Signs From Departed
Loved Ones Offer Comfort
A young Lehigh Acres woman was busy planning a Spring wedding. She was so looking forward to the special day when her relatives and friends would gather at her aunt and uncle’s “estate” in nearby Buckingham for the wedding and reception. With family heavily involved in all aspects of the preparation, the blissful event was a welcomed do-it-yourself project.
Homemade wedding favors sat on rented tables nestled with chairs under her uncle’s huge pole barn. Her mother, aunt, sisters and cousins pitched in to decorate the area with loving homemade touches. Family was traveling from across the country; parents and sister from Memphis, brother from Denver and others from as far away as Michigan. Many relatives will be flying in to Fort Myers. Except for one. As happy a day as it was going to be, there was a certain cloud hovering over the affair. Her big brother would not be there.
He paid that ultimate sacrifice a little more than a year earlier serving with the Marine Corps in Afghanistan. The fact he would not be there did leave a certain hole in the hearts of all. Everyone attending would miss his presence.
Or would they?
Apparently, the young lady’s brother must have planned to be in attendance. When that special day arrived, certain signs started appearing conveying the message he was, indeed, at the wedding. The older brother to six siblings, he had always messed with his younger sisters and brothers, sometime to that limit of overwhelming brotherly torture doused with a great deal of love.
The wedding day was no exception. After the setting was decorated, furniture in place and ambiance items secured a certain “natural” huff and puff of wind accompanied by a small smattering of raindrops falling “messed” with the bride.
“That’s Bubba letting us know he’s here, watching and all this bluster is his way, his sign to let his loved ones know he was here to party with them,” the bride about to be said.
Signs from departed loved ones are real phenomenon according to Angie Pechak Printup, co-editor of two story collections and owner of a website dedicated to these experiences also known as after-death communications, or ADCs.
“Our loved ones continue to watch over us, and in many instances will communicate with those they leave behind,” Printup said. “Research confirms ways in which our loved ones communicate, such as dreams, a familiar scent or favorite song, their physical appearance and more. Their method of communication is most often one we would easily associate with them,” she said.
Printup’s journey dealing with people experiencing some kind of “familiar” contact with departed loved ones actually began in the early 1990s. She was (and still is) a dyed-in-the-“leather” Harley Davidson enthusiast and owner. She was such an enthusiast that she joined a local Harley owners group. Here she made what are now lifelong friendships.
“Because of my involvement, I had the privilege of meeting Tom and Judy McKelroy,” Printup recalled. “There were several couples, and we spent countless hours on day trips, overnight adventures, and just fellowshipping with one another. I learned to appreciate everyone’s unique personalities.”
She recalled how Tom himself was quite the character. He was a serious, responsible businessman by day, but a free-spirited, humorous and fun-loving guy “after hours.”
“I was captivated by the sincere love that he shared with his wife, Judy. They made such a wonderful couple. Tom had the unique ability to lift the spirits of all those he came in contact with. He was a jokester at heart and quickly became the life of the party.”
She said Judy was the perfect match for him. Judy was soft and kind-hearted, and she “stood by her man” no matter what. “Their love for one another was evident in all that they did,” Printup said.
Judy died in 2008 after an extensive battle with cancer. “We all felt the loss and knew it would be difficult for Tom. Judy was the love of his life.” It had been quite a while since the “old gang” had gotten together.
“So, we decided to have a reunion of sorts, and Tom was eager to join us. We gathered around, sharing with each other the events that had transpired in our lives,” Printup said.
She said Tom announced that he wanted to share a story with us. “We sat mesmerized by his words as his story unfolded. When it was all over, there was not a dry eye in the room. All of us were so touched by the beautiful event he had gone through” she said.
“I could not stop thinking about Tom’s story. As I tried to go to sleep, Tom and Judy were forefront in my mind. I finally dowsed o ff, but at 2 a.m. I bolted straight up out of a deep sleep.
Everything became crystal clear to me. Tom and Judy’s story had inspired me to help others during their grieving process.
Printup said she decided to create a book where others could share and read similar stories. It was something she said she wanted to do so that people could feel the peace and comfort that Tom’s love story so eloquently embodied.
“I have always wanted to help others, and this was the perfect opportunity, she said
Upon advice, she said she decided to start out with a website rather than a book. It was a chance to see if others would be receptive to a different way of coping with their loss.
“As I progressed with my ideas, doors seemed to open. It dawned on me that I would like to include my best friend of 35 years in my endeavor. Kelley Dollar, Printup’s lifelong BFF had always been a very creative writer since childhood. Printup said she felt Kelley’s talents could be utilized editing the stories collected for the site.
“Assisting me on this journey has allowed her to do something that she loves, and at the same time help others through the grieving process. A great many people struggle with the loss of a loved one, she said. “It has been our goal to help people understand that even though their loved ones are not physically with them, their spirits are. Our loved ones continue to watch over us, and in many instances will communicate with those they leave behind.”
She said the stories compiled are true to the best of their knowledge, with several of the contributors being close, personal friends. These stories represent some of the ways deceased loved ones communicate, and sharing them has helped many in the healing process, Printup stated.
At first, Printup and Dollar placed collected stories on their website. Then they chose stories, edited these and self-published a book, He Blew Her a Kiss. The second volume of stories appears in mid-November 2012
“The two collections are what you might call a support group of stories. To date, this project has been embraced by many, and we so appreciate the love and support shown to us.
And, that Lehigh Acres bride knows her big brother was at her wedding and watches over her and his entire family. Although he is physically departed from this world, his presence remains strong. Yes it is at times playful, yet always a loving remembrance.