“After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.”
– Morpheus | The Matrix, 1999
I wouldn’t say I was asleep before the loss.
As a child, I was very in touch with my gifts of intuition and an openness to spiritual realms. But then I lost my mother. My father. Aunts. All of my grandparents.
The losses accumulated and little by little I ignored my gifts; closing myself off from them to be able to function in this world that demands of us every day. I voluntarily entered a cocoon for comfort, to retreat away from deeper knowledge and understanding.
Then I met Derek, my beloved. He reintroduced me to that part of myself that I had hidden away and cut off communication with. I made peace with God and myself as a spiritual being and the gateway to awareness unlocked.
Yet, I was still living comfortably in my cocoon with all of its luxuries.
When he passed, I again saw signs and synchronicity. I could have gone back to ignoring these messages focusing solely on work, paying bills and going through the motions of a “regular” life. But I did not want to forget , not continue to ignore this part of myself that Derek had brought back to my attention as I had done as part of my coping mechanism with the passing of my mother, father and the rest of the family. Instead, I followed the signs which led me into an understanding and awareness I couldn’t possibly imagine.
Like the character Neo in The Matrix, suddenly the warm, womb-like chamber I had rested in peacefully emptied itself, broke open, and ejected me painfully into the cold and the dark.
Despite my desire to embrace this part of myself, I still tried to crawl back into the cocoon and suture it up with blissful ignorance for a period after Derek’s death. What I hadn’t immediately realized was that the cocoon was destroyed and I could not go back because the butterfly had already emerged. I couldn’t return into a space that no longer fit it and covered up my beautiful wings.
I was changed forever.
“Do not try and bend the spoon, that’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth—there is no spoon. Then you’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.”
– A Potential to Neo | The Matrix
Before the loss, I experienced the physical world through the lens of my mind – what I could see and touch. As things began to “happen to me” that I couldn’t make sense of, I realized I had to shift my understanding to allow the possibility that in death the prevalent identity of the body shifts into a new identity – Consciousness.
Now here is where we can get into verses from the Bible or quantum theory discussions and scientific claims, but this is not the point that I am trying to make.
When I look up into the stars from my apartment, I can feel that there is a world and Universe bigger than myself. There are forces that affect events that take place that we cannot explain. Once, there was a time when we believed it was impossible to go to the moon or travel beyond our own star. “The discovery of these things were possible because we allowed our minds to be flexible and entertain the possibility that there was something greater beyond our imagination.
So could we be flexible in allowing the possibility that we can still connect with our loved ones even though they are not physically present?
Would you like to try?
[Please have a notebook or paper handy and read the exercise through first so you know what to do]
Sit in a comfortable space with the lights dimmed and music/TV/phone off.
Place your feet on the floor so you feel grounded.
Close your eyes and take a deep breath through your nose and out through your mouth.
Imagine yourself walking down a long hall filled with soft white light.
This hallway has many doors, both on the left and right sides.
You walk down this hall feeling relaxed, taking easy steps.
You instinctually stop at the door that you are meant to open.
You open the door and see a beautiful room decorated in soft pink and white hues.
You are completely relaxed.
In this space you can ask your loved one a question. Wait for a couple of moments.
You may receive an answer in the form of a thought, an image or a song.
You may sit in this space for as long as you like. And when you are ready, you may leave the room as you walk back down the hallway and open your eyes.
What did you receive? Write it down.
You can try this short exercise anytime you wish. But it is a good example of what is possible to experience if we allow ourselves to change our thinking for even a brief moment.
Your mind may tell you that what you heard or saw was not real. That your conscious did not connect with another conscious.
And it is OK to doubt but ask yourself in the moment that you were in the presence of your beloved, did you feel unsafe or foolish or did you feel the depth of love or peace with your loved one?
If you felt love and warmth, is it unrealistic to bend your mind like the spoon and allow yourself to experience that re-assuring moment whenever you are feeling depleted?
As those still here living, seeking the truth and being aware as to where our loved ones go when they pass will not make the journey without them easier, but it does provide a gateway that when we need them the most we can connect to their healing love.
IN LOVE & LIGHT
I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason and in perfect timing.
I arrived home this evening with a feeling of wanting to “meditate into my blog.” As I situated myself at the keyboard and started to open up the user interface to write, I received an email alert that one of my (now) dear friends had published a posting. The posting was based on a letter that a friend of her’s had written in her online widow’s group. The letter was about how others can help us — this tribe of widows and widowers who are bond together in our loss — as we navigate through our new life…This letter couldn’t have come at a perfect time as this is a subject I’ve thought upon for a while.
As I sat there reading the letter, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I was reminded of all of the moments when someone would tell me that I was going to meet someone else in life or that death was a part of life and I needed to live life to its fullest. While I understand that friends and acquaintances were trying to be helpful, I know that they were frightened, too in trying to handle my grief — it was too close for comfort. This letter from a widow’s perspective is perfect for anyone in my life who has been unsure of how to approach me or what to do. This letter is a compilation from the anonymous widow, my dear friend Sarah Treanor with my own insertions:
Please talk about my loved one, even though he is gone. If it makes me cry, its fine. It is comforting to cry. It is excruciating to pretend that he never existed. I need to talk about him, and I need to do it over and over.
Be patient with my agitation and mood swings. Nothing feels secure in my world. Get comfortable with my crying. Sadness hits me in great waves, and I never know when my tears may flow. Just sit with me in silence and hold my hand.
Don’t abandon me with the excuse that you don’t want to upset me. You can’t catch my grief. My world is painful, and when you are afraid to call me or visit or say anything, you isolate me at a time when I most need to be cared about. If you don’t know what to say, just gently say “I’m sorry”. You can even say “I just don’t know what to say, but I care, and I want you to know that.”
Just because I look or sound good, doesn’t mean I feel good. I may be a strong person however ask me how I feel, only if you really want to find out and have the time to listen.
Please do not ask me if I am going to start dating again. I know you just are trying to make things better for me in finding love again. However I just lost my life partner and my mind is on him and preserving his memories and our traditions together. I can’t see a life with anyone else yet.
Days may get better but I will never recover. This is not a cold or flu. I’m not sick. I’m grieving and that’s different. My grieving may not even fully begin until 6 months after my loved one’s death. Don’t think that I’ll be over it in a year. I am not only grieving his death, but also the person I was when I was with him, the life that we shared, the family we will never have and all the other plans we had for our future together. I became a different person because of him and am now a different person after him.
I will not always be grieving this intently, but I will never forget my loved one. And rather than recover, I want to incorporate his life and love into the rest of my life. He is a part of me and always will be, and sometimes I will remember him with joy or through my creativity and other times with a tear. These are okay.
I don’t have to accept his death. Yes, I understand that it’s happened, and it is real, but there are some things in life that are just not acceptable. I am not angry with him for passing away, I am angry that I am a part of a club that I did not ask to join.
Please don’t tell me what I “should” be doing, it makes me feel even more lost and alone. I feel bad enough that my loved one is dead, so please don’t make it worse by telling me I’m not doing this right. There is no right or wrong — there’s only “is.” And right now I am trying to do the best that I can.
Please don’t tell me to get on with my life. My life is going on, and I am thankful for that life but this will take a long time, and I will never be my old self again. A new person walks in these shoes, one with a hole in their heart a galaxy-wide.
I need to know that you care about me, I need to feel your touch and hugs. I need you just to be with me and I need to be with you. I need to know that you believe in me and my ability to get through my grief in my own way, and in my own time.
Please don’t assume that I am too busy or that I have too many other people’s support and that you’ll be bothering me. If everyone does this, then no one calls, and no one checks on me, and I feel even more alone.
Please don’t say “Call me if you need anything.” I’ll never call you because I have no idea what I need. Trying to figure out what you could do for me takes more energy than I have. Also please do not make ‘conversation only’ offers. “Let’s get together” — and then not follow up. I am sensitive in my grieving, but I’d rather hear you say, “I’ve been thinking of you,” than make a offer if you don’t mean it. So, in advance, let me give you some ideas…
a) Send me a card on special holidays, his birthday, and the anniversary of his death, and be sure to mention his name. You can’t make me cry. The tears are here and I will love you for giving me the opportunity to shed them because someone cared enough about me to reach out on the difficult day.
b) Give me a call (or even a heartfelt message on Facebook) just to see how I’m doing. I may not always answer, but leave me a message to let me know you were thinking of me. Please don’t give up on me because somewhere down the line, I will answer, or call back, when I am ready to share.
c) Mail me a very small, heartfelt, cheer up gift. I’ve had a few people do this and it has just made my heart glow and – some days – has been the shining jewel that turned my whole day around.
Please don’t judge me now or think that I’m behaving strangely. Remember I’m grieving and I’m still in shock. I am afraid. I am angry. I’m experiencing a pain unlike any I’ve ever felt before and one that can’t be imagined by anyone who has not walked in my shoes. Weddings, baby showers and other celebratory events are hard or me. Not because I begrudge anyone’s happiness for these are beautiful events that celebrate our humanity and the power of love. I am doing the best I can to be supportive. However above all I hurt and sometimes its hard to keep a happy face on. Therefore, sometimes it’s better for me to offer support in other ways.
Please keep inviting me out for coffee or for a walk. I may decline but will always appreciate being asked.
Don’t worry if you think I’m getting better, and then suddenly I seem to slip backwards. Grief makes me behave this way at times. Please don’t tell me you know how I feel. Words cannot begin to describe what I am going through. Sympathize with me, but don’t take away my right to my pain. I know that we all have our own life’s challenges; I’ve suffered loss and different challenges as well. I’ve lost my mother, father, grandparents, aunts, uncles and host of relatives. I will tell you now, while it really hurt to lose them I can’t begin to express the pain I feel now.
Remember in the days or years ahead, after your loss, when you need me as I have needed you – I will understand and come and be with you.
Thank you for your patience, for caring, for helping and for understanding.
A couple of weeks ago, my dear fellow blogger and friend, Sarah Treanor referred me to a book called The Gift Giver by Jennifer Hawkins.
I will provide a full review of the book shortly, however I will say that I found myself crying and nodding my head in solidarity with the Author as she described some of her experiences following the sudden death of her husband.
One such moment in the book, is of Jennifer recounting a memory when upon experiencing the lost of her step-mother through cancer, she finds herself at the bookstore in the efforts of trying to understand the “mysteries of life.” She stumbles upon the book — Home with God by Neale Donald Walsch. This is a book that I myself, stumbled upon and read to help me understand the mysteries surrounding life and death and to answer the ultimate question “Why did this happen?” See my review on this book in my “What I am Reading section.
While reading Home with God and how the Universe gives us an opportunity at the moment of death to choose whether we want to live or die, the Author realizes that she had a near death experience in a moment during a car accident before meeting her husband.
Like the Author I didn’t realize the relevance of my near death experience until I also read Home with God. I think many of us see a near death experience as a moment of seeing a white tunnel hearing angelic voices around us. However these moments can occur multiple times in a span of nanosecond. Nearly missing a car that has sped through a traffic light, having a severe allergic reaction to medication or food, complications during childbirth — these are all moments when our souls may be faced with death. In the moments when our lives are in danger, the author in Home with God suggests that we have the information and power to choose our “destiny.”
The ideal suggests that while we may not be consciously aware, our superconscious or soul has the free will to make a choice at the time of death if it wants to “cross over” or reverse the death and continue experiencing what it came to Earth to experience. At the time of our near or death’s experience, our souls will get a sneak peek into seeing and feeling Heaven. It will then be asked if it’s ready to move on. If the soul has a thought or feeling of wanting to keep living, then it will return to the body and the accident or death will be adverted.
Now, this ideal can be upsetting because if the soul is able to choose, why would it choose to leave a life of loved ones behind?
“Nearly every person who is dying is not dying for the first time. If they choose, this time, to “stay dead,” it is because they feel really complete with what they came here to do. Therefore, do not begrudge them their moving on, nor feel angry because they have not come back. They came back to you many times to keep you company before.” [HWG: Ch. 32, Pg. 260)
Neale’s dialogue with God would suggest that consciously we normally wouldn’t make that choice. However the soul is able to make the choice because it can not only see into its future but it can also see the whole picture of what the effects of its living or dying would produce. It knows when its time of experiencing in the physical life is complete. In fact, a soul has probably made the choice multiple times in their physical lifetime to come back in order to stay with their loved ones.
Now while my account of the memory of my near death experience may differ in account from those who shared the experience with me because we all viewed it different standpoints, the feelings and emotions surrounding the event remain the same.
I was heading back upstate to college after spending a typical weekend in the city. On Fridays and Saturdays, I would drive down from Colgate in Hamilton, NY to New York City to work as a Head Hostess at the Central Park Boathouse. I had worked at the Boathouse over the last couple of summers and had agreed to work during the weekends when I wasn’t performing Sound or DJ’ing. This weekend was particularly busy with more people dining out because of the beautiful 65 degree weather and me having to work doubles.
I had invited two girlfriends to ride back up with me as they were spending that weekend with their families and I didn’t see the point of them taking the 6 hour bus ride back up north. Plus it was good to have company for a change.
We met up around 4PM and started to make our trip back up. I realized I was additionally thankful for the company when one of them offered to drive up allowing me to rest a few hours. Sleep came easily to me as I had been on my feet and had been working non-stop through the weekend and the Sunday Brunch rush.
I was awaken by the urgent tapping of my girlfriend who was driving. While we were basking in 65 degree “shorts weather” in the City, we were welcomed to a blizzard and 30 degree weather on the back roads near Roscoe, NY.
By this time, my girlfriend in the back had also woken up and we instructed our friend to stay steady until we made it off the mountain as we could both tell that she was becoming nervous and we intended to switch sides. Being that I had a 2 door hatchback, I always kept a few cinderblocks in the back to weigh down the car. However the wind was so strong the car kept slipping along the fresh snow. This made her worry even more and tighten her grip on the steering wheel as if it were glued to her hands.
In the next moments, the car shifted to the right and as if pushed was jerked all the way to the left side and off the road. At that precise moment, the song, “Slow Down” by Brand Nubian came on the radio.
The car went straight out and felt like it had nose-dived down into the blackness of the night. I can tell you that when you don’t know whether you’re facing an accident or worse you don’t scream and neither do you “brace yourself” as we hear so often spoken in car crash scenes as depicted in movies. In a moment that seemed to both last forever and in a split second, I was silently sending love out to all of those that I knew I would leave behind.
However as that car fell down, in an instant I knew we would all be okay. With this thought the car landed into something however we were still in a 90 degree angle. Because it was so dark outside, we almost didn’t want to move but my girlfriend opened the door to see where we were. My other friend opened the back door, not feeling or seeing anything but hearing a loud rushing sound below. She told us to close the doors and to not get out of the car. The only way we would be attempting to exit would be through the hatchback as that seemed the safest route. We first had to put on a few layers of clothes as we had dressed for the 65 degree weather back home.
After we quietly changed we slowly opened the hatchback and crawled through the car and out into the unknown groping for rocks or any kind of earth to move us up onto the road.
Just as we made it up to the top, we heard the welcoming sound of a fire engine siren. The officials said that a driver of a passing by tractor-trailer called in the accident.
The Fire Department used a crane to pull the car up. The car had miraculously wedged itself in between two rock formations and came out without a scratch on it. We realized that we had nearly missed a ravine that plunge down to a river below. As we walked into the EMT truck we began to laugh so much so that the medics thought we may have had a concussion. We declined a trip to the hospital that night and got back into the car which I had immediately named Angel.
However different or the same our experience of that night was, we drove the rest of the way to school with a new perspective on how easily our “adventure tale” to our friends the next day could have gone a lot differently. The car could have gone right and straight off of the mountain instead of to the left. It could have moved a few inches passed the place where it wedged itself between the rocks crashing into the water. Had the car not slowed down right before skidding off, we could have crashed into on-coming traffic. There were so many minute paths during that accident that could have create an alternate reality for all of us. And yet everything happened precisely the way it was supposed to in order to ensure our safety.
It has been a while since my last posting. While I am unable to adequately express the feelings that I’ve been dealing with during this “moment of silence,” the closest and yet imperfect thought that comes to mind is “I’m Coping.”
Within this period of reflection and meditation, I’ve read several books which I will share with you all during the next few days.
I cannot explain the reason behind this voracious reading except that I feel that Derek has guided me towards each of these books as they have provided its own personal source of comfort and answers to the nagging question of “WHY?”
In the final Conversations with God series, Home with God is an astonishing and profound spiritual book that helps to open up the dialogue about our soul’s journey in life, death and the afterlife. The conversation opens with this poignant thought:
“It is impossible to live or to die without God, but it is not impossible to think that you are. If you think that you are living or dying without God, you will experience that you are. You may have this experience as long as you wish. You may end this experience whenever you choose.” [HWG, Chapter 1, P. 1]
Reading this book was an Ah Ha moment for me as it helped me to form my own truth that every death has a significance and helps to shape and form the life of another person. Therefore ensuring that no death is in vain and is of divine perfection. Now, I am not saying that our loved ones choose to leave us and intentionally drive us to pain and sorrow. But our lives are interconnected through love and when we experience a death it brings a message to us about the extraordinary meaningfulness of the life which has passed as well as our own life. Once we hear the message we seek to honor that life by sharing our stories and demonstrating love for others thereby causing a Butterfly Effect, changing other people’s lives as well.
Whether or not you believe that Neale’s conversations were channeled through Source itself, this book offers a thought-provoking look into the transition from life to death allowing us to form our own truths about ourselves and death.
I have also found this be a comforting book for not only those who have lost a loved one but for caregivers looking to offer comfort to those who are critically ill or in their final stages at Hospice. There is a prayer in the end assuring us that God is always with us as we’ve never left Home. Whether we believe in Him or not, we are never alone as He and our loved ones are always nearby ready to welcome us back to our original life.
“Know for a certainty that when you leave here, you will be again with all those who have held a place in your heart and have gone before. And do not worry about those you leave behind, for you will see them, too, again and again, and love them too, again and again, through all eternity, and even in the present moment. For there can be no separation where there is love, and no waiting where there is only Now.” [HWG, Chapter 35, P. 296-297]
Lawrence Anthony, a renowned conservationist passed away on March 7th. Two days later, his family witnessed the solemn procession of formerly violent and rogue elephants that traveled 12 hours to pay their respects to their rescuer.
While most mammals show only a passing interest in the passing of their own, elephants are spiritually recognizant of those who’ve passed over (even over long distances) and congregate to mourn those they love.
To read more about Lawrence Anthony and on this amazing story click here.
In need of getting some fresh air to clear my mind, I went down the block to Nyack Beach. This weekend has been a difficult one for me as I feel Derek’s physical absence more than I have within the last 2 months. Someone once described the loss of a husband/partner with the loss of a limb. You can’t see it — but you feel the limb as well as the incompleteness of it being missing. It’s a terrible mental and emotional pain that doesn’t go away.
The “beach” which is really more of a hiking/bike trail with picnic benches lies next to Hook Mountain and is adjacent to the Hudson River. It’s always been a favorite Sunday ritual for Derek and myself to walk along the paths snapping pictures and enjoying each other’s company.
I picked a quiet picnic table to sit and read my new book — The Afterlife Connection, which examines a psychotherapists’ experience with afterlife communication and how our bond with loved ones is not just psychological. I was on a chapter that discussed how our loved ones are always around to provide signs so as long as we are open to the connection and can recognize their signs when sent. As I began reading a case study on a young woman reaching out to her father in spirit about a career decision, a bee landed on the book and started moving side to side as if it were reading the page with me. Not looking to get stung, I gently tilted the book down for the bee to move away. Instead of flying off it moved up and started walking up my arm — my instant reaction was to stand up which prompted the bee to fly away. If Derek were with me he would have instructed me to have my Off fan with me; with the reminder of him not being there to tell me this I began cry instantly. “I can’t do this anymore…I’m hanging by a thread, Derek. I need you.”
As I start wiping the tears away I noticed a few autumn leaves falling to the ground. I looked up and saw what appeared as a branch hanging in mid-air below a tree. Upon, closer inspection, the branch was hanging on some type of string. Maybe it was a fishing line that somehow became tangled with the branch and the tree or maybe someone put it there (although I don’t see what the purpose of doing that would have achieved). Whatever the reason, this branch remained as part of the whole tree and moved ever so slowly and gracefully even as the leaves were blowing against the strong morning wind. “Hanging by a thread”, the branch wasn’t in danger of falling. And I wouldn’t be in danger of falling as long as I held onto Derek’s hand. I smiled and whispered, “Thank you for keeping me from falling.”