Losing someone we love is never easy. But, what if we never really lose anyone?
By the time I was 10 I had been to five funerals while most fifth graders I knew hadn't even been to one or thought about death at all. I had learned at a young age that no matter how much we know about dying, whether we are given the chance to prepare or are shocked by a sudden loss, losing someone we love hurts.
By the time I graduated high school I met a woman who was a psychic-medium. I met her at a fair set up in the parking lot of a local college. With my palm open on her table she looked at me and with 100% accuracy she told me about my life up with great detail.
Then she heard my grandmother---except my grandmother had "died" years earlier. She mentioned her name, described how and when she died, what her hobbies were and her personality to perfection.
I was shocked. This was way out of my wheelhouse for things I understood at eighteen years-old. Of course, I had to know more so I learned from her...and not long after many others that had these talents.
There are a handful of moments in a life-time that utterly change what it is we think we know and understand about life. Some of those moments are painful experiences and some of them are truly wonderful and downright astounding. What if we only lose their physical presence in our life? What if the essence of who they are is still very much alive, waiting for us to connect with?
The first time I heard, saw and felt dead people was one of those times.
I was in my mid-20s when my childhood friend called to tell me he was in town because his father was dying. His dad had advanced-stage cancer. When I got to the hospital to meet him, my friend’s father was listless with a feeding tube in his nose and bloated. His family was told by the doctors and nurses that he wouldn’t leave the hospital.
I intuitively disagreed.
I’d known his family since I was 10 years old and I wanted to do whatever I could to help. My friend and I both had certifications in reiki and it couldn’t hurt to do a little hands-on healing. It had helped my dad’s compound ankle fracture to heal quicker years earlier, so I suggested we double team his dad with some reiki love.
Within 12 hours or so his dad was awake, doing better and chatting with his loved ones. It wasn’t long before the hospital sent him home.
In the evenings that followed, I meditated on his health and wellness as a part of my intuitive process. I often asked questions and waited on the answers to come to me. The date of his departure became clear to me and it was something I chose to keep to myself.
As an intuitive who has to interpret information I get, I know I can sometimes interpret it wrong. It's not an exact science. So, I have two steadfast rules about getting unpleasant intuitive information:
I remember my friend’s dad’s last day well.
When I entered the apartment, I saw something I’d never seen before. In the middle of the living room above his hospital bed, I saw a “pool of white light.” I know it sounds horribly cliché and even I rolled my eyes just hearing myself say that. But, there it was this translucent, white mass, swirling slowly and floating above his hospital bed like some special-effect in a sci-fi movie.
I was quiet, unsure and a little freaked out. Until that day I had always gone to others, mediums who had these experiences and relayed them to me. On this day I was the direct experiencer.
I looked around to see if anyone else saw it. The mood of the room was somber. His closest friends and family were spread around the apartment. They were all there to say their last goodbyes and support the loved ones he was going to leave behind.
A few family members were by his side, under that pool of light, but no one seemed to notice it. My childhood friend greeted me, we hugged and when he saw my facial expression asked what was up. I told him what I saw and he nodded knowingly—he and I had always had a deeper understanding and curiosity of how we thought life worked…and his dad was on his way out despite our preference for him to stay.
I went to my friend’s father and decided to give him one last reiki treatment. From my few direct interactions with him as my friend’s father, I knew he was a good man, a kind man, full of life, a renaissance man, an artist and teacher who had his struggles and inner demons like the rest of us.
I wanted to help, if I could, to send him on his way peacefully.
I wasn’t sure if I was even capable of doing it but I hoped to clear out his energy field—his chakras—with some more hands-on energy. I wondered if this could somehow help set any future karma in a better direction for him—that is, if he chose to reincarnate.
Yes, I believe in reincarnation after what I've experienced. No, I don't expect another should subscribe to it unless they've had similar experiences. But, I do try to advise people to keep the mental door open to those experiences happening.
A few years ago a group of medical doctors at the University of South Hampton did a study on 2,000 people who had experience awareness even though they were medically dead. Dr. Ackermanand and his colleagues of medical doctors had similar experiences with 944 people.
Perhaps life after death isn’t just for the mystical or spiritual?
There are numerous books on the subject, famous and non-famous mediums all over the world who have showed repeatedly their ability to connect with those we’ve seemingly lost.
I placed my hands on my friend’s father for the very last time, I closed my eyes. Suddenly, I felt the warmth of someone touching my hand. I opened my eyes expecting to see my friend but no one was there, I was alone.
I looked around the apartment, everyone was where there were before I closed my eyes. I looked at my friend’s father and smiled lovingly. I went back to the healing. Let’s get you on your way in peace, I thought. I once again closed my eyes.
Then, with my eyes still closed, I sensed a few people beside me. I was staying focused this time and continued the healing. I asked myself as I had done so in my meditations: Who is here?
Then I heard a voice that was not my inner voice, it felt empathic and strong. “Joe!” and a more gentile sound that was hard to catch—”Em” something, like Emit. It felt very arty and sweet. The third felt like a woman but her presence was not as close to me. I got images of what these voices looked like, Joe being the strongest.
I quickly opened my eyes. Again, I was alone by the bed. I looked around the room a little paranoid and saw my friend who looked at me like, “Are you okay?” I nodded and smiled. I wasn’t sure how I could communicate in any sane way that I may have been starring in the sequel to the movie The Sixth Sense.
One more time I returned to what I was doing. Suddenly, I felt this strange warmth on my hand and a whisper in my ear, “Thank you so much for helping him.”
The tables were turned! All of a sudden I was “zapped” or infused with more love than I’d ever felt in my entire life.
I was infused with so much love I didn’t quite know what to do with it. I’m not even sure how to describe it to this day. I’ve never felt anything like it before or after. It’s not like romantic love or the love you get from a parent or friend. It wasn’t like the love I’d gotten from being in meditation circles, drum circles, spiritual retreats or healings but, I was enveloped in it.
It was so profound and so overwhelming, this love that went through my entire body with the intensity of what I’d imagine being jolted with an electric shock, except pleasurable. It brought me to tears.
Unlike everyone else in the room, I wasn’t crying because of grief and loss, I was crying because of what I was feeling which can only be described as love in the most idyllic sense of the word.
I went to my friend and told him what happened. I described my experience in detail and he smiled. He called his mother over to hear my story. The names and descriptions I had retold were in fact real people, relatives from his father’s childhood—people I’d never heard of, known or met. People who were around before I was even born.
I went home that night and crawled under the covers. I was so happy to help my friend and his family, but truth be told I wasn’t ready to be different. I had struggled with being different much of my childhood, I simply didn’t want to be in my own private version of, “I see dead people.”
Years later these skills came back to me albeit intermittently. I say skills because connecting with those who’ve passed can be developed according to many life long mediums, like Hollister Rand who teach workshops on how to develop your “sixth sense.”
Losing someone we love doesn’t become pain-free because of experiences like the one I had. Even with the scientific data that’s beginning to emerge in the field of death, the loss of physically holding someone you loved, kissing their lips, championing each others causes, goals and dreams, sharing their warm embrace, their laughter, smiles, tears and companionship is only meant to be eased with this knowledge.
And maybe, just maybe…we will see them again soon.
Author: Heather Dawn
A version of this blog originally appeared in Heather Dawn's column on Elephantjournal.com