Losing a cherished loved one is among life’s most sorrowful experiences. We’re often confronted with a sense of emptiness that reminds us of all the ways that person enriched our lives.
So many folks wish for some sort of sign that the individual remains with them in spirit. And sure enough, certain mysterious occurrences seem to suggest that death does not truly sever our caring connections.
Take visiting birds, for example. Several ancient cultures believed that winged creatures symbolize newly liberated souls on their way to reside with God.
Angela Abbott Patteson could probably tell you something about this. Her grandmother-in-law, Dorothy Booth, recently passed away peacefully at the age of 97.
The Dodo reported that according to Patteson, Booth’s daughters Jeanne Booth Wright and Debbie Booth Patterson had communicated a specific request. Anticipating their mother’s eventual passing, they asked her to signal them from beyond if she could.
“They talked many times with Grandma, lightheartedly, even jokingly,” Patteson told The Dodo. “‘Hey, when you get to heaven, see if you’re able to send a sign that you’re there and that you’re happy.’
“She would say, ‘I’ll see what I can do!’ They said, ‘Send a cardinal!’ Because that was one of Grandma’s favorite birds.”
So you can imagine the sense of astonished surprise when the family gathered together the day after Booth’s memorial service. They were reportedly playing Booth’s favorite card game when they heard a noise at the kitchen window.
“My father-in-law went outside and saw it was a cardinal,” Patteson said. “It was just sitting there, completely alert and calm — nothing wrong with it.”
But that cardinal seemed determined to stay put. Patteson explained that her father-in-law “was able to approach it and pick it up. He brought it in the house.”
Booth’s daughters, of course, were utterly amazed and overjoyed.
“They were taking pictures and crying and saying, ‘Oh my gosh, it really happened!’” Patteson said.
But after a few minutes, the group agreed it was time to release the creature back into its natural habitat. And that’s when things got downright extraordinary.
They thought the bird was about to fly away outside, but it returned to perch companionably on one daughter’s shoulder.
“They were in sheer delight that that happened,” Patteson said.
Eventually, the daughters gently placed the cardinal on a nearby branch while a family member recorded a video. The bird settled there briefly, basking quietly in their presence, and then softly soared into the sky.
Booth’s family is absolutely convinced that the cardinal represented a loving message from their matriarch. “They knew that it was from God,” Patteson said.
So if you’re missing someone who meant the world to you, don’t lose hope. Perhaps they realize your heart is aching, and they’re hovering close by your side right this minute.
“To have this happen has been so comforting,” Patteson said. “It’s really helped my mother-in-law and her sister. This was definitely an answer to prayers.”
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