Dear Friends:

The photo above is of a sunrise in Sedona, Arizona. If you are reading this on Sunday morning, I will be in flight, on my way there. Talk to you next week from beautiful, sacred red rock country.

Oh, yes.  P.S. from last week: The couple whose daughter ran the Iron Man race sent me flowers.


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Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney at or pick up a copy at the News Center in Easton, MD.


The Power of the Shadow: Part Two

I drove to the Hyatt and visited the Ladies Room. Relieved of my body’s most urgent demand, I entered the Starbucks bar, always a place of comfort for me.  As she made my latte, I told the barista all about how I couldn’t get home. I guess I was a little tearful by this time. “Oh, my,” said she, “I hope I can get home. The race runs by my road, too. Here you are,” she said, handing me my drink, “it’s on the house.” That was the first act of kindness of the evening. I didn’t notice it at the time, but my anger had begun to lose just the tiniest bit of steam. In the dining room, I told my story to the waitress. It seems as if I couldn’t stop talking about it. She was a great listener and so sympathetic and kind, I just couldn’t continue fuming. I ate my dinner, went back upstairs to the coffee shop to read the newspapers to kill time. I had reached my town at around 4:30 pm. Now, it was close to 8:00 pm. I was really tired now.  I decided I’d try one more time, and if I couldn’t get through, I’d go to the police station and demand…something. My plan wasn’t clear, but I was sure they owed me a way to my house. The fifteen minute drive from the Hyatt took about half an hour, and the first policeman I encountered (at one of those awful intersections where runners were still blocking the street) was also kind and sympathetic. She told me to go back to my street and ask the policeman there to let me through. She had been standing there in the cold for a long, long time. Still, she was patient and soft spoken and helpful. What IS it with these people? I thought. They won’t let me stay angry. And I SO wanted to stay angry.

When I reached my street, the policeman remembered me from four hours ago. I was really ready to cry this time, and I guess he saw it. “Follow me,” he said, “I’ll get you there. I’m going to walk in front of your car.” With his body between my car and a horde of runners, he slowly but surely walked me to my driveway, directing the runners to one side. I thanked him and told him my father had been a cop and how much I appreciated his help. At that, his face lit up. I’d been thinking about my father all along, and how he used to help people out of tough situations, and wishing he were there to help me. Now I think maybe he was.

The last straw, so to speak, was Missy. She was standing at the end of my driveway with a cowbell, cheering the runners. It was cold, it was dark, the wind was blowing, and there she was, shouting, “Come on, you can do it!” I have no idea how long she’d been out there. She was glad to see me and I was glad to see her. “It’s the last lap,” she said. “This is when they need cheering the most.” For the first time, I actually stopped to look at them. Tired beyond belief, these athletes who had begun at 5:00 am swimming in icy waters and cycling over a hundred miles, were almost done. They had carried on, hitting God knows how many walls and pushing through them. I had never seen such fatigue. And such courage. And here was Missy, cheering them on. My transformation was now almost complete. Anger, or the Power of the Shadow, had dissipated in the face of kindness and courage.

In a little while, as we sat at my kitchen table, Missy in her sweet way, took the last bit of resentment out of my heart. Her phone rang. The call was from the family of the athlete she had housed. “We’ve got an IRON MAN,” they shouted. Their daughter had made it. They were at a local restaurant celebrating. “Come on over,” they shouted to Missy. She was tired, but she said, “I have to go over to say hello.” My street had cleared enough by now, and Missy went out into the darkness to share their joy.

And that is how it works. Darkness cannot prevail when exposed to the light. Anger cannot last when it is faced with kindness. The Power of Love is greater than the Power of the Shadow. Every time.


The Messenger IMG_0416Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. It is available at and at the News Center in Easton, MD.

The Power of the Shadow: Part One

I usually write my blog on Saturday night for Sunday readers. Last night was different. I couldn’t get home. I’d gone to a workshop with my friend Gail, in a town almost thirty miles away. It was an intimate gathering of five women and the facilitator, my acupuncturist and guru, David. We sat in the front room of a Wellness Center, small, charming, comfortable, and serene. The walls were lined with books and aromatic lotions. There was a lovely rug on the floor and comfortable chairs arranged in a semicircle. We were there to explore the Powers of Transformation. At the break, the Center treated us to a twenty-minute aquamassage – an amazing experience where, fully clothed, wearing earphones for music, and in a spaceship-like container, water (as in a water bed) undulates up and down your spine, neck, arms and legs. It’s soothing and hypnotic. All you want to do is stay there and sleep. At the end of the day, our little group had bonded. We’d shared secrets, made commitments to do good things for ourselves – adjust diets, exercise, and repair broken relationships, having learned about the powers of transformation. I dropped Gail off at her house and headed home. I was tired. The workshop had been cathartic, but emotionally charged. It was getting dark and cold.

Meanwhile, back at home, my little town was hosting an Iron Man race. In streets normally quiet and empty, crowds of out-of-towners lined the streets, cheering the athletes (who were there from all over the United States) through fifteen hours of grueling paces – a triathlon of swimming in the river, biking over a hundred miles and running over 25 miles. The last lap was to run by my house, on my tiny little lane. I opened my house to my friend Missy and the family from Rochester, New York she was housing. Their daughter was in the race. At my house, they’d have a place to park close to the river and the last lap, and from time to time, they’d be able to come inside where it was warm. Missy made coffee and crab soup for them while they followed their daughter’s progress. I was glad to do it. After all, I’d be gone all day, and when I got back, it would be all over. The letter I’d gotten from the event planner said the last runner would be there at around 5:30. He neglected to tell us that that was their arrival time, and that the finish time would be when the last runner finished.

The day that had started out so wonderfully turned into something else entirely. Before the day was over, I was angry. Fuming. I could barely make it through town to my street. Each intersection was a fifteen to twenty minute wait. When I finally got to my street, I found it blocked. Not even the policeman at the corner could get me through. Runners and cheerers were everywhere, tying up the street and the cross street in both directions. There was no space for a car to get through. The planners of this event had assumed the right to deny me access to my home. I made it back through the maze and down Route 50 to the Hyatt, sat in the darkened parking lot, plugged my cell phone (which was losing power) into the car battery, and started to make calls. Every room in every hotel, motel, and B&B in my town and the next town eleven miles away was booked. It was getting late and the wind began to blow. I called Missy. She was stuck, too. I couldn’t get in and she couldn’t get out. I asked her to feed my cat. I was tired, I was hungry, my bladder was threatening me, and I was overwhelmed with anger. I pay exorbitant taxes for my right to my street. And someone had arbitrarily taken it away. I felt powerless and filled with outrage.

David had told us that what we’d learned that day would fade, that we’d had to go back and review it from time to time. I didn’t expect it to fade so quickly. As I rode around the perimeters of my town, unable to land anywhere, weakened by hunger and fatigue, the Power of the Shadow – something we’d discussed in the workshop – took hold. The Power of the Shadow represents our most primitive instincts. And I was there, in the middle of it.

To be continued.

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The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney is available at and at the News Center in Easton, MD.



There is a Light in the World

“There is a LIGHT in this world. A healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometime lose sight of this force when there is suffering, and too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.” – Richard Attenborough.


I spent some time with my daughter Michaela last week. She was in Washington, D.C. to address the Gates Millennium Scholars, young African Americans, American Indian/Alaska Natives, Hispanic Americans, and Asian American/Pacific Islanders.

The Gates Millennium Program began because Bill and Melinda Gates had an idea. What would happen, they posited, if kids like these could go to the university of their dreams? AND WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF MONEY WAS TAKEN OFF THE TABLE? And then, they did something about it. They established the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, which is administered by the United Negro College Fund, and endowed it with a 1.6 BILLION dollar grant. Each year, there are 5,000 Gates Scholars. Michaela was speaking to the 2015 kids. She’s an award winner herself, my Michaela. Just recently, the NAACP of New York distinguished her with the Phenomenal Woman Award at the centennial celebration. The city of New York proclaimed her a “Trailblazer” and the Feminist Press honored her for her “empowerment” of women.

As she told me about the Gates Scholars, there were tears in her eyes. And in mine. ” There they were,” she said, “a ballroom full of these kids, wearing tee shirts from Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, and other Ivy League universities.” The scholarships will take them through graduate programs, even as far as a PhD, if they so desire. These kids came from neighborhoods and family environments  that were sad and hard, harder than we could ever imagine. Against incredible odds, they made the cut and qualified for a Gates Scholarship. They sat there, looking up at her, smiling, a brighter future in front of them than they might have wished for in their wildest dreams. Michaela said she was so overcome with emotion she could hardly speak. Sometimes hope is hard to look at directly. Like the sun.

Later, as I waited with Michaela for her train back to New York, the station began to fill with Gates Scholars, on their way back to school. She was greeted and hugged by one after the other, and, through my joyful tears, I could see that healing spirit in every smiling face. “I believe God gave Bill Gates Microsoft so that he could do this,” she said.



The Messenger IMG_0416

The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney is available at and at the News Center in Easton, MD.

Above the Storm

As I backed out of my driveway this morning (on my way to stock up on cat food before the heavy rain hits our peninsula), I saw a piece of siding on the front of my house that had come loose, the result, no doubt, of two days of high winds (a side effect of Hurricane Joaquin). My first exasperated thought was, is this house cursed? Since Bill died, this house has done nothing but demand things from me. For two and a half years, I’ve tried to sell it, but my buyer is still out there somewhere, trying to find me.  I’ve fixed one thing after another. Some things were small; some were major (like the construction of two bathrooms after a leak). Deep in my heart I know that all is well, and that when the time is right, I will move. But there are constant demands. And the unknown stretching out endlessly before me.

All the way to the supermarket, I listed the things in my life for which I should be grateful – my health, my family, my friends, my house, which, in spite of my carping, has withstood several severe storms and two hurricanes over the last thirteen years.

I shopped, I remembered to be grateful, but I was still annoyed. As I was bringing my grocery bags into the house, I looked up at the piece of loose siding, dangling precariously. My first thought was to ignore it, let it hang there till I was ready to deal with it. But then I envisioned the next few days: the piece of siding blown away in the wind, the call to a contractor, the wait for him to show up. The money. A replacement piece wouldn’t match so I’d have to paint the front of the house, then I’d have to paint the whole house. And I’m about to take on a new real estate agent, and hopefully, a new set of prospective buyers. The house has to be turnkey-ready.  This train of thought went on and on into a homeowner’s nightmare. I decided to fix it. I’m no handywoman, but I do have a ladder and a brand new bottle of gorilla glue. (A brilliant solution, right?) I positioned the ladder carefully behind my Montauk daisies, which are blooming prettily, steadied it as best I could in the wind and started to ascend, when I heard a voice: “Helen! What are you doing?” It was my neighbor Jeff, who had just pulled into his driveway. “Give me a minute to put my groceries in the house,” he said.

Jeff, who knows his way around a power drill, ascended the ladder while I held it steady. As he secured the siding with screws (and made the repair invisible, by the way), I complained. “It’s always something with this house.” And he said, “There’s always something with old houses.” It was so matter-of-fact, so calm. With just those few words, he put everything into perspective. My house isn’t cursed. It’s old. Ah, but there’s this: Who put Jeff in his driveway just as I was starting up the ladder? Who gave me his sweet little family to live next door to?

It’s nighttime, and I’m sitting in front of my computer, listening to the wind howl, happy to be inside and sheltered. There are people who have lost their houses to this hurricane, people who have lost their lives. A ship is lost at sea. I’ve lived through hurricanes in my life, some of them having nothing to do with the weather. So I thank this old house, my teacher, for dropping something out of place so that I might be reminded that I have always been held in safety and lifted above every storm. And that I am not alone.


Next week, I’ll catch up and tell you about business dinners with old friends, a birthday party, a book club that read The Messenger, a visit with my daughter Niki, and my daughter Michaela’s speech to Gate Scholars, an amazing story that brought tears to my eyes.


The Messenger IMG_0416The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide, by Helen Delaney is available on and at the News Center in Easton, MD.