Lines Are Blurring, Yet Patterns Are Emerging

“Grieving without a mystical connection can deprive us of the great lessons pain can offer. If we grieve only within the confines of our three-dimensional understanding of human experience, we risk missing out on true spiritual healing.”  ~Terri Daniel, MA, CT

Welcome. I’m Anna Marie January, and as you’ve probably surmised by the quote above, this is not a blog about art. I guess you could say it’s a blog about the art of going deeper, asking the big questions, and being willing to receive answers that have been heretofore largely absent from my understanding of life and death. For many people it’s some sort of trauma that precipitates their journey of spiritual exploration. In my case, it was the “death” of my son in 2015.

Moments of Grace: Signs and Synchronicities (#1) The Gas Station

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Image: Anna Marie January

“There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”  ~unknown

On a Sunday afternoon in August of 2015,  I received the worst news a mother could hear. My 22 year old son Nick had taken his own life.

I could write about that phone call, about when I fell through the earth, about our handsome son’s history, that little four year old who once asked: “Daddy, what is chaos?” And after listening to his father’s explanation replied, “Yeah. That’s what I like!”

I could write about our family, what I and everyone might have done differently and I could  describe my obsessive need to piece together his final days, to understand each event that led up to that moment when he decided he could take no more.

But not today. Because at times, almost simultaneously, pushing through the haze and waves of my grief are these incredibly powerful and healing experiences that I just can’t ignore.

The Gas Station

It was a particularly difficult morning for me, less than a month after I lost my son. I was feeling weighed down by debilitating exhaustion, a common companion to the shock and disbelief one experiences in the aftermath of traumatic events, I’m told. Faced with what seemed a monumental task–I headed out to put gas in my car.

While I stood there waiting for my tank to fill, I noticed, kitty-corner to me on the other side of the island, an elderly woman sitting in an older model white sedan. Her back seat was filled to the roof. She was a large woman, her movements slow and labored as she stood up and maneuvered around and in-between the car door and island. She wore a light blue hat with a dollar bill tucked into the fold.

We greeted each other with a “Good morning.”   I then said something that surprised me, probably as much as it did her!

Me: “You know when you’re feeling really bad? Sometimes if you do something for someone else, it helps you feel a little better?”

She looked at me and nodded yes.

Woman: “Did you lose someone too?”

Me: (Wow) “Yes, my son.”

Woman: “I’m so sorry. I just lost my sister. What was your son’s name?”

We briefly exchanged the relevant information and condolences.

Me: “You may think this is strange, but the reason I said that earlier is because I’d like to fill your gas tank, if you’ll allow me to.”

Woman: “Really? Thank you! (Laughed) You must have noticed the pillows and blankets back there–I’m on dialysis and have to bring those with me to get comfortable. Are you sure?”

Me: “Yes, I’m sure. Let me finish up here and I’ll come over and put my credit card in.”

We stood by her car and talked. I learned that she had lost many of her family members, including siblings, but was particularly close to this sister. Perhaps she recognized something in me, having experienced so much loss herself?

Woman: “When did your boy pass?”

Me: “About 3 1/2 weeks ago…”

Woman: “That’s right around the time my sister passed.”

Me: “It was August 23rd.”


Woman:  (She almost whispered) “It was a Sunday.”

Me: “Yes. It was.”

Woman: “That’s the day my sister passed!”

Much longer pause…

With the tears that had been welling up in our eyes over the course of the conversation flowing freely now, we held each other. We were two perfect strangers with broken hearts, yes, but we had so much more in common. So there we stood–hugging and crying on a September morning at the Chevron Station. It was magic, really.

We said goodbye, and as she walked slowly toward the mini mart she called out “Now I can buy some food for my kitties!”

I was feeling so much more than just a little better. It’s difficult to describe. Stunned. Touched. Awed. I think the word I am looking for is LOVED. I remain grateful for our “chance” encounter.

My beautiful son, Nick.
Postscript: It's now been almost four years since Nick passed. After several more of these types of experiences, (they continue to this day), and much study and exploration on my part, I now know that this incident was among the first group of signs my son Nick would send me.  He is not lost to me. He is very present in my life and the lives of those he loves.

Moments of Grace: Signs and Synchronicities (#2) A To-Do List

“Let us be kind to one another, for most of us are fighting a hard battle.”   ~Ian MacLaren

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Image: Anna Marie January

Love. Trepidation. Tears. Truth. Memories. Laughter. Connection. Reconnection. Oh, and a Fire Dancer… The memorial service for my son was over, and there was nothing more for me to do. EVER. Well, at least there was nothing more I could do for Nick.

That kind of thinking dropped me into a new reality. For awhile, despite all the love and support, I felt disconnected, even from those closest to me. Everyday routines and places seemed bizarrely unfamiliar.

Certainly the apartment I rented three years earlier, the place where I came to cherish the freedom, quiet and order of living alone, had lost its’ sparkle. My little oasis was murky and dull. It felt, and even smelled like sadness.  I was done there.

My partner lovingly suggested I move in with her and her daughter, a proposal I had considered, then rejected several times before. I feared a situation where I had no real private space would only lead to imbalance, frustration, and ultimately another break up. My fundamental need for a hefty dose of solitude ranks high, immediately behind oxygen.

We decided to convert the garage into an art studio for me.

The move and garage conversion generated countless to-do lists. One of the items on my list this October morning was so out of the ordinary, I wasn’t sure how to begin to prepare for it. I decided to tackle the most mundane chore first, the one that guaranteed a measure of frustration but would offer no surprises. I went to Home Depot.

Once there, I located the few small items I needed fairly easily (for a change). I was headed toward the checkout line, lost in my thoughts until an overly cheerful man loudly called out to me from behind a table. Instead of the usual “Are you a homeowner? For a limited time we are offering blah blah  blah remodel, blah blah…” he said:

“Hello over there! It’s a lovely day, isn’t it? Awww, why the sad face? Cheer up! What could be so terrible on a day like this?”

As he spoke, he came out from behind his table and stopped right in front of me, literally blocking my path. I reached out and put both of my hands on his shoulders. We were almost the same height. Now it was my turn.

“I could say something really weird to you right now.”

His entire demeanor changed. He looked at me with these piercing blue eyes and softly said:

“Go ahead.”

Because I was annoyed, I must confess that I think I answered him with the intention of either shocking, shaming or shutting him up. Probably all three.

“I’m on the way to pick up my son’s ashes.” (So there Mr. Cheerful, I thought to myself).

“My son died on September third,” he replied.

I was the one who was stunned. Under the buzzing fluorescent lights of my neighborhood Home Depot, once again I found myself standing in that deep knowing of the previously unimaginable with someone, who only a moment before, was a complete stranger!

“Are you Jewish?” he asked, as if he’d suddenly come up with a great idea.

“No, but I was raised…”

Before I could finish my sentence he reached out and pulled me into a sweet bear hug, and gently rocking, began to pray:

“Baruch atah Adonai,  Eloheinu melech haolam…”

Mark’s son was a married man in his early 40’s with children. He died of a drug overdose. Apparently he wasn’t taking the drugs the professionals had prescribed for him, and was secretly self-medicating with the one that killed him.

Mark and I agreed that as parents, our pain did not begin the day our sons died. But we knew that as long as they were alive, there was always hope. I told him how glad I was that we met and thanked him for the prayer. I also jokingly admitted my irritation with his initial approach. We laughed and hugged one last time.

Although I couldn’t help but feeling anxious about going to the funeral home, I left the store with another very clear reminder that no matter how hard I try to convince myself otherwise, I am not alone.

Postscript: It's now been almost four years since Nick passed. After several more of these types of experiences, (they continue to this day), and much study and exploration on my part, I now know that this incident was among the first group of signs my son Nick would send me. He is not lost to me. He is very present in my life and the lives of those he loves.

Moments of Grace: Signs and Synchronicities (#3) The Parking Lot

“There will come a day, I promise you, when the thought of your son or daughter or your husband or wife brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye.” 

~Vice President Joe Biden

The Parking Lot

It was a beautiful day in the California beach town when I parked my car in the nearly empty lot. Knowing I would only be inside for a few minutes, I left the roof and windows of my mini cooper partially open for my little Maltese, Lulu.

The pink stucco exterior of the funeral home looked only vaguely familiar. The first time I visited was mostly a blur. I was there for a “viewing.” I was there to say a heart-rending goodbye to my 22 year old son, Nick. I am able to clearly recall relatively few images from that day, but those have been seared into my memory forever.

The interior looked even less familiar as I wandered from room to room looking for the Funeral Director. Then I noticed the rug. A wave of emotion threatened to crash down on my head.

Just as he had done on that day, the Funeral Director quietly appeared and led me in the right direction, his office this time. He offered me a seat, and let me know there would be a little paperwork to fill out before I could take my son’s ashes. He had a kind face and calm demeanor. I guess that sort of goes with the job. I imagine it’s not an easy one.

After the business was taken care of, he brought out a burgundy velvet bag and gently handed it to me. I was surprised by the weight, it was heavy.  I had questions. “We will want to spread his ashes, how can we open it?” After setting the bag on the table, he removed a black box with a white label on the lid that spelled out Nick’s full name. He showed me how to open it. I was glad to see it was a very tight fit, as my brain quickly indexed through several possible worst case scenarios. My next question:  “How do we know those are his ashes?” He explained something about a foolproof identification system they use which involves keeping a metal tag inside with the ashes at all times.

The exchange was both surreal and commonplace. I was a little wobbly when I stood up. I don’t know whether he sensed that, or if it is protocol, but he offered to carry the bag to my car. When we got out there, I realized I was not prepared. There was no place special enough for my son’s ashes. Lulu was in her carrier on the passenger seat, and I  briefly thought I could move her to the back and set the bag on the seat, but what if I had to make a sudden stop? I’d have to use the seat belt. I just couldn’t go there. I opted for the floor in front of the passenger seat, wrapping it in a purple tablecloth I happened to have in the car.

The Funeral Director must have been used to this awkward dance too, because he waited patiently until I got settled. I thanked him and we said goodbye.

After he went back in, I removed the tablecloth and picked up the burgundy velvet bag. Again, I was taken aback by the weight of the bag, which led to my association with holding a sleeping baby. I sat in that parking lot for awhile. Then I started driving.

For years I have entertained, if not completely believed, the idea that we are not our physical bodies, and that the body is simply a shell we no longer have any use for at the end of our lives. I repeated this over and over in my head and aloud, in an attempt to prepare myself for seeing Nick in physical form one last time that first day in the funeral home.

This concept proved to be particularly challenging for me to grasp, as the body in question was one I gave birth to, cared for, and watched grow into a strong and handsome young man. I remember the first time I saw his little feet. So these are what I was feeling when he would unleash a sudden flurry of kicks like a little alien tap dancer! Those sessions in utero were a harbinger of Nick’s intense energy, not unlike my own at times. In retrospect, it makes perfect sense, just as I recognize  the long, slow, deliberate, catlike stretches of his younger sister.

Not really having a plan or a sense of direction, I ended up at the beach. One positive thing that has come out of this devastating loss is a renewed connection and easier communication with my ex-husband, Nick’s father. As I sat thinking and looking out at the water, I checked my phone. I saw that he had left a message. He was wondering how I was holding up, given the day’s agenda. I returned his call and we began to make plans for a ceremony to scatter Nick’s ashes. During our conversation I received several calls and texts from a number I didn’t recognize, so I ignored them.

As it turned out, those calls and texts were from the Funeral Director. He asked if I had gotten far, and offered to meet me. He apologized and said there had been a mix-up with the paperwork. I told him I was sitting at the beach, not far from the funeral home, and that I could be back there in a few minutes, there was no need to meet me.

I left a message for Nick’s dad, telling him who the mystery caller was.

The Funeral Director came out to the parking lot to meet me. He had a ruddy complexion to begin with, and I’m telling you the poor guy looked mortified. Yes, I just wrote that. He began to apologize profusely, and in a strange twist, I found myself consoling him!

“It’s okay, really. It’s actually kind of funny,” I said as I walked around to the passenger side. I opened my car door, unwrapped the tablecloth and opened the bag to hand him the paperwork. Then I noticed the white label on the top of the box. It said MARIA SOME-OTHER-NAME SOME-OTHER-NAME…

“OH!” I think I jumped back.

“I was hoping to spare you that part,” he said quietly.

Then I started to laugh, I mean REALLY laugh, thinking about how I was crying and rocking MARIA SOME-OTHER-NAME SOME-OTHER-NAME’s ashes in the parking lot.

“That’s my son! He’s playing a joke on us!”

The Funeral Director apologized again and took the whole package back into the building to sort things out. I called Nick’s dad and updated him. He asked me if I’d read his text, I hadn’t. So I did.

Friday, October 2                      4:29 pm

I got your message. I thought it was the wrong urn too. Nicholas Prank.  Thanks.

Nick’s dad was now connected through the Bluetooth in my car, so when the Funeral Director returned we were all able to participate in the conversation. I reintroduced them. The Funeral Director apologized once again and assured us that he had double checked, and everything was now in order. He still looked tormented.

“This has never happened before,” he insisted.

“Oh we believe you!” We answered in unison, laughing. Colorful memories sprang to my mind of other times when we had heard those exact words in relation to Nick’s antics.

“I’m telling you, our son is pranking us. Here, read this text his dad sent me. I hadn’t even read it myself, and I said the same thing to you,” I urged.

The Funeral Director read the text message on my phone, and I could feel him relax a little. With a barely perceptible smile he said “Well, I just wish he would’ve given me a heads-up.”

“But that would’ve spoiled all the fun!” said Nick’s dad.

I’m not going to pretend the last eight months have been easy. There have been days when I could barely get out of bed. But there have been gifts too, those Moments of Grace I’ve been talking about. I never imagined I’d drive away from a funeral home with my son’s ashes in the car, smiling. I’m smiling right now as I write this. Smiling, and tearing up.

Thank you Nick. I love you.

Postscript: It's now been almost four years since Nick passed. After several more of these types of experiences, (they continue to this day), and much study and exploration on my part, I now know that my son is not lost to me. He is very present in my life and the lives of those he loves.

Moments of Grace: Signs and Synchronicities (#4) Merely Coincidence?

Each of the following vignettes refers to events, just too perfect to be mere coincidence. With awe, tears or goose bumps, often all three, I listened to the touching and detailed stories shared by friends, acquaintances and family who knew or suspected that their loved ones were sending them a message from across the veil. I share them here, along with some of my own with deep gratitude and the knowledge that Love Never Dies.

Merely Coincidence?

Tell me again about your Beloved

and the rainbow

About your Brothers,

and how you thought you saw one

sitting across the street in his funky car.

Did he send the butterfly you just

couldn’t shake?

Now the other has shown us

so powerfully

that he Shines On

Tell me about the lights on your bicycle

flashing in the middle of the night

About the little girl in your class

who called out your Daughter’s name

And the message you found

Your Daughter wrote it

on the underside of the table

before she passed

Tell me about your son’s writing

on that next page of the scratch pad

You found it months later

It said “I love you Dad.”

About the roller hockey game

on your brother’s anniversary

and the actor from the film

you used to watch together

About your dancing fire

and the strange green light

At your best friend’s memorial

What about the Rose that blooms

like clockwork

Beside the sculpture I created

for your baby girl?

Or your Father, and his favorite seafood dish

at your business meeting?

You told me that your Brother

pointed to his head

in your dream

before you even knew

what had happened

And that although you were sad

about leaving,

you were not afraid to die

because you knew the Truth

Tell me again about your vivid dreams,

the coyote and the hummingbirds

About the boy on the train

who talked your ear off

And when you asked him his name,

what did he say?

It was our son’s name

Then I will tell you

about my hummingbirds

And the smoke in the night sky

About a stranger

with a bouquet of flowers

A Soldier who called me from Germany

to talk about Brothers

While at the same time the Medium

was telling me that my son was talking

about Brothers…

and to look out

for the bouquet of flowers

Then another handsome Soldier

appeared at my car window

with a smile

Answering a question

I had only asked in my head

I’ll tell you what the young man,

a complete stranger,

called out to me

As I was leaving the restaurant

About the oddly familiar way

the little boy in the vet’s office

looked at me,

then kissed his dog.

What name did his mother call him

when it was time to go?

It was our son’s name

I’ll tell you how grateful I am

for all of you

And for those who share messages

with such clarity

No longer afraid to say

that they SEE

and HEAR what others may not

So is it merely coincidence

That we met

the night before our Sons’ birthdays?

Two mothers,

Two candles in one slice of cake

at The Olive Garden

That we met on a bridge,

in a store,

at the gas station?

We are the ones I am writing for

with So Much Love.


Moments of Grace: Signs and Synchronicities (#5) I Hope You Dance

The Maestro

One of the many ways my son Nick sends me signs is through music. I don’t have to tell anyone who has lost a loved one about the issues surrounding birthdays and anniversaries. I decided to spend the first anniversary of his death serving meals to the homeless in our community to honor him, and give myself some structure.

I looked for an organization online, and after passing on a few, submitted my name and information to one. Upon further investigation, I noted that they served twice a week, Tuesdays and Fridays, at two different churches. This was about two weeks before the anniversary on 8/23. That date would fall on a Tuesday. Perfect. I looked for the location: Saint Nicholas Church (Nick) !! Yep, that was the one! So I served meals a few weeks before to make sure it felt right. It did. I continued volunteering there for about a year.

Music was often a part of the evening. One night, one of our volunteers got up and sang a song that left me standing there with a tray in my hand and tears rolling fast down my cheeks. She had the voice of an angel. I later looked the song up. It’s called I HOPE YOU DANCE and was originally sung by Lee Ann Womak, a country artist. Musical taste is so personal, and I’ve never really been a fan of country music, nor had my children. However, when my son was in the Army he began to develop a real appreciation for Country. I discovered another version of the song by Gladys Knight and preferred it over the original.

As I drove on the freeway one day, I had this whole conversation in my head with Nick that went something like “I know you sent me that song. It’s beautiful! Thank you. Would it hurt your feelings if I chose the other version?” Just then a semi-truck traveling from the opposite direction passed with giant letters on the side that read: KNIGHT.
Here’s a favorite photo of Nicholas, THE MAESTRO. 

Postscript: It’s now been almost four years since Nick passed. After several more of these types of experiences, (they continue to this day), and much study and exploration on my part, I now know that my son is not lost to me. He is very present in my life and the lives of those he loves.

Moments of Grace: Signs and Synchronicities (#6) Look For Me In The Clouds

The signs mostly come when I’m alone, and often in a series, like puzzle pieces. Words can’t express how grateful I am for them. But I have to say, there’s something so amazing and validating when you have witnesses! I recently had a reading with a medium who told me that my son Nick closed his communication with “Look for me in the clouds.” 

About three days of perfectly blue, cloudless California skies followed…

Then the fires started. One night, on or close to the full moon, my partner and I walked out of our front door into the yard. The moon was huge, low in the sky, and orange, because of all the smoke. A few minutes later she literally gasped  “Oh my God, look at that!”

There in the smoky clouds, was a giant, wildly colored image of a hummingbird in flight. It looked like a painting, more realistic than abstract. I had not told her about my reading. However, she was aware that one of Nick’s strongest signs for me is the hummingbird.

The truth is, I had noticed something a minute or so earlier, (but the scene was not yet what it would become)  and I looked away, thinking that I’d better get a grip. When my partner called my attention back to the sky, the hummingbird was in his full glory. I stood there in awe and a bit confused…

Then I realized how absolutely brilliant it was!

As a young boy, Nick had been obsessed with fire fighters and everything fire related…We probably visited every fire station in town.  I even made curtains and a duvet cover for his room with a fire truck theme.  Of course he wasn’t going to send me the fluffy white clouds I had pictured when I was told “Look for me in the clouds” !!!              

That wasn’t Nick’s style when he was in his physical body, why would it be now?  

Postscript: It’s now been almost four years since Nick passed. After several more of these types of experiences, (they continue to this day), and much study and exploration on my part, I now know that my son is not lost to me. He is very present in my life and the lives of those he loves.

Moments of Grace: Signs and Synchronicities (#7) “So Why Am I Seeing Audrey Hepburn?”

Below I share an experience I had with a Medium named Hollister Rand. It was so unusual, even for the Medium, that she wrote about it in her newsletter. I have no doubt true mediumship exists. I believe we are all born with abilities to different degrees. Ever think of a person and then run into them or get a phone call or text from them out of the blue? I believe these abilities can be developed. I’ve seen this to some degree in my own life through meditation, study and practice. I also know that there are, unfortunately, people who take advantage of others during a most vulnerable time in their lives. They may range from moderately gifted mediums who lack integrity to outright frauds. I have been blessed to run into very few of them. 

Having communicated with my son several times this way since he passed in 2015, I can say that most of my experiences have been amazing , enlightening and comforting. Other Spirits have even come through, unexpectedly, in addition to my son, asking me to deliver messages to their families. I was honored to do so. I was also a bit nervous about having to come out of the Spiritual Closet, suspecting that some of these people have not been on the same quest for understanding about what happens after we die, why certain events might take place in our lives, and if communication across the veil is even possible. You know, the small stuff! Responses have varied, of course. We are all on our own paths, and I recognize that. I’ve posted a RESOURCE page on this blog if any of these topics interest you.

I’ve recently joined a support group for parents who’ve “lost” children. The nice thing about this group is that, unlike other grief groups,  they are open to exploring the possibility of the continuation of consciousness. Meetings and forums are held both online and in-person. Before I attended my first in-person meeting, I received an email notification from the administrator of my local chapter, alerting me to an upcoming event in my area. I thought it sounded like fun and would be a good opportunity to meet. In addition, the Medium Hollister Rand was scheduled to do a group demonstration at 3:00. I had never met her, but read her book I’m Not Dead, I’m Different (Kids in Spirit Teach Us About Living a Better Life on Earth). I highly recommend it.

We support group people caught up with each other, chatted and took our seats as Hollister was about to start. I went back to my original row, but decided to try and get closer at the last minute. I took a vacant seat between two women close to the center aisle on the right side of the room. The medium started out on the left side, mentioning that Spirits often come in groups, and that she must be looking at the animal lovers section, because of all the dogs she was seeing. She then turned her attention to a young man in spirit and gave a delightful description of him demanding his turn and jumping all over the place. She said he was even jumping over audience members’ heads (this happened to be the son of a couple who belonged to the support group, and they later shared that the day before they had watched a video of their son jumping over his friend’s head and then a garbage can)!

Hollister eventually came down the aisle toward my section. She said “I’m hearing suicide, does this resonate with anyone?” I raised my hand, as did others around me. Here again, the groups. She went into a very detailed description of someone’s life and was looking at a woman in the row behind mine, when the woman to my left said “I think you may be talking about me.”

Hollister Rand shifted focus and soon after, asked “Who is Anna?” The woman to my left and I answered “I am” simultaneously. She then verified that the “Anna” to my left had lost a man to suicide and that both of our loved ones were talking to her at the same time. Hollister delivered a detailed message, none of which applied to me or my son. It was the story of a man who had lived longer and had different concerns–business and finance related. My son was only 22 when he crossed over.

Turning to me, she described my son Nick’s situation and personality so accurately! Life of the party…he’s a player, that’s how his friends knew him. “He’s working me right now!” she said. He’s doing that to show how he was on the Earth plane… they were shocked that he died the way he did…he’s also showing me birds and hummingbirds as well, so you understand that…(YES!) and she says emphatically: “Don’t get the hummingbird tattoo. Don’t do it!” I said “Too late,” as I rolled up my sleeve to reveal my very prominent Anna’s Hummingbird resting on some hexagons, to gasps and laughter in the room.

Well, this is hilarious and just goes to show that Nick still has his sense of humor, because he mentions my tattoo in almost every reading I have, as validation, if I’m wearing long sleeves or the reader cannot see me. (The first time this happened was during a reading over the phone.) By the way, I got the tattoo two months before he passed. Hollister also asked if he liked old movies. I shook my head no. Do I like old movies? Yes, some. Eh. “So why am I seeing Audrey Hepburn?” The picture above is of his sister on Halloween a few years ago. I was meeting her for dinner right after the event. Remember the woman to my left who is also named Anna?

We later discover that her boyfriend and my son died in the exact same manner and that they are both named Nick.


Here is the story as Hollister Rand shared it:

The Two Annas

The spirits amaze me, they really do. At a recent event, however, I was stunned.

As I addressed the audience while walking down the center aisle, I came to a sudden stop, as though a hand was pressed to my chest. “I just heard the word suicide as I reached this area.” A male in spirit standing between two women caught my eye. The energy link between the women was so strong that I assumed they knew each other. To my surprise that wasn’t the case. However, when I mentioned the name “Anna,” they both acknowledged the name as their own. They each knew a male who had died by suicide and the similarities were startling. After much evidence was shared, the spirit standing directly behind the Anna with dark hair said,” I come to you with hummingbirds.” Yes, I know,” she replied. “Don’t get the tattoo!” he shouted in my ear and I shouted out in relay. “Too late, I already did” Anna shouted in return, rolling up her sleeve to reveal a larger than life hummingbird tattoo.

Following the event, the two Annas came together to speak with me. With astonishment, they told me that not only were they both Annas, but the loved ones they had lost to suicide were both name Nick. It was my turn to be awestruck.
As I was writing this article, I thought to check Facebook to see if there were any posts from the event. Interesting enough, each Anna posted a message. Here is what they said in part:

“I am one of the Annas. (We sat next to each other, even though we didn’t know each
other.) You talked to both of us. I knew that he wanted to talk to me, and I wouldn’t
have known about this event, or come to it if it wasn’t for him pointing me that way.”

“I am the “other” Anna, the one with the hummingbird tattoo. I was originally several
rows back, and at the last minute decided to move up. There was a vacant seat
between two women, and I took it. Two women, complete strangers, seated next to
each other, with the same first name, both lost a loved one in the exact same manner.
We later found out these loved ones also have the same first name! Hollister said, at
one point, they were both talking to her at once. Yet she was able to give both “Annas”
specific, crystal clear, validating messages, (which included visuals that inspired gasps
and laughter all around).”

What I love about these posts is that the Annas make a very important point. They were each guided by their own Nick, to attend the event, to sit next to each other and ultimately, to meet and have a conversation. Spirit communication is a coordinated, cooperative experience. It isn’t all up to the medium!!

At that event, on that day, shared grief was transformed into shared healing – – – a validation that those we love are not only with us, but are interacting with us in the world. Many thanks to Anna and Anna and Nick and Nick.

~Hollister Rand, Medium

Postscript: It’s now been almost four years since Nick passed. After several more of these types of experiences, (they continue to this day), and much study and exploration on my part, I now know that my son is not lost to me. He is very present in my life and the lives of those he loves.