Stories of Spirit…Welcoming Death [the art of the Doula]

Last night at the end of my Sound Meditation class, it came to my awareness that a fellow Reiki Master, friend, and gentle healer had entered into Hospice.  She had fought the good fight with Cancer only to watch it return, this time with death as it’s companion.  The thought crossed my mind of heading straight to her house and catching a ride home later with a friend, but it had been a long day and I opted for riding home with my husband and making a quick dinner.

Waiting on dinner, I checked my Facebook messages and read “You should come sooner than later.  She seems to be holding on,  enjoying time spent with her boys, but her time is close.”

I put down my phone, packed my basket with oils, sage, my drum as well as snacks, water, and coffee.  When death calls, I never know if I will be going for a short visit or a long.  I ate quickly and got in my car, immediately tapping into my dying friend.  Before I was even out of my driveway, I was singing Spirit Song [song of the soul] and could feel the miles between us dissipate.  I was in duel reality…existing both in ordinary reality-driving my car, watching the road & the otherworlda psychic/shamanic state of existence.  In the otherworld, I was sharing space with my friend; as close as if I were sitting by her bedside.  In this state, I could see her life force and recognized that my decision to see her that evening was a good one.  I felt it as an honor and a duty, that death itself was asking me to come recognize such a beautiful soul as she transformed from body to spirit.  Her work as a healer needed to be acknowledged.

When I got to her house, I was touched by the way her family was already showing reverence.  The love in the house was palpable, and there was a somber reverence that spoke of how much they wanted to honor her in her passing.  We spoke for a few moments about creating sacred space when a loved one is passing, and soon they were walking around the house collecting photographs and special items to place on the altar in their mother/friends room.

Creating an Altar for the dying is a beautiful and thoughtful way of calling in the Ancestors to help with the transition between life and death.  I have given directions for creating an Ancestor Altar at the bottom of the article.

As her family gathered pictures and memories, I began to do Reiki on my friend and to sing gently to her.  My song was a continuation of the song I had already been singing to her during the 20-minute ride from my house to hers.  When singing the song of dying, the words are not important, in fact, I seldom sing with words at all.  The song of dying is sung with emotion and reverence for the person awaiting transition and for death itself.  As a Medium, Death is a friend of mine.  I spend much of my life between the veil, communicating with those who have transcended into death.  I have a great respect for death, and can honestly say that I love it.

By loving death, I do not mean that I love pain and suffering.  I mean that I love the act of transition.  Like birth, death is magical, it is more ‘real’ then any other experience we will have in our lives.  When we sit with death we cannot be anything but what we truly are.  We are vulnerable.

Singing to my friend, I began to loosen the strands of life that were sticky; the places she held tight to her body.  I sang and I soothed.  I could feel her life force & was aware that her death would be soon and did not believe she would live another day.  My song was joined by the soft murmurs of the others in the room.  Her children and friends joining in ‘spirit song’, guiding her soul across the veil.  As I held my tones out long, I felt her sliding on the vibration and her breath becoming slower and slower.

Then it was done, my time with her had come to pass.  She would not pass for hours still, but I felt that it was time for me to leave.  I knew she would be gone before long, but that her last hours were for deep quiet and her family alone.

I left her home at the same time as another friend, and we stopped to talk outside the house.  I spoke of how my need to visit; which had been so urgent, felt like administering last rights…kind of like “Hey there, all is well across the veil, safe travels to the Otherworld”.  In such moments, I connect deeply with my ancient self, my priestess self, the tribal shaman, volva-self.  I see this as the holiest of the work I do, for it is never something to plan on, but something that I must do when I feel it’s vibration.  When death asks me to pay a house call, I do so with great reverence for both the dying and the spirit of death alike.

We are changing the way we interact with death, we are remembering the old ways of honoring and reverence.  Families are interacting deeply with the presence of death through hospice, as well as with the art of home funerals and celebrations of life.  We are remembering the sacred and death is becoming a deeper act of healing.  Years of disassociation with death; death behind white curtains, and sterile environments, and funerals without connection to our ancestors put a serious hick-up in our ability to heal and understand death.  That is changing.  Death is an exceptional moment of Spirit.

My friend passed late this morning, and I am happy to know that her spirit is free and she is no longer burdened with a painful body.  I take heart in knowing that one of her dear friends washed and anointed her body with lavender, showing love and kindness in the ceremonial act of preparing her body for death.

Creating an Ancestor Altar for the Dying-

*You will need- a shelf (dresser, portable tray in the hospital, bookshelf, window sill), family photos of living & dead relatives, special treasures (wedding rings, holy items, crystals, etc).

Set the altar up where the dying and the people holding space can see it.  Even if your loved one is unconscious, set the altar up within their personal space.  Invite your ancestors to join you in the room, and to come aid in the passing of your loved one.

My hope is that ‘ancestor honoring’ become a regular part of death and dying.  We need to remember that we are connected on both sides of the veil.  Our Beloved Dead are waiting for us when we cross, and like our living loved ones sit by our side when we are dying, our loved ones in spirit do the same.  One saying goodbye, the other welcoming home.

I hope you enjoyed the read folks…peaceful travels to the spirit world for those who are crossing.

spreading love-salicrow

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Stories of Spirit…True Love & Death [loosing our life partner]

Next week is my 25th wedding anniversary!  My husband and I met when we were 18 & 19 and have had a love affair ever since.  That is not to say we have never had obstacles to overcome, but in truth, we are best friends and are fortunate to still have a passionate, layered relationship that brings both of us much joy.  We are truly partners in that we have always shared our life.  Right from the start, we shared bank accounts, cars, mortgages and household belongings.  We have friendships outside of one another, but as a general rule what is mine is his and his mine.  I am aware of how fortunate we are to have such a relationship, and am often reminded of the pain the death of such a person brings.

As a Medium, my work brings me up close in personal with the details of peoples lives.  I often say that I am a guest at other peoples family reunions.  I listen as Uncle Joe describes his hot rod antics, as he tells of driving down back roads during prohibition, and watch as Grandma shows me through the inside of her immaculate farmhouse.  Through words and pictures, I see prayers stuck to walls in ancient cities, as a dead mother describes how she watched her living daughter during a pilgrimage.  I smell the cigarettes burning during the visit of this one’s father, and I hear the deep resonance of another’s voice as they sing to me, so that I can tell their family how musical they were.  These details are interesting and bring confirmation to the living guests that I am indeed in communication with their Beloved Dead.  But for me, the real bit, the piece that sticks to me is the love.  I feel it!

When working with Spirits I am connected to their energy field and through this, I am often able to feel their memories.  I can tell where they held pain and illness in their body because I feel it like a dull ache in my own, and I can feel deeply their emotions.  I can tell when a Spirit is nervous, this happens particularly if there is unfinished business between the living and the dead.  I can also feel the depth in which they loved their living counterparts.  This is a truly amazing thing to experience, for through this gift I know what it feels like to love a complete stranger.

This week I met with a client for a one on one session; whose husband had passed.  As with most of my Individual Spirit Communication sessions, I expected it to be emotional, deep and healing.  As I sat with her passing messages from her husband, I felt like I was the narrator of a love story.  Her husband spoke to me/through me, talking about their life together.  He shared stories of their meeting, how they had both been married before, he spoke of their being a team, that they did everything together and often just the two of them.  He spoke of the home they built together, and his favorite chair in the living room and the view from the window that the room had been designed around.  He spoke of their Carribean escape and the many planned adventures that unfortunately did not come to pass.  But more then anything, he kept coming back to the deep well of love that they shared, and through his words and energy, I knew what that well felt like.

These meetings; in which I am the spiritual go-between for lovers separated by death, hit me on a personal level, for I know that I too will someday experience the tremendous loss that comes from the loss of ones soul partner to death.  Yet, I know that my loss will never have the completeness that others experience, as I am a clear communicator between the world of the living and the dead.  I will still be able to speak to my husband from whichever side of the veil I exist on.

Often when I am speaking to lovers separated by death, I remind them of how fortunate they are, explaining how many never get to experience a love so deep and complete.  This does not diminish the pain of loss, in fact, the pain felt by such a loss can often be debilitating as their lives have been so closely woven together that finding where one begins and one ends can seem impossible.  When death comes in and does it’s little dance, the living partner is often left floating adrift in the deep water, wondering where the familiar life they have known has gone to.  They find themselves questioning if they even want to return to where they have come from, or head instead for the distant shore of recreation.  For they have become a stranger to themselves, half of what they once were.

The love though…oh the fortunateness of experiencing such beauty!  It is what we all search for, deep inside we are looking for another who totally gets us.  We all want that special someone who walks a parallel path and co-creates the dream with us.  Those of us who are lucky enough to experience such a thing should relish in every minute of it, and remember that someday it will come to an end and when it does the pain will be great.  I do not say this to create sorrow or to make people fear the loss of their beloved, but instead to make those who have true love remember what a precious gift it is.  I write this in celebration of such beauty, and as a reminder to those who have lost their true love, that you are among the fortunate and blessed, the ones given the opportunity to know such harmony.

May you be fortunate enough to know the depths of true love!

 

spreading love-salicrow

 

Stories of Spirit…The Power of Intention & Community Kindness

A couple of nights ago I reached a breaking point, in which I found myself sobbing uncontrollably like a toddler behind my steering wheel as I sat in my driveway, my emotions were so overpowering that my husband had to take my coat off me when I got in the house and hand me a cup of tea.  I was not crying out of despair, I was crying as an emotional release; letting go of all the backed up fear, and chaos that I had been wading through the last few weeks.  The catalyst for my emotional warble was receiving back to back hugs from 3 of the most solid people I know.

Many of you know that my sister and her family have been going through a lot…illness, surgeries, near death experiences, infections, ambulance rides to Dartmouth, and emergency surgeries.  While most of the acute issues have been experienced in the last month, the journey has been much longer than that.  Now that the water seems to be clearing and we can see the shore, I find that the heaviness of emotion; particularly fear, is too much to carry any longer.  It is no longer needed, yet it still must be released.

Being Psychic does not mean you never experience fear.  In fact, fear is something that can blind Psychic sight.   If the fear is strong enough a Psychic can actually generate false answers for themselves.  I did this once when I was much younger.  My husband; who is pretty good about communication and being on time, was suppose to meet me after work.  When he didn’t show up, I was surprised.  When he still wasn’t home by the time we were supposed to be meeting friends, I became alarmed.  The later he was, the more I became convinced something had happened to him.  When I looked at my cards, they quickly confirmed my fears, and by the time he rolled into the driveway I was running across the yard crying, as I had believed him dead on the side of the road somewhere. In reality, he had a beer with the people he was doing work for at the end of the day and had no cell reception.  Because of this experience, I learned how important it was to center myself before searching for psychic information.  But from time to time I need to be reminded.

When my sister called me to say that both she and her son were facing life-threatening situation her crying triggered me.  We are so deeply connected, that even though we have a year and a half between us, we consider ourselves twins.  After getting off the phone with her  I found myself floundering, in a quick and powerful spot of fear.  It wasn’t until my husband said to me “Have you looked at your cards?” that I even considered scrying.  Moments after being reminded I was able to calm and center and know that all would be well.  That being said my body still experienced an adrenaline dump, it had gone into fight or flight mode before I was able to center.  This type of energy does not simply dissipate, it requires a release.   When we do not release this emotional sludge it affects our health and well being.

Most people go through a crisis like a horse with blinders on; focusing on that which must be done, the goal at hand.  We deny ourselves the luxury of wading in our emotions for there is no room for them.  When the crisis is over it is not uncommon to find ourselves exhausted, and emotionally sensitive.  This is because our vessel is full.  We can not just go on with our lives, we must first release our burden and fears.  This must be done for true healing to begin.  Whether we are the one experiencing the trauma or the support for others going through it, the emotional heaviness of the situation must be addressed.  My release often comes in the form of tears.  In fact, whether I am happy, sad or angry tears are likely to show up.

This read is about community, intention, and kindness so I will spin you back up to my opening paragraph…The catalyst for my emotional warble was receiving back to back hugs from 3 of the most solid people I know.  

I had not had a day off in almost a month, that I was not in a hospital holding space for surgery, sitting with my sister as she recuperated or going with her to a doctors appointment.  The emotional roller coaster of the month had finally seemed to slow and I was looking forward to time off when my husband got sick.  As we run a cafe/wellness center someone had to take his shifts and that someone ended up being me.  After the second day of doing his job and my job, I was truly feeling beat.  At the end of the day, I hoped that no one would show up for my sound meditation class, as I really wanted to go home.

The first person to show up was a friend of mine who is solid as the earth and has blood that runs a bit gnomish.  I told her if it was just her and I that I was going to cancel, then another of my regulars came in; who lives on a family farm and is a solid, salt of the Earth kind of person.  I decided to cancel and the three of us just stood around talking for a moment, me giving them the update on my sisters family.  Then my farm-guy, plow-man neighbor came in, another solid, reliable, kind person.  When I explained we were closed and he walked over and gave me a hug.  Then came another from my salt of the Earth woman, and then finally from Gnomie.

I was OK, until about 5 minutes into my drive and then it hit me.  I think it was their solidness, that reminded me of all the love and support our family has received during this stressful time.  Their hugs represented all of the prayers, reiki, and love that people had shared.  I was overcome with how lucky I am to live in such a community, where people genuinely care about one another.  All too often we are shown the terrible things that human beings are capable of.  It is so refreshing to be reminded of the beauty and kindness that we are also capable of.

The power of intention is an amazing thing that can be used for good or bad.  It is also something made stronger by group belief.  The more people believing in an outcome, the more likely it will come to be.  With this in mind, I encourage you to start monitoring your thoughts.  What goes through your mind on a regular basis, are the things you are thinking about what you want to see come to pass or what you fear?  If your mind wanders toward fear, hate, and anger, redirect it.  Give it a different focus. Focus on the good you want to see in the world…make it so!

spreading love-salicrow

 

Stories of Spirit…Ancestor Honoring [staying connected to our beloved dead]

Death is one of my favorite subjects.  As a Medium I spend many hours a week talking to dead people, and much more speaking to people about the importance of mourning and honoring our dead.

Grammy Brown & my Dad ‘Richard’, two of my Beloved Dead.

Our relationship with death has in many ways been glossed over by modern media.  I believe this started in the 50’s with television and the homogenization of America.  We went from a nation that experienced death in the manner of our ancestors, deeply flavored by the many ethnicities that make up our nation, to a whitewashed ‘Leave it to Beaver’ style mourning.  Death became an organized wake or viewing hours, a funeral, and two weeks of casseroles donated by your friends and neighbors.

We let go of all of our outward signs of mourning.  Gone were the armbands, and ceremonial black dress; which now is just the standard daily uniform for a majority of folks living east of the Mississippi, leaving us with no visual signs that a person was still deeply involved in grieving their passed loved one.  Instead, like all good viewing audiences, we are supposed to follow the lead of our television leaders, and put on some lipstick, tidy our hair, and show people we were not fazed by death.  The only problem is, we are often not OK, and the lipstick doesn’t really do shit for the feelings we hold in our heart.

Death brings with it a deep melancholy, an overwhelming desire to hold/see a person one more time.  It makes us look at our regrets, and the precious moments we wish could be repeated.  Death is powerful, and we need to find a way of making the process of death and mourning sacred again.  We need to forget the television version and reach instead for the old ways, that does not hide death, but instead, show us that it is normal and that feeling ‘OK’ after the death of a loved one takes time.  We need to reclaim our relationship with our ancestors so that death no longer feels like isolation.  We need to educate ourselves about death, take it out of the closet and get to know it a little better.

Locally and nationally there is an organization known as ‘the Death Cafe’ http://deathcafe.com The Death Cafe is not a storefront, instead, it is a group gathering that sets up shop in coffee shops, libraries, and local gathering holes.  The group is open to anyone wanting to talk about death…people who are dying, people who have recently lost someone, and people just fascinated with death are all welcome.  In Vermont, we have groups in Burlington, Montpelier, Johnson, Manchester, and more…

In my work as a Medium, I often talk about the importance of keeping our dead alive in our thoughts and deeds.  This does not mean we pretend they are still alive, it means we interact with them as if they are still vital members of our family.  In my family, we speak of our dead so often, that my children could tell you stories about ancestors who died way before they were born.  They not only know the larger than life stories, but some of the simpler things, like the fact that Grammy Brown loved to smoke cigarettes, and that her father had a still on the property where he brewed moonshine back in the early 1900’s.

When the holidays come around our Beloved Dead are not forgotten.  Often a plate is put out for our ancestors, that is filled throughout the day with their favorite treats.  This tradition started with our Celtic ancestors who left our a feast for the dead on holy days, such as Halloween/Samhain.  A traditional Dumb Supper is done on or near Halloween night, some sources say as close to midnight as possible.  A table is elaborately set, as you are having a feast.  Food should be thought out, including favorites of your ancestors and loved ones.  The table is set for all living guest as well as all that are in spirit.  At the dinner, everyone remains silent, in observation of those who cannot communicate with us any longer.

Over time traditions change, as the pattern is woven with personal beliefs and additional ethnic spices.  My family, for example, is Irish Gypsy & Native American, creating a hodge-podge of hillbilly magic that is all our own…, We do not reserve the feasting of our ancestors to Halloween night alone.  They get plates at Thanksgiving, Yule and other family festivities.  We do not sit in silence, for that is something that does not exist in a loud Irish family.  Instead, we simply place a plate for our ancestors and fill it throughout the gathering.

Here is a simple way to honor your Beloved Dead; family, friends, loved ones and ancestors, this Halloween and in the upcoming season of holidays.

family altar

*Set up a small altar in a corner of the kitchen, dining room, or living room.  Place pictures of your loved ones who have crossed into Spirit on the altar, as well as small items of memorabilia that remind you of those you have lost.

*Place a plate on the altar, choose something special, perhaps something from your grandmother’s china, or a piece your sister made in pottery class.  You are giving your Beloved Dead a place of honor.

*Pick one item of food to place on the plate that you know will be appreciated by your loved one in Spirit.  Then tell others that they are welcome to leave a treat as well.

As the day goes on, the plate fills up with all sorts of goodness.  Drinks can be left beside the plate, as can smokes, after all, I know my Dad would appreciate a beer and a smoke.  Sometimes we eat whats on the plate.  Some people would frown on this saying that whatever you leave for the dead belongs to them.  But I am from poor stock, and my ancestors know that food should be eaten and appreciated by the living.  If you decide to munch from the plate of the dead, make sure to share a story as you do.  If you’re eating one of Gramma’s cherry chocolates, you damn well better be telling a story about her love of them.  If you smoking your dad’s cigarette, make sure to savor it and imagine all the times you saw him sitting on the porch having a smoke.

More then anything our Beloved Dead want to be remembered, talked about and part of our lives.  The more often we speak of them, and remember them through simple ceremonies, such as a plate at Thanksgiving, the easier it is for us to heal and feel their presence around us.  Remember our Spirits want to make contact with us, they want to reassure us that they are OK and that there is something after death.

I hope you have a fantastic Halloween season.  I will be celebrating quietly this year, with deep personal journey work and ventures into Spirit for myself.  As a Medium, it is easy to tell myself that I spend a lot of time in the Spirit world, but the truth of the matter is I am working.  I am helping others to connect to their Beloved Dead, it is not the same as honoring and connecting to my own Beloved Dead.  I hope you enjoyed the read folks, and that you find your way to connecting to those who have been lost to you through the veil of death.

spreading love-Salicrow

STORIES OF SPIRIT…Talking to the Dead in Public [elders, ancestors, and offerings]

I did a Seance the other day, sitting at a picnic table in front of a coffee shop.  The weather was a bit chilly and the elderly lady who sat in a wheelchair parked at the end of the table was bundled up in a fuzzy blanket.

I have done Spirit Communication in front of large crowds, and I have spoken to the dead under some unusual circumstances…I once did a Seance in a trailer in Florida, while the cable guy did an installation.  But this was my town, and the corner I sat on was in front the cafe that houses my studio.  It’s a busy part of town, and as my neighbors walked by they called out “Hi Sali”, oblivious to the fact that I was deep in a conversation with dead people.

The family I sat with had arrived at my studio for a Seance, but there had been a miscommunication, they had not heard me say that it was above the Grindstone Cafe, which meant upstairs.  They had their elderly mother with them; a woman close to 90 who was being pushed in a wheelchair.  As the cafe, itself is too busy &  close quartered to offer the privacy needed for such services, and they had traveled a long distance, we were left with only one option…the picnic table outside.

The weather was chilly, so I offered up a warm, fuzzy blanket from my healing space to help keep the family matriarch warm.  When her daughter draped the red blanket over her head and tucked it in around her frail body her appearance changed, she suddenly looked more like a priestess then grandmother.  I found myself thinking of the importance of the role of elder.  How wisdom and memory are gifts of time that only some of us are fortunate enough to experience.

It was a family of women I sat with; a mother, 2 daughters and a granddaughter.  They had come to communicate with the menfolk of their life, who had already departed for the world of spirit.  The women sitting together around the table with me had a strong bond with one another.  In fact, the family matriarch lived with her daughter and granddaughter, multiple generations living in one home.  I have lived this way, both as a child and as a grandmother.  I lived with my parents and grandparents a couple of times in my childhood, and both of my children have come home to live with me, bringing their children with them.  Although I do not live that way now, I know it and appreciate it.

In my work as a Medium, I have been introduced to many interpretations of the word family.  Some families are very small, consisting of one parent and a couple of kids, some are large including nieces, nephews, and grandparents/great grandparents and every kind of 1st, 2nd and 3rd cousin you could imagine.  Family is something we all want, even if the one we are born into is not healthy for us, we still find ourselves missing it, or at least the idea of it.  There is something about shared history that helps us to accept the toll of time, and the dance of death.  By remembering those who have come before us, and watching those who have come after us, we see that we are more than this lifetime.  We are part of something greater.

When I was in Ireland, I had the opportunity to stay with an old Irish family, the O’Hanlons.  They were fantastic people with a rich family history, documented for over 1000 years.  I was blown away by this, and envious of the wealth of information they had on their ancestors.  Most of us are lucky to know if we who our great-great-grandparents were, let alone dozens of generations.

The Celts believe we reincarnate into our soul family.  That we step back onto the genetic trail that we have walked before.  I have seen this very thing while doing Past Life Readings for people.

The example that stands out the most clearly for me is this…The woman I was Reading for had a past life in which she came into the Boston during the early days of settlement.  She was a man in that life and had been born into a family of blacksmiths.  She, however, did not take the family path, instead deciding to become a doctor.  As I told her of the life I saw for her, she got excited and said: “That was my great-great-great grandfather.”  She had been doing some genealogy work, and as I spoke of her past life, she recognized an ancestor along her family tree.

Ancestor honoring is something I am quite passionate about.  Not because I see them as superhuman or close to deity, but because without our ancestors we would not be here.  We, humans, are genetically made up of the bits and pieces of our family DNA. We are amazing beings, and we don’t know shit about the complexity that we are.  Over the next couple of blogs, it is my hope to share a bit of my own practice of ancestor honoring, and the simple ways in which I recognize the family that has gone before me.  Today’s tip is about food, drink, and smokes.

The dead love to remember their favorite foods, beverages, and smokes.  If they were a smoker in life a simple way to give honor to them is to put a cigarette on your altar, or if you smoke yourself sit and have one while thinking about them.  If they loved to drink coffee, have your morning coffee while talking about them.

Yesterday I went out into the woods near Lake Willougby with my sister Sandy.  We were heading out to make offerings to the Fae Folk/Fairies and brought some snacks for ourselves.  As I crossed the bridge near her house, on the way to pick her up, my father (who is dead) exclaimed out of my mouth “Beef jerky Kid”.  He mentioned beef jerky 3 more times before I got to the store, and finally was satisfied when I bought a meat stick (more of a slim jim/then beef jerky).  At the lake, my sister and I both ate some while we talked about him.  I wasn’t surprised at all that he wanted to be included in our excursion as he had a deep love of the woods, that and my sister was wearing one of his flannel shirts when I arrived to pick her up.

Honoring our ancestors is in many ways honoring ourselves, for without those who walked before us, we would not be here today.  Our blood sings with the songs of our elders.  Some of the songs may be hard, sad songs, others soft and beautiful.  But whatever the song, it is our song and we are here to add to it, change it, carry on with it, in whatever way is ours.

I hope you enjoyed the read folks.  I will be writing more on ancestor honoring over the next couple of weeks.

spreading love-salicrow

 

Stories of Spirit…When Death Comes Suddenly [the unexpected death]

Last week, I was sitting at the bar of the Publik House in East Burke, having my weekly cocktail and burger.  My husband and I try to get out for ‘date night’, weekly.  We are predictable.  We generally eat at the same place, sit at the bar, and I have a tendency to get the same thing (not because I am boring, but because my list of food allergies/intolerances  is quite extensive).

While we were eating, we got on the subject of death and dying, something that may not be common dinner conversation for most, but than again I’m not like most people.  I talk about death a lot!

The conversation was about the act of dying itself.  My husband was talking about how he believed he would eventually die from something like the flu, or some other weird illness.  As he took a drink of his beer, he went on to say that it was probably a better way to die then most…a bit of high-temperature, delirium, and a slow fade into death.  This led to a list of all the less then pleasant ways that people could pass, to which he added massive accident to the top of the list.

In theory, I could understand this belief, as often the bodies of people who die such a fashion, are dramatically damaged, and people who have lost loved ones in such a manner are often scarred by the memory of what happened to their loved ones body.  The belief many live with is that their loved one suffered horrendously.  But in fact, it is often not the case.

One of the things I have learned from the Dead, is that older Spirits; people who have incarnated many time, have a tendency to jump-ship at the moment of impact.  Their previous lifetimes of dying, having prepared them for how to leave the body quickly.  With their death imminent, they do not stick around for the pain, they choose instead to step outside their body, and experience their death from the perspective of the observer.

Time and time again, Spirits I have communicated with; who have passed tragically, will tell me how they stood beside their body, as emergency technicians tended to them.  Some speak of standing vigil with their body until someone found it.  Some speak of being in a coma, watching and waiting as their body went through the act of dying.  They stress the fact that they did not suffer, that they were ejected from their body almost instantaneously on impact, and often talk about the people who were around them; both medical personnel and loved ones.

Years ago, during the Ovate year of my Druid training, I explored my own death.  We did this by doing journey-work/guided meditation to first imagine we had a year to live, then a month, a day, and finally we were sitting at the moment of death.  We were looking to see how we would choose to experience death.  Later during the same weekend, we dug our own graves, and were placed ceremonially into the Earth…sleeping in our graves, we spent the night with whatever emotions came to call.  As powerful of an experience as this was, it was in many ways easy for me, as I have had a deep/personal relationship with death my whole life.

However, about a month or so after the death weekend (sleeping in my grave), I was pulling out of a busy intersection with my son.  He had been trying to listen to his music on the stereo, but for some reason nothing was coming out.  As we pulled out of the intersection, the radio came on, blaring music.  In that moment I was so shocked that my spirit stepped out of my body.  I hovered above myself for a brief moment, long enough to think…”Oh shit!  We were just hit by a car, I must be dead.”  I was not in distress, I simply believed that my death had come for me.  My next thought was “Well, that’s that, I hope Kaolin (my son) is OK”.

Seconds later, I realized I was not dead, and settled back nicely into my body.

That moment has stuck with me for years now, my mind going back to it over and over again, when I meet with families who have lost their loved ones due to tragic accidents.  I know now, that I too would step quickly out of my body, if faced with such tragedy.  Hell, I will most likely jump out of my body if there is too much discomfort, let alone immanent death.

I find that death is often misunderstood, and rightfully so.  We don’t get a rule book, or even much of a way of an agenda.  None of us know when or how we or the ones we love are going to pass.  Death can come for us at any moment.  I suppose that is why people can be so troubled by it.  When left to nothing but our imaginations, the stories we can come up with are vast, and generally a lot worse than reality.  We humans have been living and dying for a long, long time now, and we have learned a thing or two about it, even if we don’t seem to remember the process.  For those who have lost someone tragically, I hope these words can be of some comfort.  Knowing that the ones we love passed in peace, is something we all hope for.

spreading love-salicrow

Stories of Spirit…the Sorrow of One [mourning alone]

As a Medium; I have encountered death in many, many ways.  My first brush with death occurred when I was 3 months old, and my father’s, mother passed.  This event, was something, that showed others in my family; particularly, Grammy Brown, that I was able to see/perceive Spirits.  Since that moment, death has been a constant companion of mine.  I have had many personal losses, and have stood witness/messenger, to countless numbers of others.  There is no ‘one-way’ to experience the loss of death, for it is a multi-faceted, and generally requires us to experience it’s power over and over again; sometimes through deep sadness, sometimes through rage, sometimes through an emptiness that would challenge the vastness of space.  One thing that remains constant when it comes to death is that we all mourn alone.

No matter how much we share love of someone with another, the feeling of loss created by death is a lonely thing.  It is something that demands privacy, taking up long hours, in our mind.  It is something that shows up when we are having a great time, reminding us that something is missing, often asking us “How can you be so happy, when your Beloved Dead is not here to join you?” It speaks loudest to us when we are feeling vulnerable, or doubting ourselves, telling us that we will never find happiness again, without our beloved.  The closer we were to the death, the harder and longer it sits with us.  When enough time has gone by, and others see that we should be done mourning, death requires us to hide our sorrow, “move-on” the outside world says, but death whispers quietly in our ears “stay, don’t forget how important they were to you”.

There is no easy answer here.  I cannot bestow words of wisdom upon you, that will take away your sorrow, like the brush of a magic wand.  But I can tell you that communication helps.  Not just Spirit Communication, although in truth communication with your Beloved Dead, is one of the most powerful healing tools I know of, as it gives us the proof that they are not truly gone, but simply existing in another realm.  But not everybody is open or has the ability to make connection with their dead, so that is why good old fashioned talking about it is helpful.  Friends, counselors, and support groups help us to make peace with the sorrow of our loss, even when the others we speak to cannot fully understand our pain.  The act of sharing it, helps us to move it from the hidden realms of our mind, into the light of day where it can be cared for.

This advice is particularly important for those who have experienced a deep loss, such as that of a lover, child, or parent.  When we loose the ones we hold most dear, their death will become a constant companion of ours.  It will attend us in our every day life, and go with us to special events.  It will come around heavily, laden with emotion on the anniversary dates of their loss, and their birthdays, and anniversaries.  It will show up, when a song comes on the radio, or a childhood toy reminds us of them, when the weather is just so, and when we wake slowly from a dream in which they have come to visit.  For those most heavily hit by the loss of a loved one, death will return again, and again, and again.

So what can we do in those overwhelming moments?  What can we do to ease our pain, and find peace?

First of all we must remember we are human, and innately flawed.  We need to be patient with ourselves, and practice the art of  ‘speaking vulnerably’, which simply means talking when you feel weak.  Not everyone can do this, in fact most people stop talking about their loss, thinking that others will perceive that they should be over it by now.  It is my belief that people are generally kind.  That if we tell them we are having a hard day, and that death is speaking very loudly to us today, that we are in a deep space of mourning, they will understand, and most often seek to give us support.  The problem is, that most of us do not do this when we are feeling vulnerable, instead we batten down the hatches and prepare to ride out the storm.  In doing so, we often act in ways that are not really pleasant to ourselves or others.  We may even find ourselves lashing out, again at ourselves and others, and when it is done, we feel like an asshole, but lack the means to explain our actions.

Secondly, I recommend setting up sacred space for our Beloved Dead.  A simple shelf can be turned into an altar or shrine, with just a few items and some attention.  Place a picture of your loved one, who has crossed over, on the shelf, as well as any mementos that remind you of them.  Light a candle, and sit with them for a bit.  Even if you do not sense them, know that they are beside you.  For as a Medium, I know that our loved ones in Spirit are reaching out, trying to help us heal…even when we perceive them as having moved on, there is a part of their essence that stays connected to the ones they love.

We all mourn alone, and some of us do that more truly then others…This is most true for people who pull themselves away from the world of the living, identifying their loss as the story of their life.  It is also true for those who have loved in secret, been the other woman/man, or who have had a relationship that was hidden from the real world.  The loss in these cases can be overwhelming, and again…my answer is talk about it.  Find a friend who understands, or a counselor/healer who gets you.  But do not suffer with your loss alone.

I hope you found this article helpful, please feel free to share it, as I believe it is a message that needs to be heard, again, and again, and again.

spreading love-salicrow