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  • Writer's pictureHelen Dalton


This photograph was taken on the weekend my father passed away.

We all have our own beliefs on death - how we take comfort in the journey.

During the passing of my father, I would play him music and reminisce and give him my acceptance of his passing. I also asked him to send me a sign to show me that he had reached the spirit world and everything was OK.

The day he passed away my sisters who were both in the UK had taken the morning to go for a walk and they had both, individually, seen a robin.

Here in NS, we had had quite a big snowfall but I managed to shovel myself out and headed to my favourite beach up the hill from my house.

I walked along the rocks and I could hear coming from the opposite direction of where I was walking - I could hear the scuttling and chirping of the starlings - they all seemed to be pecking around the seaweed that had washed ashore. There must have been at least a 100. I walked towards them and watched them, in awe, as they all took to the sky in what looked like a synchronized dance. I was mesmerized. I continued my walk along the shore and turned back around to head home.

Again, I walked towards the starlings as they had regathered along the shoreline. I said out loud that if this was a ‘sign’ from my father then they would dance again and they did. I watched in awe as they flew, and danced and then came back to the ground, and then they would again take off in a synchronized dance.

After watching this for quite some time - I still wasn’t sure if this was my requested sign from my dad and headed home. On my way, I was greeted with a slow-moving deer solely crossing the road and looking in my direction. It was quite a large deer and I wondered if that was a sign??

I came home and discussed what I had seen with my sisters and they told me that that was a sign, both instances.

The next day I was getting dressed in front of our large fireplace and from the corner of my eye - there was this huge commotion happening outside?? I turned around to see a congregation of starlings launch towards my window and then went onto dance a synchronized dance and some ended up close to me on the deck, near the BBQ, and in the surrounding trees. Initially, it was quite shocking but I could hear my father’s voice saying, “how many starling dances do you need?” - now that was a sign!

Five plus years ago when my mum passed away - I had recently returned home from a visit with her. I had given myself two weeks to journey through the end of life with her but she did not pass away. The day I left she was sleeping so peacefully that I said my goodbyes and for some reason that day when I went to catch the bus home - they were not running - looking back I’m thinking it was Sunday and there was no bus service or it was a bank holiday?

I walked home, back to my dad’s place, and was followed by a beautiful rainbow. I interpreted that as my mum accepting that I was leaving and showing me a sign that all was OK.

She passed away a week or so later. I remember being at work and then coming home and spending the rest of my day in my gallery. I was going through old photographs and going through her written notes from her journal. I remember at the night when I closed the door on the gallery - I turned around to view the beautiful night sky and saw a shooting star shoot across the sky - in that moment - I said my final farewell to my mum.

May you both rest in peace.

Again, we are all different in our beliefs and these events can be open to interpretation. For me - finding comfort in the things around me are a blessing. I hope you feel comforted by your own beliefs and connections.


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