Joy, Not Grief

I talked to a friend a few days ago, and she told me that in the last few months, she has lost several friends. Two she cared for in their last days.  And yet, this woman is one of the happiest people I know. It bummed her out for a time, but she didn’t stay there. I have another friend in Belgium who volunteers at a hospice. She, like me, has lost a child. Her only child. And yet, she is the epitome of cheer to souls who are ready to depart this world.  She had her dark time, too, believe me. But both of these friends can cheer the dying and come away with their own joy in life intact.

It took me many years to find joy after my child died, and I am still not known for my cheer. But joy? That I have. Could joy be the companion of grief?  One state of being that somehow, however inconguently, is joined to the other? If so, then that must be the definition of hope.

Some of us don’t want to let go of grief. It binds them to the one who is gone. For a long time, I felt that if I lost my grief, I would lose Eddie. Again. Eventually, though, visions of Eddie started to come to me that let me remember him in another way. I started to remember how funny he was. Sometimes, when I was seriously deep into practicing a Bach Invention, Eddie would slide into the room and dance to the music, pirouetting around the piano like a disjointed ballet dancer, abolishing my seriousness, doubling me over with laughter. I remembered more about the cool things he did – his painting and his martial art. I remembered all the friends who adored him, how they cheered when he crossed the stage to receive his high school diploma. Those are the things that live with me now. The precious, joyous things. Now, after all these years, I know that that is what stays. Not the grief. Not even when you want it to.

It is almost eight years since my husband Bill died, and I am beginning to think of him the same way. Bill, like Eddie, was a funny guy. He was loving, and kind, and irreverent.  He was also cool. New York cool. Although he never quit his daytime job, he was an actor. Many is the time I sat in the dark, watching him onstage, or cheered when he appeared in a snippet in a movie. I was a fan.

I remember one day in particular.  Bill had gotten a job as an extra in the movie, “Minority Report” with Tom Cruise. One evening during the filming, he burst through the door exclaiming – “Guess what? Today I was directed by Steven Spielberg!” That stopped me. And then he said, “You know what he said to me?” “No,” I said excitedly. “He said, ‘Could you please move over there, out of the way, sir?'” Those are the kinds of things I remember about Bill. Somehow his joy in life and Eddie’s joy in life have found their way into my spirit. They have infused me with it. Their joy has traveled from their spirits into mine.

I don’t try to understand how the Universe works. I don’t question the imponderable – things like the connection between loss and life, grief and joy. I just accept them. And I am grateful for the joy those beautiful spirits brought into my life. That is what they left me. That is what lasts. Not grief.

***

Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at http://www.amazon.com. For a signed copy, go to http://www.themessenger.space.

Gifts

 

What good is a beautiful gift if it is hidden away? That’s what my book The Messenger was – a gift, a beautiful story, for which I can take no credit. I didn’t write it.  I wrote my own story, but the story that took place in Egypt 200 years after the death of Christ was given to me by my Spirit Guide, Lukhamen.  The two stories are side by side in the book, mine and his, because they are connected, because I am connected to my Spirit Guide, as we all are connected to teachers, guides, and loved ones who look after us, love us, guide us, and give us messages. Whether you believe this or not does not matter. It happens anyway.

Has a thought ever entered your mind that seemed odd in its timing or subject matter, random, out of the blue, connected to nothing in particular, but was a bit of information that came in handy later, or actually saved you from harm?  Did you ever hear something in your head that whispered “Watch out!” or “Stop!” when you weren’t paying attention but needed to put the brakes on? Did you ever wonder where these little warnings came from? Did you think it was your subconscious operating in a futuristic way? Was your internal warning system operating independently? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Perhaps it is something much more improbable, something a little more miraculous, something coming from a love you can’t see or touch.

This reminds me of the title of a book written by a man named Michael Mirdad. He’s the spiritual leader of the Unity of Sedona Church here where I live. It’s called, “You’re Not Crazy, You’re Just Awake.”  Sure, the messages may sometimes seem mundane and trivial, but what is important is that you heard them. You were awake to something more than your physical senses.

I’ll tell you something I’ve noticed. People who never heard these “messages” before begin to hear them when a loved one dies. Or when they have experienced some kind of trauma. Or when they are in despair or depressed. And sometimes what we get are not thoughts. They’re feelings. Hints. Clues. Even impulses. How many times have you heard someone say, “Something told me to…” or “I don’t know why I did that but…” Have you ever felt compelled to go to a certain place, and discovered when you got there that there was a reason for you to be there – then – at that time? Or just the opposite. Have you ever felt strongly that you should not go somewhere and later found out that it would not have been good for you to be there – then – at that time? I invite you to take notice of these things. I invite you to consider the idea that something wonderful is close to you at all times, loving you, protecting you, guiding you, talking to you. I invite you to take notice of coincidences (as if there were such things). On the day of your mother’s funeral, did a hawk suddenly appear above you in the sky? And did you remember that your mother always said that she would watch you like a hawk? That happened to a young woman I know. She told me her story just yesterday. And many more, all related to her mother, all little signs that would mean something only to her. Her children had their own signs, gifts from that loved one who was now looking on with love, making sure they knew that she wasn’t Gone for Good.

We need to tell each other these stories of comfort, hope, and yes, improbable little miracles – and the big ones – that are given to us. We need them, especially if we are in grief, or have known grief. Or loneliness. Or despair. I have been told that I will do something to create small (or large) groups of people like myself who want to talk to each other, people who have suffered, who are suffering, grieving, feeling alone in their sorrow, but looking, searching, and finding hope and comfort, people who want to share their experiences, their gifts. People who want to feel loved again. And last night, in the middle of the night, it came to me that I would call them The Messenger Groups.

There will be more about this as it is revealed to me. I’m listening.

***

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Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney.  Find it at www.Amazon.com or on her website: www.themessenger.space.

You Can Do Almost Anything

You can do almost anything if you don’t hurry.  That’s a line from a movie I saw yesterday. I love movies. The title of this blog, “Nobody’s Gone for Good,” was taken from a movie. I’ll take wisdom wherever I can find it. It doesn’t have to be dressed up in guru’s robes or spiritual books. It can come from a child, or from an airline pilot, like the one in the movie who said, “You can do almost anything if you don’t hurry.”

I can take these little gifts of wisdom from the Universe now, but there was a time when I couldn’t. It was when I was in the throes of grief. When you are overtaken by grief, everything is on hold—your brain, your heart, your consciousness. Thank God people didn’t offer me their favorite truisms when I was in the midst of grief. Wait. That’s not exactly true. One of them did. I had lost my child. After the funeral service, as I was sitting in the car waiting to go to the cemetery, she mouthed through the car window, “God loves you.” My angry thought was, “And just how do you know that?”

Years later, I lost my husband. By that time, I had learned of lots of things about life, and death, and grief, and faith. But at the time, the awful days and months after his death, I was too raw to remember them, too captured by pain to let them into my consciousness. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in what I had learned; it was that I couldn’t hurry my return to normalcy, to the fact that God really did love me. I had no idea that a slow, steady climb out of pain would be the path the Universe would lovingly offer me.

I suppose you can do almost anything if you don’t hurry. I don’t know why that is true. I just know that it is true for me. I know that in my everyday life, when I hurry, I lose time, because I make mistakes. Inevitably, I will lose my car keys, or my glasses, or I will (like I did yesterday) hurriedly respond to a text I thought was from my daughter. In it, I said something embarrassing about the person I actually sent it to. Yikes. I apologized, but I still feel bad about it. If I had not hurried, I would have seen that the number was not my daughter’s. If I had not hurried, I wouldn’t have said something embarrassing in the first place. I would have had time to think. Hurrying for me is like running through a maze with blinders on. I miss a lot. I lose my way and have to start all over again.

I was not allowed to rush through my grief. I had to take it a day at a time—pain, despair, hopelessness, and all. Only now can I see how wise that was. A loving Universe fed me small, digestible bits of wisdom as I was able to take them and keep them down. With every small bit of love, I was able to let go of a small bit of bitterness and despair. Bigger bites were not possible for me.

It took me almost thirty years to understand and truly believe that there is no death, that there is only life, and that perfect Love and Wisdom reside within me. In all of that time, I read, I stayed close to people who knew about such things. I meditated and sought the wisdom of my own soul and that of the spirits that look after me. I still do that, for my human tendency is still to want to know answers and to be comforted when things go wrong. I want them to be fixed. Right. Now. But there is no real comfort in that. The best answers come when I am able to understand them.

I write this blog for anyone who has lost someone they love. I write it for anyone who has lost anything—a home, a marriage, a job, money, health. What I know is that the long, slow road out of loss and grief is the surest. It leads to a lasting peace. Anything else, anything hurried, is temporary, and frequently unwise. But I also know that, like me, you will discover that you can do almost anything if you don’t hurry.

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Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at www.Amazon.com or www.themessenger.space.

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The Journey to Nobody’s Gone for Good

Every so often I stop to remember why I write this blog, and why I slog away at it every week. It must seem that I am forever recounting small miracles, improbable occurrences, and stops along a spiritual path. I am, of course, but I am aware of these things only because of what happened at the beginning. It started with grief. Not just any grief, but that special, life-threatening grief that comes with the loss of a child. My spiritual path began there. Not that I knew it at the time. I wonder if we ever know the moment of embarkation on the journey to another sphere of recognition. For that is what it was, the journey to the realization that Nobody’s Gone for Good. It’s the name of my blog.

I write this for the mothers and fathers who know that special, awful brand of grief, but I also write it for everyone who has ever known a heart-rending loss. At some point in time, that will be everyone. Grief is part of life. It is not life itself. And that is the difference a journey to the spiritual side of life made me understand.

I take no credit for understanding this great difference. That was a gift. It was either that or death for me. I lost a son. My daughters lost a brother. My mother lost a grandson. His father lost a son. His friends lost a friend. Even as I say it, I have trouble with that word lost. But as it is in that beautiful hymn, Amazing Grace, “Once I was lost, but now I’m found,” our loved ones could never have really been lost. And no matter how it may have seemed, we were never really lost, either. I think the idea of being lost is an illusion. It’s something I believed. It wasn’t true. Because I am here. I am not lost at all. And neither is my boy. I can feel him here with me.

The illusion of loss is the basis of grief. And we must feel it. I don’t know why. I only know that when the illusion becomes our belief, we feel grief. And I think that applies to every “loss.” I “lost” hope. I “lost” joy. I “lost my career.” I “lost” my child.

But then, for some of us, the embarkation occurs, and we put one foot in front of the other and begin the long, slow journey to another realization. There are many ways to be led to the point of embarkation. For me, it was threefold:  a book, a gifted medium, and contact with a Spirit Guide. For some, it may be a friend. It may be the words to a song, or a line in a play. Any number of inspirations can lead from one belief to another. I was neither easily convinced, nor did I learn to believe in another way quickly. My new beliefs were based on evidence, evidence that death is an impotent power, another illusion, and that the person who is lost is merely…elsewhere. In another form. And, most importantly, that communication with that person is possible and natural, with love as the bridge.  This is not easy. The transition to a new belief in life asks us to consider the reality of something that cannot be seen, or heard, or felt. It asks that we suspend disbelief, refrain from contempt prior to investigation, and to accept, in the words of Shakespeare, that “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” It asks that we believe in a Love greater than we can imagine, a Love that never takes away, but gives, and gives life, constantly and always.

Today, I can write of the miracles I see in life. I see them because I know beyond all doubt that there is

—“a light in the night for all who mourn, the message that death is banished, that life is all there is, and that love is greater than fire, and wind, and time.” – taken from “The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide” by Helen Delaney.

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The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney can be obtained by going to www.Amazon.com and my website at www.themessenger.space.

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You Do Not Have to Believe This Story

After reading the back cover, people will either open my book titled The Messenger, or they won’t go near it. The subtitle: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide will intrigue some, while others will be put off by it. Those who begin to read it will find that it opens with this sentence: You do not have to believe this story. It happened all the same. I don’t ask my readers to believe it. I simply put it before them, as it was put before me.

Half the book is my story as I lived it—the gruesome, heartbreaking experience of the death of my child and its aftermath. The other half was given to me by someone who lived almost two thousand years ago in Egypt: My Spirit Guide, Lukhamen. Let me use the proper term for what happened. I channeled his story. Improbable? Indeed it was. Is.

I’ve read about other people who’ve experienced this phenomenon. I have also met some. They were not “woo-woo” people. They were not flaky or inveterate liars. Or con artists. Or on drugs. They were ordinary people with ordinary lives, ordinary jobs, and not particularly imaginative. The first one I happened to hear (on National Public Radio) was a well-known newspaper journalist. As for me, I have lived my own professional life in the company of hard-core realists – engineers, research scientists, and government officials. I spent my entire career in Washington, D.C., interrupted only by a brief stint as a diplomat in Brussels. My life was lived in two centers of government that are about as far removed from metaphysical philosophies as ever I could imagine. I was, and still am, tremendously impressed with intelligence and the scientific mind that is driven to explore the unknown, the unknowable, and the unbelievable. But let me stop there. I am not an apologist for channelers or channeling. It is, as they say, what it is.

What I would like to do is answer the most-asked questions put to me by my readers. I believe I should include these in an introduction to The Messenger II. (I’m working on a sequel.) The questions are, WHAT WAS IT LIKE? And HOW DID IT HAPPEN?

To answer the first question, the best explanation I can give is that it was like looking at television. Imagine that you are watching, say, a soap opera. (That is so unfair to my Spirit Guide, but it is a commonly understood form of a continuing story.) Each segment is just a few minutes long. You turn off the television and write down what you heard and saw. It was almost just that simple. Except that I was looking at television with my eyes closed. The story would always resume where it left off. Like soap operas do. One negative reviewer (gratefully, I’ve only gotten one so far) questioned my ability to recall conversations. He just chalked the whole thing up to the conclusion that I invented the whole thing. I must say I’m flattered that he would credit me with the massive imagination it would have taken to dream it all up plus the fiction writer’s gift for concocting a complicated plot.

Many of us can recall (more or less) scenes from our favorite movies. How many of us can remember the lines from a famous airport scene that ends with, “Here’s looking at you, kid?” Can you see the hat Ingrid Bergman is wearing? Can you see the tears in her eyes? I can.

And how did such an extraordinary, improbable thing happen? It happened because I requested it. Now, when I think of it, it was more like a prayer. I asked for a Spirit Guide to come to me, to help me. I was at the end of my rope and nobody had yet made me understand why my young son had to die. I asked and I received. I asked and Love answered.

The truth that I will ask my readers to believe comes at the end of the book. And it is this: There exists a Love that is greater than any of us can imagine. It will find us in the darkest hour. There is a light in the night for all who mourn, and death is banished. Life is all there is, and love is greater than fire, and wind, and time.

***

From the back cover of The Messenger:

Helen Delaney is in a railway book store, inconsolable and suicidal after the death of her son. A book at eye level catches her attention. She touches it, and it falls off the shelf, into her hand. It is a set of instructions on how to connect with a spirit guide. Thus begins The Messenger, the true, intimate story of a grieving mother, a gifted medium, and the spirit guide Lukhamen, who keeps her alive by recounting the story of his life.

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The Messenger by Helen Delaney is available at http://www.Amazon.com

Letter From Sedona

 

“I was called here.” People who live here say that a lot. Someday I, too, will live here. I am waiting for the door to open. I am waiting for my house to sell. The timing is not up to me.

I don’t remember exactly when Sedona called me. I’d never heard of it; I knew nothing about it. All I know is that the thought came to me soon after Bill died, and it wouldn’t leave. When I followed the call and came, my daughter, Michaela, came with me. I was broken. I was paralyzed. The way you are when death takes the love of your life.  A friend of Michaela’s, hearing we were going to Sedona, told her about a shaman there who had helped her let go of a heartbreaking love.

Michaela made the appointment. He lived outside of Sedona, about half an hour into desert country. When we arrived, a little early, he wasn’t there. We waited in chairs outside his front door. Before long he appeared, walking down the driveway toward us, a beautiful, stunning creature with white hair in braids leading a huge white dog. He greeted us as if he had known us for a long time.

We sat on his floor. The dog, Hanta Yo, snuggled up against me as he talked. His eyes had a light in them, and he laughed from time to time as he tried in vain to explain what it was he was about to do.  “I will dream for you,” he said, finally. “Follow where I go. I do not know where that will be. Just follow the sound of my voice.” We laid on his floor, our heads touching, eyes closed. Soon the sound of soft music filled my ears. He had chosen a plaintive Irish melody, something Bill would have loved. How did he know to do that? He knelt by my side. He placed one hand above my heart chakra, the other above my solar plexus chakra. As he touched me, I entered a trance state. I heard him, it seemed, at a great distance, as he began to wail and weep. “I miss you, I miss you, I miss you,” he wailed, over and over again. Tears spilled from my closed eyes. I could hear Michaela crying. He had found my pain and was taking it into himself. When he released it at last, I had a vision of birds rising from a field as if startled. Up and up they flew, lifting my heart with them. I remember his voice saying that I would be filled with radiant light, and then he left me and went to Michaela. Her music was different, and he reached into her heart and found something I knew was troubling her. He left us alone to recover and become fully awake. A little wobbly, we said goodbye and returned to our hotel room, fully spent, where we both dropped into a deep sleep. When I woke, my grief had not entirely gone, but its great weight was no longer there and I felt as if I could live again. Since then, I have been back every year, and Michaela and I, once even my granddaughter and I, and sometimes I alone, walk with this shaman to holy places among the rocks, above the canyons, and sit in the sacred circles he has made there. I do not know for sure, but I believe more each day that Bill sent me here to be healed.

This is a magical place, a place held sacred by the ancient Native Americans.  They sanctified the area for special spiritual ceremonies as they experienced deep spirit here in the red rocks, where energy vortexes give forth a sacred high vibrational energy to the air. The sandstone in Sedona is covered in quartz that sparkles in the rocks. It is said that wherever you walk or sit you become part of the Universal Energy Force.

Next week, I will tell you a story of the big white dog, Hanta Yo.  I am here in Sedona for the month of November. The month of gratitude.

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Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. It is available at http://www.Amazon.com and at the News Center in Easton, MD.

Hanta Yo

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Hanta Yo is a Lakota Sioux term that means “clear the way.” It indicates the intention of drawing on the Great Spirit to clear the way while you do your part with faith.

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According to a book I am reading written by a master acupuncturist, when physical pain is relieved, underlying emotional pain often rises to the top, and takes its place.

My physical pain was in my neck and shoulders. Neuromuscular therapy eliminated a lot, but the therapist told me there was more stress to be addressed.  I can feel it. Am I stressed? Yes. My house has been on the market for two years. I’ve had three offers that did not go to settlement. Strangers are still roaming through my rooms and peering into my closets. It’s a pain in the neck.

And then, there was my heart, beating through my ear. I saw an ENT physician, who identified the throbbing as a blockage in the Eustachian tube. He  has prescribed a nasal spray.  Was my heart trying to speak to me? Was it whispering in my ear?

The center beam under my house has come up in two home inspections. According to the inspectors, it should be bolted to two parallel joists and they need to be reinforced. And I’ve been resisting it. Early on, Bill and I decided to deal with it (it was like that when we moved in) by installing steel beams and later, I installed new joists all over. The house is, without a doubt, structurally sound. But the home inspectors see it and note it. It freaked the second buyer out. It’s like a sore thumb. Or a pain in the neck. In the last few months, I’ve grudgingly made some needed repairs – I replaced two windows, took care of a plumbing problem, and re-painted the deck and the porch. But I have stubbornly refused to have my house jacked up again (my granite counter top cracked last time) to fix that *###** beam. Not to mention the money.

Yesterday, I had it fixed. I surrendered.  And as the acupuncturist predicted, when I took care of the physical pain in the house and in myself, the emotional pain surfaced.

It came upon me as I was walking the river road. (For those of you who have read my book, there is a river road here, too.) It came upon me because I realized that this house was mine and Bill’s. This is where we sat on so many precious mornings at the kitchen table, talking about everything in the world. It’s where we celebrated Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Days, Father’s Days. It’s where we watched the fireworks on our river on the Fourth of July. It’s where we fed our children, our grandchildren, and our friends. It’s where we laughed. And cried. On those last few days before he took to his bed, Bill would sit on the back porch and look at the trees and the garden I had made as if it were the most beautiful thing in the world. And I was glad, because I had created it for him. And finally, on that day in August six years ago, Bill passed into spirit here. In his bed, in his home. In our home. In our house.

Tears blinded me as I made my way back. My house would not sell as long as I would not let it go. Perhaps I am letting it go now. Finally. Perhaps I am drawing on the Great Spirit to clear the way while I do my part with faith.

***

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Helen Delaney’s book, The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide, is available on Amazon. You may find it by clicking on the link below.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_22?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=the+messenger+by+helen+delaney&sprefix=The+Messenger+by+Helen%2Caps%2C331