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They Lost Their Loved Ones to COVID. Then They Heard from Them Again

When Ian and Michelle Horne got married, he wore a purple tie on their wedding day because it was her favorite color. Then came the pandemic.

In fall of 2020, after a long battle, Michelle died from complications caused by COVID-19. But not long after his wife's death, Ian wondered if Michelle was still speaking to him.

He was driving to his job as a local radio DJ in the predawn darkness when he spotted something odd. About two dozen streetlights flanking the highway had turned purple. They looked like a lavender string of pearls glowing in the night sky.

Ian took it as a sign. He said, "Michelle knew that was my route to work that I take every morning and was the route she took on her final drive to the hospital. I remember simply smiling and feeling overwhelmed with the idea that Michelle was close."

The coronavirus pandemic has now killed more than 600,000 Americans. Many never had a chance to hug or say farewell to loved ones who died alone and isolated in hospital wards. But there is another group of pandemic survivors who say they have been granted a second chance to say goodbye. They are people like Horne who believe they've been contacted by a loved one who died from coronavirus.

These experiences can be subtle: relatives appearing in hyper-real dreams, or a sudden whiff of fragrance worn by a departed loved one. Other encounters are more dramatic: feeling a touch on your shoulder at night, or seeing the full-bodied form of a recently departed relative appear at the foot of your bed.

These stories may sound implausible, but they are in fact part of a historical pattern. Whenever there is a massive tragedy such as a pandemic, a war, or a natural disaster, there is a corresponding surge in reports of people seeing the dead or trying to contact them.

The 1918 influenza epidemic sparked a "spiritualism craze" as Americans turned to seances and Ouija boards to contact departed loved ones. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks came a wave of people reporting sightings of and even conversations with those who had been snatched from their lives.

These experiences are so common in the psychological field that there is a name for them: ADCs, or "after death communications." Research suggests at least 60 million Americans have these experiences, and that they occur across cultures, religious beliefs, ethnicities, and income levels.

Possible Preaching Angle:

It is natural to mourn the tragic loss of a loved one and to need time to adjust to their absence. Our emotions can powerfully affect us in such cases. However, we need to put our faith and trust in Christ who holds the keys to life and death. Only he can comfort us and we should depend only on his promises of life after death and reunification with loved ones (John 11:25-26; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).

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