When you are dealing with the loss of a loved one, you are dealing with a lot of grief and going through bereavement. Now, “bereavement” is an interesting word. You always hear it used, but many do not know what it actually means. Bereavement is defined as the feeling of being deprived or “bereaved” of something or a person. Now sometimes, if we look a little bit deeper at the original meaning of a word, we can find a hidden meaning. In the case of “to bereave” this is especially so.
The original meaning of the word “to bereave” was “to be snatched” or “being robbed”, especially in the sense of “being deprived, robbed, taken away by violence”, as during a plunder or raid.
And that describes the feeling of losing a loved one so well: you were robbed.
In our case, we are dealing with the murder of my wife’s daughter, Heather. The word “bereavement” fits so well here: murder robs you violently of somebody, and is the most violent act imaginable. Not only were we robbed, but in the case of murder, the victim, my stepdaughter, was also robbed, of her live and a future full of promise.
We all were bereaved that day, and we are still dealing with it. As I write this, it’s now Memorial Day weekend, about half a year since that fateful moment. And while the days have arguably become a tad more bearable, the pain is always there, especially for my wife, Heather’s mother.
Today my wife and I sat down together, as we often do, to talk about what happened.
As part of this, I mentioned to her the original meaning of the word bereavement. She immediately started crying. After a death like this, emotions come over you in waves, sometimes like a tsunami, but it had been a while since I saw her that upset. “Yes, that is exactly what happened. My daughter was robbed from me. My baby girl was taken from me.” She started to sob hard, and got visibly upset. “Some [ ] took my daughter from me, robbed her from me.”
It was at that exact moment that I heard a loud bang from outside. Just about 10 feet from where we were sitting, on the back porch, one of the chairs had been leaning against a garden table, but somehow, and inexplicably, it fell down with a bang. There was no wind, or anything else that could explain this. The chair just kind of slipped back and fell. A few minutes later we went outside and tried it for ourselves: it took quite a bit of effort from our end to make it slip and fall, even if the chair barely leaned against the table.
I cannot explain why it did that, or how; especially at a moment. A minute earlier, and I would have not thought much of it. But for this to happen right in that exact moment of extreme anguish, the odds seem astounding. It was like an exclamation point to this moment. As if somebody said “Yes, you are right, we were robbed. But please stop crying like this, Mom!” At least that’s how I interpreted it.
I should mention that right after Heather’s death, a number of very strange things happened, which I still plan to document here. Some of these events were so strange and significant, that one way to interpret them is as signs from the afterlife, meaning, Heather trying to contact us and trying to let us know she is still there, just in other form.
Back then, this included an event where something of significance “was pushed” off a shelf, so I would not think it impossible that a chair could have been somehow nudged, for lack of a better word.
Of course, that chair falling down could be a coincidence. But, as I said, we had a hard time ourselves making it slip. And if I look at all the other inexplicable things that came before, for this to happen at this exact moment is beyond strange to me. Furthermore, this happened on Memorial Day weekend, the day when we are supposed to remember and honor. And the night before I had a dream where Heather appeared. Too many things come together here. There are no coincidences.
We may be “bereaved” of our loved ones in person, of their incarnated form, but our loved ones are still with us, in other form, and they are still looking out for us.
If we can know this, and if we can believe this, then the process of bereavement may be bit easier to bear, because the very essence of what we love, the Spirit of our loved one, is still here with us in other ways.
And that can never be taken from us.
Thank you, Heather, for reminding us of that.
Maybe something good can come out of this tragedy after all.