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, this is not a blog about art. Maybe it’s a blog about the art of life and death.

In 2015, my beloved, charismatic, and troubled 22 year old son Nick died by suicide.  As you can imagine this has changed my life, and the lives of all of those who loved and knew him to varying degrees. I now find myself on a journey.  It’s one not only of grief and despair, though of course I  have my days, but it has become a journey of exploration, discovery and love. I’m sharing some of that here. Thank you for joining me.  If this is your first time visiting, I suggest you begin with the link below:  Moments of Grace: Signs and Synchronicities (#1 The Gas Station),  for context. 


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

Below I share an experience I had in January with a Medium named Hollister Rand. It was so unusual, even for the Medium, that she wrote about it in her newsletter.

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 book recommendation page on this blog if any of these topics interest you.

I’ve recently joined a support group called HELPING PARENTS HEAL. 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 HPH 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 an HPH couple 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.

Postscript: It’s now been almost three and a half 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 three and a half 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 (#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 three and a half 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.