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“He appeared like a flash of azure and turquoise shining out from the edge of the dark woods. Not illuminated but luminous, as if he himself was the source of tinsel and flare come down from the exquisite sky… incandescent, radiant, incarnate. He flickered in the shadows of the pine and hemlocks like a sapphire jewel and then vanished as quickly as he appeared.”  - Thom Rock

From what I have observed, our modern understanding of grief often urges bereaved people to deny any form of continued relationship with the deceased; even so far as deeming experiences communicating with or seeing their deceased loved one…or even speaking about signs and symbols, dreams, visions, etc. as concern for mental wellbeing. I myself, am so honoured when anyone shares with me the communication they have had with their deceased loved one. Messages are recognized in everything; from billboards, songs and coins; to innocent eavesdropping, number sequences, animals & insects, dreams and the voice within.

Image from Kelly Hurley.

Consider perinatal & infant loss: a woman carries a baby in her belly, and if you read the research of Dr. Bruce Lipton, that baby in utero leaves an imprint in the uterus; an energetic imprint. We know through the marvels of science there is proof of the eternal mother/child connection through the biological phenomenon of ‘Microchimerism" (micro Ki Meerism). This is the occurrence of mothers having/carrying the DNA cells of their deceased children in their bodies for their lifetime. Cells from both sons and daughters can escape from the uterus and spread through a mother’s body. Cells were present in every organ that the scientists studied: brains, hearts, kidneys and others; they have been proven to develop into cardiac tissue in the mother. The DNA cells have been detected as early as seven weeks into a pregnancy. So, why wouldn’t there be an energetic connection between parent and child? How could we deny the real possibility of visitation and communication? How could there not be the occurrence of vivid dreams that seem realer than real? 

I stumbled upon the therapeutic digital photography art of Nancy Gershman.  I felt such a need to incorporate some form of that medium into my work as an Infant & Pregnancy Loss Doula (IPLD). Days later, I was listening to a podcast where a mother shared about her birth loss. She was talking about having communication with her child through butterflies that would present around her, but what stood out most about what she shared next was that her child was present with her as a butterfly while it was snowing. So, I am embracing that beautiful gift she was given in my mind’s eye, but at the same time reflecting on how many in our society would dismiss and deny that experience she had.  Listening to this bereaved mother’s story, stirred an idea in my head to honour such experiences. 

In recognition & honour of family’s communication with their child in spirit, I decided to create Visionscape photos. I use digital photography as a medium; inspired by visualizing parent’s dreams and hopes; or crafting visual narratives of significant metaphysical occurrences that have happened following a baby-loss.  These precious stories and occurrences are shared & held with acceptance and openheartedness. When you visually integrate both the child’s life and death into a new inner visual landscape, it can assist with the healing journey. It is a way to honour the dreams families had for their child, daydreams, story-like fantasies and the parental spiritual experiences of signs & symbols from their spirit baby. I don’t do any interpretation of the Visionscape; that is the gift of the family to explore meaning-making. The hope is that the sacred connection to their child is validated; and joy occurs because the image increases the flow of life-energy.  Nancy Gershman encourages her clients to “Let yourself move with the images as if you are in a dream. The idea is to awaken the emotional brain and let it speak in the language it knows best: the language of symbol, metaphor, and the senses.”

To view some examples of my Visionscape photos please visit Sarah’s page on my website.


Kelly Hurley is a HHA graduate and has an Infant and Pregnancy Loss Doula practice in British Columbia.  You can learn more about her at

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