15: Hourglass of Love

15: Hourglass of Love

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven

Hourglass of Love

Love is a symbol of eternity. It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end.

~Author Unknown

I am a counselor and a professor of counseling. A few years ago, I decided to learn Induced After-Death Communication (IADC) — a professional counseling technique designed to help clients directly communicate with a deceased loved one. I brought three graduate students with me to the training in Chicago. After we got back home, we spent a few months meeting weekly and practicing on each other to develop our skills before we employed the technique with clients in our counseling practices.

During a practice session one day, my student Jenny was practicing as an IADC guide with me as her guinea pig. I decided to try to contact my beloved cousin David who had died many years before, shortly after his return from military service in Vietnam. As we proceeded, I closed my eyes and in my mind’s eye did indeed see David — but only long enough to be reassured about his well-being and our mutual love. Within seconds of his appearance, his father, my uncle Ray, literally elbowed his way in front of David! Uncle Ray had died just a few years earlier from cancer. He stood before me healthy and whole, and he immediately held out his hand and showed me what looked like an hourglass, but with no sand inside. I didn’t understand what the hourglass meant. When I tried to zoom in on it, it disappeared. When I backed away, it reappeared. Apparently, the hourglass — just as it was — was all he intended for me to see. Without him communicating anything else, I knew he meant for me to contact his wife, my still-living aunt Norma, to tell her about seeing her husband and the hourglass.

When I opened my eyes, I described to Jenny what I’d seen, and expressed my reluctance to contact my aunt Norma. I had never been close with her. Except for a condolence card when Uncle Ray had died, I hadn’t communicated with her for probably more than twenty years. I had no idea what she thought of things like ADC, and I didn’t want to upset her with unwanted information that might reactivate painful grief. I said to Jenny, “Rather than call her, maybe I’ll write her a letter. I can even start the letter with, ‘If you don’t like what you’re reading, you can stop and throw the letter away.’” Jenny said, “Why don’t you check with your uncle?” I agreed, and as we proceeded with IADC, I closed my eyes and immediately saw Uncle Ray again — this time insistently holding out a telephone receiver. I opened my eyes. “He wants me to call her!”

Over the subsequent months, I repeatedly thought about my experience with Uncle Ray but just could not screw up the courage to call Aunt Norma. One day, I told my aunt Nancy, Uncle Ray’s sister, about the experience. I felt safe telling her because, years before, Nancy had had a near-death experience in which she had seen her brother, my uncle Leonard, who had died shortly after returning from military service in World War II. Nancy surprised me by saying she was good friends with Norma and would be visiting her in a few weeks. Nancy offered to tell her in general — no details — about my experience, inquire whether she wanted to talk with me about it, and report back to me. I agreed eagerly. When Nancy got back to me a few weeks later, she reported Aunt Norma was receptive and interested.

Still it took me a few more months to build up the courage to contact Aunt Norma. Finally, while driving alone one day on a long-distance trip and on a long, straight stretch of interstate highway, I felt brave and called her on my cell phone. She answered, and after she got over her surprise to hear from me and we caught up a bit on each other’s lives, I reminded her of Nancy’s visit and her mention of my IADC experience. I asked Aunt Norma if she would like to hear about it, and she said yes. I proceeded to recount my experience to her in careful detail. I ended by saying, “I have no idea what the hourglass means; I’m just telling you that Uncle Ray seemed very purposeful and insistent when he showed it to me.”

She replied with confidence that she knew exactly what it meant. “When I was a little girl, I loved my grandmother dearly. When we used to visit her house, she had a pair of cut crystal vases that she kept on an end table with a glass top. I used to lie for hours under that table looking up through the glass shelf at how the sunlight glinted through the facets of the cut crystal. When my grandmother died, I wanted only one memento: that pair of vases. In fact, as I sit here right now talking with you, I’m looking at them. Ray knew that if we were to awaken in the middle of the night with the house on fire, and could quickly grab only a few things as we escaped, those vases are what I would grab. Although each is uniquely shaped, they are both clear glass: wide at the top, then narrow, then wide at the bottom. They are among the very most precious things I possess.”

I was amazed. Uncle Ray apparently had known exactly what he was doing by choosing the one object that, though I had no knowledge of it, Aunt Norma would recognize unmistakably. Upon reflection, I was touched and awed to realize that, probably more than any other objects, those hourglass-like vases represented ongoing and eternal love — between Norma and her grandmother, and between Norma and Ray.

From this and other experiences, I look forward, when I have transitioned beyond physical form, to reuniting with those with whom I have a love connection. From my study of transpersonal experiences — those that transcend the usual personal limits of space and/or time — I believe we are on earth for a reason, so the transition should not be hastened. But that joyful reunion with our loved ones awaits us when the time comes.

~Janice Miner Holden

More stories from our partners