Though her day had been wrought with stress, as she sat on the bed and breathed in Joe’s familiar scent she felt safe and happy.
Yet all was not as it seemed for, in fact, her beloved husband had passed away many years earlier.
The arms enveloping her were that of his angel.
They never leave us, not for one second, so we’re never alone.
Lorna Byrne“Joe has visited me a handful of times since his death from a long illness 16 years ago,” says Lorna of the encounter in 2015. “It is always at a time when I need comfort. In that moment two years ago I know it was to tell me everything was going to be all right.”
Lorna, who lives in Kilkenny, Ireland, is a modern mystic and spiritual writer who saw her first angel as a child.
When she published her first book, Angels In My Hair, in 2010, it became a publishing sensation selling more than a million copies and was translated into 30 languages.
She describes her earliest memory of the spiritual world. “I remember lying in my cot with my mother fixing the blankets around me and seeing an angel reaching to touch her,” says Lorna, now 63.
“I didn’t know what they were until much later though, I thought they were part of the family. I assumed everyone else could see them.”
Though she admits most people can’t see them the way she can, we all have a guardian angel who never leaves our side.
“They never leave us, not for one second, so we’re never alone. Their job is to offer protection and guidance,” she says.
Though angels have been a part of Lorna’s life as far back as she can remember, she admits the first time she was visited by a deceased family member she couldn’t believe her eyes.
“My little brother died when he was just 10 weeks old. As a child I used to see him lying in my mother’s arms while she slept,” says Lorna.
“I played with his angel, with wooden bricks my father made, and when I reached out to touch him, my hand seemed to go through his.
“As I grew, so did my brother’s spirit and as the years went on he appeared older.” Lorna explains that while our guardian angels remain with us at all times the spirits of our loved ones only visit us from time to time.
Lorna says guardian angels are always by our side protecting us
“Every time you think of them they are right there with you,” says Lorna.
She explains that friends, family members or simply people that have touched our life in some way can all pay us a visit.
“There are many spirits who may wish to show themselves to us,” explains Lorna, who has four grown-up children, Megan, 21, Ruth, 30, Owen, 33, and 36-year old Christopher.
“This can be for comfort or to provide guidance. They don’t stay with you. They are with you when you think of them but they are also in heaven.
“They know you’re feeling sad or you’re in a crisis and they are there with you.”
Lorna says the way the angels of our loved ones appear to us is different for everyone.
“It’s a gentle nudge, you may remember something of them or a saying and that gives you the encouragement or confidence to go after what you need.
“It could be finding a book that they read, or an old letter in a drawer. A wisp of smoke when nobody is smoking.”
The way the angels of our loved ones appear to us is different for everyone
Lorna describes the moment her beloved grandmother appeared to her when she was a teenager. “I was around 15. My grandma had died several years earlier and I missed her terribly. But then I heard her call my name.”
Turning around in her bedroom Lorna came face to face with her grandmother’s angel. “She was standing in the middle of the room surrounded by other angels. It’s hard to describe that beauty – she was so perfect.
“I wasn’t scared, I was delighted. She said, ‘Lorna, it’s all right, it’s OK’, which made me smile and cry at the same time.”
Lorna admits that her gift is often met with a fair amount of scepticism. Yet, though some may doubt her experiences, she puts this down to the fear of the unknown.
“People are afraid of what they can’t see. But I’ve found that most also want to know more. They want to know what happens when we die,” says Lorna.
“I can tell you that we all have a soul and that means although the body may die, our spirit does not.
“We worry if our loved ones are OK. Are they in heaven? Are they at peace? And yes, they are.
“You do get a lot of criticism but I say to them you have nothing to lose. I can’t give proof. I believe people get their own proof.”
While Lorna admits that being able to see angels is a gift, we may have experienced them ourselves without even realising it.
“A lot of people tell me, ‘I don’t know how I got through that but I know there was something or someone there helping me’.
“If you think about it, you might have felt something too.” Of the future, Lorna is hopeful she will get to see Joe again.
“When Joe appears to me, he is a perfect version of himself. When he visited me two years ago, he wasn’t sick. He looked radiant and beautiful. I hope in my lifetime Joe will come back in the same way, even just for a few seconds.”