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  • Writer's pictureBernard Beitman, MD

How Synchronicity Can Aid Grieving: Stories from 9/11

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

More evidence that love endures beyond the grave.

Grief strikes us all. The loss of a loved one makes our brains re-calibrate. Our sense of who we are is

defined by the loving relationships we experience especially with those directly now in our lives. Tears seem to help to wash away some of those connections, rarely sufficiently. We call on others to support and nurture us, in some way, a temporary replacement for the loss. And then, usually, those temporary supporters move back into their own lives, having played a role in this major life transition. For many mourners, coincidences can also help. Bonnie McEneaney's 2010 New York Times bestseller, Messages: signs, visits and premonitions from loved ones on 9/11, shows how synchronistic events can aid in the grieving process. Through interviews with more than 200 9/11 survivors she reports the appearances of apparitions of loved who reassure the grieving person that, although not on this plane any longer, they are in a good place.

Bonnie was a skeptic about parapsychological phenomena before her husband Eamon perished in 9/11. She was a financial services corporate executive when 9/11 happened. Her husband told her many times that he knew his death was coming and had written a poem attesting to this belief. As she spoke with other 9/11 surviving loved ones, she heard similar premonition stories as if a cloud of foreknowledge was descending on those about to die. After 9/11, she heard many reports of changes in electrical activity around the bereaved, birds seeming to comfort and butterflies seeming to be the souls of the departed, offering reassurance.

Also, she reported many odd experiences around the appearance of coins. This one changed the direction of her life:

My husband, Eamon McEneaney, was a 9/11 victim. Two days before 9/11 we watched the premiere of Band of Brothers—focusing on June 6, 1944- D-Day. After the show, he turned to me and said he knew he was going to die soon and that he was not afraid—he referenced the young men from Company E, the paratrooper division in the show we had just watched; that some were only 17 and how frightened they must have been. Years later one summer, after I had decided to write my book and was doubting my decision, I had dinner with some friends at a local country club. We were talking about the meaning of coins- pennies and dimes- when found randomly—as a message from a departed loved one. One gentleman actually carried in his wallet several dimes taped to a note card that he found after his father’s death. As I was describing how widespread this belief was, the waiters brought over the large dinner menus and handed them out to each person at the table. Now, it's important to understand that we were at a golf club where people sign for bills—no cash or credit card payments are allowed. Earlier in the evening, I had also told the story of Eamon’s premonition after the Band of Brother premiere. Someone said that we should order so, while I was talking to the individual on my right, I opened my menu—and couldn’t believe that there was a penny in the middle of it. Everyone at the table stopped talking in surprise. There was one additional, perhaps even more fascinating observation: the date was 1944—the year of D-Day. I believe that these examples of synchronicity—special coincidences that simply defy all odds—are really messages from a higher power; the universe; or a lost loved one sent to us to help provide guidance throughout lives. In this case, I had been doubting my book—whether I would ever find a publisher, my decision to write it in the first place. This was a message for me to keep going. As a result, I eventually signed with Harper Collins and my book landed on the NYT Bestseller list.

To hear Bonnie talk about 911 synchronicities, please click here.

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