There really isn’t a perfect time to get over a loved one.
The Wall Street Journal’s Elizabeth Bernstein reported in November of last year that men and women take different lengths of time to get over a lost loved one. Men and women both seek new loves at different points once their relationships end, but some never forget the love they have for the one they lost.
“The idea of becoming attached and losing someone again terrifies some. Others are so spent from caring for a dying spouse that they have no energy or desire to get to know someone new,” Bernstein wrote for The Journal. “And when you’re grieving, you don’t exactly feel adventurous, outgoing, charming—in other words, like dating.”
Part of that could be because their loved one shows up even after they’re gone. Sometimes, people receive packages, letters and notes from their deceased loved ones.
Does this increase their grief? Or does it make them happy to know their loved one was watching out for them? Based on the five experiences below, it seems people feel a slight increase in excitement when they see something from a loved one show up on their doorstep years after they have passed away.
Post card comes two years after father dies
Earlier this week, Rowan Torrez received a post card from his father, who died from a rare brain disease two years ago, according to NBC's "Today" show.
"Hello from Pennsylvania. I love you and I miss you so much. See you soon. Love, Daddy,” read the post card, which arrived on March 7 from Pennsylvania, NBC's "Today" show reported.
The family would often receive post cards from Joseph Torrez since he was often on the road traveling to and from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was working on his two master’s degrees, according to the "Today" show.
“I feel like that was the final goodbye that he didn't get to say,” said Julie Van Stone, Rowan’s mother, according to the "Today" show.
Rowan and his mother aren’t sure how the post card wound up in their home, especially because it was postmarked on June 10, 2007, according to NBC's "Today" show. Still, they told interviewers they will add the post card to a scrapbook they have of all of Joseph’s mementos that they collected after he died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which is a brain disorder that affects 1 million people worldwide usually around the age of 60, according to NBC's "Today" show.
Flowers arrive on Valentine’s Day
Back around Valentine’s Day of this year, Shelly Golay from Casper, Wyoming, received a batch of flowers and a card from her late husband, who died eight months earlier, according to ABC News.
Shelly, who was married to her husband for 28 years after meeting in church in 1984, first thought that it was her children who purchased the flowers for her, but they denied it, ABC News reported. She checked the card that came with the flowers and found her husband’s cellphone number etched on the back.
"I went back to my son and said, 'You have to call the flower shop and confirm Dad sent these. I'm too emotional,’” Shelly told ABC News. “Sure enough, he had come in that last Valentine's Day and had said, 'Just send her flowers for the rest of her life.'"
After calling the flower company, Shelly found out it was her husband who sent the flowers to her, according to ABC News.
"He set up such an amazing gift for me to receive that," Shelly said. "That act of love to me is just true love in its purest form."
Christmas wish fulfilled for Iowa family
David Schmitz’s wife Brenda died in September 2011 from ovarian cancer at the age of 46, Yahoo News reported. Before she died, she wrote a letter to a local radio station that could only be given to her husband when he found a new partner.
In 2013, Brenda's dear friend sent the letter to the radio station, which grants Christmas wishes during the holiday season, to then give to David and fulfill her wishes.
“When you are in receipt of this letter, I will have already lost my battle to ovarian cancer,” Brenda wrote in the letter, according to Yahoo News. “I am writing this letter to be sent to you by a dear friend who has instructions to do so when it was the time. I had to type this because I can hardly type anymore because of my shakiness. I told her once my loving husband David had moved on in his life and had met someone to share his life with again, to mail this letter to all of you at the station.”
The letter asks for David’s new love to receive the affection and devotion that she deserves. It also asks for the family to have a vacation, and the cancer doctors that treated her to have a fun night out, Yahoo News reported.
Mimi Fery gets a message in a bottle
After Superstorm Sandy rocked New York in 2013, Mimi Fery received a letter from her daughter that washed up on shore, according to The Washington Times.
Workers in New York found a message in a bottle during their work on the shorelines, which was written by Fery’s daughter Sidonie. The message was “be excellent to yourself dude!” — a line from Sidonie’s favorite movie, “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.”
Sidonie, who died in 2010 after falling off a cliff, threw the bottle into the ocean more than 10 years ago, The Washington Times reported. After the storm, it washed up a few miles down the beach.
“I was just sobbing when I heard they had found it,” Fery said, according to The Washington Times. “These are very, very kind people. (The message) makes so much sense. She had to deal with a lot of things. But she stood her ground.”
The McKinstrys solve a credit card mystery
Andrew and Vicki McKinstry received Christmas gifts in the mail a month after their daughter, 10-year-old Lily-Mae, died of brain cancer, according to the UK’s Daily Mail. At first, they didn’t know who the gifts were from — until they made the connection that the gifts were, in fact, from Lily.
The Daily Mail reported that Vicki and Andrew discovered that their daughter used her father’s credit card to make purchases before she died. Little did they know that those purchases would end up being Christmas gifts. Lily-Mae’s gifts included a chicken costume for her brother Ethan and some books for the family. She also gave a Build-A-Bear teddy bear, too, Daily Mail reported.
“Now every few days we are receiving packages in the post, it's really emotional when we open them but it's also so comforting,” Vicki said to the Daily Mail. “Lily was so thoughtful and organised, I know how happy this would've made her.”
Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret News National. Send him an email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @herbscribner.