She was that big a presence. We both laughed and decided Ileen must be saying hello.

The next day I received an audio message from my friend Melissa, someone who also knew and loved Ileen. She said, “I was just driving down my street when a giant bird flew by my car and landed on a tree in front of me. When I pulled over and looked up, it turned out to be a bald eagle. Can you imagine!”

I hadn’t told Melissa about my sighting the day before and when I did, we also laughed and agreed Ileen was visiting once again.

It’s normal to look for signs from our loved ones who have passed. Over the years, I’ve received what I believe to be evidence of life after death, and while my mind always intervenes at some point to make me question myself, I’ve learned to receive the comfort that experiences like this have to offer. Here’s another example of what I mean…

The Saturday after my father died I was teaching a workshop in Boston and before the event started, I decided to get my hair done. As I walked through a busy shopping mall, I gazed at the people milling about. Just before reaching the salon, a young African American man with crystal blue eyes walked into my path. He stood before me; his face not more than two feet from mine, and said, “Hello.” Then he turned and walked away.

He was beautiful. Striking, really. And familiar. My dad had crystal blue eyes.

I entered the salon as if in a trance and waited at the receptionist counter to be checked in. A wave of sadness hit and I closed my eyes to compose myself. I’ll miss seeing my dad’s eyes, I thought. When I opened mine, I noticed an elderly woman on the other side of the counter paying her bill. As she put her wallet away, she looked up at me and winked. Then she walked out of the salon.

A strange calm came over me. Was my dad’s consciousness using this woman’s body to wink at me? Did the young man with crystal blue eyes agree to say hello on my father’s behalf?

Were the bald eagle sightings a visit from our friend, Ileen?

These are some of the questions I still ask myself as I settle into the reality that another important person has left this physical world. While we may never know for sure that life goes on after we die, I do know this: We are all connected in astounding ways that we can’t fully understand while in human form.