Alrighty. Thank you everyone for hanging in during this blog-blackout. How do I explain what happened? Well, between the move, and all of the overwhelming family stuff, I became pretty blocked. I’ve always used writing as a way of getting through difficult times; not being able to write has made things more difficult to process. Once you stop writing, it’s more challenging to get going again – you stopped for a reason, in my case I was feeling pretty shit-kicked, emotionally.
I’m not sure what I was waiting for. I’ve written several posts in my head without actually typing them out, so I’ll start with that one.
In sessions, a lot of people ask about signs from their loved one – how do they know when she or he is around? What do they do to get our attention?
My grandmother, (my mother’s mother) sends most of the family lady bugs, although I believe she helped send me those orcas in September 2013. As lady bugs are rare in Tofino, I’ve noticed really huge, unusual houseflies tend to come around when my grandmother wants to say “Hello! Just checking in, can you see me?” I always say “Hello, grandma!” out loud, so she knows that I noticed.
This is one of the suggestions I have for people: when you *think* you see a sign, just say hello. “Hello, sweetheart! If that’s from you, I see it!” Saying it out loud is THEIR confirmation that they’re reaching you, so it encourages them to keep trying. The more you acknowledge these little signs, the more they tend to happen.
Before my mother died, she told me she’d send me schnauzers. When I was a teenager, our family dog was a schnauzer named Heidi, and Heidi was my first real teacher in animal communication.
I said to my Mom, “Great – but there aren’t many schnauzers around here at all! It’ll be hard to send me schnauzers if there aren’t any to divert. What about sending me birds, too?”
“Okay,” she agreed. “Schnauzers and birds.”
The morning I got the news that my mother had died during the night, there was a damn big spider in my bathroom sink.
This is unusual because I have a deal with the spiders. The large ones stay outside, the small ones are allowed inside only until they’re as large as the nail on my pinky. Preferably, they stay out of sight. Ever since I cut this deal with the spiders, they’ve generally stayed hidden. They’ve stopped doing things like showing up on my PILLOW or on MY FACE!
My mother was the first person to point out that those creatures we’re most afraid of are often used as spiritual messengers. Why? Because we NOTICE them. A beetle or a fly I might ignore, but a spider? They cause me to freeze instantly. Other than predators who could eat me, there really aren’t any other creatures I’ve encountered that literally paralyze me just by showing themselves. Yeah, I freaking notice the spiders.
So when I saw this spider in my bathroom sink, I thought it might be from my mother. But why would that be? I was just seeing hummingbirds outside the bedroom window. Those birds don’t come into my yard because the neighbours have feeders. There’s no reason for them to detour into my yard. Besides, my mother had said she’d send schnauzers and birds. Spiders were not a part of the pre-arranged deal.
A week and a half later as I was packed and ready to go to Ontario for my mother’s service, it happened again. Another spider, slightly larger this time, perched on top of my luggage.
Okay, this *might* be something, I thought.
Why wouldn’t I just ask Mom directly, being a medium and all? Because I’m grieving. Sometimes, it can really hurt to be in contact with a loved one just after they pass, before you’ve had a chance to heal a bit. I think this is one of the reasons some mediums make up rules about loved ones being “unreachable” for a certain period of time after their death, or insisting on a certain period of time passing between a death and a client’s session to speak with that person or animal.
When Mocha (my big dog) and Leo (my tabby cat) died, they immediately came to hang out in spirit. I had to actually send Mocha away that first week, because it was so painful to have her presence around without her body.
For some people, they experience this spiritual closeness with a visiting spirit by suddenly thinking about them, and feeling overwrought with grief, when a moment ago, they felt fine. Our bodies react with certainty when we experience these things. We *know* what we experienced was real, even if it doesn’t translate as profoundly when you try to share the story with someone else.
So there was me, and there were the two spiders – one in the sink, and one on my luggage. While on the six-seater plane to Vancouver, I whispered to Mom, “If those spiders are from you, I need some more confirmation.”
Two days later, I was sitting at my mother’s service. It was perfect, I think it was exactly as she wanted it.
Can I let you guys in on a secret? I *hate* funerals. I hate eulogies. It’s just not for me. This is not how I grieve, and it’s not how I want to grieve. My mother’s service was the very first formal funeral I’ve been to.
You know what I prefer? The wake, or the before / after gathering where family and / or friends gather to eat, drink and tell stories full of love, laughter and recalling the full character of the person we all just lost. I love informal gatherings. I despise formal services. I can’t justify exactly *why* they turn me off so strongly, and I’m not saying they’re wrong or that people shouldn’t do them.
I just *do not want* one for myself.
That said, my mother’s service was perfect.
My very favourite part was when her Buddhist priest stood up to talk about my mother’s relationship with Japanese Buddhism. He didn’t use any of his own words – he read a speech my mother had written and presented to the Buddhist circle of practitioners. It was a talk on how mindfulness practice impacted her life.
When the priest got to the part in the speech about the spiders, that made my heart twist like a sponge, wringing out all the conflicting emotions at once.
She’s talked about how she used to hate spiders, she’d kill them on sight. How mindfulness practice helped her get above her visceral reaction and merely *notice* the spiders. How interesting they are, how beautiful, even. She could appreciate them, even love them – as long as they weren’t too big!
That was it for me. That was my confirmation, and I cried because I got that message, and it felt like it was just for me.
Of course, if I’d said anything at the time, it would’ve looked pretty crazy. That’s pretty much par for the course, eh?
After the service, there *was* a gathering of family with stories and laughter. My little squeezed-out heart sponge started to untwist, soften, become pliable again.
That night, as if there was any doubt left, there was a medium-sized spider in the bathroom sink.