Posts Tagged ‘Life After Death’

All Is Well in the Land of Goshen

Several people have already contacted me, very concerned about how we’re doing in Goshen after 60 tornadoes plowed through Illinois and Indiana today. Thanks for your concern. We’re doing well here. I always tell people I cut deals with the Nature Spirits, and I’m really not kidding. Thor is the God of Thunder, associated with the THORN Rune of protection. I mentally draw that Rune all over our property every time I hear of or sense any sort of major storm. Synchronously, just as I sat down to post this announcement, Yahoo news flashed some story across my screen about THOR the movie. Yes, thunder and lightning and wind were very active today! But not so much right here.

I talk to the Nature Spirits like I talk to the bees who get mad at me for interrupting their meal while watering my bee friendly flowers: “Hey, don’t sting me. I planted these flowers, and I’m keeping them alive for you. Don’t sting the hand that feeds you. C’mon, live in harmony, eh?” and the bees let me do my thing without stinging me, just like the wasps when I remind them who planted the plants that house the insects the wasps eat. When storms come, I always request that the Nature Spirits protect our property, especially our home and gardens. I remind them that I can much more easily advocate for Nature if I have adequate living quarters and food. So far, so good. Although much of Goshen was tucked away in basements, I felt fine wandering around upstairs figuring what to wear for tonight’s outing. I just knew no storm would hit our house.

Tonight we had our Inner Transitions book group meeting scheduled in Three Rivers, Michigan, and we received an email saying they were on if we were. Driving there, we saw some pretty intense damage — the roof of a silo ripped off and insulation strewn all over the road; closed roads; miles and miles of downed power lines; a tower toppled over; branches and entire trees scattered across lawns and in ditches; pitch blackness all around. The house hosting the meeting did not have power, but they did have a wood stove and hurricane lanterns. They ran their generator so we could flush the toilet, since there were a dozen or so of us visiting from various locations. We had a lovely, lovely time! Somehow, having fluorescent lights replaced by the warm glow of a fire and oil lamps was just perfect. The people hosting expressed gratitude because they had consciously designed their home to be able to host such gatherings even in the event of a long term grid-down scenario.

I won’t discuss our Inner Transition processing, because that’s private, but tonight’s meeting underscored for me the sense of joy and return to soulful community that life without electricity has the potential to cultivate. The massive power outages, likely to stay out for weeks, also affirmed my own urge to get some extra preps in place last weekend. It was weird, because even while posting about the GridEx II drill, I didn’t really feel like that was it. I just felt like we ought to have some alternative heat and extra food and water available for us and for David’s parents. Unlike so many in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, we didn’t end up needing those preps today; however, we sure would be happy to have them if we did. David’s parents’ garage window got smashed by a flying canopy, but they, too, are fine and have power. We are all grateful, and my heart goes out to those who lost their homes or who will need to survive without the grid at least for the near future.

Many people have spoken today about the Philippines, since the unexpected storms reminded them of how suddenly life can shift. People have asked me how to process such large scale devastation, and I have a bit of a different take on it. When such a large group of people pass unexpectedly, I truly believe they carry on in a different collective reality. They are on a different timeline, because their collective sense of reality hasn’t really had time to separate. When something that massive and that sudden takes 10K people at once, I really believe it’s like Avalon fading into the mists. That’s why I’ve never been afraid of dying in an “Earth destroying catastrophe.”

First of all, I’m not afraid to die. I’ve spoken to the dead since I was a child, and the dead speak back. It’s a transition, not the end.

Secondly, I have faced my own death on multiple occasions. The day after my brain injury, I awoke in my old bed at my parents’ house, feeling so cognitively different and not remembering how I got there that I actually thought I was dead. I wandered around the house and, finding no one there, really thought I might be dead. My parents have a graveyard behind their house, so I wandered outside to see if I could locate my grave. I figured if I were dead, I would remember where it was, or at least I’d find some fresh dirt that would lead me to my headstone. As I wandered, I saw no one but a deer, and the deer stared at me. “Hmmm, so the deer sees me, but animals often see the dead, so that proves nothing.” I finally got the idea to return to my parents’ house and call them each at work. I figured since they don’t talk to the dead that if I were dead, they wouldn’t be able to hear me. They both picked up and assured me that I was still alive and that I very much needed to go to the doctor. Immediately.

The doctor ordered an initial two weeks off work, and I was bored. Very, very, exceedingly bored. I kept trying to read, but everything spun around. The letters seemed to float like bubbles and gnats around the room. I finally focused all my attention to clear the print and read “The Sun Also Rises” in one day. I had read it many times before, so I didn’t notice that I couldn’t actually follow the plot. I already knew the plot. When I stopped reading and looked up, the room began to spin. It spun and spun and spun until I finally passed out. The next morning, I awoke to the most massive migraine imaginable. I had never had a migraine before, and this, supposedly, was not a normal one. I thought I was hemorrhaging. I called my dad and told him I’d leave the sliding glass door open in case he needed to collect my body. I made peace with the Great Spirit in a moment of wonder, “Oh!!! You exist!” And that was that.

I didn’t die, at least not physically, but everything I thought I knew about myself and my life, all the external definitions died. And yet something remained. That something is the reason I don’t fear death. I see that something in every client, every friend and every stranger. While others fear a collapse of the familiar or a collapse of civilization or the grid, I relish the possibilities. Yes, I want systems in place to be able to handle sewage, food, clean water and some form of heating … you know, the basics … because I don’t like unpleasant smells or desperation. I know we can prepare our communities with backup systems that treat the Earth better and protect us from ourselves.

But I do look forward to people turning inward, as they inevitably do when “tragedy” looms or strikes. I look forward to how real people become when suddenly faced with their own mortality. I have helped so many people die, walked with them as they prepared to transition from this life into whatever lives beyond. I’ve relayed so many messages from passed animals, parents and children — messages with such affirmations and synchronicities that “prove” (to the Soul at least) that life continues. All is well.

As Julian of Norwich said, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” We have agency. And life. We continue to co-create beyond the familiar. Who’s to say that won’t be our very greatest creation?

End of an Era: Fly Free, Grandma Van

My 101-year-old grandmother passed this morning within an hour of the New Moon in Aries. I had the chance to connect with her on a soul level for the past two nights and early this morning, helping her to make the transition to the Otherworld. Some of you may remember my posts about Grandma Van’s 100th birthday party that our family celebrated in January 2012. (Photos and tribute here).

Happy 100th Birthday, Grandma!

Happy 100th Birthday, Grandma!

Vantries Derbenwick was a special woman, so unusual that people still remember her even years after seemingly casual encounters. She is the person from whom I inherited my animal communication abilities, and I spent my childhood watching her call wild blue jays to land on her finger, dote on her many canaries and parakeets, and love her own and others’ dogs. In Phoebe Home, where she spent her last few years, her roommate’s cat took a shine to her, and the staff placed the home’s birds right outside her room, because they all enjoyed each other so much. Now-grown children of people who adopted her dogs when she first went into assisted living still remember bringing the dogs for visits. One parent recently told my dad that her children were so touched by those visits that they had both written papers about them for school.

When I was a child, I lived within a mile of her house. I’d often walk there on the weekend or after school. My grandmother’s yard was wild. In the middle of suburbia, she boasted a chaotic sprawl of trees and shrubs that housed pheasants, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, cardinals, various woodpeckers, blue jays, robins and chickadees. That hilly yard with all its winding roots was a bear to mow, but I always enjoyed the adventure, followed by peanut butter and butter sandwiches, a personal favorite of Grandma Van. She also introduced me to the important differences between Rocky Road and Heavenly Hash ice creams, and Caramel vs. Praline, because “A meal just isn’t a meal without dessert!” (That’s a Grandma Van maxim.)

She collected dolls, crafts, afghans, Hummel figurines, quilts, and stuffed animals. In fact, some might argue that she collected way too many things. In the process of collecting, though, she supported hundreds of artists, doll makers and craftspeople. I attended fairs with my grandmother, and I witnessed how she connected with vendors. They loved her, and it went far beyond the money. They saw that she saw them — that she recognized the care and attention each gave to his or her chosen craft. Many of them continued to write her letters decades after she stopped attending fairs.

My grandmother was a stubborn woman. She knew what she liked and refused what she didn’t. You don’t get to be 101 without some sense of what keeps you enjoying life! A master of knowing her own preferences, she loved romance novels and read several per week. Even on her last day in and out of consciousness, she recognized the woman who runs the book cart!

Grandma Van was difficult to buy for because she was picky and already had so much stuff, but she always appreciated a handmade gift. I spent many hours hand-stitching decorative Christmas pillows and helping her reorganize her shelves. Grandma and I shared the same love language: gifts. Sharing things with those who valued them brought her great joy, and thus she wound up accessorizing and providing kitchenware for many of my early apartments. I had the honor of designing the invitation for her 100th birthday party, and my dad framed one for her, which you can kind of see below:


My dad, David’s sister and I also recently combined efforts to bring her one last gift: a custom, hand-knit afghan in “pastels, no red.” My dad came up with the idea when Grandma requested a new blanket. In retrospect, it was just so perfect, because I had only recently let my parents know about Linda’s awesome knitting skills. Having a handmade gift that involved so much care and coordination from those she loved and a craftsperson just beginning to sell her wares was just soooo Grandma Van!

She was a generous and lively woman, mentally sharp even after multiple strokes. We would have lost her much sooner had she not had so many friends, because one such stroke occurred while she was with a group, including nurses, which resulted in almost immediate care. When Grandma could no longer travel to her bridge group, they traveled to her, using the community rooms at her various assisted living and care facilities. Many of her bridge friends and former neighbors attended the 100th birthday celebration, along with three more generations of living relatives from all over the U.S. and Canada. She was quite the matriarch, greeting each guest with a smile and one of her signature hand squeezes that expressed so much more than words.

Two nights ago, my sister texted me that she didn’t expect her to last until the New Moon. Grandma was in a lot of pain, and we both sensed that she didn’t want longevity just for the sake of longevity. Grandma knew she wanted to go, but she was also scared of whatever lay beyond. I tuned in as I do for clients who wish to connect with someone who can’t communicate in “normal” ways. Feeling her fear and inner dilemma, I asked, “What would make this more comfortable for you?” Immediately, dozens and dozens of pets and wild animal friends appeared — all the ones who had passed before. She was so happy to see them, greeting them each by name. I felt her relax and energetically squeeze my hand with a thank you. When I shared a more detailed version of this experience with my dad, he thanked me and let me know of potent synchronicities surrounding what I’d seen, sensed, and shared. Those little details brought a lot of comfort.

I still feel my grandmother’s presence, but she feels free. And happy. She said her goodbyes to those on this side of the veil, but — to use one of her expressions, “Land sakes” is she ever having a reunion on the Otherside!

Revel in Paradise, Grandma Van!

Fly free like your beloved birds.

Shower blessings on this world to your heart’s content, finally unrestrained by the physical world you savored and shared for more than a century.

I love you.