Despite Dying Four Years Ago, My Mom Continues To Visit Us

Strong connections can continue even after death.

Woman sitting with coffee by fireplace, smell of late mothers perfume moving towards her Lolostock, Alena Ozerova | Canva 

Her perfume lingered in the room as I sipped my coffee. It was a typical rainy morning in the Pacific Northwest, and I was grateful for the ease of my gas fireplace to ward off the chill. The subtle whiff of her perfume startled me initially, and I wondered if I was imagining it. I took another breath through my nose, and the unmistakable scent of my mother’s favorite perfume was still there. How was that possible? She died weeks ago.


Smelling my mom’s perfume was the first sign she visited us from beyond the grave. These visits happened frequently in the months following her death. The scent of her perfume was subtle but unmistakable. I suppose it’s not surprising that these visits happened while I was drinking coffee.

My mom is responsible for my espresso obsession. We loved to visit coffee shops together and talk about the origin of different beans. She was a foodie before it was cool to be one. When other kids’ moms fixed Kraft Mac and Cheese, my mom made macaroni and cheese from scratch with real butter, whole milk, and sharp cheddar cheese.


Once, my mom and I visited Croatia and Italy together, and our greatest pleasure was finding the best food wherever we went. We, of course, enjoyed the architecture, fountains, and gorgeous blue water, but for us, it was all about the food.

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My mom wasn’t an early riser when she was living. She always readied her coffee maker in the evening so that she only needed to push the button in the morning. Then, she’d linger in bed with her coffee and newspaper until she felt ready to take on the day.

So, while it was a little early for her, it made sense that she’d visit me while I savored my morning coffee.


The perfume wasn’t the only sign that my mom was visiting us.

We also experienced dripping water from our shower, but only in the middle of the night. I’ve heard that unexplained running or dripping water is a sign of a spirit being present, and I believe that’s what was going on in our case.

We lived in a new home that was barely a year old. We’d never heard our shower drip, but a month after my mom died, the shower dripped when I’d get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Not just a few drops, either. It was significant and would last for about a minute, then stop.

The dripping never happened during the day, and it only happened to me, never to my wife. The sporadic middle-of-the-night dripping continued for several months then stopped for good. It was startling when it first happened, but I appreciated her late-night visits.

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But then something really interesting occurred.

While planning my mom’s memorial, I went back through old family pictures. I found one of her and my dad taken before I was born. My father was an alcoholic who abandoned our family when I was young, but a few years before my mom died, she shared that he’d been the love of her life.

When I saw their photo, I noticed they both looked exuberantly happy. Though my memories of my father are unhappy, I decided to display that picture on a bookshelf to honor my mother. A few weeks later, my wife found the image facing backward twice. She wondered why I would do that but kept forgetting to ask me about it.

One day, I was in the kitchen when my wife noticed the picture was turned around again and said, "Why do you keep turning this picture of your mom and dad backward?" I turned to see her pointing at the backward picture and told her I had no idea how it got that way.


There was a moment of uncomfortable silence, and then she told me what had happened.

She believed my mom was trying to get our attention and began talking to her out loud.

She told her we appreciated her visit and loved and missed her.

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After that day, the picture remained in place, facing forward. The visits from my mom dwindled until, one day, they ceased altogether. I’m not sure why those who pass away return to us through spirits, but I know I was comforted by the continued connection with my mom.


The finality of death is often brutally hard to navigate.

Not only do we lose our physical connection to a loved one, but we also lose the potential to receive guidance, hear an apology, or share something extraordinary that happened. Sensing my mom’s presence didn’t remove my loss, but it helped me feel like I wasn’t alone.

Now and then, my mom pops in during profound moments, and I believe it’s her way of showing me she’s proud of me or loves me. I’m grateful for these experiences that make my loss just a little easier to handle.

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Kim Kelly Stamp (she/her) is a writer and speaker who writes about authenticity, retirement, relationships, and life on the road.