Loved ones who have died are no longer with us in the flesh, but, in my experience, they haven’t really gone very far away. Rather, their spirits (or souls) continue to be with us. I have felt this to be very true with my mother, Ruth Shapiro, who died almost three years ago. Since then she has been my Spirit Mom, including just the other day (See previous blog post). And today is her birthday! She would have been 96.
One of the best ways we can connect with our departed loved ones is through honoring and celebrating WITH THEM those events and activities that had special meaning for the person and/or our relationship with them. That means actually inviting them to join us in the celebration. And often they will come, because their spirits are drawn in through their continuing connection to that which they loved when they were alive.
My mother always made a big deal about birthdays. So, earlier tonight, I invited her to join my wife Helen and me for a birthday dinner at our house. I did this by first concentrating on her physical image in my mind, wishing her a happy birthday, then just sharing with her a little bit about what we were planning to do, and asking her to come. To make it more welcoming for her, we set her a place at the table, with her photo on the chair by that setting. We prepared her favorite dinner meal – fish and vegetables – and served it to her, as well as to us. Similarly, we served pieces of a small birthday cake, after blowing out the candles and singing Happy Birthday. Throughout, we talked to her, and could definitely sense responses from her. No doubt for us that she was there, and enjoying the occasion. And we did too.
For this type of experience to work, one does not need to believe in a direct connection with an actual spirit presence. For those who are very secular-inclined, you can connect with qualities about the person or special aspects of your relationship with them to be able to feel yourself with them. And for those who worship God or other manifestations of the Divine, your loved one will be with you through Whoever, or Whatever, the Divine is for you.
Happy Birthday, Mom! Love you always.