'Seeing' loved ones from beyond the grave is normal

EagleHeadline | July. 26, 2017

Admitting you've had a supernatural experience can sometimes leave you vulnerable to ridicule.

Céline Dion recently raised eyebrows with her revelation that she still feels the presence of husband René Angélil, who died from cancer in January 2016.

According to The Conversation, rather than being fodder for jokes, sensing or even seeing a loved one from beyond the grave "is a perfectly normal and often helpful way of dealing with grief."

It's remarkably common too, with as many as between 30 and 60 per cent of elderly bereaved partners saying they have experienced a bereavement hallucination.

A way of dealing with grief.

While these are a normal reaction to grief, they are seldom discussed precisely because of a fear of ridicule.

But the evidence suggests there's a reason why these hallucinations happen.

One study, by the researcher Agneta Grimby at the University of Goteborg, found that over 80 percent of elderly people experience hallucinations associated with their dead partner one month after bereavement.

Death is a time of sorrow, but some stories are uniquely heratbreaking.

A 2002 case report by German researchers detailed the hallucinations of a middle-aged mum mourning her daughter - who had tragically died from a heroin overdose.

The woman would regularly see the young girl and sometimes heard her say "Mamma, Mamma!" and "It's so cold."

The late neurologist and author Oliver Sacks, explored why we sometimes see, hear or smell things that aren't there in his book, Hallucinations.

Sacks explains how these visions - or "compulsive returns to a past experience" - often have "a positive and comforting role."

He continues, saying these play "an important part in the mourning process," especially in the painful early days when grappling with the loss.."Losing a parent, a spouse, or a child is losing a part of oneself," he writes, "and bereavement causes a sudden hole in one's life, a hole which - somehow - must be filled."

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