Personal Experience

       My Dear Duffy

         Terri Segal, LMFT, ATR 

             The story I am about to share is factually true.  It has been a work of love and pain.  I decided to write about the experiences I began having after the passing of my dear brother Jeff, aka Duffy.  I have kept a record in journal form from the beginning; the dated entries start with the day after Duffy died.  I did not plan to write this, but more felt compelled by something inside of me to share this.  I know that it may sound fantastical, perhaps a product of grief to some.  But maybe, just maybe it is much more.  What I write about is my truth as it has been lived each day.   These experiences are the most miraculous, mysterious thing I have ever known.  They are as real to me as the air I breathe or the table I work at.

            I loved my brother more than words can say.  Starting as a child, Duffy was my first companion and my play mate from the day he was brought home from the hospital.  I was fascinated by all parts of him; especially his toes.  They provided endless hours of amusement.  As brother and sister, we got along unusually well.  We spent countless hours creating Lego worlds, racing match box cars and rolling down the hill in empty cardboard boxes.  From the day he was born until the day he died my brother gave me laughter, fun, magic and company.  I feel that I loved him unconditionally and he me.  Perhaps this is why I now can connect with him after he has passed.  We loved to talk about life, mysteries, our minds, love and relationships.  Our relationship was great and I know I have been blessed to have him as my brother.

            Leading up to his passing, I had been having many instances of synchronicity for over two years.  Looking back, I feel I was being prepared for his death.  Otherwise, I don’t know if I would have survived it emotionally.

            Duffy left this world on July 24, 2014.  I can say I knew that morning at a “just under the skin” level that he was gone.  I had just gotten into bed when I suddenly felt a thud or more like a shove against my back.  It registered just below consciousness as I thought “that is strange” and I went to sleep.  It turns out that at the moment I felt the shove, was just around the time he passed.

            The next morning I got up and without thinking, put on a bracelet he had given me recently.  I also put on a bracelet from my grandmother Bertha and ring from my grandmother Lucy, both deceased.  Looking back, it had the feeling of ritual.  I now know that the deeper part of me already knew my brother had passed. I feel I instinctively put these on as a way to acknowledge that he passed.  I pray that he was welcomed to the other side by his ancestors.  I pray that they lovingly brought him over.

            After Duffy’s passing, I started experiencing extraordinary things. The first, just two days after he passed, was a dream visitation in which Duffy appeared beaming and healthy and a bit younger.  He called me by his nickname for me, T.  In a small room I walked towards him, acknowledging how happy I was to see him.   He smiled big and called out “Hey T!” As I got closer, he faded out slowly.  I asked him to stay but he kept disappearing and then I woke up.  There was a vividness to his voice, a clarity to his presence.  He directly spoke to me.  After that many synchronicities started to happen.

             There have been many reports of people having synchronicities after the passing of a loved one.  Perhaps a door is opened in our rawness; perhaps synchronicity happens more when we are vulnerable as a way to comfort us.  If we could tune in and learn to listen to it, then I believe we would find that it is pointing us in the direction of understanding that this world is ultimately creative, offering endless openings to keep manifesting anew.

            As humans in this life, are we meant to communicate and create this world with our imaginations and heartfelt loving energy?  Perhaps the more we are open to it and listen the more it rewards us.

            On a September night I had my first “energy experience.”  Two months after Duffy passed, I came home one night after work heartsick and tired.  I lay on my bed with my arms out and palms up.  I was crying and wondering how do I go on?  How do I accept this? I spontaneously asked if he would like to visit me.  I said “Duffy I love you and miss you; I am so sorry I could not save you.  Can you forgive me and would you please visit with me?”  I was given an answer.

            Within seconds, a sensation of rolling energy came into my right palm.  I felt several minutes of waves of energy, pulsing, circling, stroking my palm and forearm.  It seemed he was sending gentle, playful and strong energy to show me that he still exists in a different form.  The thought came to me: “I am not gone, only existing on a different level and I will always be in your heart, loving you and connected to you, sister.”

            “It’s you Duffy, I can feel you!”  I asked if it was really him.  I asked for him to squeeze my hand.  I felt a spark on my fingertips and a pressure all around my forearm and hand.

            Now I am a rational woman, a professional.  Still, this was a stretch for even my level of openness and curiosity.  I briefly thought to myself; am I having a hallucination, some form of grief psychosis? What is happening?  What will others think? Doubt was present but I was not afraid.

            Amazingly, I have felt the presence of this energy every day now at least twice a day, since September 2014.  Every day I ask for him to visit.  Every day I have felt this energy with slight variations, but always most strongly on my right arm and palm.  I keep asking for these experiences and writing about them.

            I feel a rounded, pulsing energy most of the time.  Sometimes it goes up and down my arm and sometimes transfers over to my other hand.  I can “juggle” the energy and feel it go from one hand to the other like an invisible slinky.  This is very comforting.  It feels like pressure, or a wave like motion; going in a circular or back and forth motion. 

            Sometimes it goes just over my fingertips.  Occasionally I have felt sparks on my thumbs and fingertips.  The connection lasts anywhere from a minute to 20 minutes.  As the days and weeks have passed I have experimented with this energy.  I can call upon it in my car or at work if I am in a quiet state.

            In the last few months I have experienced a type of paralysis when I hold my forearm up as I lay in bed.  I can feel my right arm and hand slowly being squeezed and then somewhat paralyzed.  I try to slowly move my hand and arm, to resist.  There is a resistance back.  It has strength, weight, a roundness of form.  It pushes against me and sometimes jerks my arm sideways or forward.  In one instance it slowly guided my arm towards my chest to rest.

            The thing that is most intriguing to me is that this energy seems to respond to my direct thoughts and questions to Duffy.  In more than one instance I have asked Duffy to let me know it is really him by moving my hand.  Each time I get a response of either a quick jerk of my hand or pushing of my arm down. This is not just a neutral energy; something is responding to me, to my emotions!  The more open, relaxed, loving mindset I bring to it the better and more responsive it is.  What does that mean?

            Is Duffy introducing me to the “energy body”?  I have looked it up and find the literature on the “energy body” scarce and somewhat mysterious.  It has many names over history.  The ancient traditions point in this direction.  They all seem to point to aspects of ourselves that are not bound to linear space and time.  Am I communicating beyond space and time with my brother?

            Over the last four months, I have had other types of communications from Duffy.  He has made contact with me several times, through visual messages, scent, dreams and most consistently through touch. Sometimes I have asked for images or words.  I always get them.  I have had what seems best described as out of body experiences at least ten times on and off since September.  They always begin with a sensation of my right arm being pin pricked and then slowly stretched out.  I feel weightless and then aware of my “self” above my body.  It is very relaxing and induces a vivid sense of peace.

            In an instance of premonition he once woke me up in the middle of the night and let me know that someone close to me was having a medical emergency.  Occasionally during the day, on many days, I feel something on the back of my neck and the top of my head and right side of my face.  It feels like a gentle touch, a wave of tingles flowing down the side of my face.

            I believe this touch, this unexplained energy is his spirit helping me to find peace around his death.   I believe it is also letting me know that I have been forgiven for whatever I imagine I have done or not done.

            Ever since Duffy passed and I spontaneously began to have these unusual experiences, I have only talked about it with a few close friends.  Why such self censorship and fear?  Because my career is as a therapist, I am keenly aware of what it could mean to be feeling things that have no clear scientific explanation.  For many years I have encouraged others to explore their inner world and release fear.

            I know there is real power in telling our own stories.  This chapter of my life is a test, I believe, to share the most personal story I have to help others feel freer to do so.  May others have faith in their own life stories; to live authentically.  I have seen the pain that comes from not doing this.  In a way, I feel the suicide of my brother was in part caused by his continuing to live an inauthentic life.

            I believe my path is to have faith in the knowing that much of life is mysterious and invisible and that these parts are absolutely real. Through loss and suffering I have had a window opened to these less obvious parts of life. Some days I feel a sadness and heaviness that is too difficult to hold.  All I can do is curl up and cry.  Some days I feel pure gratitude that this is happening to me.

            We are an externally focused culture, and it takes an internal attention; a fine tuning and space made to hear the reality of the heart.  It is in these most emotional times, like the death of a loved one, that our heart is opened and a new light can come in if we believe that is true.

             How can we connect more intentionally, to listen and have faith?  It seems many people have had contact with the dead, though you might never know it.  There is no common consensus concerning what happens after death, and society does not encourage sharing experiences with others. We are not taught to see death and loss as a positive aspect of life; we are taught mostly fear and sadness around death and loss.   We who have had mysterious yet real connections with our deceased loved ones are not few, nor are we “nuts.”  Perhaps the deceased are calling us to live in a more loving, creative and connected way. 

            It is a mystery what happens after we die, but maybe we have more of a window to the other side than we realize.  Perhaps we are not meant to drown in our grief but to swim through the current to connect to the other side of life.

            I guess you could say that this shocking, devastating loss of my brother has given me the opportunity to say to others “believe in yourself!”  I hope that people who read this who have also had loved ones pass will gain a sense of confirmation that the unusual, strange and unexplainable things they may be experiencing should not be dismissed.

            Perhaps in this connection to Duffy, I am simultaneously helping myself and his spirit to reach a new level – he in his new world and me here in mine.   Maybe we are still loving and helping each other across the veil.


            Correspondence should be sent to Terri Segal at