I Want to Give You All a Hug

Jim Parton
4 min readApr 20, 2022
Photo by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash

There are time I get a strong message from the deceased person when I am working on putting together their Memorial Service, or what we call a Celebration of Life. Although you may think that is a strange sentence to read, I can assure you it is even stranger to experience. This has happened enough times and so clearly that I now have no doubt that we will survive the event of our death in a state of “whole consciousness” about who we were, who was important to us, and as the complete soul that occupied the human form. When I get such a message the pattern I experience is undeniable.

The current task I had was working on a service for a woman who died suddenly and unexpectedly in her sleep. She wasn’t found for several days. After talking with her family and some friends, I came in on a weekend to devote the day to getting her memorial service organized and written. I can tell you that her presence was heavy and continuing from the start of that day. A very strong thought kept coming to me about a “hug”. I couldn’t decide why this was important, and hugs had not been mentioned in my preparations with family or friends. The deceased had very much been one to keep to herself. However, this thought “pounded” on my consciousness, and I felt strongly that I couldn’t just put something about a hug into her service without some verification from those who knew the deceased. I knew if I did that this would sound uncharacteristic of her, and it wouldn’t sound like her at all, from what I had learned about her life thus far.

I called a coworker who also happened to be a very good friend of the deceased and asked if she was a “hugger”. The answer was “No, not really…”. I asked a couple of more people who knew her well and was told that she was a bit of a germophobe. She kept her distance, and very much so. I still had not included anything about her and hugs into the writing of her service. The thought, however, was relentless. I had become familiar with this type of “messaging” from someone deceased for whom I was writing a service. I can only describe the message or feeling as an unrelenting thought or even as a pressure.

The day of her Celebration of Life had arrived. I started the service, and got through the opening, and had just introduced the first song selection, which gives a quiet time for those in attendance to reflect. As I was listening to the song, there was a wave of emotion, or thought, or you could say “inner voice” that hit me very quickly and strongly, and it was simply, “I want to give them a hug”. I could most easily describe the feeling as a warm “wash over”.

The feeling hit so hard that I was stunned, and the force was so strong I could not ignore the message. I have never included something like this in one of my services by mentioning where it came from or how I would come about knowing this message, as not everyone shares the feelings I had about “life after life.” I determined once again that I simply could NOT include this as part of my service, as it didn’t seem to fit the deceased we were honoring.

As I was concluding the last part of the service, the “wave” hit me again so strongly that I said the following: “I have thought about (the deceased) all weekend as I prepared for today, and there has been a strong message in my thoughts that keeps coming to me. I think the message that she would want you to know is that she would like to give you a hug”. I left it at that. As simple as that, without further explanation, and without prior planning, I dropped that into my service. Immediately afterwards, I was finally able to feel the “release” from the strong mental grip that I had been under for about three days. The message was delivered.

I concluded and left the service, which had been in the evening. As always I greeted family and close friends, then went back to my office to change and head home. No comments had been made about the hug from anyone. The emotional release was difficult and exhausting, and yes, through a bit of tears once I was on my own. Often the grief I have denied myself during learning about someone’s life for several days washes over me once I have completed their service.

From the stress of that mental time, I had a severe pulled neck muscle, that took several days to diminish, and the following day I could stay at work for only a couple of hours. I went home and slept heavily for four hours straight through the afternoon, something I never do.

I quieted my unease in including the “hug” message by giving my “Celebrant Mentor” a call. I had to ask her the question “Did I do the right thing?”. She affirmed that she felt I couldn’t just ignore what was happening, and perhaps the deceased wished she had been more affectionate during her living days, and now she wanted to give that message to those she had seemed aloof to in her life. I was confident in her advice as I know she also many times had similar message experiences while working as a Celebrant.

This is one more in the collection of reflections, or thoughts, about the many experiences that have been gifted to me while working as a Celebrant over the past decade. The relationship we have with our loved ones continues beyond their death. They really are with us, always.



Jim Parton

Retired Teacher and Funeral Celebrant. The gay and married dad of three grown children. I have always been fascinated by the human condition. Come read with me.