51) Miracles do Happen!

My twin sister, Tina 2012

My twin sister, Tina 2012

Thursday April 23rd 2009 is a date I will never forget.  On the Wednesday evening Simon and I were supposed to be going away to Dorset  for a mini-break, but as Simon had a headache we decided to go down on Thursday morning instead.

We were up bright and early, just putting the last bits and pieces in the car when the phone rang.  It was my daughter Kristie, who lived with my twin sister Tina and her husband, Woody, and their family.  She told me that Tina was in hospital about to have an emergency operation.  She had suffered a brain haemorrhage late on Wednesday night and was due in theatre any minute to have life saving brain surgery.  I felt my legs go to jelly and I could hardly speak.  I had been speaking to Tina only the evening before and she had been totally fine. 

I went straight to Tina’s house as her children all needed to be cared for and I wanted to be with Kristie too.  Tina and Woody had been unable to have children and had adopted seven learning disabled children over the course of several years.  They ranged in age from three to seventeen at the time.  It was an unreal morning, trying to hold myself together for the sake of the children, but desperately waiting for the phone call from Woody, who was at the hospital, to find if she had made it through the surgery.  Finally just after lunch Woody rang to say she was in intensive care but that the surgery had been successful.  I was over the moon.  I had been praying so hard and felt that my prayers had been answered.

Within a couple of days Tina was moved to the High Dependency Unit and was doing well.  She complained of the most dreadful headache but the staff told us that was quite normal due to her brain surgery.  After just a few more days Tina was moved to a general neurological ward and appeared to be making excellent progress.  She was able to walk and talk quite normally and  have a shower and walk around the ward. The expectation was that she would be home within the week! 

Kristie and I were visiting her daily and on the Thursday, just a week after her operation,  we had all been sitting chatting about the programmes she would be watching that evening when the nurse brought her tea, which included a small bowl of ice cream.  Within minutes Tina’s speech was becoming confused and then I noticed that she was having problems eating her ice cream.  Her hand was making odd movements and she was unable to hold the spoon.  I alerted the staff on the ward and they explained that she might have some fluid on the brain and would carry out a lumbar puncture to release any fluid.  When I left the hospital that evening I was obviously concerned, but the staff had been very reassuring and it seemed that this was quite normal and that the lumbar puncture was routine. 

The following morning I rang the hospital and they asked me to visit urgently.  They explained that Tina was once again in intensive care.  I was not at all prepared for what faced me that day.  The consultant explained that Tina had suffered a massive stroke due to having a vasospasm, a rare side effect of the brain surgery.  In layman’s terms, the blood vessels within her brain had gone into spasm and no blood had been able to reach the frontal lobes.  I was warned that they fully expected her to die.  I don’t know how I managed to physically stand by her bed, I was shaking and crying so much.  She was lying there covered with wires and tubes, buzzers kept going off and she was fitting, which was terrifying to watch.  The machines that were keeping her alive required almost constant attention by the special nurses who were with her.  I couldn’t believe that she had been doing so well and now they really thought she would die.  I prayed so much that day, I asked God why this happened and kept telling Tina over and over again how much I loved her and that she would come through this ok.   When I eventually left the hospital that evening I emailed every healer I could find on the internet asking if they could please send Tina healing.

I really didn’t think I’d be able to sleep that night, but nervous exhaustion thankfully sent me straight to sleep. I awoke in the morning dreading the news from the hospital.  I phoned and they said she was ‘stable’, but added that there had been no improvement.  I went to the hospital as soon as I could and was met by the ward sister who told me to expect the worse.  She explained that only the machines were keeping her alive, and even if she did survive the prognosis was that she would be severely disabled and unable to enjoy any quality of life as her brain was so badly damaged.  Yet again I sat with her, talking to her, stroking her hand gently.  I prayed that she would not leave me.  I had lost my Mum, my Dad and my brother all within the space of three and half months just a few years before, and I just couldn’t bear the thought of losing my twin sister too. I talked to her about our childhood, about the fun we used to have, about family memories, even about the battles we’d had.  I just felt that I could not give up. 

I was sure one day that she had lightly squeezed my hand as I was about to leave, but the nurses assured me that she wouldn’t be able to do that.  They said that her brain was unable to distinguish my voice and that she most probably did not have the ability to understand anything I said to her.  I ignored their advise and just carried on chatting to her right up until the moment I had to leave in the evenings.  Days went by and there was no progress and it became more and more likely that she would just fade away.  I was totally heartbroken.  I had never lived through such a time.  Being an identical twin is impossible to really understand unless you are a twin yourself.  We had been together since before we were born.  We had shared virtually every part of our lives, most of our childhood and teenage experiences, and even though we had fought dreadfully at times, we were always there for each other and loved one another more than can be explained.  Now, days in to her stroke, I was trying to come to terms with the real possibility that this was the end.  That I would not have my twin sister anymore.

They decided to carry out a further operation to install a shunt, a drain in her brain, which would release the fluid from her brain into her stomach.  The operation was in itself risky, but without it she didn’t stand a chance, the fluid in her brain was building all the time.  Again there was the dreadful time of waiting to see if she had pulled through and thankfully she did.  We waited for a couple more days to see if there was any improvement, but still Tina just lay there motionless, on full life support, with every vein in her body seemingly linked to some needle to give her life saving fluids and drugs.  They even had to start using the veins in her feet as they were running out of veins in her arms, her hands and her shoulders.

I continually asked God why this was happening and what more could I do to help her and her family through this, but I was too upset to hear any answers.  Finally, in desperation, I called a medium that I found on the internet. I didn’t want to phone anyone who knew me, I really wanted someone who had no previous knowledge of who I was.   Immediately she began speaking to me, she described our Dad in the most wonderful detail,  and told me that he was talking about someone very close to me who had suffered a bleed on the brain.  She said this person was in a critical condition and was literally between worlds.  She then went on to describe our Mum, both  physically and her character, and said that she was with both of us.   Amazingly she also described our brother and said that he was looking over us and that he was giving me the strength to cope with it all.  She told me that Tina was aware of them with her.  I asked her why this was happening and she said that Tina had chosen to go through this before she was born.  She explained that it was an experience Tina’s soul had wanted and importantly it would show who would support her and who wouldn’t, who would be able to understand, and who would turn away due to the severity of the situation.  I did ask if Tina would survive and the medium told me that she couldn’t answer that, but said that Tina had a very strong spirit and that whatever happened was supposed to happen. I was stunned by such an accurate reading, but still had wished that I could have been told what would be the outcome.

The next day I went into the hospital again and as I walked in I said my usual ‘Hi Sis’ and took her hand.  I was sure her eyelids moved and then thought I felt her gently squeeze my hand again.  I didn’t mention it to the nurses, who I felt sure thought I was imagining it, but inside I felt a warm glow and a real sense of joy.  Something in me realised that she had turned the corner, that she would be ok.

For the first time in weeks I felt an inner calm, an inner strength,  I knew I could cope, as if I had been shown there was light at the end of the tunnel. I was full of optimism for her future.  Tina’s small movements became  almost like a secret code between her and I.  Many times that day her eyelids moved as I said something funny and her fingers softly brushed mine.  I gave her a kiss goodbye before I left and said I’d see her the next day.

The following day I was over the moon to see that Tina had her tracheostomy tube removed.  She could breathe on her own!  That was a  huge hurdle.  As usual I said ‘Hi Sis’ when I arrived and I  almost fell over when a few moments later she uttered, in a very hoarse voice,’ Hi’ – she was back!!! The nurses were laughing and clapping and the whole atmosphere in the unit was lifted.  She didn’t say anything again for a few days, but she still kept moving her eyelids and through her squeezing my hand I could feel her strength grow day by day.

After several more weeks Tina slowly made progress to the point where she was transferred to a neurological rehabilitation unit within the hospital.  She was paralysed on her right side, still doubly incontinent, unable to even turn herself, unable to swallow food, and only able to say a few words, but she could laugh, and we would share afternoons laughing at the times we had been through together.  I would sit with her and we would watch comedy shows and it would lift her spirits.  It really did seem that through joy and laughter she became better and better. Through everything that had happened to her she had managed somehow to  keep her sense of humour.

Over the two years Tina spent in two specialist rehabilitation hospitals, she showed incredible inner strength and courage, overcoming the most enormous obstacles. Learning to do even the most basic things from scratch which most of us take for granted.  She suffered dreadful setbacks, crippling pain in her paralysed arm and leg, frustration of a damaged brain that would not function as she wished, and the agony of a broken hip from falling over when trying to use a walking stick.  She had to be admitted to a normal hospital for a hip replacement operation and this caused even more problems as people didn’t understand her speech and her understanding of language, having had such a serious brain injury. Everytime they asked her if she required painkillers she said yes, even if she didn’t, and by the time she was returned to the rehab unit she was totally bombed by the amount of morphine in her body.  It took weeks for her to get back to some sense of normality. She suffered incredible loneliness and depression whilst trying to come to terms with the fact that most importantly,  she had lost her independence.   

There were so many experiences that had me in tears over the time she was in hospital, but one of the most memorable occasions for me was when she was first able to stand, albeit with support, and we could have a hug. It was the best hug I’d ever had.  We were both in tears as for the first time in many months I held her in my arms and she could hug me back too.  Another wonderful memory was just before her first Christmas in hospital.   The nurses organised a Carol Service  and arranged for a local choir to come along and we all sat singing the carols.  Many of the patients sang too, including Tina, who still has a beautiful singing voice.  They gave her a microphone and she sang Once in Royal David’s City.  With tears streaming down my face it took me straight back to when we were both five and were angels in our school nativity play and we had sung that very song together back then.

I was amazed by the most wonderful work the teams at the rehabilitation units undertook to get Tina as far along the recovery route as possible.  Their patience and understanding was incredible.  I was overwhelmed by the gentleness and kindness of other relatives visiting their loved ones who were also going through the most traumatic times and yet there was a camaraderie between us all, all supporting one another and all living for the time when those dear to us would regain even a little of their lives.  The love within the rehab units was so strong. They were  places of both immense sadness and unbelievable joy, much laughter and sometimes, sadly, unbearable heartache.

I was stunned by the kindness from the wonderful worldwide community of healers, many of whom stayed in contact with me throughout her two years  in hospital.  The strangers, literally scattered across the globe who showed an interest and continued to send their healing thoughts to Tina. I will never be able to thank them enough.  I was so saddened by the lack of support from the friends and relatives that Tina had.  I would never have thought that those whom she had loved and considered close backed away and found themselves too busy to even phone to find out how she was.  I was appalled by the total lack of support from social services who I had assumed would be able to offer some kind of help to Woody and the children, but who in reality basically told me that as the children had been adopted and not fostered there was nothing they could do.   Just as the medium had said, it was an experience which  showed people’s true colours.

It was an eye-opener where friends and relatives were concerned, but it has made us both realise who really matters and who had only been there for the good times. The marriage vow, ‘for better, for worse’, often comes to my mind when I think of the people in Tina’s life who moved away from her and her family during this time, when they needed the love and support the most, and sadly received it the least. Some people even voiced that they felt it would have been better that she had just died. It is something I have tried to understand, but just can’t grasp.  Maybe the lessons are for all of them, maybe they too one day may require those they hold dear to have the patience and understanding to deal with such a trauma, who knows.  Some things are beyond my comprehension and maybe I will find the answers when I am once again back with my family in the spirit world. 

Tina amazed all the consultants and specialists involved in her care. They said many times that her recovery was a miracle, that it should have been impossible for her to make the progress that she has. Although paralysed on her right side she is still improving.  She has learnt to walk again, to eat again, has regained her speech, kept most of her memories and importantly has made new friends through her involvement in stroke clubs that she regularly attends. She has become an avid reader, has learnt to master her i-phone and laptop, how to use Spotify to listen to her favourite music, and can play a mean game of scrabble! We spend most Fridays together now and invariably they are full of fun and laughter. I feel blessed that I still have my sister  and that I have been able to share in such an enlightening experience.

I thank Mum, Dad and our brother Ray, for the continued love and support they have given us, without which I am sure I would have crumbled. I thank God for Tina’s ongoing recovery and for the strength I was given to cope with this.  Most of all I thank Tina for being my twin, she is an inspiration and I am so very proud of her.

50) Is Love Truly Enough?

I have recently been questioning one of my deepest held beliefs.  Not that I would ever doubt spirits existence, or that we are eternal souls,  no, I have no problems with that.  What I have been doubting is the almost universal belief that somehow,  love  conquers all. It seems to me that everywhere I look, either on Facebook or within spiritual internet sites, the over-riding message is that love is all you need, love will overcome anything, love is the key to happiness. I have been struggling with this the past few years.  Yes, I believe that if we all based our decisions on love, our actions on love and our thoughts on love, the world would be a better place, but unfortunately not everyone does!

Maybe it is true in the universal sense, and maybe it is also true in a soul sense, when you take many lives and average it all out, but I’m talking about this one particular physical life we are living right now.  In my experience, and that of some of my closest friends, no matter how much you love someone, they can still use you, betray you and abuse you. Recently a very dear friend of mine had been blatantly used and deeply hurt by someone she considered a life-long friend, a woman she had always tried to help and support in any way she could.  She can find no rhyme or reason for her friend’s behaviour and is extremely upset.  I feel powerless as all I can do is listen but I can’t take away her pain.  Finally, after many weeks of emotional hurt she came to the decision to end their friendship.  Whilst that may well help her to avoid any further mistreatment by her friend, she is left still reeling from recent events.  I wonder what lessons are being taught when someone who so obviously cares about another is mistreated by them.

My own personal experiences have been difficult to contend with at times.  I used to firmly believe that if you showed someone love and compassion that they would treat you well, but often through my life I have found the absolute opposite to be true.  I have puzzled over this many times and had thought that it must be a certain kind of lesson that needed learning.  I have even tried to feel grateful for the role that someone must have agreed to play to assist me in walking my spiritual path. 

Logically it makes sense to me that kindness should help people to overcome their difficulties. This is something I have pondered for such a long time and have asked my spiritual guides for some guidance on this but so far have not received any answers.

When you make the decision to help someone, in whichever way you feel they may benefit, whether it is just a gentle hug, a time to listen to them, or assistance in a more physical sense, why do they then turn around and be rude or malicious towards you?

It has happened in my life so many times that I can see a pattern of events.  What I am hoping is that one day I will have a ‘light-bulb’ moment and suddenly the reason behind this will fall into place.  My husband, Simon, tells me that he thinks I am too gentle, too soft and too forgiving.  I have so often wished I could toughen up as I think my life may be so much easier,  but the problem with that is that I wouldn’t be me anymore.

My brother  always used to laugh at my tolerance and lack of temper.  Considering the parents I had, who honestly  could have won the olympics if there had been an arguing event, you’d have thought I would have a quick temper, but this isn’t true at all. 

I still remember my Mum’s look of amazement when she saw me lose my temper for the very first time when I was fourteen.  We had been to visit Dad in hospital where he had just undergone life saving surgery and he was on full life support, so to say we were concerned and stressed was an understatement.  Mum was driving our large estate car, and I have to say she wasn’t the most confident of drivers at the best of times, but with the worry of Dad obviously on her mind, she had become distracted and taken a wrong turn.  We ended up in a very narrow dead-end street with cars parked each side.  At the very end there was little space to turn around.  It was only just after 9pm, so not what you would call very late.  Mum had to try to turn the car around which meant going backwards and forwards many many times.  She was, I admit, revving the engine a little whilst trying to navigate safely and gently between the cars, but the noise wasn’t that bad.  Well this chap came out of his house and started really shouting abuse at Mum.  Without a thought I jumped out of the car and walked right up to him and gave him such a ticking off.  I was livid that he had upset my Mum and certainly let him know it.  I told him where we’d been and what was happening to my Dad.  Much to my surprise the man became very apologetic and offered to help Mum with the reversing.  What a turn-around! 

I have always found it easier to fight other people’s battles rather than my own.  My brother used to say that I was like the worm that turned, and by that he meant you could push me so far and then that was that.  How right he was.  I have to admit that I can take an awful lot but finally there is the straw that breaks the camels back, and funnily enough it is often a very little straw!

I have had to break ties with people I have truly loved because they have behaved so badly towards me, and it comes to a point when you realise that all the love in the world cannot change their behaviour, and so very sadly and reluctantly, there really is no choice but to walk away.  Sometimes the hurt of staying in a relationship becomes so deep that your physical body cannot cope with the pain, and sometimes, and possibly even more importantly,  you have to learn to value and respect yourself, which I have found the toughest lesson to learn. 

I saw this too with my own Mum.  She tried so very hard to have a good relationship with her  Step-Mother and did everything she could to try to make it work.  When we were a young family we would all travel up to London to see my Nan. We would make this journey at least once a month. Mum and Dad would have to save hard to pay for the petrol and would always be  praying that the car wouldn’t break down because it was pretty old and extremely unreliable. At the time there were no such things as baby seats in cars and Mum would have to spend two hours sitting in the back of the car with my twin, Tina,  and I in her arms.  She laughed when she told us by the time they got there her arms couldn’t move!    As  Tina and I became older we both suffered from dreadful car sickness.  How Mum and Dad coped with this I just don’t know, it must have been a nightmare for them. I know that Mum would always keep a couple of spare outfits for us and on many occasions as soon as we arrived at Nan’s house we would have to nip upstairs and change into fresh clothes.  Thankfully our older brother Ray was not car sick, that would have been unbearable!

When  Tina and I were eleven we went to stay with Nan for the week before we started at senior school.  Mum and Dad took us up there and we spent a wonderful time with her.  We went to see shows in London and enjoyed meeting all of her friends and generally having fun.  When the week was up Mum and Dad came and collected us and strangely the mood in the car on the way home was decidedly frosty.  Sadly for us, that was the last time we ever saw our Nan.  A week or so after our holiday Mum made the decision to break all ties with her.  I was devastated.  I had adored Nan and couldn’t understand how Mum could be so cruel. 

As a young child, what I hadn’t known was that my Nan could actually drive and had a very nice car.  She would tell Mum of all the trips she took to see her various relatives all over the country and yet she had only ever made the journey to visit us once in the eighteen years since Mum had married. Nan was very comfortably off and would help all her  relatives, and yet she never once offered any help to Mum at all.  Mum told me years later that she had spent so much time broken-hearted at the way Nan treated her  that finally she couldn’t take the hurt anymore.  I know now it was not an easy decision for Mum to make and I know that she remained extremely upset about it for the rest of her life.  She had lost her Dad when she was in her early twenties, and having been told that her natural Mother had abandoned her as a baby, she had  desperately wanted to have a loving relationship with Nan.

It took me a very long time to realise that what I and others had perceived as weakness, was in fact an enormous act of strength on my Mum’s part. I can’t imagine the courage she must have mustered to be able to walk away under those circumstances, but she did, and I am sure that in the following years she certainly didn’t miss the heartache that she had endured for so much of her life. One day, when I am once again in spirit and I have my life review, I feel certain that all will become clear …… but in the meantime I must admit I really find this all so very hard to understand.

Daisy Award!!

I was really chuffed today to read that Summer Grant, the author of the wonderful blog, anyonething, had been awarded The Daisy Award.  Then, much to my surprise I found that she had nominated my blog for this award too!!

As with all blog awards, there are rules:

* Thank the person who nominated you

* Tell your readers 7 unusual things about yourself

* Nominate some worthy bloggers – I’m not quite sure what the Daisy award is actually for, but it looks cheerful and to me a daisy is always a happy little plant that comes out in the sun, so I am nominating other blogs that make me feel happy and smiley and full of sunshine!!!

So … thank you Summer (by the way, isn’t that the most wonderful name!) I really appreciated the nomination :)

Hmmm … 7 unusual things … that’s going to be tough because I don’t think I’m at all unusual! Ok … here goes …

1) I am a medium – suppose that is quite unusual – lol

2) I can type quickly and accurately thanks to disciplined training I received at the Central Office of Information when I was 20 years old.  I was a specialist government typist and had to type extremely fast and be totally accurate – and  on an old manual typewriter!

3) I am an identical twin – I am the youngest by ten minutes.

4) My favourite toasted sandwiches are an old family recipe:

Toast two slices of bread, spread one with peanut butter, on the other slice spread marmite and then add cheddar cheese and sliced raw onion and grill slices both until the toppings are bubbling. Put together to make the most delicious sandwich in the world – my husband thinks that is very unusual!

5) I can’t whistle … which is rather sad :(

6) Until I was fourteen years old I had a bad squint in my left eye and no-one would know where I was looking – one eye looked one way, the other eye another . I finally had surgery to correct this but then had double vision for months afterwards and still have when I am tired.  I have to put my hand over one eye so that I can just see one of everything!

7) I used to have a very high soprano singing voice and sang in school choirs etc when I was young.  Now I sound more like Rod Stewart – don’t worry – no-one gets to hear me sing these days!

Here are the blogs that I nominate for this award:

http://thetovaryshconnection.wordpress.com A beautiful spiritual blog that I always look forward to reading.  Grab yourself a cuppa, settle yourself down and enjoy!

http://cauldronsandcupcakes.com Wonderful spiritual blog, written with love, directly from the heart.  You never know what the next post will be – it could be a spiritual story, an energy exercise or a recipe for a delicious cake!

http://notquiteold.wordpress.com/ Fabulous, funny, laugh out loud blog.  Basically for the young at heart who are not yet prepared to give in to getting older!

I do hope you will have a look at these blogs and hope that you’ll enjoy them as much as I do :)

49) The Power of Music

Lyrics – To Where you Are – sung by Josh Groban

Who can say for certain
Maybe you’re still here
I feel you all around me
Your memory’s so clear

Deep in the stillness
I can hear you speak
You’re still an inspiration
Can it be
That you are my
Forever love
And you are watching over me from up above

Fly me up to where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile to know you’re there
A breath away’s not far
To where you are

Are you gently sleeping
Here inside my dream
And isn’t faith believing
All power can’t be seen

As my heart holds you
Just one beat away
I cherish all you gave me everyday
‘Cause you are my
Forever love
Watching me from up above

And I believe
That angels breathe
And that love will live on and never leave

Fly me up
To where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for a while
To know you’re there
A breath away’s not far
To where you are

I know you’re there
A breath away’s not far
To where you are

I attended a weeks mediumship course at the Arthur Findlay College in Stansted several years ago with my friend Trudie.  As always it had been an emotional time with most of us receiving wonderful messages from our loved ones in spirit, and most of us also giving messages to other students.  Being a medium and giving such messages can be quite overwhelming at times when you know the impact that it may have on the recipient.

It had been a fantastic time where we had all moved forward leaps and bounds, both in our links with spirit and in our confidence in feeling at ease enough to stand and give demonstrations to an audience of other students, who are normally our harshest critics!

My tutor that particular week was the very wonderful Janet Parker.  She is an extremely spiritual woman and whenever I have been blessed with being in her class I have always felt that she gives each and every one of her students as much support as possible.  I don’t think many people appreciate the challenges that we mediums put ourselves through when we attend these courses.  It is not as if you can revise to ensure that you manage to maintain a link with spirit, or that you can practise on your own, or that you can read manuals.  It really is just a case of putting yourself forward to serve spirit in the best possible way you can.  It is a case of learning to allow your mind to become still  so that you can connect to spirit without all the day-to-day activities, planning, worries, and the general hum drum taking over your thoughts. You have to be totally trusting when you open your awareness to make contact with spirit.  Sometimes you may hear spirit, or feel them, or see visions in your mind’s eye, and you have to  give the information you are given without adding your own thoughts or ideas. It is quite a discipline to learn.  It is not until you try to do this for hours on end that you realise how difficult it can be to overcome all the nagging thoughts that suddenly rush into your head and scream to be heard!

Being in such a spiritual environment does seem to bring out the very best in my mediumship.  I am sure that spirits are drawn to the place like moths around a light bulb.  There is never a shortage of loved ones who are trying to get their messages conveyed through the students and it really does make the courses so worthwhile.  The tutors guide you gently towards achieving the very best mediumship you can manage and offer tips and ideas to ensure that you develop to your highest potential.

This particular week was very special as on the very first night I had received the most exact and  evidential messages from both my parents through one of the tutors and then also throughout the week from several of the students. I had been going through a very tough time in my personal life and really felt  the messages that I was fortunate enough to receive showed that I still had my parents around me, still loving me and supporting me and offering their advise.  Each reading I had received had contained different evidence that no-one there could have possibly known.  I felt incredibly blessed.

As the week came to a close I felt sad that I would be leaving.  Not only would I miss the teachings and the practising of my mediumship, but I knew it was unlikely that I would be in a position to receive any further communications from my parents for quite some while.  Janet, and Paul Jacobs, another tutor, had organised a closing ceremony in The Sanctuary, a beautiful church attached to the college where spiritual services are held on a regular basis. It has a fantastic uplifting atmosphere and I’ve always loved being there, you can almost feel arms wrapped around you as you walk in. They told us that we weren’t allowed to attend until 8pm as they had some preparations to complete.  Trudie and I hadn’t really given the evening too much thought as most final evenings are nice, but not anything out of the ordinary.

When we walked into the Sanctuary, just after 8pm, we were greeted by the most wonderful vision of beautiful materials and oriental rugs laid on the floor running down the centre of the church. Incense sticks were burning and candles flickered in the darkness. Hundreds of small unlit tealight candles had been placed on the materials and chairs were placed either side running the length of the Sanctuary.  There was a  hush of anticipation as we students all filed in quietly, taking our seats whilst gentle music was playing.

Trudie and I sat next to each other about midway down the room.  Janet and Paul both gave a talk about the week we had just experienced and thanked spirit for their participation in our teachings.  Janet then instructed the students sitting at the end of the rows to light a candle for each loved one they had in spirit, then the lighter was to be passed to the next student, then the next etc. By the time it came to Trudie and I most of the candles were already lit and the Sanctuary looked absolutely amazing.  I lit candles for my Mum, for my Dad, for my brother, for my friend Janet, and not wishing to look greedy, lit another jointly for all  my aunts. uncles and grandparents in spirit.  Trudie too lit candles for those she had loved and lost, including her cousin Robert whom she missed so much.

When all the candles were lit Janet asked us to close our eyes. She asked us to give thanks to our guides and loved ones for helping us through the week and for allowing us to experience the love from spirit  that we had all shared. Whilst our eyes were closed, and we were sitting in the candle light, Janet put on the music, To Where You Are, performed by Josh Groban.  I had never heard this before and was lost in the beautiful words that meant so much to me.  I couldn’t help but start crying, both because of the joy of knowing my loved ones were so close and also because of the pain and loss at realising that I can’t always reach out and touch them, speak to them, or hold them as I once did. I felt around in my pocket for a tissue and all I had was an old crumpled one.  I thought it would have to do, and then I realised Trudie was crying too, she whispered to me “Do you have a tissue?”, I only had the one, so I tore it in half, and there we were, the two of us, holding hands and using half a tissue each to mop our tears.

Whenever I listen to this beautiful song, as I often do, I am taken straight back to the Sanctuary, to the love and connection I felt with spirit, to the knowledge that I know how very fortunate I am to have my loved ones in spirit still so close to me …. and then, when the emotion becomes almost just too much to bear …. to the old crumpled tissue that my friend Trudie and I shared!

48) A Walk on the Wylde Side!

Over the years I have been to see many mediums giving demonstrations.  Some have been ok, some have been so dreadful it was an embarrassment for everyone, and some have been very good.

A few weeks ago I was told that Mandy Wylde would be giving a demonstration of her mediumship at Woolston Spiritual Centre, a newly opened non-denominational centre near Southampton.  I had met Mandy only a couple of times at another spiritualist church I attended a couple of years ago.  I was introduced to her by another friend, Jane, and she had told me that  Mandy was a very good spiritual healer and a medium, but I had never known anyone she had carried out a reading for.

A couple of a my friends were going along so I decided it might be a nice way to spend a summer’s evening.  My friend Annette and her husband Colin had opened the centre a few months before but as I had been unwell I hadn’t managed to go along and see everyone, so it would also be wonderful to catch up with some old friends and see the new centre.

All the way there my tummy was churning, which is something that happens whenever spirit are close to me.  It is a familiar feeling if I am sitting for spirit or in any kind of development group, but not normally when I am going to see someone else give a demonstration.  I told my friend Niki that my tummy felt very odd and she said that it might mean I was going to be given a message.  I have been to many demonstrations over the last few years, but so rarely received a message from any of my loved ones in spirit that I didn’t really consider that this particular night would be any different.

As soon as Mandy stood up I really thought I was going to be sick, my stomach went totally ballistic and I thought I might have to leave the hall because I felt so dreadful.  Then, seriously, every single hair on my body went on end, I had the biggest whooshy feeling I had ever experienced.  Mandy started talking and said she had a woman in spirit with her and was talking about a house fire.  I knew we had a house fire when I was very young so I kept listening to the evidence she was giving.  Then she went on to say that this woman had arthritis, which again Mum had suffered with.  I was still wary of putting up my hand because I would absolutely hate to steal someone elses message, but then  Mandy said she could hear a song being played that she knew was important to both the woman she felt was with her, and the recipient.  The song was Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue’ sung by Crystal Gayle.  My goodness, I was struggling to hold back the tears.  When I was younger I had quite a good singing voice and Mum had specifically asked me to record myself singing this song.  She carried the tape around with her for years and always made her friends listen to it whilst they were travelling in the car. Immediately I put up my hand.

Mandy went on to give me the most wonderful evidence that she had my Mum with her, evidence that none of my friends even knew.  It was the most beautiful heart warming message and Mandy conveyed exactly the personality of my Mum.  She even talked about a discussion I had been having earlier that day, which there was no way in the world she could have possibly known about it.  It was amazing.

She then went on to give other messages to several other people in the hall.  Each of them was delivered with respect, kindness and a real sense of who they were.  She managed to lighten the atmosphere when required with funny anecdotal evidence but was also able to give the most touching messages.  It was a real pleasure to spend the evening watching her demonstrate and I could have happily sat there for much longer. The hall’s atmosphere was fabulous, everyone was laughing and smiling, some were crying with joy and gasping at her incredible accuracy. She gave names, relationships, addresses and really unusual information. I have to say it was the very best demonstration of mediumship I had ever seen.

A couple of weeks passed and another medium was due to hold the Sunday service at the centre, but had cancelled for some reason and so Annette asked Mandy if she could step in.  I hadn’t planned on going along at all, but as the weekend went by I really felt that I must go.  I wasn’t exactly sure why, but I knew I would regret it if I didn’t go.

It was another lovely summers evening and the atmosphere of the hall was warm and inviting.  There are large windows along one wall and the sun was shining in as we all sat there waiting for the evening to begin.  I couldn’t believe it when yet again my tummy started churning and I kept praying that it would stop.  To begin with Mandy gave a wonderful reading and address about a man who had been struck by lightning and had medically died but who managed to survive and could remember being dead!  It was fascinating, especially the enormous changes it made to his whole life.  So often I have sat through the most long-winded boring addresses and just been waiting for them to finish, but this was really interesting.

We sang a couple of songs and then Mandy stood to give her demonstration of mediumship.  She gave several excellent messages to different people and after a while I could see from the clock that it was almost time for her to finish.  I wondered why my tummy had been churning so much, having secretly hoped that maybe I would receive another message, but I didn’t really dare hope that would happen.  I had already enjoyed the evening so much so was thinking that we would be going home in a minute or two.

Then Mandy started physically describing a man who sounded very much like my brother, and again I was covered in goosebumps, but didn’t put my hand up until I had heard more.  Mandy then talked about his personality, which was quite unique and she said he was telling her the name Ray – which was my brother’s name.  I just knew it was him, so excitedly put my hand up.  Yet again Mandy gave me astonishing evidence and even more wonderful was that my aunt had come with him, and Mandy gave the most wonderful unequivocal information about her too.

I realised then why I had been so keen to go along.  I felt so blessed that in a matter of just a few weeks I had received messages from both Mum and Ray. I am sure that a bright future lays ahead for Mandy.  She is such a good medium that as word spreads she will certainly be in great demand!

Comment emailed to me by Mandy Wylde:

 Dearest Tisha,  

I am moved to tears after reading your journal, I am so thrilled you felt so much peace and love on the two occasions you came to Woolston Spiritual Centre.   Some months ago I asked spirit,  “put me where you want me to be”,  I guess they did.  I love giving evidence from the spirit world to bring love and comfort, thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings,  much love xx

47) Mixed Blessings

Sword 01

There have been several instances in my life where being aware of more than just our physical lives has sometimes felt like a double-edged sword.

When I was in my early twenties  my ex and I lived in Twickenham and we would often drive along Richmond Road to Richmond.  One day we drove past a truck with a lift attached to the back.  I have no idea what they are called, but they have a small cage which normally has one or two men in it whilst they carry out maintenance to the street lamps.  As we drove towards the truck I could see a film in my head of the cage being hit by a double-decker bus.  I felt sick in my stomach and without realising it had let out a very loud “oh my God”.  He asked me what the problem was and I told him what I had just seen in my head.  He kind of tutted and said it would be fine.  It was quite a long road and before the road went to the left round a bend I looked out of the back window back towards the truck.  I could see a bus coming along and then to my horror it hit the cage.  I gasped and shouted “oh no, you have to stop” but my ex was in busy traffic. He said that as the road was busy there would be lots of people to help.  I think he expected me to just carry on as normal but I just couldn’t. 

In August 1990 I was working and living in Okehampton, Devon.  Working so close to home meant that I could go home for lunch and give myself a welcome break from the pressure of my work.  I remember one day so very well.  I had sat down to eat a sandwich, put the television on and saw that the lunchtime news was giving information about a missing little girl.  She was only eight years old and very strangely had been taken through an open window of a caravan whilst she and her family were on holiday in Bridport, Dorset.  As I watched I felt so worried for her and concerned for her family. I doubt that anyone can imagine how it must feel to know that your child has been taken and you have no idea where she is, or even whether she is dead or alive.

Oddly, as I watched the footage of a line of police officers scouring the local fields for any evidence, I had another movie playing in my head.  I could see the little girl in a derelict house with a young  man and she was frightened and crying.  Most importantly she was alive.  I felt the man was mentally unstable and that concerned me more than anything.  Then, just as suddenly as the ‘movie’ had started, it stopped and I was back to watching tv again. I was quite taken aback and really thought that it was just wishful thinking.

There was a part of me that thought I should do something about the pictures I had just seen, but the logical part of me disregarded the nagging voice in my head, and so I put it to one side and went back to work.  Throughout the afternoon though I kept seeing the same movie over and over again, and no matter how I tried to ignore it, it just wouldn’t go away. Finally, by the time I had finished work and went home I was beginning to think I was going mad.  I was sure that by now they would have found the girl and as soon as I got indoors I put the tv on to see the evening news.  Again, they showed the police looking for her, and yet again in my head I was shown the house she was in.

I had a lurching feeling in my stomach as if I had just been given some bad news. I realised then that I couldn’t sit and do nothing and so I decided to phone my local police station. I had half expected them to tell me not to waste their time, and was in fact already wondering what else I could do if that was the case. Much to my surprise the man who answered the phone listened patiently and told me they would send a detective to come and see me. Even more surprising was that he arrived only about ten minutes later.

As I opened the door a wave of embarrassment came over me, I told him that he most probably would think I was totally crazy  but I just knew I had to do something and didn’t know what else to do other than phone the police.  He was actually very nice and told me that having been in the police service for a number of years nothing surprised him anymore. He asked me to describe the house and the young man I had seen and also asked if I could draw the house for him.  I tried my best to explain everything in the greatest detail I could, I  managed to draw a rough sketch of the house and signed a formal police statement. As he left I literally prayed that someone somewhere would take notice of the information and that they would start to search houses for the little girl rather than looking in the countryside for a corpse.  I really felt that time was running out and that they had been looking in the wrong place.

I hardly slept that night, and again, first thing in the morning put on the tv to see the news.  The little girl had still not been found.  I felt I had no option but to drive the 65 miles to Bridport.  I was hoping against hope that I would somehow be able to spot the house, and if I did I had planned to then inform the police.  I drove around for hours, but didn’t see any houses like the one I had seen in my vision. I sadly and wearily drove back to Okehampton. A huge part of me felt I had let the little girl down and I was becoming concerned that the video I had seen in my head seemed to have gone away. I just prayed that nothing dreadful had happened to her.  I was glued to the tv all evening and  there was still no news.

Again I had a restless night.  I was puzzling why I could no longer see the pictures in my mind and also wondering if I had somehow imagined the whole thing.  At last the morning arrived and the first thing I did was put the television on.  Still no news.  I went to work, struggling to stay awake and to stay calm but with my tummy continually churning, which I have learnt over the years is a physical response I have when spirit is close.

Thankfully that day the little girl was found, safe and well.  I was absolutely amazed when they showed the house on the tv and zoomed in – it was exactly the derelict house I had described to the police. Also, as I had told them,  she was with a young man who was later found guilty of kidnap and imprisoned in a secure mental health unit. I now wonder if my visions had stopped because I had done all I could.  I doubt if I will ever really know.

As expected I never did hear anymore from the police on this, but I do hope that my statement made them realise, for the future at least, that it is worth listening to information from mediums.

After  this event I seemed to go through a couple of years where many times, especially when a child went missing, I would be shown the most sad and often harrowing scenes but I was not given any further information.   I would also watch tv interviews of families where children had gone missing and know instinctively who was responsible, but with no evidence to back it up I couldn’t contact anyone.  I just knew that there was nothing I could do. On each occasion my ‘knowing’ was proved right. Eventually I asked my guides not to let me have  information if there was no action I could take to help  and thankfully those kind of visions stopped. 

On the plus side, when I was learning to drive in deepest Devon, many of my lessons were on very narrow winding roads. Very often my driving instructor would comment on my sixth sense as I would often be happily whizzing along for miles, then I would just know to slow down and pull over, and sure enough a car would always come the other way. I had several lessons with my good friend Jeanette and she became really spooked by my unusual awareness. On so many occasions I would know exactly what other cars were going to do, even if their signals and road position indicated otherwise. One time we were behind queuing cars at traffic lights and I was supposed to get in the empty right hand lane to turn right, but I held back. Jeanette told me to move forward but I insisted that the car at the lights, indicating left and with his wheels already pointing in that direction, would be pulling across in front of me. Jeanette laughed and just thought I was being daft. Sure enough though, as the lights changed, the car in the left hand lane suddenly swung to the right and tore off at great speed.

Almost thirty years ago I had a wonderful spiritual reading, by telephone, with a medium I had never met. Straight away she asked me if I ever felt ‘cobwebs’ on my face as I was driving. I said yes. it was quite normal for me, and she went on to explain that it was a sign that my maternal Grandfather was with me. She told me he was a lorry driver in his life time and he was looking after me. She knew nothing about me, but she was right, he had been a lorry driver, and since that time whenever I feel ‘cobwebs’ on my face I say thank you to my Grandfather. This has happened so many times, and still does, I really feel I am so fortunate to have him watching over me.

Over the years I have learnt to trust spirit and the visions I have which have rarely been incorrect.  I have sometimes wondered if my life would have been easier had I not been so aware, but in reality I wouldn’t change a thing.  My connections with spirit have made such an enormous and positive difference to my life and hopefully, at times, have helped others along the way too.  If through my awareness, even  just a few people have been touched by the love of spirit and the knowledge that our lives, right now, are only part of our souls journey, then I feel truly blessed.

46) Inspiration from Strangers

A couple of weeks ago we went on a wonderful mini-break staying in London. 

 I had always wanted to go to the Chelsea Flower Show as I have loved plants and gardens all my life, but it seemed there was always a reason that I couldn’t get there.  This year it was actually Simon who suggested we went as he thought it might be a good place to use his wonderful new camera.  Don’t get me wrong, he does like flowers and trees, and he is interested in the designs of gardens, but he doesn’t have the passion for gardening that I have. 

I was so excited when we booked the tickets a few months ago.  At the time I was going through a fairly good phase healthwise and really thought that with a few planned breaks, I’d be up to mulling around the show gardens and the wonderful exhibits and show stands that makes Chelsea the world-renowned show it has become.  I spent hours on the internet researching places to stay and found The Presidential Apartments in Earls Court.  I always feel slightly claustrophobic in a hotel room, hating the feeling of being boxed in and normally having nowhere else to sit but on the bed, and these apartments appeared to give you more space with a separate sitting area and even a kitchenette to prepare your own breakfast etc.  I booked through a booking site and managed to secure a fantastic deal so I was a very happy bunny!

As the time became closer I was becoming quite despondent.  My feet, legs and hips had decided they really did not want to work.  I can only explain it as if when you wake up, instead of feeling refreshed and awake, you feel as if you have been mountain climbing all night and you have virtually no energy and considerable pain.  I knew that my legs could only hold me up for a few minutes at a time, with very long rests in between, and was beginning to think that maybe we should just cancel and accept that this year was not going to be the year I’d eventually get there.  Simon though had a totally different plan in his mind.  He was determined that we would go and still have a wonderful time, we’d just take my wheelchair along too. I have a wheelchair and an electric scooter, and whilst I am quite happy to use the scooter if we go for a ‘walk’ in the forest, or along by the coast, I have avoided using the wheelchair for a few years now.  I would normally rather stay indoors and read or listen to music than brave the outside world in my wheelchair.

I know it’s sometimes stupid, but I absolutely hate being in it.  I was in a wheelchair quite a lot as a young child (another story!) and I think because of that I almost have a phobia about using one.  I feel like I’ve given up.  I also know it’s daft, but in my head I feel capable of everything, and so in my heart I feel a fraud sitting in a wheelchair.  I also feel like I am a failure, like I have given in, like I should be able to control my body and tell it what I expect it to do.  I find it so hard to accept that in reality I appear to have no input where my physical problems are concerned. I always feel a nuisance and in the way in a wheelchair, and hate the idea of looking ‘disabled’, even if, I suppose, I often am!

In preparation for our mini-break the wheelchair came out of the garage and the cobwebs and dust were flicked away.  Simon re-inflated the tyres, we bought a comfy seat cushion and a very clever back cushion that doubled as a picnic pack slung over the back.  The weather had been atrocious and we expected rain so I ordered a very cool purple poncho specially designed for wheelchair users.  Instead of sitting in a puddle of water (NO, not that I have accidents! We are talking heavy rain here!) this poncho had cleverly designed ‘flaps’ that go over the back and sides of the wheelchair – also keeping the picnic pack dry at the same time. We were set.

We arranged to go by train and using my disabled rail card meant that the cost wasn’t prohibitive.  Simon’s sister Wendy agreed to take us to the train station.  Everything was organised.  The sparkly clean wheelchair sat in the dining room but every time I walked past it I felt a massive heaviness.  The thought of being in it for three days just filled me with dread.

The day arrived and instead of the rain we were in the midst of a mini heat wave.  My purple poncho was not required !

I hadn’t travelled up to London on a train for a long time and was really surprised how wonderfully clean the train was, how smooth it was too, no jigging and swaying, it was as if it was gliding along.  There was an allocated space for the wheelchair so it wasn’t in anyones way, nicely tucked in a specially designed rack.  It was a truly lovely journey.  Comfortable seats, light and airy, just sitting chatting and enjoying the beautiful scenery of Hampshire and Surrey. Everyone at the railway station had been so helpful and nothing was too much trouble. 

When we arrived at Waterloo we made our way out to the taxi rank and I was pleasantly surprised at how everyone happily moved out of the way, smiling at me whilst they apologised for being where they had every right to be.  The taxi driver too was a happy soul, cheerily chatting to us as he drove us to our destination. The wheelchair folded down and was no problem in the back of the cab. 

We were expecting a very small apartment, basically a bed-sit, but at least somewhere with a separate sitting area and a kitchenette.  I couldn’t believe it when we were shown to a very stylish split-level loft-style apartment with far more space that we had ever imagined.  We had huge windows with views over beautiful gardens and every modern gadget you could possibly require and very importantly, being in the middle of a heat wave, it had air conditioning too.  It was totally fabulous. 

In the evening we decided to go for a stroll and find somewhere to eat.  It had been such a hot day it was great to be out and about, albeit that I was being pushed along in my wheelchair.  I had lived in South Kensington with my twin sister when we were 18 years old and hadn’t been back to that area for many many years.  Amazingly I still knew my way around and before we knew it we were right outside the garden flat (a posh way of saying  basement flat) that Tina and I had shared all those years ago.  The whole area still looked exactly as it had done in the mid 70’s and I could direct Simon to some great places to eat.  We found an Italian restaurant in Gloucester Road and sat outside in the warmth of the evening enjoying a wonderful supper.  I couldn’t believe so many people where out and about, it was almost a party atmosphere.  I felt 18 all over again!! Yet again, everyone offered us assistance and gladly moved out of the way as I was wheeled along.

 The next day we were up at the crack of dawn to go to Chelsea! We arrived super early and for the first couple of hours we could easily navigate around the various exhibits but as the time went on it became increasingly busy until there was not even a foot in front of me.  Simon had to be so patient waiting for people to move before he could gently weave the wheelchair through the crowds without clipping people’s ankles.  Yet again, people were so kind, some even calling out ‘wheelchair coming through’ and everyone, without exception, would happily move out of the way. 

Looking at the show gardens was just brilliant.  There were crowds, several people deep, all vying to take a look at the gardens, and yet when they saw me in my wheelchair people would move away from the barriers and let me through ….  right to the front!  Not only did I have the best view in the house (so to speak) but on a couple of occasions, the actual designers came over and chatted with me.  They would explain the reason for the design, why they chose certain architectural structures and how they had decided which plants to use.  I felt like a V.I.P.!!

I saw that the queues for the ladies loos were a mile long and thought that I’d just have to sit and wait it out with everyone else, at least I was sitting down and on my new cushion I couldn’t have been more comfortable.  We only waited a couple of moments and I couldn’t believe it when an official lady very kindly asked me to take a totally different route and I was shown into a palatial loo, complete with its own basin and top of the range toiletries.

We had the most fantastic day, and, thanks to my wheelchair, we saw everything we could have ever wanted to with the very best possible views. It was everything I had ever hoped Chelsea would be.

It was only when we were leaving the apartment that we found they had upgraded our room, totally free of charge, no wonder it was so spacious and well equipped! That type of thing always seems to happen to other people but it happened to us!

Again, the train journey back was just great.  Everyone, from the moment we left the apartment, until we arrived home, was so helpful and friendly.  I can honestly say I felt I had been blessed the whole weekend.  I was humbled by the incredible kindness of every single person we met.  Not one person complained that I was in the way, or that they had to move for me.  Everywhere we went people asked if we needed help, if there was anything they could do for us.  It was incredible.  When you think of all the people we had come into contact with over that weekend, and it seriously must have been in the hundreds, it was amazing how every one of them showed  such consideration.

We are all open to the news, whether it’s through newspapers (which I actually don’t read) or through the tv or radio, and the reports always seem to show that the world is full of rude and uncaring people, that we live in a world of selfishness.  I can’t believe that we were just lucky with who we happened to meet  in London, it proved to me that virtually everyone is actually basically good.  Isn’t it a great pity that our news doesn’t reflect the reality of the society we live in?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our news corporations gave us a more even view of our world, rather than focussing, as they do, on acts of violence and betrayal?

So, after all my despondency, seriously considering cancelling the whole weekend and concerns about using my wheelchair,  I loved our  break in London.  I have some wonderful memories of our time at Chelsea, but I know what will stay with me forever were the overwhelming gifts of kindness and thoughtfulness that we experienced from perfect strangers.  The world  is a far better place than most of us realise. It really was one of the most inspirational experiences.

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