my closest companion,
my psychic pal
my heart is heavy, heavy
my house is dead quiet
Jane Austen will grieve, too
my closest companion,
Hearing stories about ghosts (spirits) living in different houses and researching what their story may be that keeps them there is fascinating. I’ve had experiences of my own so I can relate. Yet the many tales of messages coming from loved ones that tickle me most. Maybe that’s because so many people have had that experience and never think to refer to it as a message from a spirit on the other side.
I know of one person in particular that didn’t go to work at the Twin Towers in NYC on 9/11. “Just an inkling,” he said. “Not really sure why I turned around from the commuter station and went back home. It’s not like we were going to go off to play in the park. I came to see if I could help my wife with her work making chocolates. Nothing that she doesn’t do every day when I’m not here.” I wonder which one of his spirit guides or ancestors whispered in his ear to take that rare day off from work.
He admitted to me, “I never took off from work. I loved the job I did.” His wife stood next to him, her head nodding in agreement. If I had told him someone was in touch with him from the ‘other side’ he probably would have pooh-poohed it. But I’m glad he listened, heard it and paid attention.
Because of my own experience of finally opening that old chest of secrets i carried around, heavy on my back, for half a century, my words to others are “write it down and let it go.” Write about the events in your life that you don’t talk about, that your try to smother and not even think about yourself. Write it down, talking about it isn’t enough. The writing of it, even if you don’t plan to publish or even share it, begins to put a scab on your hurts so they can heal. Write it down.
Add the funny things that may not have been so funny when they happened. They will lighten up your piece and will remind you that it wasn’t all bad. Those little moments that happened kept you from going over the edge. I think our journeys must be planned that way.
Keep in mind that you don’t need anyone’s permission to tell your story the way you saw it happen. It may be a different version than someone else’s but it is the way you saw it that makes it your story. You are not responsible for anyone else’s vision. If you are concerned someone else may be upset at what you are writing about them, they should have behaved better. It isn’t your fault if they behaved badly. Start anywhere. It doesn’t have to be from the beginning. You can always go back in time and add it when you think of it. You can edit your writing later. Just get it out and get it down. It goes much easier once you begin. Remember that the more you write, the easier and better your writing becomes. Your writing will amaze you. You will also see what a wonderful person you are. After all, if it is in print…
A torrent of passion went through me when i first began writing A Nosegay of Violets. It covered events that happened to me that I buried deep inside, never to talk about to anyone. When pen hit paper, actually fingers hit computer keys, a flood resulted. The words and memories burst out of me. I was so caught up in releasing the hurt, anger, and wonder of my journey that i never rewrote the manuscript or had it professionally edited. I just put it out there like shedding an old skin.
I constantly encourage others to write their stories. Especially women who think they have not lived an exciting life. They don’t realize how others are touched by their experiences. Their thoughts and lessons learned in life may easily help another. Or maybe supply entertainment if the case may be. You are the only one who can tell your story as you lived it, giving reasons why you made the decisions you made. Sometimes it’s a relief to tell the secrets you hold close to your chest. Get rid of that heavy load you carry around. Lighten up. None of what you did will bring an end to the world.
Often writing your memoir will help heal old wounds. You come to terms with trauma. Through writing my story, i came to understand my mother as i never saw her before. It changed my whole perception of her and gave me a clearer picture.
Now i offer my A Nosegay of Violets revised edition, rewritten as a past tense narrative and updated it. I let the reader know at the beginning that the title refers to my always being the different one. It’s what i heard all my life and finally found my place in being different. And it was good.
So, I did get back to My Search for Christopher on the Other Side by Joe McQuillen and continued to read. The great thing about the book is that Joe does get in touch with his son. This is something I also tell people who have lost a loved one. You can be in touch. You may not be able to wrap your arms around him/her but you can learn how to develop that part of you that can see beyond the veil. Just knowing that they look after you, sometimes guiding you or sending messages (if you are alert you will receive them) in one way or another is comfort.
Guy’s coming to me by flicking my hair was a great comfort at the time. I didn’t have that when my son Kenny passed away six years earlier. His passing sent me on a quest to understand death and that brought me to understand life. My continued path of learning brought Kenny to me as a vision of him appeared before me. He was ten years old, grinning like he had just caught a big fish. His dark hair was too long and his pants were too short. That was him at ten. Growing fast. The image of him was quite unexpected and a moment that I hold very close to my heart. My journey is working. I’m learning to open my heart, eyes, and ears to feel them when they are near. I have learned that their passing away early in life was part of my journey, too. Does this mean that I don’t cry anymore?
Actually long periods of time pass without my thinking of them. I chose to live rather than waste away in a corner weeping for what I don’t have. They are with me always. It’s like carrying a favorite lacy handkerchief in my pocket. I know it’s there if I am about to sneeze but I don’t have to be conscious of it all the time.
Kenny’s ashes are in Arlington. Guy’s are buried with my mother’s in an herb garden I planted. I respect anyone who needs to be physically close to their loved one’s grave or ashes, but I don’t need to do that. I am quite content because I know they are joyful right where they are. How can I not be happy when they are? That doesn’t mean I don’t miss the adults they would have become. At times, like reading Joe McQuillen’s book it brought my loss home to me. It’s a good cry when it comes, healthy, clears out my sinuses and releases a sadness deep within. I still love them to bits.
I highly recommend My Search for Christopher on the Other Side. He is a brave man to share intimate feelings so others may find comfort and learn from his experience. It is a definite read for anyone wanting to know more about life and death and the life that comes after. My hat is off to you Joe!
by arlene s. bice
Guy wanted to be the protector
at 3 years old
he emptied his brother’s piggy bank
sweetly took the little girl next door by the hand
they walked a mile
to the nearest candy store.
Alerted by a frantic me
the police found them
in an area I said
“he would never go that way”
as they walked home
licking their ice cream cones.
He believed in being a super hero
donned the Superman suit I made for him
one Hallowe’en when he was 6
all royal blue with red accents
a golden S splashed on his chest
He raced through the house
building up steam
threw the kitchen door open
onto the back porch and flew
off the ledge
he fell straight down 6 feet.
he was shocked!
surprised! he didn’t fly!
he couldn’t fly!
Months ago I began reading My Search for Christopher on the Other Side by Joe McQuillen about the loss of his 21 year old son in a small boat accident two years earlier. It unexpectedly heaved me into the recollection of my son Guy’s drowning, surprising me with that pain and deep sorrow that lay just below the surface. I thought I had mourned him (privately) and put the tragedy to bed.
I am usually a fast reader and at times a speed reader absorbing an entire page in one glance. Not so with this book. I had to put it down after just a few pages. I started to come unglued.
Christopher went into a boat with three buddies; my son Guy went with one buddy. Alcohol and/or drugs were probably involved with Christopher, surprisingly, they weren’t with my son. For Christopher it was in the middle of the night, with Guy it was the middle of a sunny Sunday afternoon. They both drowned. Guy was 24 and it was more than thirty years ago.
Comparing, I thought. Is that what I’m going to do through all 244 pages? I put the book down for a second time after reading only one more chapter. Jeez, what is going on with me? I thought while I sobbed, glad no one could see me. It’s unusual for me to be so emotional. Cool control is my mantra. I have not shed tears about this since I put Guy’s ashes to rest on the bookshelf. It helped that since my 24 year old son Kenny died in an auto accident six years previous to Guy, I had read and learned about life after life. I was happy to believe that he didn’t die, only left his body behind and that sat in plain view where I could see him. To further healing my sorrow, Guy came to me several times flicking the hair that curled just behind my right ear. It wasn’t my imagination. A woman coming into my book/gift shop one day saw him, blurted it out before she could even consider not telling me. Of course she was a psychic and saw him clearly.
I was content with that. He had fulfilled his journey for this lifetime, including my part in it and we would be sharing other lifetimes in the future. He comforted me with his appearances even though I didn’t see him.
Photos of him from babyhood throughout his life until he became the union stone mason (he gave me the first dollar he earned as a stone mason) popped into my mind from time to time. That was good. I carried him with me as I carried the others I loved who had passed on. They are always with me.
So what is going on with this reading of Joe McQuillen’s book?