One of my closest friends, Sandy came to me in a dream not long after she passed. She was sitting in a circle of people communicating telepathically. I watched from the side and she looked over at me, smiling and happy to see me there. In life, Sandy had been a redheaded feminist lesbian activist with a chip on her shoulder. We were nothing alike and yet I considered her my sister. We met as adults in San Francisco, but soon learned that we had attended the same high school in Omaha, and that my best high school friend was her niece! We gave birth to our sons exactly one month apart, and raised them together until she passed just after their fifth birthdays.
In my dream, I telepathically asked Sandy what it was like on the other side. She told me that you keep learning and growing, working on the same issues you did in life, and that you still have your basic personality (although you do have a broader vantage point from which to process and understand your human experience). She seemed very much at peace. Since then, I’ve come to understand that the afterlife is merely the equivalent of graduate school. You have more wisdom, more life experience, a broader perspective, you’re older and wiser, but you’re still you; just as we are the same person at age 80, who we were as children – wiser, but still ourselves.
In twelve step programs there’s a saying, “Wherever you go, there you are”. And that holds up even after death.
When I channel deceased loved ones, they come through with all the zest for life, sternness, seriousness, sorrow, or cheer with which they lived their lives. Their basic personalities are unchanged. If they were domineering and bossy, they still appear that way, although they may also come through with an apology or expression of regret for the pain they caused their loved ones. If they were loving and affectionate, they still are, continuing to shower their loved ones with hugs and kisses. Because of their new vantage-point, and because of the very intense spiritual growth work they do after crossing over, they often come through with amends, advice or words of encouragement and support. They are still with you, caring about your wellbeing, involved in your family life, and want to help. They have gained a new perspective on problems you may still be stuck in, and so may offer support or advice. In fact, they are only waiting on us to call on them.
Recently, I was grappling with a long-standing challenge I’ve been facing. I was strolling on Piedmont Avenue, a cute shopping district in the heart of Oakland. I was asking my spirit guides for help in resolving this problem. Then it occurred to me that other than a couple of dream visitations from my mother, who died four years before, I really hadn’t felt her presence around me. Before dying of cancer at age 68, my mother had promised to find a way to communicate with me from the other side.
By this time, I had often felt Sandy’s presence through the symbols of vintage salt and pepper shakers (which she collected) and mermaids (which she loved and which I had painted on her urn). And I’d often felt my nephew, Jessie, through butterflies, and my father, by finding dimes in the most unusual places, including deep in the forest right where we scattered his ashes inside a Redwood daisy ring. I knew that when I saw these items, it was one of them saying hello. But mom and I had never agreed upon a symbol.
As I continued on my stroll, I also called in my loved ones and looked up to see a mermaid in a shop window. A red headed mermaid, at that! I thought, “Well that’s a coincidence,” then I spied a set of vintage salt and pepper shakers in the same window. “Ok, nice one, Sandy,” I thought. As I turned away, I saw a string of butterflies draped inside an adjacent window (Hello, Jessie!). I felt wonderful knowing they were popping in to say hello.
Which brought me back to thinking about my mother. One of my vivid memories of her was the roll of lifesavers she kept in her leather purse, along with her cigarettes. I can still recall the distinctive smell of those three items together, and so I declared, “Mom, if you are with me, show me a roll of lifesavers.” A couple of hours later, a co-worker texted me out of the blue and asked, “When you come back to the office, will you pick me up a roll of lifesavers at the corner store?” This was completely out of character, for she had never asked me for anything before. The very next morning, to return the favor, she brought me a large German “Sport” chocolate bar, the very same chocolate my mother often sent me when she lived in Germany!
Most people would chalk these experiences up to an overactive imagination or coincidence, but I’ve had enough of these types of experiences that I’ve come to trust in them, as being evidence that our loved ones remain near us, they remain much like they were on earth, and that they are trying to communicate with us, if only we’ll listen and believe.