... for those who mourn the loss of a soul mate
"He felt now that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he ended and she began." - Leo Tolstoy

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Is that bird my beloved?

  I was working as Head Nurse on a local psych unit and needed to be available to my staff on off hours. So, I carried a beeper (this was before cell phones became routine). The idea was they would page me when they needed me and I would call the unit to see what I could do to help. This particular Saturday night I put the pager on vibrate and placed it on my dresser as John and I headed to bed. It was late and I didn’t anticipate any calls. John and I spent some time chatting and then lights out. Before either of us dozed off we heard a slight hum in the room.
“John, you hear that?”
“What do you think it is?”
“I don’t know.”
We had been talking a lot about spirits and communication that week.
“Do you think it could be – I don’t know – a spirit?”
By this time, we were both wide awake and I turned on the bedside light.
“Maybe if we talk to it, it will go away.”
"So, we both got up and started talking out loud to this spirit who was somehow trying to communicate to us. I even went outside to see if I could see anything. I have no idea what I thought I would find. But when I came back in John was laughing and holding my pager.
“I found the spirit. He wants you to call work.”
Sometimes a pager is just a pager. *

 When we lose someone to death, we desperately want a sign from them that they are all right, that they still love us, that they are still alive. And our loved ones do send us signs but we need to be careful how we interpret those signs and also try not to confuse the sign with the loved one.
What about that cardinal who appears outside your window while you sit at your desk thinking about your loved one? Is that your beloved?
Or the hummingbird who flies around you and hovers in front of your face?
Or the butterfly who lands on your outstretched hand?
All of those are definitely noteworthy and very unusual and could very well be a sign from your person on the other side. The point is if it resonates with you and is out of the ordinary enough to get your attention it is most likely a sign. But one caveat - don't confuse the sign with your person.
That cardinal, or butterfly, or ladybug, etc. is NOT your loved one. They are not inhabiting that creature. They did not turn into an insect. Life on the other side is in a different dimension and the language over there is thought. Instead of becoming that bug or bird, your loved one has learned to communicate in such a way that they are able to influence things on this side so that they can send us birds and butterflies and feathers and coins and any manner of objects to catch our attention. That is how they communicate with us.
I don't claim to know how this works. All I know is that I have heard it from many reputable sources that that is how it's done. Honestly, I don't care how they do it. I'm just grateful that they do.  It's the little things that keep us going when we are torn apart by grief.
So enjoy the signs. Know they are meant for you. Don't forget to say "thank you." Just be sure to discern the communications from something that may be just an ordinary feather, coin - or pager. 

* excerpted from I Will Never Leave You by Joy Collins

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Sometimes the littlest things can mean so much

While cleaning out my husband's desk a while ago, I found a couple of old cassette tapes that his mother had recorded many years ago. They were of John playing the guitar and singing some old folk songs. The recording was from January 1969. The quality of the recording wasn't very good - it was a recording of a recording. John had been singing for a group of residents at a convalescent home so it was probably in their day room and the acoustics were not the best.

But still it was gold to me. It was my John and he was singing. John serenaded me often in our early years. And he had a very good voice. He had won awards in talent shows and had actually once been the opening act for Judy Collins back in the day when she had appeared back east at some venue.

I know the recording means absolutely nothing to anyone else but I am so glad I have this. I spent the morning making a digital copy of the tapes using my iPad and then transferring the files to my computer and then to Dropbox on my phone so I can carry them around with me and listen to them whenever I want.

At one point while I was making my copies, the tape unraveled in the machine but with the utmost care I was able to salvage it with no ill effects. I'm sure some people today have no idea what that even means.

The last couple of days have been rough with some family issues and I have been missing John a lot and having a grief surge. Hearing him sing again has been a blessing.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

We’ve Got Your Back … strength from the other side

“We’ve got your back.” The message was as clear as if someone had spoken the words aloud. The thought came with the first feather. My people on the other side know I connect feathers with signs from them and so that is what they send me most often. Sometimes the messages come with music.

Our son was in the hospital yet again. We were getting ready to visit him and hoping to see his doctor, hoping to see some relief in sight for him. As I started to step into the shower, I looked outside to the enclosed patio off our bathroom and there I spied one perfect gray feather lying dead center on the rug. I could feel a whole team behind that feather – Anita, our son’s grandmother Esther, and my guides. Who knows who else was there to send the message but it came through to me as loud and clear as if they were shouting. WE HAVE YOUR BACK.

And that feather was just the first sign they sent me. The rest of the day was filled with them. On the way home from the hospital, after what felt like encouraging news from Dale’s oncologist, the inspiring, supportive song, You Raise Me Up, came on the radio. It always lifts my spirits and gives me hope. This time was no different and I knew, just knew it was another sign. But then, as if the message wasn’t clear enough, a few minutes later I heard You Are My Special Angel.

Now, I have learned from my friend Joy Collins and SusanneWilson the Carefree Medium that if you want to keep signs from the other side coming, it is important to acknowledge them. So, “Thank you,” I thought, a little surprised to have received so many signs in one day. But I suppose that someone over there must have thought I would really need a lot of extra support through the coming days, because as we entered our favorite restaurant for dinner that evening, what did I see? One final feather right in the middle of the entry just inside the door where feathers do not belong. Again, I heard, “We’ve got your back” echoing in my mind.

Things have not gone as well as we had hoped since that day. The news is not encouraging and I suspect some very difficult days are ahead of us. But one thing I know for sure is that I have a circle of shining spirits around me to help get us through the next days and weeks. There is comfort in that. There is comfort in knowing that such a loving, powerful group of spirits is sending me strength. They do in fact have my back.

A loving message from John

Last Friday I was part of a group reading given by my friend who is a medium - Susanne Wilson, known as the Carefree Medium. I have known Susanne for years and she even wrote the Foreword to my book. She is a talented and compassionate woman.
Anyway, John came through and one of the messages he gave was that he was going to send me a special song, probably on my way home.
John often does that so I looked forward to it. As I drove home I turned on Pandora. In my heart, I just knew it was going to be the third song and it was.
It was "I'm Yours" a beautiful song by Jason Mraz [the Pandora version was sung by a different group but the message was the same. It was the song that mattered].

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A beautiful Hello

I call my signs from John "Hello's" because to me that is what they are - little every day ways that he checks in with me and tells me "Hello, I'm right here. I love you and we will be together again." It's what keeps me going.
Today was no exception.
This morning, as I was driving my Goldendoodle Bella to daycare here in town, a chipmunk ran across the street a little way in front of my car on my street. We have chipmunks in Arizona but they are not as common [at least from what I have seen] as they are in other parts of the country. I am more likely to see a lizard run across the street than I am a chipmunk.
But there he was. 
Immediately, it reminded me of camping with John. In our early years together, John and I camped often. John loved it and it was also a way for us to travel around the eastern part of the country inexpensively because we didn't have much money in those days. We always saw the little chippers, as we called them, running everywhere in the campgrounds. John always remarked how they looked like little race cars with their tails going straight behind them up like little flags. He thought they were so cute and he loved watching them.
So then this little particular chipper started my mind drifting to our camping days and all the fun we had had. And I was thinking how I hadn't done too badly for a city girl from Astoria Queens. Especially since I had never done anything like that before. I was strictly a motel/hotel girl up until then. And I could swear I heard John say I had been a “good sport”.
So, I thanked him for all the good memories and fun times. And I was grateful I had them.
Then, two blocks away I saw another chipmunk just idling in the middle of the street. 
Two in one day, mere minutes apart.
As I neared this little guy, he scampered across the street from my left to my right and crawled up on top of a big rock by the curb.
Then, just as my car started to pass him he turned and faced my car and put his little front paws together and I swear he looked straight at me. And then - then! - he flicked his little tail several times as if in greeting and he continued doing that while I drove past.
I know in my heart that was no coincidence.
I know John did that for me. He knew it would mean something to me.
And then - back to reality - a lizard ran across the street.
I smiled all the way to daycare.
Thank you, John. You made my day.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Here Lie Dragons … finding your way in uncharted territory

In ancient maps, the edge of the world, the place beyond which all was lost, was drawn as populated by dragons and other frightening beasts. The implication was clear. Beyond this is unknown. Here lie dragons. I suppose as a species we have always feared the unknown, the dark night, things that go bump, drastic life changes into uncharted territory. And what could be more uncharted than receiving a dire health diagnosis or the day you find yourself alone after a soul mate has transitioned?

As human beings, we generally crave stability. We want to know what is coming even though the future is pretty much unknowable. We want to know what lies beyond the dragons before we take that first step beyond known territory. Throw in something completely unexpected like a death or cancer and we can easily lose our way, turning in confused circles as we search for a familiar direction to go. Grief takes us down a road we never expected. The landscape is unfamiliar and here lie dragons.

Two of my children (both 50 plus) are facing their own dragons today. Both received cancer diagnoses within two weeks of one another. They have started chemotherapy and so are dealing with all the fallout of that. There are physical, financial and emotional issues that come with the treatment. There is worry about what the future holds, how they will go forward after (not if) they survive. But even more significantly, there is the unassailable fact that life as they knew it will never be the same. Just as someone who has lost a soul mate forever sees life as “before they died” and after, so too will my son and my daughter see life as before cancer and after.

I believe grief takes many forms. It does not just claim us after the loss of a beloved person or soul mate. To differing degrees, we mourn the loss of a precious pet, a way of life, sometimes even a habit. Learning to live with this illness is surely, for my children, a form of mourning. Mourning the loss of life as it has always been, of good health, of a sense of immortality that is ours from childhood, but mourning still. As such, I find myself trying to remember the principles we established with From Grief to Peace. I think they apply to grief in any form. I try to remember that what they are experiencing is theirs to experience. Much as I wish I could, I cannot take their treatments for them. I cannot heal for them, either. They must do that in their own way, their own time, just as one heals the grief that comes with death. And there are no rules. I cannot demand they fight. I cannot insist they do this the way I think they should. They must do all of that in ways that work for them. All I can offer is support, comfort and validation of their feelings and what they are experiencing.

As someone who loves them both, I am frightened for them. But theirs is a path into that uncharted territory that they must walk on their own. They are walking with dragons snapping at their heels and breathing fire into their faces. All I can do is enfold them in protective layers of love, then hold my arms out in welcome and pray they can see me waiting there for them at the end of their dark road.

Principles of From Grief to Peace

1. I will allow myself to grieve my soul mate, knowing that this will be hard.

2. I will understand that I have the right to mourn the loss of my soul mate in my own way.

3. I will acknowledge that my grief has no timeline.

4. I will admit that grief has no rules.

5. I will feel comfortable standing up for myself when others put their expectations on me.

6. When I am stronger, I will pay it forward to help others who are mourning the loss of their soul mate.