Signs in Spiders


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.




Celebrity Friday: Comedy Clubs in Heaven


celebrity spirits george carlin kate sitka


There are so many different versions of “Heaven” and I think it’s important to understand that what we experience after we die is what we need and want.

Of course, individuals seek out their friends, their colleagues, their soul families!  What’s the point of any of this if we don’t have friends, family and love? 

I was asking who might want to talk and tapped George Carlin, asked what he was doing, whether he was hanging with Robin Williams yet, etc.  I got the distinct impression of a dark comedy club with a black, flaking paint and stage lighting that was a little glaring and a bit dim at the same time.

A good ol’ DIVE! 

This is the sort of club George loved the best. 

At this juncture, I got up to stir some soup I was making while writing this post.  It takes such a long time to make decent food, I wanted to multi-task a bit, but I ended up interrupting George right as we were beginning our conversation.  He didn’t seem to mind though, and he had some cooking tips.  Here’s the conversation tangent we just took:

George:  Yeah, put some three year old oregano in there, that shit’s the BEST!

Kate:  It’s three years old?  Holy crap I guess it is.

George:  YEAH (long, drawn out, a tad pervy yeaaaahhhhh!) Old oregano, that’s where you really get the flavour.  I never had any oregano, my drunk friends would think it was pot and try to smoke it!

Kate:  Gross, I can’t believe this stuff is three years old.  What are you George, the french chef now?

George:  Don’t put water in there, where’s your wine!  Put a little more red wine in there, that’s what that french guy would say, they LOVE wine!

I added water and then sat back at my computer.  George, you were talking about comedy clubs in Heaven,

George:  Yeah well you know we gotta keep our game sharp, cause every time one of our friends die, and comedians, actors – they WRECK their bodies!  You know one’s always gonna come in soon!  And what do they all want?  A fuckin FREE SHOW!  For a lot of comics, this was the GOOD SHIT, the BEST of times, the time in the dives, before you got famous, when you had friends you could hang around and drink with and talk shit about. 

We could dish it out good!
Go stir your fuckin’ soup!

Kate:  Sorry about that George, last time.

George:  AS I WAS SAYIN’.  The comedians, that’s the first place they wanna go, to their memories of the best times and relive ‘em.  Especially if they’ve had a hard life, and I think you’ve gotta have a hard life to see anything funny in the world. 

For a lot of comedians, they NEED to get a good laugh in a filthy club before they can even look at their fuckin’ shit-show of a life, and you know, when I’m talking about “comedians” I’m not just talking us stage comedians, us lucky-fuckers who were smart/stupid enough to get famous. 

There are a lot of comedians in life, you’re one of ‘em kid.  (Yes, he actually calls me “kid”)  The people who see the irony, who feel in their guts that none of this shit matters, the things we all take so seriously.  So make fun of it, get other’s to lighten up, bring a little bit of brevity and irreverence to your goddamned existence!

That shit’s sacred, you know what I mean?

So this comedy club, this DIVE, this place of my creation – it’s a place of healing for all those folks who die and feel like the first thing they need is a drink, a smoke and a good fuckin’ laugh!  And some tight-assed angel will take this poor soul by the hand and say, “You need to go to George’s.”

(Shows me the exterior of a night club in a tightly packed, greasy city, at night, dimly-lit by a streetlamp, a crackling neon sign outside in bright pink that says “George’s”.)

George:  I like the bright pink because it make’s the jock / masculine guys think for a second they’re being taken to a gay club, and they think “SHIT!  Did I go to the wrong heaven!!!???”

Kate:  THAT is fucking hysterical, George!!!

George:  I KNOW, I’m a comedian.  Give me a little credit here.

Kate:  Which photo do you want, George?

George:  Uhhh, I like the one in the black turtleneck.  That’s the last time I looked so good!

Kate:  What do you look like now?  (What do you choose to look like now?)

George:  Like I just rolled outta bed.  It feels that way, I still feel like I just woke up.  (Dying is like *waking up* and seeing your whole life as a dream)

George:  Actually, I really liked that movie The Matrix.  Incarnation is a lot like that.  Except when you wake up, it’s sort of a relief.  Except you do miss the people still plugged in.  That’s why we try so hard, you know?  My wife knows I’m okay, I got that point across.  Then I felt, Well, what am I gonna do ‘till she gets here?

Hence:  Chez George.  When my wife gets here I’ll hand the club off to someone else.  And hey, when you get here you be sure to check it out, right?

Kate:  Damn straight I will!  I miss the dark, gritty clubs in Toronto, too.  (Note to readers: Kate had a brief stint in stand-up comedy herself.  Very good, but BRIEF.  Too much drama back stage!)

George:  All that drama was because you were working with other girls.  NOW DON’T GET ALL pissy feminist with me, I did sexist comedy in the 80’s you can’t give me any shit I haven’t already heard!  (teasing)  It’s TRUE, if you’d worked with more male comedians, you would’ve been better respected.  I know the business.  But you never would’ve lasted in that racket for long anyway, so it’s no big loss.

Kate:  Thank you for the life advice, George, it’s good to know I didn’t miss out on the goldmine that is late-night open-mike comedy!

George: See yuh sweetheart.

George:  PS:  That quote you’ve got there, it’s even funnier in heaven!