Losing a loved one is never easy. In the days, weeks, months and years that follow, we tend to look for signs that the ones who left us behind are still with us.
Andrea Remke recently wrote a heartfelt essay for the TODAY Parenting Team about how she’s dealing with the loss of her husband who died two years ago.
She’s taken to speaking to butterflies, birds and “maybe a praying mantis or two, I won’t lie.”
It’s because she has the inkling her late husband is nearby, and keeping an eye on her and the kids.
"There are a lot of explanations for these 'signs' but if it does our heart and mind good to believe in them, don't stop believing."
After posting Remke’s story to the TODAY Facebook page, hundreds of people responded with their own stories of love, loss, and signs.
Love, loss and signs from the beyond
1. "When my daughter passed, a butterfly flew into the funeral home and flew above me — I didn’t see it but everyone else did. Since then every time I see a butterfly I whisper ‘hi’ to my baby girl.” — Shawna Higgins-Buscher
2. “My mom used to feed the chipmunks and squirrels. We don’t have chipmunks in FL. I live on the fourth floor and a squirrel will look into my sliding glass door at least once a week. I know it’s my mom checking in.” — Lynn Valentine
3. "My dad sends me dimes. I put them in a special bank. I have over $70 in dimes. I wish he would up the ante, though. LOL." — Debbie Wardle Shane
4. “My husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer and while he was sick, he came and woke me up at 2:30 a.m. to come see a deer outside our front window, eating the dahlias he’d planted. Every time I now see a deer on my home camera, I’m pretty sure it’s him.” — Katie McVay Mangino
5. “It’s been a little over a year since my grandmother was murdered. This Saturday would have been her 70th birthday. Ever since she passed, I’ve seen an abundance of butterflies. It’s not just seeing them at random...they always seem to find their way to me. I even got a yellow one as a part of my memorial tattoo for her. I know the pain you’re feeling, but it’s comforting to know our loved ones are sending us a sign they are okay.” — Abbie Kindig
6. “My dad sends me feathers! Just now, I saw a dove above, it loses a feather and lands in a tree. I just went over to the tree, and the feather fluttered down into my hand!” — Patrice Fontaine
7. "My nanny (grandmother) passed in 2002. Whenever I see a butterfly I think of her. Earlier this year we went to visit my grandfather's grave in Cassino, Italy. A blue butterfly followed me around the graveyard. Nanny's favorite color was blue. I know she was there with us while we visited her husband, who died in World War II in 1944." — Kelly Sufian
8. “This beauty met us just outside the funeral home after making arrangements when my mom passed. She fluttered around and around and up and down and then stopped to pose for pics before flitting off again. My mother loved butterflies.” — Tanya Goulette Seale
9. “Shortly before my mother-in-law passed, her granddaughter asked what animal she’d come back as and she answered, rather quickly, a Monarch butterfly. Once she passed we saw butterflies everywhere! The floral arrangement my husband and I ordered for her funeral included a butterfly and we never asked for it! I’m convinced these are messages from her that she’s still with us.” — Karyn Schulz
10. "We have a special affection for cardinals! One ALWAYS shows up in time of need and at family gatherings! We named them Jack for my dad, Angela for my mom and Rick for my son. They are extremely comforting.” — Mary Surrette Skog
11. “One specific butterfly every time we were on the pool deck a week after losing my daughter. This butterfly lets us hold it forever. My granddaughter calls it momma butterfly." — Michelle Ulery-Crawford
12. “The first time I experienced this I was a teenager. A butterfly landed on my hand and I just said: ‘Hi Grandpa Tom.’ My lost babies come to me as hummingbirds and swallowtail butterflies.” — Alice Glazier Jobson
13. "I know for a fact my dad and my little girl show up when I need them most. After my daughter passed away at the age of 2 to cancer, I was having a rough day and just happened to look up and there in the clouds was my dad holding my girl, just letting me know he had her and they were OK. By the time I looked down to make sure I had the picture and looked back up, the sky was totally clear." — Jennifer Crouch Wenz
14. "It's been three years since my dad died. I miss him like crazy. When he was here, he would sit out in the gazebo and talk to the hummingbirds that would frequent the feeder. For a couple of years after his death, it seemed the hummies had left. We put food out but they would never come. This year we had four. If I was outside, there was one that would come sit on the line as I spoke to her. I felt it was my dad who sent her to check in. She was one of the last ones to leave before it got cold. There are a lot of explanations for these "signs" but if it does our heart and mind good to believe in them, don't stop believing." — Renee Parten
(These submissions have been lightly edited for clarity.)