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Updated: May 14, 2021

Have you ever been visited by someone you love who has died? I've heard from a lot of people who tell of cardinals, butterflies, and fluffy little kittens that appear to them unquestionably as their deceased loved ones. Skeptical? This may be more commonplace than you think!

As for me - my mother shows up as a dragonfly.

Hello Joyce!

My mother died well into her years of Alzheimer's. In the end, Joyce didn't remember where she was but she remembered who she was. She laughed and sang and flirted with whomever she was around. She was kind and loving and exceptionally playful. Joyce existed on little throughout her years, nevertheless, with an overabundance of resourcefulness and resilience, she lived life large.

On the day of her burial, a single dragonfly lit on Joyce's ashes where it remained until my family exhausted all of our stories of our beautiful, eccentric, compassionate, and kind-hearted Joyce. Twelve months later, dragonflies immediately appeared on the many roads of the Happiness Walk. They accompanied me from state to state and became so commonplace that whenever one showed up, whoever happened to be walking with me at the time and I casually called out “Hello, Joyce!” Once acknowledged, she would happily flit on ahead to show us the way, never to be one to miss out on an adventure.

Animal Guidance

According to legend, dragonflies symbolize transitions. How appropriate that they would accompany me on my transitory adventure. How evermore appropriate my mother would choose such a beautiful, colorful, and winged creature to embody. Dragonflies are our reminders to break away from the constrictions of what we think we know and to embrace what is yet to be known. If we are accepting, dragonflies will flitter their way right through our strongly-held illusions and direct us towards pathways of positive change. This is just so much like Mom. "Know that you don't know," is a motto of hers I live by. She consistently reminded me that I could never truly know another human being by their outer depiction; that judgements easily and deftly contaminate any possibility of authentic connection.

Though dragonflies never left the Walk, I received the blessings of many other animals throughout the years. Each leg of the Walk procured a corresponding animal totem. I didn't choose them - they chose me. Among them, I was guided by horses, grasshoppers, owls, salmon, and even a mountain lion. Each animal brought me the wisdom and protection needed for the moment. Even now as I sit writing, I am reminded to look to nature for guidance as a family of hawks nests in a tree within my view telling me to view life from a higher perspective.

My Animals Speak

Never take anything for granted, say my animal totems. Never believe you are alone, is their chorus. Be observant, chirp the hawks. Never think for a minute you know the answers, chimes in Joyce!

Seen or unseen, there is guidance available to us all around. Look outside. Look up. Look down. Who visits you? What are they offering? Take heed of their message - it just might be the thing you need to hear. In the very least, it will make you raise your eyes from your computer!

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