Einstein said, “Energy cannot be created or destroyed. It can only be changed from one form into another.” Strange that a scientist’s quote brought me comfort in dealing with the death of my husband, Gary. It also became the means by which I convinced myself I wasn’t crazy when seemingly inexplicable, spiritual experiences happened.

These are stories I’ve rarely shared. I chose to keep them mostly private. Why? Because I feared being judged. Now, I simply do not care what others think.

Feeling the presence of the loved ones we’ve lost can be comforting. Is it real or imagined? I don’t have the answer to this. What I know is the moments of sensing Gary near me filled me with peace and love. Perhaps it was my mind creating stories to help me cope. Perhaps not. Does it matter? To me, it does not. If it brings you comfort to embrace what appear to be signs or messages from a loved one after they are gone, then embrace these things.

The first time I ‘saw’ Gary after he passed, I was driving down a major freeway in Los Angeles. It was a bright, sunny day. I looked up and there he was, perched on the lane divider. Black cowboy boots, black jeans, black leather jacket, cool looking sunglasses, and a picture of total health – Gary before cancer. He stood there, arms crossed comfortably in typical Gary style.

Before I could question what I was seeing, I sensed he was letting me know he was okay and that I would be okay, too. As I travelled closer, he faded away leaving me with the first sense of peace I’d had in a long time.

I sensed him at other moments but I only ever saw him one more time. I was walking our dog about three years after he’d passed. A blanket of grief related depression had settled over me. I was struggling to find a way to go on. Up ahead, a tall, thick hedge on the right divided an open stretch of land. Just like in “A Field of Dreams,” as we passed by the hedge, he came walking out of it. His face held a look of grave concern. He took a few long strides without breaking his gaze and then faded away leaving an empty space of grass and air.

He was right to be concerned. His visit prompted me to make some changes. I’d always found exercise to be a healing agent for me. I decided to start working out again. The heavy fog began to lift by the end of my third session. I resolved my grief related depression, though it took time and vigilance. I remain thankful for the spiritual encounter with my late husband that prompted me to take action. Were these visits real or imagined? Because what is most important to me is that they helped me, I don’t waste time asking that question. In each instance, I felt at peace and I felt loved.

I think I’ll side with Einstein’s explanation that energy can’t be created or destroyed…only transformed. I’ll trust that the love Gary had for me was transformed into an experience of his presence when I most needed it.


Tambre Leighn

Tambre Leighn is a leading expert in coaching grief recovery. She is also a published author, speaker, and outspoken patient/caregiver advocate. Her background as a professional athlete and her personal experience caregiving for her late husband along with her struggles with grief-related depression after being widowed inspired Tambre to become a coach. Tambre’s online course, “Grief as a Pathway to Transformation,” recently launched on the personal development website DailyOm.com which also features courses by leading experts such as Deepak Chopra and Debbie Ford. Tambre has developed a model for Grief Recovery that helps clients design a path to address external changes loss initiates as well as internal emotional work that is a part of healing from loss. A key component is helping clients reconnect with a passion for life so they can find purpose. Through this work, she assists clients in designing a future they can be excited about while honoring the past and what has been lost in a healthy way. Reach her at tambre@wellbeyondordinary.com

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