I made a deep dive into my journals last week looking for examples of experiences with loved ones on the Other Side. How was I to share the overwhelming number and with whom?
Within a handful of years, I said goodbye to one beloved after another, including my 19-year-old dog and faithful companion Tucker, my favorite uncle in Texas, and, days later, my dear mother-in-law Dorothy. Through one conduit or another, Tuck and Uncle George and Dorothy continued to make their presence known. Meanwhile, Peter, diagnosed with late-stage cancer, was doing his best to extend his sabbatical on Planet Earth.
My first confirmation that Pete was going to survive bodily death occurred shortly before his clinical death. I began documenting experiences in detail and as close to each event as possible.I recorded examples of the continuing, mind-blowing bond and communication between Peter and our preschool-aged grandson Truman; I described his communications via daughter Liv, given her ability to connect with him. Wrote about Peter’s spontaneous appearances whenever a psychic buddy and I got together. Anecdotes came from others—sensing, seeing, vividly dreaming of Pete, feeling his energy around them—all of this both confounding and comforting.
About a year after his passing, I read a poignant essay in the New Yorker called “Over the Wall.” Its author, the noted sportswriter Roger Angell, wrote about mourning the death of his wife. The most painful thing for him seemed to be his awareness that all that transpired in her absence would be lost to her.
He wrote: “She doesn’t know anything about Hurricane Sandy. She doesn’t know that the San Francisco Giants won the World Series, in a sweep over the Tigers. More important, perhaps, she doesn’t know that her granddaughter is really enjoying her first weeks of nursery school and is beginning to make progress with her slight speech impediment.”
Not once did he question his assumption that being “dead” includes being dead to the world.
Still grieving my own partner’s passing, I empathized with his deep sense of loss. But I found myself wishing I could ease some of his torment. It derived from his belief that the end of physical form is the absolute end of everything else, including ties of the “departed” to those still on earth.
I was familiar with new paradigms suggesting otherwise. Maverick neurobiologists exploring biocentrism, for one—that after “death,” consciousness remains, along with engagement, presence. And here, too, were the multiplying journals. A treasure trove of personal experiences about the existence of a conscious energy, transcending the limits of the body, space and time.
Peter’s physical passing upended my world. The cancer diagnosis of one of my dear friends followed a year later. Sue was only weeks from crossing over when my mother was diagnosed with an inoperable cancer along with dementia. She moved in with me. Fourteen months later she, too, took leave of her body. In the midst of all the loss, again there was this incomparable gift—the chance to bear witness, incident after incident, to a continuing engagement with our world by each and every one of these loved ones.
“Shakespeare possessed an astounding knowledge of history and of his own times, it’s agreed, but missed out on Newton and Napoleon and the Oreo sandwich,” Roger Angell wrote with certitude. Yet, by the time I read his words, Peter had already communicated his excitement about work he’s engaged in on the Other Side, not to mention that he’d watched the tennis finals from the front row at the U. S. Open!
In Angell’s essay, he bemoaned the fact that “they don’t know how we’re getting along without them.” Yet just three days ago, here was my maternal grandmother, born in 1880, bursting through the veil, with Spirit’s blessing. Feisty and determined to tell me to stop fretting, she showed up during a monthly phone call with Spirit, a collective of wise ones that daughter Liv brings through for many clients.
Shortly before the recent call, I happened to see a photo of clouds, taken by a Facebook friend who was “flying over Pocahontas, Iowa.” After he crossed over, Peter once compared me to Pocahontas. This out-of-the-blue comparison seemed odd and I said so, but he was insistent. Since then, seeing that name pop up puts me on high alert.
Thirty minutes later, validating that they’d already been tuned in, Spirit expressed their willingness to let my grandma give me counsel by comparing her innate wisdom to that of Pocahontas. And mine as well. “Your wisdom is not equal to Pocahontas’” Spirit clarified for my grandma, “but close enough.” This made us both laugh.
Spirit asked me to define my iconic grandmother’s legacy. Clearly for me, it was the power of her love, felt by succeeding generations of family. “All you’re called to do,” they counseled, “is to continue what she began. Carry on the legacy of love.”
In other words, let love, pure and simple, prompt any story I write or tell. Countless people around the globe feel inspired to tell such stories now to shift awareness, they assured me.
“Share your grandmother-wisdom,” my grandma insisted. “Know I’ll go on loving you, no matter what,” she went on, adding, with a belly laugh, “Well, unless you murder someone…” Then Spirit chimed in, “That’s setting the bar pretty low, wouldn’t you say?”
So apparently, I can relax. With all the grandmother-wisdom I can muster, I’m telling you now that we all survive this thing called death. Grandma Seaberg’s offspring, by the way, never really doubted it. There’s such healing power in allowing for this possibility.
How would your experience of life change, I’m asking, if you acknowledged that someone you’ve physically lost could, at this very moment, be at your side, as devoted to you as ever? And how would such openness affect your own transition?
Top photo: A portion of the journals with documentation dating from the end of 2010.
Black and white photo: A pair of pictures—one of my Grandma Seaberg in the early 40s and the other, a present-day photo of great-granddaughter Liv who loves that they’re in similar aprons/poses.