Messages: Signs, Visits, and Premonitions from Loved Ones Lost on 9/11by Bonnie McEneaney
An inspiring and groundbreaking work that brilliantly illuminates the eternal power of love and the unbreakable bond it creates.
As a mother and former business executive, Bonnie McEneaney was always skeptical of the spiritual world and all that it represents. When her husband, Eamon, died in the attacks on the World Trade Center, she thought she had lost him… See more details below
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An inspiring and groundbreaking work that brilliantly illuminates the eternal power of love and the unbreakable bond it creates.
As a mother and former business executive, Bonnie McEneaney was always skeptical of the spiritual world and all that it represents. When her husband, Eamon, died in the attacks on the World Trade Center, she thought she had lost him forever. Then Bonnie began to have experiences that convinced her that her husband, in spirit, was sending her signs—indeed messages—that he was still present and watching over his family. After talking to other families and friends of loved ones lost on 9/11, she realized she was not alone.
In Messages, Bonnie shares the miraculous spiritual stories of numerous others connected to the tragedy while weaving in her heartfelt personal message of comfort and hope. For all who are searching for their own deeper connections, this extraordinary book is indispensable proof that love and relationships can continue . . . even after death.
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MessagesSigns, Visits, and Premonitions from Loved Ones Lost on 9/11
By Bonnie McEneaney
William Morrow PaperbacksCopyright © 2011 Bonnie McEneaney
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMy Story
It must have been two or three days after September 11th when I had
the first inkling that communication doesn't always end with death. Our
house in Connecticut was buzzing with peoplefriends, neighbors, and
relatives, some of them on cell phones still calling burn units and emergency
rooms. The television, fixed on a news channel, was going constantly.
The halls were lined with flower arrangements, and the counters
and refrigerator were overflowing with foodfruit, beverages, casseroles,
salads, and dessertsgenerously brought or sent by so many people whose
kindness I will never forget.
I remember stepping out of our front door. It was an incredibly
beautiful and still morning, and as I looked around, I couldn't
help but be aware of how much of my husband Eamon was present
around me. Our backyard is surrounded by a low stone wall. It
looks as if it might have been built by early settlers, but in truth my
husband had constructed it himself, stone by stone, using the boulders
that he foundsome from the decaying walls that were lying
haphazardly on our property, others that he'd dug from deep in the earth.
Every time I look at it, I remember how hard Eamon worked. The garden
in the backyard is also filled with lush red rosebushes, planted and
carefully tended by Eamon. About thirty yards from our house, overlooking
the area where the children played, is a tree on which he had
carved love is forever. As I looked around, Eamon was everywhere,
but he wasn't there. Where was he?
Standing outside the door, surrounded by the still, green trees, I
didn't know what to think, and I didn't know what to do. It didn't seem
possible that my larger-than-life husband could have disappeared off
the face of the earth; it didn't seem possible that he could be dead.
Then, without thinking about it, I spontaneously opened my mouth
and I yelled, "Eamon, where are you???" When I heard the words, it
was almost as if it was somebody else's voiceas though I had no
control over what was coming out of my mouth. I wanted my husband to
answer. I wanted him to tell me where he was, but I also recognized I
was making an impossible request.
Everything around me was stillnot a ripple in the air. Then, all
of sudden, somewhere above me, I heard the beginning rush of a gust
of new wind building up in intensity. The sound grew louder. I looked
above the treesthe tall oak, maple, and black birch that frame the
entrance to my driveway, and I could see the wind! It created such a
strong pattern through the leaves and the trees that it was easy to follow.
It had the outline of a river, undulating across and around, swirling
and turning as it made its way toward me. I stared, dumbstruck.
This river of wind had a life of its own. I watched as it whimsically
played with my skirt, lifting it up and gently letting it fall. Then, just as
suddenly as it started, it stopped . . . cold . . . just like that. No sound.
No breeze. The air was still. It didn't seem possible, yet I knew that
I had asked, "Eamon, where are you?" And I knew my question had
been answered. I didn't have a bit of doubt about the truth of what I
had experienced. "He's gone," I thought. "It's over."
I didn't know how to explain the river of wind I had just seen and
felt. I had no firm information about where it had come from or what
had caused it, and yet I knew absolutely it was connected to Eamon
and that the sad message it brought was true and real. I stood there
for a moment in my quiet yard before walking back into the house
and telling everyone what I had witnessed. Nobody questioned either
my experience or my interpretation. I remember people looking at me
with astonished eyes. No one spoke. We all knew Eamon was gone.
Later, I remembered something my completely down-to-earth father
had shocked me by saying. On two separate occasions before his own
death in 1993, my father had promised, "You know, Bonnie, when I
die, I'll speak to you through the wind." Eamon had done just that.
Over the years I had heard various people talk about receiving
"signs" that were either mystical in nature or that they interpreted as
messages from the dead. Personally, however, until the day I saw that
river of wind, I'd had no spiritual experiences like this and was more
than a little bit skeptical about the possibility of communication with
another dimension. But in the months and years after 9/11, I would
learn more about the various ways in which people describe contact
with those who have passed over.
When a loved one dies, many, for example, say that they become
more aware of being surrounded by spiritual energy. I've spoken to a
man who told me of holding two separate individuals when they died
and feeling a sensation not unlike energy passing from their bodies
through his own. Others describe hearing a whoosh sensation or
sound. As I've interviewed people for this book, I've heard this descriptive
word, whoosh, used often.
Vicki Davis, an Episcopal priest in Connecticut where I live, told
me about returning home from the funeral of her thirty-something
year old sister and falling asleep exhausted. Vicki, who at that time
was still in a seminary, woke up startled by a bright light in the hallway
outside her bedroom. At first she was apprehensive and a little frightened
because she was positive that she had turned the light out; she
also didn't understand how she could have fallen asleep with so much
light. When she stepped out of her bedroom into the hall, she walked
into the light and realized that it was coming from a source much more
intense than the overhead fixture. She said that she didn't know how
long she stayed there, surrounded by light, but she knew that it was
connected to her sister, and that it was her sister's way of communicating
that she was okay. She told me that she was awestruck and completely
grateful for what had happened because it brought her a great
feeling of peace and comfort. When the light left, she heard a whoosh.
Later, several times in her ministerial work, when she was present
with people who were dying, she also experienced the same kind of
whoosh, which she could only interpret as coming from the spirit
leaving the body.
It is also very common for men and women to say they have dreams
of being visited by the spirits of loved ones who have died; sometimes
these loved ones even convey special messages. One of my neighbors,
for example, told me that after his father died, he was unable to locate
some papers that were important to the estate. He had just about given
up his search when he had a dream in which his father came and gave
him precise instructions on where to locate the missing documents.
When people have experiences like this, they are frequently reluctant
to talk about them because they don't want others to think they
are being illogical or "weird," for want of a better word. It was only after
I began to do research for this book that my mother surprised me by
telling me, in a matter-of-fact tone, that her mother (my grandmother)
had seen her own mother after she died. My mother remembers my
grandmother being absolutely positive about what she saw. Yet my
mother wasn't comfortable about sharing any of this until I introduced
the subject of after death communication. "There's something I never
told you before," she confessed. "What do you think about all this?" I
asked my mother. "I don't know what to think," she replied.
In the time period that surrounds a loved one's death, we often
experience events that appear difficult to understand. It's not unusual
for some people to talk about photos that seem to jump off of shelves
or walls and fall to the floor; others speak about finding coins with
significant dates in unusual locations; many have dramatic experiences
with birds or butterflies. Some of us are immediately certain that
these occurrences are "signs" or "messages" and should be regarded as
such, while others shrug them off as mere coincidence, even when the
events seem to defy the odds.
My friend Julie, for example, recently told me the following story
concerning her mother, Helen, who died about a year ago. Julie's five
year old grandson Alex was visiting for a few weeks in the summer. In
previous years, Julie's mother would have been visiting as well, because
she adored Alex and loved to spend time with him. Julie was sitting in
her home office, and Alex was running up and down the hall outside
her door. Julie's once a week cleaning woman, Joan, was playing with
Alex. Every time Alex raced by the door, Joan would reach out and
grab the boy, saying, "I'm going to give you a speeding ticket." Alex
would crack up, laughing so hard that he would practically fall to the
floor before he started running again.
As Julie looked at what was happening, she thought of her mother,
who despite her age had played with her great-grandchildren in a very
physical way. "If my mother were here," Julie thought, "this is exactly
how she would be playing with Alex." At that moment, Joan turned
away from the hall and came back into Julie's office.
"I just vacuumed in here," Joan said. "Where did this come from?"
She pointed to what looked like a piece of paper on the floor. When
Joan turned it over, and held it up, they could see that it was a photograph
of Julie's mother that minutes before had been in a frame on the
back of a bookshelf. How did that get there? Julie wondered. How did
it get out of the frame and how did it get on the floor? And why at this
precise moment? Thinking about all the circumstances of the photo
on the floor, Julie said that she could come to no other conclusion than
that her mother somehow was enjoying watching Alex playing and trying
to send a message that she was there in spirit.
From my research and experiences after my husband's death, I
have learned more about what one can expect in terms of signs. In
my own life, there are moments when something happens that is so
unusual that I am positive it is a sign; other times I'm not so sure.
There must have been two thousand people who came to Eamon's
memorial service. Cornell, my husband's alma mater, sent the lacrosse
team and the football team, as well as the Glee Club. Friends and family
from across the country and the world arrived to pay their respects.
At the service, people commented on several happenings. The first
revolved around Eamon's oldest brother, Blayney, a Vietnam veteran,
high school teacher, lacrosse coach, and mentor to many. Blayney
ended his eulogy to his brother by reading Tennyson's poem "Ring Out,
Wild Bells." The poem begins:
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
One of the stanzas in the middle of the poem reads,
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Suddenly, as Blayney spoke the words Ring in the love of truth
and right, the clock struck twelve, and church bells throughout the
town began to chime wildly in the background. For a minute there, it
seemed as though every church in our Connecticut town was joining
in. Was this a "sign" or was it coincidence? As dramatic as it was at the
time, it makes sense to chalk this up as coincidence. My brother-in-
law started reading the poem at exactly the time when local churches
often ring their bells. But then, another strange event happened during
My husband had been exceptionally close to many of the men
with whom he worked. Like Eamon, they were also killed on 9/11.
The widows of two of these men, Joanne and Eileen, were sitting in
the middle of the church. After the service they came up to tell me
that something unusual had occurred: As they sat in their pew, a thin
white powdery substance began to fall on both of them. When they
looked up, they couldn't see it coming down or anything on the ceiling
that could have caused it. They were also taken aback to realize that
they were the only people in the entire church to whom this had
happened. Nothing had fallen on anybody else around them. A mutual
friend sitting behind them noticed it as well. "What is that stuff!?" he
whispered, leaning forward in his seat. "And why is it only falling on
you?" Was this a coincidence, or was it a sign? To be perfectly honest,
I have no idea. What I do know is that after the service, the three of
us stood together outside the church, all deeply in mourning, and all
feeling that somehow our husbands were there with us, comforting us
and telling us to be strong.
Excerpted from Messages by Bonnie McEneaney Copyright © 2011 by Bonnie McEneaney. Excerpted by permission of William Morrow Paperbacks. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Bonnie McEneaney has a BA from Brown University and an MPS from Cornell University. After a successful career in the financial services industry, Bonnie left corporate life in August 2006 to spend more time with her children and to focus on 9/11-related initiatives. Her first book, A Bend in the Road (Cornell Library), is a compilation of her husband’s poetry.
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