Are loved ones still with us after they die? Many believe they have been given signs that their relatives are still around and, in the spiritual community, robins are viewed as symbols of visits from the dead.
At the beginning of April a mum who lost her four-year-old son shared a heartbreaking video which she recorded at his grave.
Marie Robinson was visiting Jack’s resting place on the third anniversary of his death and had asked him to “show Mummy a sign”, after which a robin hopped on to her shoe, then landed on her hand.
She posted a clip of the robin coming to ‘say hello’ as she sobbed, asking: “Are you looking after him?” and said she took it as a sign Jack was still with her.
Watch her touching encounter with a robin in the video below:
The story was shared on the Daily Mirror Facebook page , and they were then inundated with similar stories from people who had lost those close to them, saying they too had seen robins and been comforted.
Below are 11 of those stories people shared with the Daily Mirror.
1. “I felt an immense sense of calm”
Stacey Woodhouse said: “The day after my Mum’s funeral, my husband and I decided to still go on a weekend camping trip that had been arranged before her passing.
“A robin flew around us, landing in our picnic table. She then proceeded to hop into our awning and through into our camper van.
“She stayed there looking at us for a good few minutes while I chatted with her.
“I felt an immense sense of calm. My mum loved joining us for camping trips, even it was only for a few hours and a cuppa.”
2. “She put her hand over her mouth and pointed”
Sylvia Rafter: “My Mam passed in June. I was driving home to get clothes when my neighbour was driving towards me.
“We both stopped and I broke down telling her about Mam. She put her hand over her mouth and pointed and there, on my car mirror, was perched a robin… even with the engine running.”
3. “I feel so happy whenever I see one”
Sharon Sandford commented: “I have always believed robins to be a sign that a loved one is near. Never failed to see one at the cemetery when visiting my brother’s resting place.
“My mum died last November and we buried her ashes next to my brother on what would have been his birthday.
“The biggest robin appeared and actually went into the grave. He then hopped over to my Dad and then me. I feel so happy whenever I see one.”
4. “It was a lovely moment”
Ann Brady said: “There is a little robin who visited us when we were standing at my son’s resting place as well.
“On one of the first occasions we visited and stood there. It hopped down in front of us looked at us. We still see it from time to time. It was a lovely moment!”
5. “I was sat in tears”
Susan Lennon shared her story, saying: “I lost my father and brother in 11 weeks. The spring after my father died, a robin appeared in my garden I was sat in tears about my dad and brother because of it.
“The robin landed on my bird table just looking at me. Just two weeks later I had cancer removed from my womb and the robin appeared the next day too.”
6. “Please take care of me today”
Becky Fairclough said: “Every morning before work I hear a robin singing in a certain tree. I always smile, say: ‘I know that you’re there and please take care of me today.’
“I have also had a butterfly appear in the house for the past four winters, usually in December or January… I’d like to believe it’s my mum watching over me.”
7. “I believe in robins and white feathers”
Corrina Whelan commented: “The first time we visited my nana’s resting place after she died, a robin appeared on her headstone.
“And for a long time after that a robin would appear on the wall outside the kitchen window every time my mother called to my house. I believe in robins and white feathers.”
8. “It brings such a feeling of peace”
Andrea Helliwell said: “There is often a robin around my late first husband and baby daughter’s grave. It brings with it such a feeling of peace.
“My Dad always said he would come back as a robin because everybody loved them. Each time a family member has died, I have seen a robin so now I make sure I feed the robins on my bird table.”
9. Many other people felt the same way
Karon Carr said: “When my dad died in a hospice there was one outside his window and one comes back every year.”
Diane Atherley said: “At my father’s wake a robin walked into the hall were we were holding it in – just in front of me. I believe it was Dad saying ‘I’m with you all.'”
Laney Head commented: “I see a robin every day when I am at my son’s grave or walking past his park where he used to play. It is only since 29.12.2016. God bless.”
Nicki Knotts said: “I don’t believe in God and I never used to buy into the afterlife, but then my Grandma died and ever since I frequently have a robin in my garden. Usually at difficult times, so this I do believe.”
10. It even comforts pet owners
Lyndsey McHugh: “We lost our two dogs within a short space of each other.
“When I’m thinking of them looking into the garden, two robins always appear and seems to fly around like playing. Brings great comfort.”
11. People also see butterflies as ‘signs’
Yvonne Boylan said: “My little brother came to me as a butterfly when he died and has done since that day.
“I see them everywhere and now I have them tattooed on me so he’s with me for the rest of my life.”
Robins are often seen in the spiritual community as a symbol that loved ones are still there.
The Spiritual Centre website explains: “This bird is a visitor and as such should be appreciated as a welcome visitor bringing gifts, it is for you to interpret the gifts it brings.
“Someone recently passed may be showing you that you are being watched, maybe just letting you know that they still love you.”
Some comments have been edited for clarity or grammar.