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! 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.

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.

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

42) An Apology

The pier at Burnham-on-Sea

The pier at Burnham-on-Sea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I owe God an apology.  Well in fact it’s an apology both to God and Jesus.  It’s an apology from myself and also on behalf of my twin sister Tina, as we were in cahoots at the time, so I hope they will accept this from both of us.

When we were about eleven years old, Mum was, spiritually speaking, trying to finding her way.  From my earliest memories I remember Mum trying various religions.  Some she would really get involved in and others she would dismiss very quickly. She was a natural medium, but even with the knowledge that spirit is energy and so, ever-lasting, she was still searching for the meaning of life and felt that ‘somewhere’, ‘ out there’ she would find it.

She was working as a secretary for an airline in Hounslow, Middlesex,  close to Heathrow Airport, and it was there that she met another secretary, Jean.  Jean was a staunch member of the Plymouth Brethren Church.  Unfortunately for us, Mum thought that this religion might be the one that we should all take on board.  All, meaning Mum and Tina and myself, as Dad would never step foot inside a church and by that time our older brother,Ray, was more into becoming a hippy and playing his guitar than wanting to find himself embroiled in some religious activities.

Jean belonged to a small Plymouth Brethren church that Tina and I attended with Mum on a few occasions.  The whole place was very understated and to me felt totally flat.  There was no atmosphere at all, no feeling of joyous celebrations of life, just really boring sermons, uncomfortable chairs and self-righteous middle-aged ladies, faces scrubbed clean and dressed in drab neat boring clothes.   They had such strict rules which basically meant that if you were to become one of them you wouldn’t be able to have much fun at all. I couldn’t help but wonder why Mum was at all interested in this very odd religion, but I think that the stranger it appeared, the more Mum thought there must be something to it.  I am also sure that Jean felt that she could somehow change Mum, give her ‘real’ values and that she would throw away her makeup bag, her fashionable clothes, and become just like Jean – a mouse of a woman who spent her life adhering to the strictest of religious rules.  Jean must have been very persuasive to get Mum to even consider joining.

Jean asked Mum if  Tina and I would like to go on a Plymouth Brethren holiday and she had said yes.  Mum told us that it would be really good fun and that she felt we hadn’t given the church much of a chance.  Reluctantly we agreed to go, after all, we thought, it might be ok because it meant that we would be away on holiday just the two of us for the very first time.  We really thought that it couldn’t possibly be that bad!

We had never been camping before and this was a holiday in big tents, so we really were quite excited as we packed our tee shirts and shorts and swimming costumes.  I remember feeling so grown up as I carried my own suitcase onto the coach.  The holiday was at a campsite at Brean Sands in Somerset, right beside the sea.  To me as a child, a seaside holiday meant making sand castles, sunbathing, sticks of rock, chips and fizzy drinks, , swimming in the sea, playing in penny arcades and donkey rides. I imagined us all sitting round a camp fire at night singing jolly songs.

When we arrived we were all shown to our tents with our allotted sleeping bags already laid out on the ground.  It didn’t look at all comfortable! There was a large wooden cabin were we all had to meet up for meals and for ‘meetings’.  The lady in charge was called ‘Captain’, I would think she was in her mid fifties and wore a rigid black suit with a high neck buttoned white blouse, not your usual holiday clothes at all.  She looked like a sergeant major to me and I had an uneasy feeling about her from the off.  It was obvious she already knew lots of the other children and her tight-lipped stern expression only softened into a smile when she was addressing those she knew.  The rest of us were greeted with a scowl and a look of disdain.  Not the best welcome to a week-long holiday.

After sorting out our clothes we had to go the cabin for our tea.  Captain sat at the top table and before we’d even eaten a sandwich she was standing up calling from a register and issuing your orders for the week.  When she came to Tina and I she told us that we were on latrine duty.  I had no idea what a latrine was but soon found out. Basically we were going to be toilet attendants for the week.  Somehow that did not thrill us.

After tea we were told that the Bible verse for the week was John 10, verse 10. ‘The thief cometh not, but that he may steal, and kill, and destroy: I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly’.  Captain explained that what that meant was that we were all sinners and unless we behaved ourselves and repented that we would not go to heaven.  I was really worried, because I knew that I wasn’t always good and had sometimes been naughty.  I was convinced that there was no way I was ever going to be able to get into heaven.  That first night when I went to sleep, in my sleeping bag on the lumpy ground, I was trying so hard not to cry because I really thought I was going to be in such trouble with God.

The following morning after breakfast (and prayers …. lots of prayers) Tina and I had to carry out our latrine duties for the first time.  The loos were dreadful.  Everything smelt of jeyes fluid and the brushes for cleaning the toilet bowls had seen better days. It was not a pleasant task.  I can’t begin to explain the state of some of the seats …. I still don’t know how they ever got like that.    We had though been told that we would off on a bus to go to the beach for the rest of the day, so that was something we could really look forward to.

We all went and waited at the bus stop with our swimming costumes and towels full of happy thoughts for the day ahead.  The bus arrived, complete with some local passengers and on we all got.  Much to our absolute horror,  Captain got everyone singing hymns. “S-A-V-I-O-U-R- we want you all to know, you’re the one, the only one who saves from sin (saves from sin), if in him, you will believe, his pardon you’ll receive”, etc etc.  I felt a total fool with everyone staring at us.  I had no option but to get used to it, because it happened everyday for the whole week.  I just kept thinking that no-one would know Tina and I and at least we weren’t singing hymns on a bus where we lived.

Even on the beach the theme of the week continued.  We were dispatched to sandcastle making teams.  It was all very formal and efficient.  Each team was given a passage from the bible that you had to make into a sand sculpture.  My team had the verse ‘For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few be they that find it.’  Captain explained that in order to get into heaven we had to walk along the narrow path , but that most of us walked a wider path.  There was that threat again.  Behave … or else!  There was no swimming, no boat rides, no ice creams. No fun at all.

To me, even at that young age, I felt that their whole philosophy was one of fear. So it went on through the whole week.  I really wasn’t sleeping very well and both Tina and I cried ourselves to sleep every night because our worries were growing by the day.  I made the massive mistake of asking Captain if we would be able to go to the pier and the fun fair.  My goodness, she was not happy with me at all.  I was told that I was sinful to want to go against the teachings of the bible. Then to top it off Tina and I were severely reprimanded by Captain, in front of everyone, because we were found walking across a field towards a donkey derby, which we were told, was strictly against God. That’s it, I thought, I’ve totally had it now.  I was convinced that I was going to hell.

It was becoming an increasingly miserable time apart from every night, after the sermon, when other children were standing up telling how they had found Jesus or God.  Everyone would be clapping and they would then become an accepted member of the group. It was obvious to us that there were very few left who hadn’t found Jesus, and we were definitely among those few!  It also appeared that those people who had just found God or Jesus were  given the better jobs within the camp.  People who had been on rubbish patrol would be moved to cutlery placing, those on washing up were put on bread and butter service.  It seemed that was the only way to get ahead.  Tina and I reckoned that as we were already in so much trouble and we were going to go to hell anyway, we would hatch a plan  to get out of latrine duties!

The following evening, after we had cleaned the loos before supper, we had our course of action in place.  After we had eaten and said more prayers, and Captain had given us all yet another lengthy sermon on behaving, we stood up in unison.  We told her we had found Jesus behind the cabin. She did look a little stunned, but managed a very small smile and everyone started clapping wildly.  “The twins have found Jesus”, “the twins have found Jesus” they exclaimed excitedly! People gathered round us and hugged us.  Suddenly we were no longer the outsiders, we were part of the group.

The next morning after breakfast we were given new instructions for the rest of the week .  No longer did we have to clean the loos, we were told we would be in charge of handing out breakfast cereals and porridge.  We had certainly been promoted.  Our plan had worked!  Then, the dreaded guilt set in.  The realisation of the lies we had told and the total certainty of an everlasting life in hell really took its toll on both of us.  We couldn’t wait to get home to talk to Mum and Dad.  We were praying they could somehow fix everything with Jesus and God.

Thankfully the time to go home eventually arrived.  Even now, forty-five years later, I remember how long that week felt. Mum and Dad met us at the coach station and had expected to be meeting two very happy sun tanned girls.  Instead we got off the coach and just fell into their arms crying.  Through sobs we told them that we were going to hell.  We really were distraught.  They asked us to explain what had happened and after we had, they told us there was no way in the world we would be going to hell. Dad really was quite cross that anyone could put such fear into children but was laughing uncontrollably when we told him about us finding Jesus behind the cabin. Mum explained that God is love and that there is no way in the world that God would want anyone to be frightened of him. Quite seriously it took months for Tina and I to get over the fears that had been instilled in us that week.  Mum, thankfully,  decided not to go to the church with Jean ever again and was very pleased when Jean moved offices!

Now, as an older woman, with many years of life’s experiences under my belt, I feel that the higher spirit, the creator of our universe, is as Mum said, pure love. Of that I have absolutely no doubt.  I tend to follow my own spiritual pathway and rarely become involved in anything termed as ‘religion’, although I pray every night, and happily pray with friends.

I believe with all my heart that we all share a creator, no matter the title that anyone or any group may give to this divine spirit, and that this creator would never want to threaten or frighten, but instead would wish to instill love and compassion and empathy in all those who live.

I do still wonder whether the other children on that holiday were as frightened as we were. A whole week of being indoctrinated is pretty hard for an adult, never mind a young child.  Thank goodness Tina and I had each other and parents who showed us, through example and guidance, what a wonder our creator truly is.  I do though still wish to apologise for telling the lie about finding Jesus behind the cabin.  Quite possibly (hopefully) God and Jesus had a good laugh about it.  I am hoping they have a good sense of humour!

39) The Afterlife Monologues

Simon and I went down to North Devon a couple of weekends ago.  I used to live there and sometimes feel a real longing to drive along familiar country roads and walk along a typical sandy Devon beach and feel the fresh sea air on my face.  I have a friend who lives just outside Barnstaple, Susan Roberts, I have mentioned her in my blogs before.  She set up and runs the English Psychic Company, and she was my first real teacher of mediumship.  She ran a tight ship and accepted nothing but the best.  My evenings in her classes were a mixture of trepidation and relief.  She set such high standards and expected nothing less of us, her pupils.  She wouldn’t even accept you on a course until you had passed a test to prove that you had some potential, and that was nerve-wracking in itself.

I first met Susan after my Mum had died and I had heard her (Mum, not Susan!) talking to me in the loo, always late at night.  The first time it happened I thought it was my imagination, but immediately as I thought that Mum told me it wasn’t.  I came out of the loo and didn’t tell anyone what had just happened as I was sure they would think I was crazy.  The following night, just before bed, again in the loo, Mum talked to me again, I told her that I was sure she was a wishful thought and again she told me she wasn’t.  Well if you are real, I said, make the lights go on and off.  To my utter amazement, the lights flickered!  You have never seen anyone move so fast out of the loo! This happened for several nights.  Nothing at all in the daytime, but come my last visit to the loo, there would be Mum.  I didn’t see her, but I could feel her presence, her warmth and love, and I could hear her voice, definitely hers, not mine, but inside my head.

During the day I was so sad, missing my Mum so much, but feeling quite mixed up knowing that in the evening there would be this very odd form of contact.  I tried to reason with myself that the whole thing was just too bizarre and to be honest I often felt that I was losing the plot.  It was a secret I kept to myself.  Part of me dreaded going to the loo because I was quite afraid, but another part would be looking forward to the comfort that I felt every night knowing that Mum was ok and was still around.

After a week or so I decided I really should do something about all of this.  Ever since I was a very young child I had been aware of spirits, of energies around me, of knowledge that from my earthly life I shouldn’t’  or couldn’t have known, but this was very different,  I had never had an ongoing communication with someone who I had known and loved  before.

I had met a spiritual healer, Liz Gilmour, at a local spiritual fayre a couple of years before and had kept her business card in my purse.  I felt sure that she would know of someone locally I could go and see to try to find out what was going on.  I rang Liz and without telling her any information at all I asked if she knew of anyone who could communicate with spirits. Without hesitation she recommended Susan Roberts.  She told me that Susan had an excellent reputation and was very down to earth.  I rang Susan straight away  and made an appointment which was for a  week later.  She asked me to bring along a photo of the person I would ideally like to get in contact with, but she said she couldn’t always guarantee that that person may communicate.  Apart from that she didn’t ask me anything else at all. Part of me was so excited to be seeing a professional medium and the other part was absolutely terrified.  I had no idea what to expect and kept feeling the biggest butterflies in my tummy every time I thought about it.

Eventually the day of the reading arrived and with an enormous amount of trepidation I went along to see Susan.  It was such a relief to be welcomed by a ‘normal’ woman who immediately put me at my ease.  She showed me into her sitting room which spookily overlooked a graveyard, I remember thinking how funny that was.  I showed her the photo I had taken along and straight away Susan told me it was a photo of my Mum who had died three weeks before,  She told me about Mum’s illness and how she had died.  Then, much to my amazement, and laughing as she told me, she said that Mum had been talking me in the loo! Everything Susan told me was absolutely accurate.  I skipped out of her house and driving home felt so uplifted and positive totally knowing that my Mum had been chatting to me.

I had no idea at the time that I would again be in contact with Susan within a few weeks.   My brother Ray died totally unexpectedly just six weeks after my Mum.  He was only fifty and was found in his bed at home.  At the time we had no idea how he had died or what was the cause of his death.  I spoke to Susan just days after Ray died, as again I was sure I could feel him close to me.  She gently started to explain that it was most probably too early for him to be able to make contact, but as she spoke I could sense her hesitating.  She asked if a red tricycle meant anything to me.  It certainly did.  As I said yes she started receiving more evidence from Ray.  She told me exactly how he had died and most importantly for me, that he had felt no pain.  She told me that his heart had literally just stopped.  That he was here one minute and gone the next.  Just like that.  No pain at all.  I was so relieved as I had been concerned that he would have been distressed.  Sure enough when we received the results of his autopsy it confirmed that his heart had just stopped and that his passing to spirit would have been instant.

Over the years I have been fortunate to have met several wonderful mediums who have given me the most fantastic evidence and messages from those I have lost.  I do think that if I hadn’t met Susan at such a difficult time in my life I would have been very doubtful, but she was so accurate with everything she said that she gave me confidence to explore the amazing world of spirit both as a medium myself, being able to give comfort to those missing their loved ones, and as someone myself so pleased to hear from those I love who are in spirit.

I have absolute confidence in Susan and when she told me that over the years she had been contacted by several spirits who wanted their experiences of death  heard by a wider audience, I could appreciate why they had chosen her to tell their stories.  She had written their stories exactly as she heard them, and over a long period had built up quite a selection.  Spirits contacted her from all walks of life with very different stories to tell.  She decided to bring the stories to the stage and called the production The Afterlife Monologues.  Several of her students took the roles of the spirits and spoke in the first person, recounting their memories.  I was intrigued and was so sad when I was unable to attend the first time it was on at a theatre in Devon.  It was by pure chance just a couple of months ago that I asked Susan is she was thinking of putting on another production.  She said that one was planned for the end of March.  That was wonderful news!  I could go and walk along the beach, see some old friends, and go and see the Afterlife Monologues all within a long weekend.  I booked the hotel straight away and Simon booked the time off work.  We were so lucky with the weather.  Our journey from our home in Hampshire was just beautiful.  We stopped by a field of new-born lambs, watching them running and playing, then found a country pub where we enjoyed a fantastic lunch on a sunny roof terrace. It couldn’t have been better.

We met Susan at her premises and sat near the back so that we could see everything.  The stories from the spirits were just incredible,  The readers were amazing and bought the stories to life.  You really felt they were telling their own experiences.  When we spoke to some of the readers in the break they said that they could feel the emotions of the spirits whose stories they were reading, which was certainly conveyed to us in the audience.  Simon, who I had thought may find it all a little boring, actually really enjoyed the evening.  Afterwards when we were sitting having a drink in the bar in the hotel he was asking so many questions about spirit.  Far more than he ever has in the years we have been together.  I believe that the moving and realistic way in which the experiences were bought to life really made his mind open up to the reality of our ongoing lives in our spiritual form. I do hope that one day Susan will make a dvd of these stories so that an even wider audience can experience these for themselves.

I do think that one thing that so many of us find so hard to talk about is physical death.  It is a subject that many people avoid as they say it is depressing and also of course many find the whole thing terribly frightening too, which is understandable.  It is though,  the one thing that we all know for sure will happen to us at some time, yet most of us are totally unprepared for it.  We are also unprepared for the death of a loved one.  It is almost taboo to talk about such things unless you are talking to an insurance salesman or a solicitor who is drawing up wills.

I know that when my parents and my brother all died within less than four months I wouldn’t have been able to cope without the certainty that their spirits, their souls, still existed.  It was largely thanks to Susan and her spiritual communications that I could manage to get through those dark days.  I was talking to her after my Dad had died, telling her how very sad I was and how much I missed him.  She told me something I will never forget.  She said that whilst we are all so upset here for losing someone we love, at the same time there are massive celebrations in the spirit world as that person is being reunited with loved ones who have passed before.  She said to imagine that my Dad was on a ship, leaving the shore, waving to me as he went, but when the ship completed its journey, he would reach another shore where his Mum and Dad and his brothers and sisters would be waiting to greet him.  I thought of that many times over the years, knowing how pleased Dad would have been to see his family and in particular his twin sister Mary again, knowing how much he missed her throughout his life.

We had a wonderful time back in North Devon.  I did manage to walk along my old local beach and enjoyed feeling the warm sand between my toes, breathing in the crisp clear air.  We drove down many winding country lanes, shared lovely times with old friends and Simon took some great photographs.  What a great mini-break we had, and how delighted I was to have been able to see the Afterlife Monologues.  I know the stories and experiences of those spirits will stay with me always.

37) A Promise from Spirit!

She loved him like he was
The last man on Earth
Gave him everything she ever had
He’d break her spirit down
Then come lovin’ up to her
Give a little, then take it back

She’d tell him about her dreams
He’d just shoot ’em down
Lord he loved to make her cry
“You’re crazy for believin’
You’ll ever leave the ground”
He said, “Only angels know how to fly”

And with a broken wing
She still sings
She keeps an eye on the sky
With a broken wing
She carries her dreams
Man you ought to see her fly

One Sunday morning
She didn’t go to church
He wondered why she didn’t leave
He went up to the bedroom
Found a note by the window
With the curtains blowin’ in the breeze

And with a broken wing
She still sings
She keeps an eye on the sky
With a broken wing
She carries her dreams
Man you ought to see her fly

With a broken wing
She carries her dreams
Man you ought to see her fly

I try so very hard not to look back on my previous ‘life’ with negative thoughts but must admit sometimes it’s tough not to!  I prefer to concentrate my thoughts on the now and with my wonderful husband Simon and the friends I am so very fortunate to have in my life.

Last night we were sitting listening to our favourite music tracks and Simon played one that has a particular place in my heart.  It was a song I used to listen to when I was in my previous marriage, when I felt there was no way out.  I would imagine myself flying away, having the freedom to spend time with my friends, to chat on the phone, to read books and to be able to have fun.  To be able to be excited and not have my dreams mocked,  not to be in trouble over everything I ever did or said. To be able to be me.

I used to lay in bed at night wondering how I could leave.  I would envisage a life so removed from that which I had, but which I always thought was unattainable.

My ex-husband and I had been to Calgary in Canada and were staying with one of his business associates  and his very lovely and spiritual wife, when, very strangely, whilst driving along in the back of the car, my wedding ring had literally and inexplicably broken into pieces.  His wife was stunned and as she was already aware that my marriage was not wonderful, but not to the extent it actually was, she said that it was definitely a sign that it was beyond repair.

She and her husband were coming over to England just a couple of weeks later and she and I had arranged to go and see Diana Garland who offered astrological and clairvoyant readings.  I had met Diana years before at a spiritual event and had been most impressed.  She went for her reading first and was really pleased when she came out, saying how accurate Diana had been.  I went in for my reading not expecting that I would hear anything particularly life changing, but I was in for a big surprise.  I had always kept my marital problems to myself but Diana certainly picked up on them, and in her gentle and guiding way she explained that my chart showed that a massive change was about to happen in my life.  She told me that if I didn’t make a decision very soon the chance would be gone and I would be stuck in my life for always.  The very next morning,  I actually came to the decision to risk everything and leave.

I drove over 50 miles across country, down narrow lanes, weaving my way across the countryside to my sister’s house. I drove my car but felt as if I was flying, knowing that no matter what happened I would never go back, knowing that at last I would not be spending my life living in fear.  I had never felt spirit so close to me as that morning, I felt a golden light surrounding my little car and me, a safety bubble that nothing could penetrate.  For the first time in over 25 years I felt totally safe.  It was the most incredible feeling.

I had not been able to be in contact with my twin sister very much as he had objected to our relationship (gulp – how can that possibly be?) so I had no idea that she and her husband and their six children were about to move. We decided that we would find somewhere where we could all move together and my sister and I went all over the country looking at properties before settling on a house in Hampshire.

When I spoke to my friend Susan Roberts, a wonderful psychic medium from Barnstaple who started the English Psychic Company, she told me that within a few months I would be meeting my soul mate, but wouldn’t actually see him – I wondered how on earth that could be!  She said that we would be made for each other and would be living together within six months of meeting.  I had known Susan for several years and knew that her predictions were generally spot on but couldn’t quite believe what she was saying.  It all sounded too good to be true.

Shortly after moving to Hampshire I attended a weeks residential course at the Arthur Findlay College in Stanstead. I booked a private mediumship reading with the tutor Simone Key whom I had never met before.  As soon as walked in the room, and before I had even sat down, she said ‘my goodness you’ve just left a relationship after over 25 years’.  Talk about accurate! She went on to tell me that I would shortly meet a fantastic young man who was my soul mate.  She said I would have a life full of fun and laughter with him and that he would support me in everything.  I was just a little amazed after an almost identical reading from Susan. I couldn’t wait!

Whenever people tell you that you have a fabulous future ahead of you it does take some getting used to.  I still didn’t quite understand how I could meet someone but not see them though.  That really confused me. Little did I know then that I would join an internet dating site and meet the most lovely man who didn’t put his photo on the site!

How incredibly organised spirit was.  I look back now and see that from the moment my wedding ring broke everything was in place to put me on my new pathway. I was given the confidence to make life changing decisions safe in the knowledge that spirit were with me, guiding me through the readings from the most genuine people. I felt that I had a promise of a new life … just waiting round the corner.

Tomorrow, Simon and I will be celebrating our FIFTH wedding anniversary!  We’ve known each other just over seven years now and my life with him is just as foretold.  I adore being his wife, his friend, his playmate, his love.

He has accepted me totally for who I am. I am just me …. and there are no words in the world to describe how unbelievable that is.  To be loved and love is heaven and I count my blessings every day.  Thank you!

P.S. (Can you have a PS on a blog?)

Funnily enough, whilst writing this post I had a break about ten minutes ago and found a lovely post in my inbox which confirmed everything I already knew!  How spirit likes to make certain we get the point!! Please take a look … her blogs are great! http://complexmuse.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/show-your-soul-to-attract-your-soul-mate/

http://www.dianagarland.com

http://www.englishpsychiccompany.com/

http://www.arthurfindlaycollege.org

http://www.simonekey.co.uk/

34) It’s Only a Number!

A picture of a birthday cake

I’ve just had a birthday.  Hooray!

The problem is that I can’t get used to being so ‘old’.  Although my body doesn’t exactly feel ‘young’, my head, my mind and my heart does.  I’m like a ‘cut and shut’ where bits of me just don’t fit together quite right.  My body hasn’t felt very young for a number of years now. Due to a chronic illness I always have pain somewhere and the lack of energy is annoying, but I’ve got used to that over time, it’s been with me for nineteen years, so I should have by now!

No, now the problem is that my body is actually ageing.  I’ve noticed the wrinkles deepening and my eyelids kind of folding over, its difficult to describe, but all of my eyelids used to be visible, but now there is extra skin that hangs over them – I’m sure there is a technical name for it – but it’s happened all of a sudden.  My legs have never been my strong point, being knock-kneed how I rejoiced when maxi dresses came back into fashion, but now they too are beginning to look like old lady legs.  As I’ve aged I’m seeing more and more the family genes take over.  Auntie Violet legs – thanks Auntie!

My twin used to be very good at pointing out my short comings, but since her stroke she hasn’t so much and I have been thankful for that.  Last Friday when she came over she was looking intently at my hands.  Now, she doesn’t often say a lot these days so I normally relish a conversation with her, but on Friday she was not having a good day and was more ‘there’ (wherever that is), than ‘here’, so when she started to talk I was really pleased. “You’ve got”, she looked as if she was frustrated trying to talk, “You’ve got” she tried again, “What am I trying to say?”, “I don’t know sis” I replied, as I often do, because she often asks that.  There was another long pause and I always imagine her brain is trying to get into gear, “You’ve got  age spots on your hands” she piped up with a big smile, “Oh” I said, a little shocked, “and your hands” she went on, “your hands”, I waited patiently as she gathered her thoughts once again, “your hands aren’t looking so pretty these days, they look wrinkly”.  Gee, thanks sis!  Well that was certainly worth waiting for!

I hadn’t really looked at her hands before, they are lily white as she has been indoors for almost three years now and she only had one very tiny insignificant age spot.  One of her habits since her stroke is applying hand lotion many many times a day, so I must admit her hands do look very soft.  Maybe it should become one of my habits too. She isn’t capable of doing any housework or washing up either and I’m sure that plays a big role in my wrinkly, aged spots hand syndrome! Bless her!

I think the reason this birthday has hit me harder than all the rest is that it really is the heading towards sixty birthday, I can’t say I’m in my early fifties anymore, I’ve tilted over the edge of fifty five and fifty six does sound so very grown up! I think, for all of us who have gained some weight, we can look in the mirror and think about when we are slim again, there is a hope that one day we may shed the weight and be back to our ‘real’ slim selves.  For me too, there is always the hope that one day I am going to wake up well, that my illness will have scuttled off into the night, never to darken my door again, and I will once again return to the ‘real’ healthy, full of vitality, capable of anything, me.  But, looking in the mirror now, seeing my droopy eyelids and, thanks to Tina, being aware of my aged hands, there is no hope that one day the droops will disappear and the wrinkles will all smooth out.  I’m not even going to consider discussing the other, more covered up, bits of me, that are patently struggling with age.  A girl (or maybe I should at this age say woman) does have to keep some dignity! No, this is it.  It really is the beginning of me looking old.

I was chatting to my sister-in-law Wendy just before my birthday.  Wendy is sixteen years younger than me (eek, I’m ‘just’ old enough to be her mother!), she is extremely pretty, very petite and super fit.  She goes to the gym most days and also leads a very busy life as a hairdresser, a Mum to my two beautiful neices and has a very active social life.  She is also, absolutely lovely and great fun to be with.  As the years have gone by and we have got to know each other better we enjoy an easy relationship and chat away and discuss anything and everything.  I’m so lucky to have her as my sis-in-law.  She was asking me how old I was going to be and when I told her she said it is just a number. I laughed, yes, I agreed, but said it was a bloomin’ big number!

This week there was the shocking news of the death of Whitney Houston and it really got me thinking.  She had died when she was only forty eight years old.  I met Simon when I was that age, and how I would have hated to have missed the wonderful time we have shared together.  I have met so many wonderful new people since moving to Hampshire when I was forty eight.  For me it was an age when my life turned around, when I had the courage to stand up and be me, to leave an old life and start afresh.   I didn’t have Whitneys fame, her talent, her money or her looks, but I did have my own identity, which I sadly feel she was lacking.  How sad that her life ended when my new life had just begun.  I was thinking that Whitney won’t ever be old enough to be complaining about droopy eyelids and how very fortunate I am to have made it to have a big number birthday.

How sad that so many amazingly talented people just can’t cope with their lives and end up relying so heavily on drugs and alcohol to get through.  I wonder how many of them feel lonely, how many question who really likes them for who they are, not what they have or what they can do for them? It must be tough to cope with public adulation when in your heart you are not prepared, when deep down you must know that you are not coping with the success.

I find it strange how many young people say they want to be famous, and yet fame has so many drawbacks, I just don’t understand why anyone would want to be in a position where they can’t even pop out to their local shops without someone taking a snap of them. Where everyone feels they have the right to comment on and often criticise what you wear, who you spend your time with, what you do. What a dreadful way to live your life!

Hopefully Whitney is now beginning a new life in spirit where she will be able to realise how amazingly fortunate she was in so many ways, where she will be able to find some of the joy she had in her life here.  I do hope that her soul will heal and with help she will be able to move forward along her pathway. Maybe in her next incarnation she will again have the voice of an angel, but our society may have moved on and she will not be put on such a pedestal, where from such a great height so many have fallen.  Maybe next time she’ll happily get to the big number birthdays.  Let’s hope so.

33) Hi-di-Hi Campers!!

Simon and I always try to do something different for our birthdays.   Over the years amongst other things, I’ve been whisked away for a romantic break to a luxury hotel, we’ve been on the London Eye and Simon has been a racing driver, etc.  You get the gist.  The whole idea is that our birthdays are memorable events, a special day to mark the beginning of our next year.  So, when friends of mine mentioned a  Psychic & Spiritual Festival that started on my birthday I thought it would be a unique way to enjoy a get-away and experience the work of mediums that I hadn’t seen before.

As the event was being held right by the coast  “Sceptic Simon” agreed to come along, not to attend any workshops or lectures, but to go out and about with his beloved camera taking some landscape shots with his new filters.  So, we were two very happy bunnies, full of excitement looking forward to the weekend.

I rang the venue to ask if there was a program as my friends and I wondered if we had to book any of the workshops, but I was told that no-one knows the events until the day they arrive.  Goodness, I thought, they must be mega organised!  We where aiming to arrive at about 3:30pm and our timing was spot on. We were given the keys to our ‘chalet’ and directions,  but as we walked through the car park my heart began to sink  when I saw the rows and rows of ‘chalets’ – Hi di Hi couldn’t help but come to mind.  Our room was a double …. just …  it was so small, and the bathroom was something out of the ark,  it was what I would call VERY basic!   It was not what I had expected, but then it’s not what you expect that makes life richer!

I was keen to look at the programme and we couldn’t help but laugh when the saw the evening entertainment billed as Scott Paige and his High Octaine Show-Team.  Seriously, I felt like we were in a time warp and we had unknowingly been time travelling back to the mid 60’s!

After the disappointment with our chalet we really didn’t expect much of the food,  but have to say that it exceeded expectations.  The service was great and the food, although plain, was well cooked and we certainly weren’t going to be starving. We were given a table number and had to sit at the same table for the whole time.  We were sat opposite two women, Julie and her aunt Sylvia.  Julie was a florist by trade, with a very dry sense of humour and a houseful of assorted rescued pets with rather strange names.  Sylvia had a very fast mind, was great company and relayed some very amusing spiritually based stories. They were both real characters with great personalities and we felt we were so lucky to sit opposite them.

The first evening there was a medley of mediums demonstrating until 10pm.  I hadn’t heard of them before, but I gather they are quite well-known.  I must say that the evidence that was brought through by Philip Solomon was amazing.  He was giving people not just names and memorable dates but addresses as well.  I can’t say I agreed with everything he said about his beliefs on spiritual matters, but he did say that we all have our own views and that we must respect that.  I was really pleased because even Sceptic Simon was marginally impressed, and that is quite something!

Simon toddled off on the first morning to go and take some pics and I stayed with my friend Annette as we were working out which lectures or workshops to attend.  The problem seemed to be that there were never enough chairs in the rooms and they kept moving who was working where, which is quite confusing when there are about five hundred people all trying to find their way about.  I wasn’t too worried about missing any of the workshops as I hadn’t heard of the tutors before, but one person I particularly wanted to see was Jay Love.

I had met Jay several years before, when as students at the Arthur Findlay College in Stanstead we had discussed our spiritual development.  So many of our experiences had been shared it was quite uncanny.  He struck me then as a real down to earth kind of chap.  He was a gentle soul with kind eyes and had a wicked sense of humour.  He didn’t take himself too seriously, although it was obvious how much he respected spirit.  I had never forgotten him and a few months ago had found him on the internet and we had been in contact via Facebook, where I had learnt that his development had led him to physical mediumship and he was now able to bring through spirit using transfiguration.

For those who don’t know about this form of mediumship, it is when the medium goes into trance and spirits communicate and also temporarily materialise, usually over the mediums face, by utilising a form of energy that it is believed the medium manufactures within themselves.  It is rare to be able to see this first hand.

I had desperately wanted to see Jay demonstrate his physical mediumship, but as we arrived at the designated room we were told we would need to bring our own chairs and bluntly told by the lady on the door that she would be locking the door in one minute.  This didn’t give us enough time to go and get the chairs so we ended up in another room seeing a lecture about ghost pictures!

Most of  Saturday I saw various people do various things, nothing that I found totally astounding,  it was ok, but I was deeply disappointed not to have seen Jay.  Having said all that though there was certainly a good mixture of differing disciplines for you to take a look at, everything from pure spiritual communication to paranormal investigation to tarot, to sand box readings.  The choice was quite amazing.

In the late afternoon Annette and I found ourselves at a bit of a loose end and, almost by accident, found ourselves in a lecture about animal communication, which we weren’t planning to attend.  As we walked in there were two pictures on a board.  One was a very nice looking cat and the other looked  like my old dog Sam.  I even said to Annette “goodness, that looks just like Sam”.  We sat down and began listening and much to my surprise the lady, who was actually a medium, explained that she had only just drawn the pictures and these two animals wanted to communicate with their owners.  It wasn’t at all what I had expected.  Several people tried to accept information about the cat, who was a tabby called Tigger, but eventually the information given narrowed it down to one particular lady in the audience and she was given the picture.

Then the medium, Raye Edwina Brown, started to talk about the dog.  She said that his name was Sam!  My hand shot up immediately.  She explained that in his old age his back legs had given way and he had to be put to sleep, but that this happened at home.  That was exactly what had happened to Sam.  She said it was literally only a few days before he died that this had started, which was true, as Sam’s back legs gave out on a Friday and I called the vet on Monday as he couldn’t stand up.  She even gave the date of the year he was born.  I was so chuffed.  He sent me his love and told me that he was pleased that I had so much freedom in my life now.  I was called to the front to collect my picture.  I waited until everyone had left and went over to thank Raye and she took a photo of me with the picture of Sam and said she is going to put it in her magazine!

This had made my weekend, I didn’t really expect very much more.  I had loved Sam so much and felt so lucky that he had come through.  I had given communication from animals to people in readings in the past and had seen their delight, and now I knew exactly how they felt.

The evening was not so good.  To me, the mediums were more interested in being entertainers than mediums and I did feel on a few occasions that they were not respectful to either the spirits or the audience.  I watched three of them and decided I would rather go back to the cold chalet than sit and watch anymore.  I was so annoyed that it was typical that Simon was there, and this did nothing to improve his belief in anything spiritual!

On Sunday I had already decided that I wanted to go home.  I was cold, uncomfortable, fed up with all the last-minute changes and to be honest the mediumship the night before had really made me question so much that I felt quite unsettled.  I did though want to have the opportunity to see Jay give a demonstration and on the program it stated that he would be in the Lounge giving a mental mediumship and spirit guides talk at 11:30am, so I thought we’d go home after that.  Annette and I were heading for the lounge when I saw Jay walking away from there, I stopped him and asked where his lecture was going to be.  He told me it was going to be in the Games Room and that there should be enough chairs.  So, we headed off there, found Jay, but again no chairs! Annette went out and found some patio chairs to sit on and we sat expecting a mental mediumship talk.  We were so lucky as Jay was planning to give another demonstration of his transfiguration gifts.  The whole experience was nothing short of phenomenal.  Jay gave a really good talk beforehand, quite thought-provoking, and then his trance guide arrived and introduced himself.  He was nothing at all like Jay, although he did share a sense of humour.  The transfiguration was just mind-blowing.  Grown men and women were obviously emotional at  communicating with their loved ones in spirit and being able to see their faces materialise over Jay’s face.  What an amazing gift he has!

We left just after lunch and were home in the light, turned the heating up and enjoyed sitting on a comfy sofa!

Annette told me that the last night had been the best evening and it had been a shame I had missed it.  Jay had demonstrated his mediumship abilities and she said his evidence was brilliant.  An Irish medium, Sharon Neill, had given evidence that a member of the audience had waited over fifty years to hear and Annette said everyone in the audience had felt extremely emotional. She told me that Sharon had then finished by singing The Power of Love which she said was sung beautifully. It did seem like I missed out, but then I was needed by a friend first thing this morning, so I was pleased I was at home and able to help her.

It was an interesting weekend with mega highs and too many lows. Am I pleased I went?  Yes. Sam coming through and Jay’s demonstration were the highlights of my weekend.  Two fantastic experiences that I know I will never forget.  Just such a shame that it hadn’t been a little more comfortable and a little more organised!

.

30) You’ve Got a Friend

You've Got a Friend

How many times in your life have you felt utterly alone? Felt there was no-one who was there was for you? Felt that no-one could understand what you were going through?

Sometimes the very fact that you put a brave face on it, no matter the tough times you are going through, can actually back-fire because everyone thinks that everything in your life is fine.  Or, maybe people think that you are one of those lucky few who can cope admirably with anything that is thrown at them.  Could it be that maybe your pride is getting in the way of being honest and you prefer people to think that you are ‘strong’ ?

How difficult it can be to be able to reach out when you desperately need a friend.

After I left Devon and moved to Hampshire with my twin sister, Tina, and her family, I was in a very odd ‘friend free’ zone for the first time in my life.   After 26 years I had finally plucked up the courage to end my marriage and within a matter of weeks  many of my friends were doing exactly the same! It was as if a cosmic switch had come on somewhere and we all decided that enough was enough.  My friends are scattered throughout England, and very strangely, all were going through their own very similar difficult and often traumatic times.  After they had separated from their husbands they had all stayed in the same towns, so at least they had their local friends around them for support, but due to my ex’s threatening behaviour I decided it was better (and I felt safer) moving far away.

Friends that I had been in regular contact with for years were busy dealing with their own problems and I felt that I couldn’t bother them with my own worries at that time. Tina and her husband, Woody, had adopted six learning disabled children, whose ages ranged from two to fifteen, so they too were pretty busy,  sorting out the often complicated special educational and medical needs that the children required in a new area.  It was extremely rare for me to get more than a minute or so alone with Tina for a chat, there was always someone who needed her.

Tina and Woody had rented a very large old house so that the children could each have their own bedrooms and fortuitously  it had a two bedroom annexe that was perfect for me.  Although it was not as grand as the main house, it too had large rooms, all decorated in a very gaudy colours by the previous tenant.  The carpets alone were enough to give you a headache.  The main lounge was fluorescent yellow, the second bedroom, vibrant lime green and my bedroom was bubble gum pink!

Although I had not one jot of regret for the decision I had made, and knew I was fortunate to have a roof over my head, I suddenly found myself in an alien environment.  My ex-home was hundreds of miles away, I had none of my treasured possessions around me, none of the comforts of my previous life.    I didn’t have one stick of furniture so went to the local D.I.Y. store and bought the last two fold up garden chairs they had as it was the end of the summer season.  They were vibrant yellow and green so almost ‘matched’ the carpet in the lounge and as a bonus they came with cushions, which looked far more comfortable than they really were as I soon found out when I sat on one when I got home.  I had never sat on such lumpy cushions.  I also bought a table lamp and a small table, so that I could have somewhere to put my coffee, and a small radio so that I could at least have some music to keep me company. I had virtually no money, no income and most of my clothes were still at my old house, so not much at all.  My sister had loaned me a single bed and bedding which looked lost in the massive bedroom.

I remember one evening sitting on one of my lumpy cushioned chairs looking out over the garden which was a tangled mess of laurels and holly trees at the time.  I remember feeling so terribly lost.  I knew that all the legalities involved in both the divorce and the selling and splitting of assets from my marriage were obviously not going to happen overnight.  I felt I was in limbo and  as if I didn’t belong anywhere, like I had no roots.  I don’t think I’d realised how much I had relied on the roots of my life, the roots that come with familiarity of where you live, the friends you see, who you are with, what you are doing everyday.

It is often at times like these when we have to learn to become super resilient, super self-reliant, it is almost as if the universe conspires to put us in a place where we have no option but to dig deep, to delve into our soul’s reserves and find the strength from within ourselves to overcome our fears and concerns.

The realisation of my uncertain future really hit me that night.  I concluded that I could look at my life in two opposing ways.  I could think how dreadful it was, sitting alone in this cold quiet emptiness that was devoid of anything that meant anything at all to me, or try to look at my new circumstances as a blank canvas, ready for the new adventures of my life to be captured in bright cheerful warm colours.

I was so fortunate in that I felt that I could call on spirit, my guides, my helpers, my loved ones who had passed, and asked them  if they could come close. I had a need to know that I did at least, still have my spiritual roots to build on.

As I was sitting there, deep in thought, thinking of  my spirit friends, the sun was setting and the most beautiful deep pink and golden rays of the sunset came streaming through my window.  I felt my spirits lift, and my immediate thought was that old saying, ‘red sky at night, shepherds delight’ and felt a smile from within.

I shook myself out of my melancholy moment and put on the radio. Of all the songs that could have been playing  I heard James Taylor singing one of my favourites.  I had no doubt that spirit had played a part in my putting the radio on at that exact time, the choice of the music, and the station I was tuned to.   I felt my heart fill with love and comfort as I knew I had received a spiritual hug. Whenever I feel alone now, when I start to miss those that I loved so dearly, I think of that magic moment and the enormous effort that I am sure my family and friends spirit-side put into getting that message to me so clearly.  I know that all I have to do is close my eyes, think of them, and they will be here, right beside me.

Written and performed by Carole King, but actually made famous by James Taylor, “You’ve got a friend”.

You’ve Got a Friend

When you’re down and troubled
and you need a helping hand
and nothing, ooh, nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me
and soon I will be there
to brighten up even your darkest nights.

You just call out my name,
and you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, oh yeah baby
to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer or fall,
all you have to do is call
and I’ll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah
You’ve got a friend.

If the sky above you
should turn dark and full of clouds
and that old north wind should begin to blow
Keep your head together and call my name out loud
and soon I will be knocking upon your door.
You just call out my name,
and you know where ever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer or fall,
all you go to do is call
and I’ll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah

Hey, ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend?
People can be so cold.
They’ll hurt you and desert you.
Well they’ll take your soul if you let them.
Oh yeah, but don’t you let them.

You just call out my name,
and you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.
Oh babe, don’t you know that,
Winter, spring, summer or fall,
Hey now, all you’ve got to do is call.
Lord, I’ll be there, yes I will.
You’ve got a friend.
You’ve got a friend.
Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend.
Ain’t it good to know you’ve got a friend.
You’ve got a friend

27) Making New Memories

Mince Pie

Mum always made certain that even though she had three children she would make  time for each of us individually.  These times weren’t necessarily important dates or special occasions, just time we all had alone with Mum whilst we did everyday things.

Mum and I always used to make the mince pies for Christmas whilst the rest of the family would be in the lounge watching television.  In those days we would always wear a pinny when we were cooking.  I don’t know why really, because these days not many people ever do.  When we put our pinnys on it was almost a sign that we meant business, we were undertaking important and valuable work and we were set apart from the rest of the family in their civvies.

It was during these Christmas baking times that we would often chat about Mum’s life as a young woman, where she lived, what she did, who she shared her life with.  She had the most wonderful knack of talking about how life affected her when she was the same age as us.  It bought to life, in our minds, her history.  When I was growing up I always seemed to think of Mum and Dad’s childhood in black and white, like an old movie.  I always thought that their clothes would have been scratchy for some reason.  Strange what goes through children’s minds.

Mum had a difficult childhood, bought up by her Dad and a variety of Aunts, until her Dad married when she was nine years old.  She adored her Dad more than anyone in the world and would often become tearful when she talked about the wonderful Christmas’s she shared with him.  He had died before I was born, and she never really managed to overcome her grief.  I found that very hard to understand as a child, especially as I had never met him, so he didn’t seem real to me, even though Mum told me so much about him.  It was as if she was describing an old film she’d seen.

Something though that Mum said, that has always stuck in my mind, was that she always felt it was important to make new memories.  Not to erase the old ones, but to add to our itinerary of memories, to make our own histories. That seemed strange when I was a young girl, but as I’ve grown older I do understand what she meant by that.

We all have times in our lives that our thoughts go back to, especially at Christmas.  Times we wish with all our hearts that could be repeated right now. People that have passed through our lives who we miss and wish that we could be with once again. In Mum’s case it was definitely time that she spent with her Dad.  She would have given the world to spend even just a few moments with him once more.

I cherish the memory of my Dad singing Christmas carols on Christmas Eve the last Christmas he was alive. We were at a very grand party and the local choir were singing traditional carols.  We were in a huge elegant room with a grand piano and we were sat on the type of furniture you normally only see in stately homes.  The type where the ropes are around them to stop the public touching it!  It really wouldn’t have mattered where we were, my memory is of my Dad’s twinkling blue eyes, his warm smile and his deep rich voice.  I was so very proud of him. I would give anything to be back at that party with my Dad.

I cherish the memory of Mum and I cooking Christmas dinner, drinking too much sherry, and laughing and giggling like a couple of teenagers whilst we jived around the kitchen to ‘Rocking Around the Christmas Tree’.

I cherish the memory of my daughter rushing into my bedroom first thing in the morning, so excited to tell me that Father Christmas had been, with her arms full of presents that she wanted to open on my bed.

I cherish the memory of Ray, my brother, playing his guitar, making up his own silly verses to Christmas Carols, whilst drinking his favourite brandy and coke.  ‘Merry Crimbo’ he used to say.

I cherish the memory of my twin sister, Tina and I, waking up to find chocolate santas lined up around our beds and beautiful party dresses, one made for each of us, hanging on our wardrobe door.

So many memories of wonderful Christmas’s, but now, as they say, those days are gone.  It’s tough.  I know it always will be. If I could just snap my fingers and be back there just once more …………..

Now, I have new memories to make.  Memories where in the future I’ll look back and long for these days.  Where I’ll wish with all my heart to be able to share these times once more. That’s the Christmas I’m going to have with the people who are in my life right now, the people I share these special times with, the people I hold dear and love and cherish.  This Christmas will be part of my history.

26) A Nudge from a Kindred Spirit

English: Instow from Appledore quay.

Occasionally through your life-time you may be fortunate enough to meet a person with whom you immediately feel an enormous connection.  I don’t necessarily mean a romantic love type of connection, but something maybe even deeper, more spiritual or soulful.  There is an instant bond between you that belies the actual length of time you have known them in this physical existence.  It is difficult to explain the overwhelming affection, fondness and sense of pure freedom you feel when you are with them.  The freedom when you know, totally, that you are accepted and loved for who you are, not how they perceive you to be, or how you may usually portray yourself, but just exactly as you.  It is a strange feeling of being stripped bare.  You know that this person knows you to an extent that very few ever will.

I felt so blessed to have met my very dear friend Janet.  We met at a creative writing class in Bideford, North Devon.  From the moment I saw her I recognised her, but not in the way she looked, more in the way she just ‘was’.  There was a familiarity that I had never really felt with anyone apart from my own family.  It was wonderful and odd all at the same time.  After the first class she asked me if I would like to join her for a coffee.  I didn’t hesitate, it was as if I needed to know more about her.  Not just a passing inquisitiveness, it was almost a pull from the depth of me, I felt I had found someone who I knew would play a uniquely special role in my life.

We couldn’t stop talking and before we knew it several hours has passed.  We both expressed how from the very first moment we met we  felt we had known each other forever.  Janet said that she felt I was her daughter or her sister in a previous lifetime and I could completely understand what she was saying.  The thought that she was my Mother resonated more with me, although at the time I still had my own wonderful Mum alive and well and living with me!  My heart felt the same emotion of attachment that I felt for my Mum, but in an even deeper sense, which on the face of it was crazy as I had only known Janet since that morning.

Our friendship grew and we enjoyed our times together so much.  We never ran out of anything to say.  We would have times full of laughter and sunshine and times of intense conversations about anything and everything.  The honesty between us was extraordinary.  The trust was implicit.  I had never known a relationship like it.

Very strangely, when we compared notes, we had lived within a few miles of each other several times during this life time.  This would have been odd if we had always lived in the same town, but both of us had lived in several counties over the years.  When we met we were both living in North Devon, she was in Bideford and I was living in a small village a few miles away. Amazingly though, years earlier, when I had lived in one property in Exeter, the view from my kitchen window was actually Janet’s house! We both felt that it was far too much of a coincidence and that we were destined to meet.

We would often go for a coffee at a quaint pub, The Boathouse,  overlooking the sandy beach at Instow in North Devon.  It is a small village off the tourist route with the most glorious sand dunes and views across the estuary to Appledore, a  picturesque Devon village with pastel coloured cottages dotted along the waterfront.  We would sit in the window of the pub and watch the sun cast its shadows over the green hills behind Appledore and watch the sail boats wafting by.  We would sit and discuss our spiritual experiences, our thoughts and our understanding of the greater picture of life.   She was totally convinced that we had shared many lifetimes before and that was why the bond between us was so strong, and the more I got to know her, the more I tended to agree.  Our experiences and our perceptions on life were far too similar.

After our coffee we’d normally go for a walk out to the water’s edge, and then wander along the seafront back to the car park.    Janet never once complained about my limited ability as I was not able to walk too far, but with rests on benches along the way I still managed to enjoy our walks.  She was very slim and what I would call ‘super fit’.  A keen surfer and swimmer, she had joined the local gym when she had moved to Bideford, and thought nothing of going surfing for a few hours then back to the gym to do even more exercise for a couple more hours.   Her idea of heaven was to go on a hiking holiday around the islands of Greece or in the highlands of Scotland.

One cold day in mid February, we had enjoyed a warming cuppa at The Boathouse, and having wrapped ourselves up in scarves, hats and thick gloves, we started walking out towards the sea. In a very short time Janet became unusually tired, she suddenly looked extremely pale.  She told me she thought she might be coming down with a virus and so we turned around and headed back to the car.  I drove her home and was concerned because she really didn’t look at all well.  I asked her to go to the doctor and she reluctantly agreed.  I went home and felt uneasy all afternoon.  Just before dinner Janet rang me, and I was so relieved to hear her voice, but I was shocked by what she told me.  She was in hospital.  The doctor had checked her heart and it was so slow he had called an ambulance immediately.  Janet explained that the consultant she had seen had told her that she would be having a pacemaker fitted the next day.  I was stunned by the news, but so pleased she was in the right place.

The following evening I went to visit her in the hospital and she was sitting on her bed looking happy and healthy.  Her colour was back to normal and she said she felt great.  She was laughing and telling me she had new rules to follow now that she had an electronic addition.  She said she couldn’t go through a security scanner in an airport, couldn’t stand next to a microwave and also that she would have to have the pacemaker removed if she wanted to be cremated when she died. Within a couple of days she was home and you would have never known she’s had anything wrong with her.

We resumed our walks on the beach and Janet carried on with her swimming and her gym workouts.  The only deference to her surgery was to give up the surfing until it was warmer.  The hospital was delighted with her  progress and she didn’t appear in the slightest bit concerned about having a pacemaker.  She was excited as she had just booked a hiking holiday with her brother.  They were going to Greece in later summer and were going to walk several miles along the coastline over the course of a few weeks.  She had thoroughly investigated the whole walk they were to undertake and was especially thrilled that it would culminate with a world-class opera performance in an open air amphitheatre.

I was at home in early March when I received a very distraught phone call from Janet.  She was at the hospital for a routine post-procedure check up to ensure that the wires of the pacemaker were in the correct place.  Part of the appointment was a chest X-ray.  She was told to sit and wait whilst the consultant checked her results and had been quite happy waiting as she was an avid reader and had taken a good book along with her.  She was obviously distressed when she rang and asked if I could go straight to her home to meet her when she returned from the hospital.  She said she didn’t want to talk about it from the hospital phone.

As soon as I saw her I just knew she was dreadfully worried.  She told me that the consultant had called her across to his desk and told her quite bluntly that he was seriously concerned with her X-ray and had made a further appointment with a chest specialist for the following morning as he felt something was majorly wrong.  With that unexpected news she was just given an appointment card and had been left on her own, absolutely bewildered.  She asked me if I would go with her the next day and of course I said I would.

We arrived at the chest department and were told to wait in a huge and very full waiting room.  Janet, who was normally such a confident and positive person, looked so nervous.  I prayed that the wait wouldn’t be too long.  She had already spent the whole night worrying about what may be wrong and said she had hardly slept, which wasn’t at all surprising.

Within just a few minutes we were called into the consultants office.  He had Janet’s chest X-Rays on a large illuminated board on the wall.  He was much kinder than the doctor she had seen the day before and very gently explained to her that both her lungs showed metastasis. He explained that she must have a primary tumour somewhere in her body and that the cancer had already spread to her lungs.    He told her that even if they found the primary site the secondary cancer had already spread too much for them to cure her.  It was a massive bombshell.  Janet  sat quietly, hardly uttering a word, visibly shaking,  with a look of fear I had never seen before.  He also said that even though he could offer chemotherapy it may only give her a few extra weeks and that the quality of her life would be reduced because of the treatment.  She immediately said that she wouldn’t take that option. He went on to explain that if she was fortunate she may have three months left to live, but he couldn’t guarantee that.  I felt utterly useless, there was nothing I could say or do to help her other than just being there.

With the words of the consultant still fresh in her mind it was evident that Janet was a crushed soul, I had to support her physically as we walked back to the car. I drove to a little pub overlooking the sea and we sat outside in the fresh air away from everyone.  For the first time since I’d known her she sat drinking brandy after brandy.  She was shaking so much she could hardly hold her glass,  all I could do was hold her hand and tell her that  I would be there for her.  We were both in a huge state of shock. It felt unreal. It was such a dreadful sad day.  I sat looking at my darling friend, such a beautiful person.  I was desperately trying to keep my own emotions in check, but failing miserably.  We hung on to each other, just sobbing and sobbing.  I couldn’t bear the thought of the pain and heartache that she faced and I couldn’t believe that my wonderful Janet was going to be leaving me. We had only known each just over two years and yet we truly were kindred spirits.

Over the next couple of months we spent an enormous amount of time together.  Janet’s appetite began to fade and the weight was falling off her already slender frame.  Braeburn apples became her favourite food and every time I visited she would ask that I bought her some.  I had never heard of them before, but it was so nice to see her enjoy eating, even if it was just fruit.  Her eyes gradually became sunken and her breathing laboured. We were fortunate to enjoy an unseasonably warm spring that year and spent much of the time sitting in her garden overlooking the countryside, watching the young lambs playing in the fields.  In her last weeks we discussed the afterlife and who would be meeting her, where she would be in the future and when we might meet again.  Just days before she passed to spirit she unexpectedly gave me a present, a book, The Alchemist, written by Paul Coelho.   She told me it was important that I read it.  I took it home, put it on the bookshelf and promised myself I would read it in the near future.

Janet’s brother and her two sons were visiting her over the weekend and I phoned her on Saturday, but could get no reply so had left her a message.  I had a prior engagement that evening and it wasn’t until the following morning that I checked my answer phone.  There was a beautiful message from Janet, spoken in short phrases between her gasps for breath.  She told me that she was sorry she’d missed my call but that she’d had a good day and that we would talk soon.  She also told me that she loved me. I rang her straight away and her brother answered the phone.  He was obviously upset and told me that Janet had died only a short while before I rang.  He said she had suffered a heart attack and that it was almost instant, and most importantly that she had not been in dreadful pain.  I put the phone down and just cried for hours, my heart-felt it had been ripped apart.  Even though I knew she was terminally ill, and I honestly thought I was prepared for her death, when it came to it I was not at all.  I had somehow convinced myself that she would still be around.  How could someone as vibrant and intelligent and funny and loving as Janet suddenly just not exist anymore?  How cruel. Life made no sense to me at that time. I felt lost without her.

Many years later I had a friend, Trudie, staying with me. Trudie  was a very good medium and worked as a communicator for spirit both privately and within the spiritualist church, often demonstrating her mediumship at services.  She walked into my bedroom one morning and just said “A woman is telling me braeburn apples and her name is Janet, does that mean anything to you?”  I was absolutely delighted because I hadn’t heard from Janet since she had passed to the spirit world.  “Yes”, I said, “it makes perfect sense.”  “Well”, said Trudie, “she is telling me that just before she died, the two of you were sitting in her garden in the sunshine”, “Yes” I replied, “and she is telling me that she gave you a present, a book”.  I was astounded at the accuracy of Trudie’s reading and confirmed what she was saying. “She is telling me that she told you it was important that you read the book, is that right?” she asked, “yes” I said, “I remember that well”, “She is telling me that you still haven’t read it and that it is even more important that you read it now”.  Wow, I thought, this was incredible. I spoke my thoughts aloud, knowing that Janet could hear me.  “I promise I will read it” I said.  She told Trudie to give me her love and then just went.  It was the shortness of the message that also spoke volumes to me because that is exactly how Janet would have said something she considered important when she was alive.

The next day, after Trudie left, I found the book and started reading.  I couldn’t put it down. I could see why Janet had been so insistent that I read it.  The book was wonderful and inspired me to look at where I was on my spiritual pathway, which spiritual teachers had been placed in my life, and most importantly, to recognise my destiny and  follow my dreams.

I was aware of Janet as I continued to read it, I could sense her approval, and see her twinkling eyes and her wonderful smile.  Due to personal circumstances in my life I had been ‘away’ from anything spiritual for a long while.   Her contact had come along at just the right time. I was sure the message was a huge nudge to get back on my rightful path,  as if she was saying “about time too, come on, get on with it!”.  I know Janet ‘s spirit is with me and that she is supporting me towards living my dream and pursuing my pathway.  Most importantly our friendship and our love lives on, we will always be kindred spirits.

http://www.paulocoelho.com

15) I was a Catherine Wheel!

Dizzy thorns

I had been chronically ill for a long time when I went along to my first ever healing evening at a spiritualist church.  I had absolutely no idea what to expect and only went  to accompany a  friend.  I thought that as it was at a church we would all sit in rows, someone would talk to us about healing and that we might sing a couple of hymns and say a few prayers. I had no knowledge of healing, spiritual or otherwise, and didn’t expect the evening to be particularly special or eventful.

So I was surprised, when instead of rows, the chairs were  just dotted around the room, and as we walked in I was asked where I would like to sit.  I just chose the closest chair and felt a bit odd just sitting there, with no idea what was about to happen.  After a few of us had taken our seats the person in charge then allotted a healer to each of us.  A very old lady with a gentle smile came and stood beside me and introduced herself as Jeanie.  She explained that she was a student healer but that everything she did would be overseen by the woman in charge.  I immediately felt at ease and relaxed and just thought to myself that her healing may do some good and certainly wouldn’t do any harm.

The lady in charge said the most beautiful prayer and soft spiritual music was played. The room then became quieter and everyone spoke in hushed tones.  Jeanie stood in front of me and asked if I minded her holding my hands, which I said I didn’t at all.  She looked straight at me and said “I shouldn’t really be telling you this but I am sure I have your Dad with me,”  she went on to give a detailed physical description which exactly fitted him.  She told me that when she was healing she shouldn’t really be connecting to a spirit, but felt that she had to tell me my Dad was there because she felt his love so strongly.    Then she said something that I will never forget.  She said “he is telling me to tell you that if his love could cure you, you would be well”.  I was stunned, and desperately trying not to cry as they were the exact words that my Dad had said to me the previous summer when we had sat in my garden.  He had held my hands and told me he loved me and said that if his love could cure me I would be well!

I had been pretty certain that Dad was there because of Jeanie’s description, but that message just blew me away.  No-one would have known that Dad had said those very words to me.  I knew how upset both he and Mum had been seeing me so ill and feeling so useless at not being able to take away my pain, all they felt they could do was show how much they loved and cared for me.

Jeanie walked behind me and asked if she could then place her hands on my shoulders, which I said was fine.  She said if I wanted I could close my eyes.  I remember feeling quite overwhelmed by her message and then felt total peace as I closed my eyes and just listened to the music in the background.  The next thing I knew was that I was not aware of my body at all, it was the oddest sensation, I felt so light and like I was floating. I tried to feel my feet on the floor, but it was like they didn’t exist.  All I could see was the colour green, a bright vibrant green, like a fresh leaf in springtime with the sun streaming through it.  I was surrounded by it, enveloped by it and strange as it may seem, it was as if I was it.  I felt like I was a disc at the centre of me and I was spinning round and round.  The spinning became faster and faster and faster, all I can really say it that I was, or became,  just pure and utter bliss.  I tried to work out what I was and all I could come up with was that I felt like a Catherine wheel!

I was unaware that I had slumped forward in the chair and the next thing I knew was that the lady in charge was asking me if I was alright.  I felt dazed, and to be honest, almost a little annoyed to be bought back from ‘Blissville’.  Jeanie later told me that it was the most profound healing session for her.  She said she had never felt so much love coming through her.  I felt elated knowing that my Dad was there for me.

It was only several months later when I first started to  learn about chakras that I was surprised to read that chakras are discs that spin, sometimes described as energy vortices throughout the spiritual body.  The heart chakra is normally green and is  often associated with love and healing.  Now, when I meditate I sometimes visualise my chakras, working my way from the base chakra upwards through my body, and I always smile when I get to my heart chakra, because to me it will always be my very own Catherine wheel!

13) Everlasting Love

Love

I have been asked many times about the love we share with our partners, whether we are formally married or sharing our life with someone we love. The question that invariably comes up is this:  how,  if you love someone so very much,  can you manage to love someone else after they die?

This is something I often thought about,  having known several people who had obviously loved their husbands or wives, but had then successfully managed to find love with someone else.  Maybe they enjoyed such a wonderful relationship with their first partner that they hope to experience the same again.  There are of course also those who sadly never love anyone again.  This could be for many reasons.  Maybe they feel that they would be unable to risk losing someone they love all over again, and aren’t prepared to put themselves in the position of going through that pain once more.  Or, do they feel that their love was so strong it is irreplaceable?  Or might it be that they feel they would be being unfaithful to their past love?  This final thought is most probably the question I have been asked the most.  Would their partner in spirit feel they were being betrayed if they went on to love another?

When I was up in Scotland quite a few years ago, I was communicating with the husband, in spirit, of a woman who was distraught because she missed him so much.  She felt that it was wrong that she could ever be happy again without him.  She was concerned that he would feel that she hadn’t really loved him if she ever found love again.  I could feel the warmth of her husband coming through as he spoke to me.  He loved his wife very much and it pained him considerably to see her so lonely and unhappy.  He wanted her to be able to feel love once more.  I tried to convey this to her, but I really wasn’t sure that she believed me.

When I was back home, as I was washing up after dinner,  I heard his distinctive Scottish accent.  He asked me to send a poem he had written to his wife.  I was most surprised as I had never had such a request before.  This is exactly as he said:

Two hearts searching and look what we found, a love that is forever, that nothing can impound

You know I always loved you, you were the only girl for me, we shared our life on earth and shall be together, eternally

I hear your thoughts, I see your tears, I am concerned at your pain, but please know my darling, we will be together again

I shall look over you and gradually see your hurt subside, as the months turn into years, please know I’ll still be at your side

You still have a life to lead, and this I understand, you have to make your own choices and make your own plans

I love you so very much but I want you to feel free, and I know that you’ll never forget me as I live on in your memory

You will not stop loving me, I know that in my heart, but you may find someone to comfort you whilst we are apart

My dearest wish is your happiness whilst you live out your life, you may even marry again and become another’s wife

I give you my blessings for a life full of love, whilst I watch over you with joy from above

Knowing that you love me keeps my spirit alive, knowing that you are loved should help you to thrive.

I sent it to his wife who replied to me.  She said it was exactly as he would have put it and she felt for the first time since he’d  died that she could be free of guilt and able to move on and find happiness in her life.

To me, the poem from this man to his wife showed the deepest form of pure unselfish love.  Surely we all hope that our loved ones are happy and fulfilled.

The poem remained in my files for a long time until recently, one morning,  I suddenly felt that I should read it once more.

That very evening I was out with my husband and happened to be in close proximity to a couple of women who were talking.  I couldn’t help but overhear that one of them had recently been widowed, she spoke about going to see a stage medium but not receiving a message,  and it was obvious she was very unhappy.  I knew her husband’s spirit was with her right there at that very moment. Without even thinking about it I found myself explaining to her that I was a medium and telling her that her husband was beside her.  I could sense that he wanted me to give her a copy of the poem as it exactly conveyed his sentiments.  I asked for her phone number and I said I would call her.

I was, funnily enough, washing up the next evening and saw a vision of a man driving a lorry. I knew instinctively it was the lady’s husband.  He was urging me to phone her. Try as I might I couldn’t glean any more information from him and I was sure that he hadn’t communicated with a medium before.  As I went to ring her I faintly heard the name Natalie. I rang the lady and asked if her husband had been a lorry driver and she confirmed that he had.  I asked if she had an email address so that I could email the poem to her.  She said she didn’t, but she passed me to her daughter in law who gave me her email address, Natalie ………@yahoo.co.uk!  To me her name was further confirmation of  just  how important it was that I send the words.  I do hope that they helped her come to terms with the possibility of moving forward in her life and allowing herself to find love and happiness once again.

Isn’t it just amazing how spirit work?   How wonderful that I was inspired to read that poem that particular morning and then that I met that lady that same night?  It is often said that spiritual communications are based on pure love and the more I have experienced, the more I know that love continues and is everlasting.

If you feel that these words may help someone who feels the same about betraying a loved one in spirit, please feel free to copy it and send it with my blessing.

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