For anyone who loves animals, and especially those who have suffered the profound pain of losing one of your beloved companions, I’d like to offer a story that I hope may, in some small way, help you to heal a bit from the sadness and emptiness that such a loss can bring.
And please forgive my audacity, but perhaps, on a deeper level, my flawed account of these events will give you a glimmer of hope or a booster shot to your faith that the living will experience some form of continuation after physical death.
I only ask that, IF you choose to read this, you will suspend your understandable disbelief for a few moments and allow these events to enter your consciousness without prejudgment. You are more than welcome to dismiss it all as a bunch of malarkey after you read it.
On Sunday, May 24th, 2015, I believe that our cat, Maui, visited us from the afterlife. She had died three days prior, on Friday morning, after a valiant battle with an aggressive cancer. She was 13. Our entire household was in a cloud of grief; this included our two dogs, Ozzy and Taylor Bay, and Tuxedo, Maui’s littermate, sister, and lifelong partner in feline life. The family wasn’t whole anymore. It felt so WRONG and unfair.
The events that unfolded that Sunday morning, in retrospect, seem to have been Maui’s way of delivering the ultimate message, the one that every living being longs to hear: that the end of physical life is NOT the end of the line for our spirits and souls.
Maui delivered this message from beyond life as we know it by taking on the earthly form of an iridescently shimmering green dragonfly, with big ruby red eyes.
This spectacular being must have pulled at my inner tether, since I felt a sense of urgency to go out to the deck that Sunday morning. I walked through the sliding doors into the bright morning sunshine, and immediately saw HER. She was hard to miss, a large, sparkling green presence, hovering among newly blooming hydrangeas and lilac, right across the rails of our deck.
In fairness, we’ll stipulate that I am always quick to check out ANY dragonfly, since my wife Amanda and I are true “dragonfly devotees.” We are drawn not only to their beauty, but their story; they represent evolution, metamorphosis, and renewal. In fact, the first logo for our company. Clear Conscience Pet, had a dragonfly as part of the imagery, because we were reinventing our careers and lives by starting the company in 2010.
The first facts that I offer to satisfy the all-too-human need for “evidence” involve the persistence of this particular dragonfly. Having drawn me to the deck to find her, she then WAITED as I dashed back into the house for a camera. I came back out praying that she’d still be there, not knowing who she was but feeling the urgent need to capture her image to share with Amanda later. I came back out, camera in hand, ready to start clicking. There she was, still hovering among the flowering bushes. I was ecstatic– until I realized that there was not a memory card in the camera. “Oh s*&t, I muttered. I was surely going to lose her now.
But that wasn’t what happened at all. Resigned to being punished for my lack of readiness, I went back into the house to hunt down a memory stick, shoved it into the camera, and ran back out the door. Instead of the expected disappointment, I was joyously surprised by the continued presence of the stunning green dragonfly. Two trips back into the house and there she was, still flitting from branch to branch. In my prone-to-fanciful-thinking brain, this “proved” that she was waiting for me among our flowering bushes.
Hmm, hovering among flowers? Turns out that Maui loved flowers; the inside joke in our home was, don’t spend money on roses to put in a vase– the cats will jump to wherever they are and gnaw them down to the hips! This dragonfly certainly was interested in flowers, considering that they don’t drink nectar like butterflies; they are carnivorous insects…another catlike connection!
But much more telling was that she was interested in ME, a silly human with a big clunky camera in hand. I started shooting as many pictures as I could get, leaning over the railing, putting the camera ridiculously close to her for close ups and “action shots.”
This was crazy! The dragonfly’s tolerance-dare I say enjoyment?- of my paparazzi like “photo-bombing” was astounding; it was as if I was snapping shots of a publicity hungry Hollywood star. She didn’t back off at all. This emboldened me to take the encounter further. I tried to bridge the gap between species and spirits by asking my visitor some questions; after all, inquiring minds do want to know. So I switched from photo to video and quizzed the winged wonder in front of me. I figured, in for a penny…you know the rest.
So I went for broke and asked the BIG question: “are you Maui, or part of Maui’s spirit?” What was I expecting? An answer in well-pronounced English? A series of “meows” as Maui would have done (hence her name)?
While I was questioning her like a Jersey Shore boardwalk psychic, I extended a hand-held twig to use as a “perch.” How goofy could I get? This was not a bird in a petshop waiting for a perch, this was a carnivorous insect, sheesh! But she almost went for it; she flirted with the idea but thought better of breaking the “third wall” and getting too intimate with me, I guess.
The encounter went on till my hands were hurting from holding the camera, and I practically tumbled off of the darned railing leaning towards her. In this short video, you’ll hear me asking the questions. Please watch her head and eyes during the “conversation;” you decide if we got a response.
We spent about 20 minutes together; or was it a slice of eternity? It’s hard to say, because “real time” had stopped as I knew it. All I knew was that I didn’t want to lose the thread connecting me to her. By then, I had come to feel a profoundly calming sense of certainty– this WAS Maui, it HAD to be. She was not behaving in anything like a “normal” fashion for an organism as “alien” to humankind as a dragonfly, an insect, for crying out loud! They really aren’t known as one of the orders of earthly life forms that bond with humans, now, are they?
Maui had found a form that she knew would attract me. This gave her the conduit to say “farewell” to the family through me and reassure all of us that, after all, everything really IS going to be “OK.” All is well in the Universe. I feel that it was a final visitation, while her soul was still in range of our earthbound consciousness.
Finally, after all of the photos and staring at each other, “the voice” came to me. It was not a squeaky insect voice, as I would imagine it. It was a strong but calming voice, This is what I felt more than “heard:”
“I’ve hung around as long as I can, Daddy! I have a lot of flying to do, it’s a big sky, and it feels great to be so FREE! Tell everyone I love them VERY much, and hug Tuxedo LOTS for me, every day. I am worried about her not having me to keep her company. Please tell Mommy not to worry, I’m not sick at all anymore! You all were the best family I could ever have dreamed of, and you did everything for me that a family could ever do. You gave me everything I needed or could ever want; well, OK, maybe I could have handled a few more treats, but I forgive you! Lord knows I had quite an appetite.”
“As for the end of my time with you, you don’t need to feel ANY guilt or worry about the details; it was all as intended, but I can’t say more about that part or I’ll get in trouble! Those are the rules and I’m pushing my luck already. Suffice it to say that you listened to what was being told to your hearts, and you did the right things at the right times as well as you humans can. I love you all and will see you again.”
And off she went, flying straight up like a shiny green dart with nary a look back from those ruby red eyes.
I was astounded and exhausted from this encounter, but excited to share it with the rest of the family when they returned home. Later, I was in our bathroom and looked down on the countertop and almost fell over. There sat a costume jewelry dragonfly sitting among Amanda’s “knick knacky” things. I had bought it for her a few years before.
So why was I in shock? First, I needed to check right away to see if what I saw was really happening. For a moment, I was worried that I had imagined ALL of this, and that the photos and video I thought I had captured would be gone, invisible, an illusion.
But there they were, dozens of images and video. And they all told the same story: the “fake” jeweled dragonfly on the countertop was a metallic representation of the living one who had visited me an hour before. Or vice versa, I should say.
To make sure this wasn’t just a trick of the light, or wishful thinking manifest as delusion, I checked my pictures and compared them to the jeweled “impostor.” Now, of course a dragonfly crafted of metal could not be a duplicate of an intricately “designed” magnificent living dragonfly. But the two were eerily similar, with iridescent greens along the sleek form of both biological and metallic dragonflies, as well as other similarities. It was as if Maui had modeled her temporary spirit body to evoke that idealized dragonfly, the jeweled icon in our home. This would certainly be a further reinforcement of the linkage between my Visitor and our “real” world.
So, you may ask, why would Maui, a uniquely quirky being in her own right (aren’t all cats?), choose a dragonfly as an avatar in which to revisit the physical plane? Well, if we are accepting any of this, it’s plausible that she knew from hanging with us for 13 years that we are attracted to dragonflies and would never ignore one hovering in such close proximity. After all, it would be the ultimate buzzkill to come back from the dead and get blown off by your family! Being noticed would be key, and the dragonfly identity would be likely to do the trick. But this cake has one final layer. Here is the rest of the story.
One of the most beautiful photos of Maui is one she shares in the same terra cotta picture frame as Isis, our magnificent Golden girl who had died five years before. Her sudden death from cancer before she reached her eighth birthday had left us brokenhearted, and her story is told elsewhere in this collection of spiritual tragically, before . In this photo, both of our animal “children” are looking at something faraway, yet somehow very close to home. The look in their eyes projects a knowing spirituality. It says, “we know something you don’t know– at least not yet.”
Unbeknownst to me, Amanda had been keeping this photo packed away. It was unsettling for her to see the then living Maui paired with our heavenly girl Isis in this frame. Amanda had consigned it to the closet to prevent the otherworldly connection between Maui and Isis from becoming reality too soon; she had made it a “Dorian Gray” image.
In her whilrlwind interdimensional visit, Maui was letting us know by choosing the dragonfly that she wasn’t alone. “YES, Mommy and Daddy– we ARE together, just like the picture said we would be someday. My sister Isis was waiting for me!”