Having written two books about visitations from departed loved ones and other aspects of the psychic world, you would think that grief might pass me by when a family member departs. After all, my husband sees dead people. Isn’t that enough to reassure me that my departed mother is fine? Well, no. I am also a science writer and the skepticism that comes with that is kicking in along with my grief.
As a journalist, I have interviewed well-known psychic mediums who converse with the dead on a daily basis, but in the face of death even they find no peace in that ability. One told me that during his college days, when he saw his friend’s spirit wave good-bye to him before he even knew he had passed, it caused confusion, then intense grief. Another told me that she fears the transition of dying and asked her departed mother if she would help guide her over when the time comes.
Faith may help people eventually assuage their grief or make some sense of it, but it does not alter the fact that the bond you had with that person on the physical plane in this lifetime is now broken—forever.
For the past eight years, I spent Sundays with my mother. Now that day leaves a gaping hole in my calendar. I can’t call her and tell her the latest news about my family. I can’t stop by and share a cup of tea. From the hundreds of interviews I’ve conducted in writing my two psychic bystander anthologies, Loitering at the Gate to Eternity and Sightseeing in the Undiscovered Country, I know on some level that my mother went to a reunion on the other side and is doing fine. She is no longer trapped in a damaged, paralyzed body. But on a gut emotional level, I’m angry at the universe for the brutality of her death and aching at the separation.
I am fortunate that many friends who’d gone through the agony of a long hospice good-bye and self-questioning over end-of-life choices called me to share their experiences and reassure me that everything I was feeling was normal.
When my father died 21 years ago, I felt ill at ease until I received a lucid dream several months after his death in which he showed me the incredible place where he was dwelling. He gave me a short tour and left me with a feeling of total bliss that lasted for a week after the dream faded. I am hoping that something similar will happen with my mother so I can be reassured that all is well and that she agreed with the tough choices I was forced to make at her bedside.
My mother didn’t have an easy life, but despite that, she was a very happy person. What I remember most about her is her uninhibited smile and joy for life. When the grief fades, that incredible memory will be her legacy.