Cindy is an author and paranormal enthusiast who has published numerous books and articles on the subject of true unexplained phenomena.
An Unexpected Loss
The story you are about to read was sent to me by a lady named Carole Lewis. She explained that, until sending the story to me, she had shared the series of bizarre events that occurred after the death of her husband with only those closest to her. What had been born of the worst kind of grief would end up leaving Carole with a sense of peace that she thought had been lost forever.
Jonathan and Carole Lewis had been high school sweethearts who were married a few months after graduation. Carole had gone on to become a pre-school teacher while Jonathan established a successful tree removal service. Together, they built a life that anyone would envy.
Although the couple tried for years to start a family, it wasn't to be. After suffering several miscarriages, they opted to give up their dream of having children. Theirs was still a happy union surrounded by the dogs that they loved.
Jonathan and Carole lived an idyllic life until the summer of 2001 when everything came crashing down. It had been an exceptionally hot afternoon, but that was to be expected in the middle of July. It should have been a day like any other, but this one would end in tragedy.
Jonathan had been tending to the yard, as he had done countless times in the past, while Carole tooled around inside of the house. She had even dozed off for a bit while catching up on some reading. Carole remembers being awakened by the feeling that something was on her face. She swatted whatever it was away and roused up to go see what her husband was doing.
The events that followed are all a blur to Carole. She says that they played out as though she were a spectator watching the scene unfold from someplace outside of her body. She knows that she walked into the kitchen and opened the sliding glass doors that led to the backyard. She called out to Jonathan, but he didn't respond. The couple's three dogs, however, all came bounding into the house.
Carole stepped outside and looked around the yard, but her husband was nowhere in sight. She admits that she was a little bit upset that he had left the dogs out in the heat. It was unlike him, but she assumed that he had come in to use the bathroom and was going right back out.
She can't explain why, but Carole didn't search the house for her husband right away. Instead, she made a sandwich and sat down at the table. She knows that she ate, but doesn't recall the act. Carole describes it now as "just going through the motions." She knew, even then, that her life was about to change and she was putting off the realization for as long as possible.
After a while, Carole walked through the house looking for Jonathan. She can't recall if she even spoke his name as she crept from room to room. She does remember the eerie stillness of the day. Even the dogs, who were normally rowdy, were strangely quiet.
It was when she reached the bedroom that the two had shared for many years that she found her husband. He was lying on top of the covers, his hands resting on his stomach. She had thought for a moment that he was sleeping. That is, until she saw that his eyes were slightly open.
Carole knew before she even touched her husband that he was no longer with her. Everything that was Jonathan was gone except for his body. She thinks that she must have been in total shock because she has no recollection of crying or reacting in any way. She simply walked out of the room and phoned for an ambulance.
She remembers paramedics arriving a few minutes later. After they examined her husband's body, they told her that they would have to call the coroner. Carole doesn't know how much time passed, but eventually a man showed up and informed her that Jonathan was deceased.
The coroner asked her several questions about Jonathan's medical history. She told him that he had suffered from high blood pressure for years, but had been taking medication for the condition.
Upon learning that Jonathan had been working outside all day, coupled with his hypertension, the coroner surmised that Jonathan had, most likely, succumbed to a heart attack. He didn't offer to perform an autopsy and Carole had not requested one. She was too numb to think straight or ask any questions.
Read More From Exemplore
Somehow, Carole got through the horrible days that followed the sudden loss of her husband. She remembers very few details of the aftermath of his passing. All she knew was that, for the first time in her life, she was all alone.
An Unlikely Messenger
Carole's life went into a tailspin after Jonathan's death. She tried to go back to work, but found that she couldn't concentrate. It didn't help matters that she would burst into tears without warning. Even though she had not been able to show her grief at the time of her husband's passing, it was now uncontrollable.
Eventually, Carole decided to take a break from her job. She would use the time to come to terms with her loss. She was also thinking of selling the house which now held only memories of the past. This meant that she would have to sort through nearly 20 years of items that she and Jonathon had collected. Such an endeavor would prove to be a full-time job.
It was sometime in the weeks following Jonathan's passing that Carole first spotted a large, black moth resting on the kitchen wall. The insect was a little larger than a 50 cent piece with a furry head and soft, velvety wings. She thought nothing of it at the time since it had been after sundown and bugs, attracted by the lights, regularly found their way into the house.
Not one to kill anything unless she had to, Carole opened a cupboard to fetch a cup in which to collect the unwelcome guest. When she turned back around, the moth was gone. Again, this wasn't out of the ordinary. She figured that it had lit in another room. Carole knew that, eventually, she would capture the night visitor and set it free.
The moth appeared all over the house in the weeks after that first sighting. Carole would see it fluttering around the bathroom while she was showering, but as soon as she was able to find a way to trap it, the moth would be gone. The same thing happened no matter what room she was in. The creature would flutter by her and land on a lamp or table, but would vanish as soon as she tried to catch it.
Sometimes, she would attempt to cup it in her hands. When she was sure that she had the moth securely in her grasp, she would open her hands to release it outside only to find that she had been holding nothing but air.
The dogs, too, seemed to be perplexed by the creature that had invaded their home. Sometimes they would notice it and chase it around the room until it disappeared. At other times, they would completely ignore the invader even as it landed within their reach.
Carole had also been awakened several times during the night by the light caress of something touching her face. The soft tickling would rouse her from even the deepest sleep, but there was never any sign of what had caused the strange sensation. Carole suspected the moth although she had never seen it in action.
The encounters with the moth continued for weeks as Carole worked at getting her belongings in order. Still determined to put her house on the market, she had been meticulously going through reams of paperwork, clothing, household wares and all of the other things that a couple collect over the years.
The constant presence of her winged visitor became something that Carole had become accustomed to. She had abandoned any notions of capturing it since it always escaped no matter her methods. It wasn't hurting anything so she figured she would leave it be until it either found its way out or expired on its own. After all, it was only a moth.
It was while going through a box of old books that had belonged to Jonathan that Carole made a surprising discovery. Among the many tomes he had collected over the years were several notebooks filled with original stories that had been penned by her husband.
Carole had always known that Jonathan liked to write poetry, but had not been aware of his penchant for short stories. She read through pages and pages that were filled with dark content that she never would have expected to have come from the mind of the man she married.
In all of the years that she had known Jonathan, he had put on the brave face of someone who accepted life for what it was. He smiled more often than most people and found humor in almost everything. The pages that were now before her revealed the thoughts of someone who had been struggling with demons whom he had chosen to fight alone.
One page after another told stories of people who were plagued by thoughts of doom and hopelessness. Not one of Jonathan's tales had a happy ending. It seemed that the man whose cup had always been half full was overwhelmed with self-doubt and insecurities.
Carole spent days pouring over her husband's writings. One story was as bleak as the next. Still, she learned things about her Jonathan that she had never known. She remembers crying as she read his innermost thoughts. She lamented the fact that she had been unable to detect that he was in need of help while he was still living.
Carole also feared that, perhaps, the coroner had been wrong about her husband's cause of death. She wondered if it was possible that he had taken his own life. It's an unanswerable question at this point, but one that still haunts her.
Carole didn't wish to share the actual writings with me, which is perfectly understandable. She admits that she destroyed some of the ones that she felt would be misunderstood by someone who hadn't known Jonathan. The man she had loved for so many years would not have harmed a fly, or a moth, as it were.
One story stood apart from all the rest. It was the one thing that Jonathan had written that ended on a note of optimism. The person who had been the focal point of the short tale had been lost for a time, but had been redeemed by a love which had pulled him from the darkness into the light. The title of the story had been "The Moth."
Carole reports that the black moth that had taken up residence at her home vanished completely shortly after she discovered her husband's writings. She doesn't know what happened to it, only that she never saw it again.
To this day, Carole Lewis is convinced that the moth was sent to comfort her after the passing of Jonathan. She reasons that it was his way of telling her that she had been the one redeeming thing in his life. For Carole, the moth represented the bond that she and Jonathan had shared. She thinks that he wanted to remind her that, at least for a time, she had saved him from himself.
Always By Your Side
This short account was sent to me via social media by Brianne Collins. The story recounts a few odd occurrences that followed the death of her grandfather. It could all be chalked up to coincidence if not for his love of the bird who seemed to have been sent as a protector from beyond.
Brianne's grandpa, Burt, had passed away at the age of 92. He had lived a long, full life with little regret. He and his wife, Alice, had raised six children and seen them off into the world. His had been a good life.
Burt had spent his entire life in the country home that he had inherited from his father. The place was surrounded by nature and that's just the way that he liked it. Neither Burt nor Alice had ever had much use for city living or groups of people. They had each other after their children moved out and that had been all the company that they needed.
Even though Burt had not been particularly attached to animals, he did have an affinity for crows. Even though they would wreak havoc on his crops, he still couldn't bring himself to harm them. Something about the intelligence of the birds fascinated him. Brianne attests to the fact that her grandmother never understood why her husband let the crows get away with everything, but he did.
At one point, Brianne remembers her grandfather having a pet crow that she swears could talk. She says that when the phone would ring the bird would squawk, "Telephone!" at the top of its lungs. Burt had let the bird have run of the house until one day when it flew away and never returned.
After Burt's death, Alice was left alone on the property. She was well into her eighties at the time, but still as spry as ever. Even so, the family worried about her being out in the country by herself. Alice, however, had no such fears. She assured them that she was not, by any means, alone.
Brianne says that her grandmother told stories of a large crow that would fly up onto the porch and light on the chair that Burt had always sat in. The bird showed no fear of Alice as it rested on the rocker. It would simply turn its head and make chortling noises as if trying to communicate with her.
Alice also told her family that the bird would follow her every day when she walked the path that led down to their old chicken coop. She no longer kept birds there, but she did enjoy the walk down the hill to where the chickens used to be. In any event, she was never alone on her excursion. The crow stayed with her the whole time, always making sure she made it back into the house before it flew off to parts unknown.
Even though her grandmother never said it outright, Brianne believes that she took the presence of the crow as a sign from Burt that he was still watching over her. Alice was never afraid of the crow, rather, she looked forward to spending time with it. According to Brianne, the bird remained by Alice's side until the day she died.
Is it possible that the crow had been sent to look after Alice until she and Burt could be reunited? Is it just as likely that Burt had found a way to return to his beloved wife by taking a form that he knew would be significant to her? In the end, anything is possible in that mysterious shadow realm between this world and the next.