Unique ways Dad visits me from the great beyond

My Dad died on 11/10/9 which when said backward is 9-10-11. It’s a neat memory trick to recall the date – as if I need it when there’s a permanent etching of the event on my mind and heart. He has been visiting me lately, and not in the form of angels or spirits.

Dad has been on the road.

When I drive to work or run errands, I often get stuck behind a driver who pokes along five to ten miles below the speed limit. I fail in my vow to be kind and good-natured, and sputter while I follow the dawdling driver.

And then I remember. That could be someone’s elderly father behind the wheel, and I say, “I guess Dad’s out for a drive.”

This realization prompts me to exercise my compassion muscles and change my attitude. I substitute complaints and cuss words with phrases like, “May you be blessed; may you find peace.” And then I’m glad I’m going slow because I have blurred vision from tear-filled eyes, missing Dad.

Last week Dad hitched a ride with the UPS delivery man for a stopover. I ordered a water hog doormat from L.L. Bean, and when I opened it, I saw an image of Dad stomping snow from his boots. I heard his words of warning that he issued for all seasons, “Be careful out there. The roads are treacherous.”

Some people see their deceased relatives riding magic carpets. I saw Dad stomping on a water hog doormat. Photo by pixabay, edits by author

I’ve channeled Dad through the television.

Now before you call a psychiatrist to schedule an evaluation for me, let me explain.

I was watching the local news on the CBS affiliate, and my remote control took charge and flipped to NBC. Judge Judy appeared, spewing admonishments to a couple of resentful litigants. I turned back to my news show and in a split second Judge Judy’s mug once again filled my flat screen.

I felt frustrated, then laughed and said, “Dad must be here. He loves Judge Judy.” And I envisioned him sitting in his recliner watching the courtroom drama unfold.

My vision blurred again when I said, “I’m going to feel sad when Judge Judy goes off the air since it is a link to Dad’s daily life.”

Dad also visits me through the television when I watch golf. Dad liked to watch the PGA, and when I was a kid, I thought it was boring – announcers talking in muted tones while Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead became legends.

I grew to appreciate the game as an adult and enjoyed watching it with Dad. After Mum died, we would follow the tournaments together while we talked on the phone.

When I watch the players who have emerged since Dad died, I like to imagine his amazement in their abilities. I’m sure he would shake his head and say, “These guys are good, but why isn’t Tiger playing?” Shhhhh. I haven’t told him about Tiger’s debacle.

May you be blessed; may you find peace, Dad.

What kind of visits have you had with your loved ones who have passed?

Boomer on the Ledge doll available with the book in my online store.


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47 thoughts on “Unique ways Dad visits me from the great beyond

  1. Love this! I truly believe our loved ones speak to us all the time, in many different ways. The question is, are we listening? Clearly, you are!

    • I couldn’t hear Dad for several years after his death, Allison. His voice was drowned out by my grief and anger. I am happy to be at a point when I can ‘hear’ him. Thanks for the lovely comment.

      • Dr. Jaime Turndorf wrote a book called Love Never Dies. In it, she talks about that very thing. That when we are wrapped up in our grief, we are unable to hear any messages (understandably!). Her book is wonderful and I would recommend it to anyone who is going through the loss of a loved one.

  2. I just subscribed to your wonderful blog! Thank you for looking at life through a humorous filter… there is far too much doom and gloom/crankiness spewed at us these days from the internet to television and newspapers. I loved this post and got a real sense of the connection you had with your Dad through the examples you mentioned. I too lost my Dad, he passed just after my birthday in late November in 2013. As a result Christmas is particularly hard, still, but maybe this year I can be on the lookout for him to show up in ways that resonate with our relationship. I have a small Coke lunchbox that hangs on my Christmas tree. I leave Dad messages in it every year. I will be adding another one tomorrow. Coke is kind of an inside joke – his CB handle used to be Delta C which stands for Canadian Club (rye) and Coke. I miss him still and often have those bleary eyed moments you spoke of whenever a holiday rolls around, or his birthday, or something happens that either reminds me of him or that I want to tell him about. Thank you again and I look forward to exploring more of your blog as time permits . P.S. I love to laugh so I am anticipating a lot of good times spent on your blog. 😉

    • Thank you so much, Susan, for subscribing to my blog, and for leaving such a heartfelt comment. I love your practice of leaving a message for your Dad in a Coke lunchbox ornament. Our loved ones who are gone still live in us, and it will be impossible for you to avoid ‘seeing’ him in your life. I had a hard time with the loss of my Dad, and feel that I’ve grown closer to him in recent months. That makes me happy despite missing him. I hope you enjoy my blog. It’s mostly humor, but I occasionally write something serious. Welcome aboard!

      • You’re welcome , Molly, humor is good and so is seriousness occasionally. I am sure I will thoroughly enjoy your blog both the funny and not so funny posts. I am glad you feel that you have grown closer to your Dad in recent months – I bet he is up there smiling at you too. I agree that our loved ones are always with us…that is a comforting thought that I cling to when missing Dad in the physical is tough.

        • It does help to see our loved ones in our lives and in ourselves, Susan. There was a time when I couldn’t see a rack of Alfred Dunner clothing without crying – it was my mother’s favorite. I hope Dad is happy and at peace now that he’s crossed over. He had a rough couple of years before his departure. I do like to change up my blog posts from time to time – for my own sake and to surprise my readers! Stay tuned….

  3. Molly, did anyone mention redbirds? Since my wonderful Uncle died a few years ago, my aunt says she sees redbirds wherever she goes. I began to notice they are all around, especially this time of year. God bless redbirds and the lovely memories they bring.

  4. Your sweet memories of your dad are so eloquent in their humor, Molly. Both my parents are still alive, but the years blur by so quickly. I was very close to my maternal grandmother (who was like a mother to me). Although she died at age 62 from uterine cancer in 1979, I STILL miss her, knowing she would be 100 years old this year! My oldest daughter reminds me of her in her body shape (both tall and shapely at 5 ft 9″). A cousin will post a young photo of her and I am startled by how much Iook like her. She always made Christmases special. She never got to meet her great grandchildren or see me and my brothers graduate from college or get married. Sigh. But thanks for this beautiful post, Molly, to make me take a few moments and reflect.

    • What lovely memories of your grandmother, Terri. Thank you for sharing them. Sad that you lost her so young. She lives on in you and your memories. I think about the things my parents have missed too – my mother died a few months before my son’s wedding and both parents didn’t live to meet my grandsons. I try to tell the boys about them so they will ‘know’ them through my memories. My mother would have turned 97 this year, and Dad would have turned 102 so they were of the same era as your grandmother.

  5. So sweet, Molly. I try to appreciate slow drivers because they are keeping me safe on our steep icy winding roads, otherwise I’d probably have gone over the edge a few times. 🙂 I, sadly, haven’t had any sense of visiting loved ones from beyond. But memories are stored in some belongings that I’ve saved (my grandmother’s tablecloth, my brother’s wind chimes) and I love that. Sweet post my friend. I hope you’re ready for the holiday and staying warm. 🙂

    • Good point, Diana, about the slow drivers. I have so many things from loved ones who have passed – a table cloth my grandmother crocheted, a book case my grandfather made, so many beautiful things my mother made. Dad didn’t leave tangible mementos, so maybe that’s why I see him in other ways. I had a hard time accepting his death, so this is a lot of progress for me. I’m not ready for the holidays but you can be sure I’m staying warm. 🔥🎄❄️

  6. This is a beautiful tribute to your father, Molly….and a great reminder to have compassion for the driver ahead of us!

  7. This is heartwarming, Molly. My mom passed away 13 years ago, and I still find myself wanting to pick up the phone and call her (super long distance these days, though). She doesn’t visit me as much as, I think, we channel her when my siblings and I gather at my dad’s place (where we grew up). We do things the way she did more often than not. So many memories to cherish! They truly do live on in us <3

    • How wonderful that you can get together with your Dad at the home you grew up in. I do things the way Mom did, too, and sometimes I say something and feel like it was her speaking through me. They do live on through us. I try to tell my grandsons what they were like as they never met my parents, and I hope they’ll read my essays about them when they are older. 😘

  8. My dad died 27 years ago and my mum 47 years ago. Dad was our rock and I still miss him very much. It sometimes feels like my mum never lived at all as she died so very young. Dad was always determined that we should drive a good car.He bought me my first car – a sporty Nissan Sunny Coupe. He always lets me know when my car needs attention or when it needs trading in…
    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas Molly. x

    • My Dad always worried about me having a good car, too, Brigid. When I got divorced I had an old car that was pretty beat up, and he bought me a new car. He felt helpless to take away my pain, but this was something he could do to give me and my son safe transportation, and give him some peace of mind. So sad that you lost your mother so young, but wonderful that you had a Dad you could rely on. XO

  9. For me, it’s sales catalogs. I was on the subway, opened a sales catalog to read on my way to work, and there was a coffee mug for sale that read, “Good morning, Sunshine!” My dad said that to me every day when I came down to breakfast. I get it, not surprisingly. I really know what it’s like, this crazy life after we lose our parents. Nice read, dear. Very nice read.

    • How sweet that your Dad still wishes you a ‘Good morning, Sunshine!’ We do know what it is like, don’t we, Anne? Thank you for stopping by and sharing your story of your Dad’s ‘visits.’ ❤️

  10. My mom has been gone for 14 years, and my dad for 10. It feels as if hardly a day goes by that I don’t think of them in one way or another. Many of the thoughts have to do with my writing – something that I took up after my mom’s death. I was just starting to get published when my dad passed away. When I write something in which I share a personal story, I think of my mom and how she would not have approved. She was a very private person – so much so that one of the things that I remember most was her admonishment to “hide your feelings. Don’t be such an open book.” But I have no doubt that my dad would have been completely supportive of my endeavors. He always encouraged me to reach for the stars and not to fear failure. I can’t say I have been successful at that – I still have my day job which consumes much of my time and energy, but also pays the bills. Paying the bills also reminds me of my parents. My dad used to say of my mom, “She can stretch a dime into a dollar.”

    • I know what you mean, Crystal. I don’t know if a day goes by when I don’t think of my parents, too. I wasn’t writing when they were alive and I never thought about what they would think about it. I believe they would have been supportive, but not sure they would have let me write about them. My mother was also able to stretch a ‘dime into a dollar.’ We always thought Dad was the frugal one, but after Mum died he wanted to spend money without restraint, so we knew the real story. Mum was the one who kept the checkbook under control. Hugs.

  11. I always receive visits from my Dad (gone 25 years now) at Christmastime. Dad was “The Christmas Keeper” in our family. When I think I might want an artificial tree this year, I hear dad saying, “fake is not Christmas, Ellen.” When we decorate the tree and I think it is done, one of my sons will ask where is Grandpa’s favorite ornament. When all is decorated and I am sitting with my hot chocolate gazing at the tree, I think “we did good, dad” and I swear I hear sleigh bells jingle.

  12. Two years ago my Dad passed away on Oct 26 and my Mom followed on Dec 17. They visit often in a million different ways. Mostly, I think of how the world (and the country) has changed in those 2 short years. I’ll see something on the news and chuckle at the very “colorful” things they would have had to say about it! All that chuckling keeps me from weeping – about losing them, but also about current events. 🙂

    • How dreadful to lose them so close together! In many ways, I’m glad my parents been spared the knowledge of what is going on in the world. But to hear their colorful comments on the state of affairs sounds like a great way to keep them present – with some added humor. Weeping is okay, too. I still do that, but not as often.

  13. For my dad, it is Applebee’s. He loved the place and we always took him there when we visited. It is hard to pass an Applebee’s without feeling a little pain in my heart.

    • This made me think how hard it is for me to go into a J.C. Penney store. It always makes me think of shopping with my mother, and I start sobbing if I come upon a rack of Alfred Dunner clothing – my mom’s favorite.

  14. I recently had dinner alone with my sister when others backed out. Always a difficult relationship, this was a surprisingly enjoyable time! A dream our Mother always clung to. As I walked away from her car to mine, I laughed and looked to the Heavens and said “you’re very welcome Mom. Thank YOU!”

    • I love these symbols of visits from your grandparents, Mandi. My mother leaves all of us kids pennies and it is always so comforting. I love the thought of the red cardinal from your grandpa. XO

    • Thank you, Dave. I didn’t go into the difficulties we had with Dad the last couple of years of his life. It was really rough. I feel like I’ve had a breakthrough in my relationship with him, and it makes me happy.

  15. Well, that was just a lovely post. My dad is getting older and I try my best to keep the thought of life without our long phone conversations about the NFL and college football out of my mind. I do hope when the day comes I am able to ‘see’ Dad as you see yours.

    • So happy for you, Pam, that you still have your Dad and enjoy sharing sports talk with him. It sounds like you are continuing to make some precious memories that will be comforting to you later. It is good not to dwell on losing him, but nice to appreciate the time you have with him. Thanks for sharing.

  16. My dad visited me in a dream shortly after I retired due to burnout that almost took my life as well as my career. Much more recently, he’s there when I watch a movie that he’d love or listen to ‘Little Drummer Boy’ on his favourite Christmas album – and can hear him drumming along on the closest hard surface.I remember, too, so many of his favourite expressions. He was a great one for expressions and wise sayings.
    It feels good to think of him in these ways. His last years of life were horrendous – plagued by the anger and paranoia of his particular form of dementia.
    Thanks for the post. I really appreciate hearing of your experiences.

    • I can so relate to your story, Karen. My father’s last two years were also horrid as he shared your father’s condition. It is good to know you have had a similar experience after his death – to ‘see’ him in a positive light – the way he was before he was tortured with the unraveling of his brain. It has been a gradual process for me to see Dad in this way, as the circumstances of his death made me angry for quite a while. I have written about that, but never published it. I am happier now to be settling into a more positive relationship with Dad now that more time has passed. I am so glad you recovered from your low point. XO

      • Oh Molly, there’s so much we could talk about. My dad has been gone three years now and I’m just starting to see him in that more positive light. I used to be very, very close to him, but the years when he had dementia and the years before that when he had it but it was undiagnosed – all of those years were beyond horrendous. There’s still a lot of anger – with him, with the disease, and a not insignificant amount of fear and guilt.

        I’m so glad that you wrote this post. Thank you for being brave enough to share.

        • We do indeed have a lot to talk about, Karen. The last time I spoke to my Dad he told me I was a horrible daughter because I wouldn’t give him his car keys. That was a tough one to handle, but I knew it was not his rational self talking to me. It has taken me eight years to get to a better place regarding Dad, but that doesn’t mean it was all forward progress. I’m so glad you shared a portion of your story.

  17. Well, as far as I can tell no one visits me. Since some of them I hope to never encounter again perhaps that is the for the best. Your Dad and you must of had a very close relationship.

    • My relationship with my Dad was complicated, Bernadette. We were close but I never felt as close to him as I did to my mother. I feel that since his death we’ve grown closer and I think of the line from Tuesdays with Morrie about relationships not ending with death. I’ve thought more about Dad during the recent anniversary of his death which prompted me to write this essay about him.

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