Life, love, death. They are chronological and linear, yet not finite. But the bond with a loved one after death is indeed “infinite”.

Ask the person whose “love of their life” died in their arms, saw their “spirit” leave their body and ascend into the universe to find “their” place in the stars outside their window. They are the hawk at the entrance ramp of the highway guiding the day’s journey. They are the street sign with their name or initials that appear, or number combinations that pop up, or the name on a caller ID.

Ask the mother whose child died, no matter the age, about the hole in the center of their being, whose energy manifests in synchronicity with a special feeling. Ask the adult child whose elder parent and “best friend” appears as an angel in cloud formation.

What about the feathers, pennies from heaven, songs, birds (cardinals, hawks, hummingbirds), animals, butterflies, dragonflies, moved objects, recipes, books that appear out of nowhere, and so many more examples? If you speak about these things to a person who has not experienced the profound death of a loved one, they may look at you askance, as they don’t understand.

 In their book Hello from Heaven(1997), Bill and Judy Guggenheim researched the field of after-death communication, confirming that life and love are eternal. They identified the 12 most frequent types of after-death communication people report having with their deceased loved one: sensing a presence, hearing a voice, feeling a touch, smelling a fragrance, visual experience, visions, twilight experience, experience while asleep, out-of-body experience, telephone call, physical phenomena and symbolic experience.

In The Invisible String(2000), Patrice Karst created a simple story for children and adults alike that, “People who love each other are always connected by a very special string made of love. Even though you can’t see it with your eyes, you can feel it deep in your heart and know that you are always connected to the ones you love.” The intention of the story was to calm a child’s fear of being apart from the ones they love, but it serves a wider purpose in aiding those who would like to explain their sense of connection to someone who has left the physical plane.

In Tuesdays with Morrie(2005), Mitch Albom quoted Morrie Schwartz: “Death ends a life, not a relationship. All the love you created is still there. All the memories are still there. You live on in the hearts of everyone you have touched and nurtured while you were here.”

What connects us to a person that died? It’s the relationship and love. It’s all about love. This is not about romantic love, nor hedonistic wanting and desire perceived as love; this is a deep, caring connected love that transcends time and death. It is a forever love that was created in life that continues after death—a forever and continuing bond.

In recent times, memorials are posted on social media platforms such as Facebook to connect the memories and photos of a dead loved one to the living. This type of online mourning and connectedness gives comfort to those left behind. Many photos of “signs” are posted that give the bereaved hope that the bond of love continues.

Others may find journaling, writing poems or songs, or even authoring a book very cathartic.  Creating a special email between the bereaved and deceased to share in cyberspace is another way to maintain communication, even though it is one-way. The use of all these mediums can be of great comfort as sorrow is put into words.

A lady talking to a dragonfly perched atop an orange daylily is an illustrative example. That daylily was planted by her now deceased mother. The woman carried on, swearing her deceased husband was connecting with her through the dragonfly, which nodded its head, as she spoke into its eyes only three feet away. Dragonflies are regarded in some traditions as transitional creatures.

We indeed are and will always be connected by an infinite invisible string because our loved ones are in our hearts and our memories. We continue to share stories that came from generations before. We create new stories in the name of our loved one. We have forged a forever bond, connected in life and after death. It is all about love.

Debbie Pausig, MFT, LMFT, CT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified thanatologist, grief counselor, national speaker, workshop presenter, Huntington’s disease support group facilitator, bereavement facilitator trainer and VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice bereavement coordinator. She is the author of An Affair Worth Remembering with Huntington’s Disease. Connect at 203-985-8246 and DebbiePausigMFT.com.