Big Relationship Shifts Ahead!

“The real question is, can you love the real me? Not the perfect person you want me to be, not that image you had of me, but who I really am.”
~ Christine Feehan

 

There’s change in the air, and I thought you’d like to know!

Yesterday I wrote that, among other things, 2016 is a year of bringing what is hidden into the light. A year about owning our shadow, and the unclaimed and rejected parts of ourselves, our families, our societies. About honouring our deepest feelings and longings and intuitions. About needing things to heal or change or mend or end.

Which of course brings us to relationships.

There’s change in the air.

This year, expect that change to be evident in every area of your life, including relationships. Your relationship with yourself, and your relationships with others. Work, friendship, love, family, habits, choices – all of these relationships will be affected.

2016 is a fabulous year for bringing relationships that have developed discord or distance back into better connection and communication.

It’s a year for finding or rediscovering love. For reconnection and healing. For coming together. For finding your tribe.

It’s a year for exiting relationships that can’t meet your needs.

No matter what the year has in store for you, remember that this shift is about positioning you in greater authenticity. You need relationships that are honest and real. Relationships that work. Relationships where you can be loved and accepted for yourself. Relationships that allow growth and deepening and change.

2016 is a fabulous year for relationships. Which means some will need help and attention, and this year is the year for that. Understand that in 2016 some of your relationships might end, to allow better ones to take their place. Be okay with that.

Don’t hang on tight to what’s not working.

Remind yourself, this is a year for love. Love is possible. Love is probable. If it’s truly broken, or finished, let it go. Let go of the hurt too. Open your arms and your heart wide again. Embrace life. Embrace the year.

Image by Jessica Ames

Image by Jessica Ames

I know some of you are growing and shining and life is expanding for you and at the same time you are also struggling with partners who are in difficult places – illness, depression, unemployment, low self-esteem – I’ll blog tomorrow about what you can do in that situation.

Be kind to yourself today!

Much love, Nicole xx

Letter Writing Challenge – Week Four

Image from hercampus.com

Image from hercampus.com

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
~ Marcel Proust

 

Welcome to Week Four of my Letter Writing Challenge. For six weeks, every Monday, I am posting a theme and ideas, and asking you to pen a short (or long!) letter to someone, and then pop it in the post or otherwise deliver it to them.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Your favourite pen or writing implement
  • Writing paper, cards or postcards
  • A small crystal or stone
  • Between five and thirty minutes each week to sit down and write your letter.

Are you ready? Let’s go!

Read the instructions through once, and then complete the activity.

This Week’s Theme :  A Heartfelt Thank You!

Hold your crystal or stone in your hands. Close your eyes, and build an energy of gratitude in your heart. Feel your heart swell with emotion. Pour that energy of gratitude into the crystal and then continue to sit in meditation for a minute or two longer. In that place of gratitude and love open your heart and reflect on people who have contributed positively to your life – people who have taught you, supported you, loved you, cared for you, believed in you, grown you. Allow one of those people to become prominent in your heart and mind as someone to whom you can write a heartfelt thank you letter.

Now write your card or letter.

Image from hipgallery.com

Image from hipgallery.com

Trust that you will be guided to find the best words to express your thanks. Explain to that person what they or their actions have meant to you, and how it made you feel. Write about what you have learned and how you have changed as a result of knowing them. Tell them WHY you are so grateful and thankful.

So often the truth we hold inside us remains unacknowledged in the wider world. By sharing our heartfelt thanks we are contributing to the positive flow of energy in the world, as well as within ourselves.

Note: If your heart has chosen someone who is no longer in your life, or who has passed away, it is still okay to write your letter to them. When you have finished the letter, burn it so that symbolically and energetically it can still reach them.

PS: If you want to share what you’ve done, pop over to our facebook page and say hi, and share away!

Missed the start of the Challenge?

You can go back and catch up here:

Letter Writing Challenge – Week One

Letter Writing Challenge – Week Two

Letter Writing Challenge – Week Three

 

Letter Writing Challenge – Week Three

Image of this adorable smurf (I love smurfs!) from Etsy

Image of this adorable smurf (I love smurfs!) from Etsy

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

“In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.”
~ Gordon B. Hinckley

“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching”
~ Gerard Way

 

Welcome to Week Three of my Letter Writing Challenge. For six weeks, every Monday, I am posting a theme and ideas, and asking you to pen a short (or long!) letter to someone, and then pop it in the post or otherwise deliver it to them.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Your favourite pen or writing implement
  • Writing paper, cards or postcards
  • A small crystal or stone
  • Between five and thirty minutes each week to sit down and write your letter.

Are you ready? Let’s go!

Read the instructions through once, and then complete the activity.

This Week’s Theme :  Your Choice From The Lucky Dip!

Start by holding your crystal or stone in your hands. Close your eyes, and build an energy of gratitude in your heart. Feel your heart swell with emotion. Pour that energy of gratitude into the crystal and then continue to sit in meditation for a minute or two longer. Open your heart and ask that you be guided and inspired by one of the Lucky Dip choices today.

When you’re ready, read through the Lucky Dip choices and choose the one to which you are most attracted:

Now take out your paper and pen and write that card or letter.

You could use a note card, a postcard, or a piece of paper. Go with what feels right to you.

Image from teddawe.com

Image from teddawe.com

Here are your Lucky Dip choices:

  1. An Invitation: It could be for a party, dinner, Sunday lunch, a picnic in the backyard, a walk at the beach, a shopping trip, a cup of tea in the cubby house, a trip to your favourite yum cha place, or a coffee in your local cafe. You might write just one, or many.
  2. A Love Letter: Yep, that’s right. A letter to your darling. It’s really up to you what you write – it could be its own kind of invitation 🙂 or a list of all the things you love about your partner, it could be an outpouring of poetry and romance, or even words cut from papers and magazines and sent by a secret admirer.
  3. A Newsy Catch-Up: for a relative, friend, or someone you haven’t seen for a while, like a neighbour from next door in the street where you grew up. Include photographs or anything else that feels good to you. Fill them in on what’s been happening in your life.
  4. A Love Letter to Your Future Soul Mate: This is the letter that sets your intent to the Universe and invites your soul mate into your life, that tells them all about you and your hopes and dreams, and also what you are looking for in your new love. If possible, place this letter in a pink envelope and then place it in a drawer in your bedroom, or taped inside the back of your diary!

    Image from community.sparknotes.com

    Image from community.sparknotes.com

  5. A Funny Story: A letter to make someone laugh and to brighten their day. It could include a joke, a tale that will make them smile, or some silly thing you saw or did that reminded you of this person or that they might appreciate.

When your letter is finished, post it off, hand deliver it, or leave it where you know it will be found and read.

Life is for sharing the adventure. This week your letter will help you to do that.

Happy Writing!

Lots of love, Nicole xx

PS: If you want to share what you’ve done, pop over to our facebook page and say hi, and share away!

Missed the start of the Challenge?

You can go back and catch up here:

Letter Writing Challenge – Week One

Letter Writing Challenge – Week Two

Breaking Inherited and Created Patterns of Low Self-Worth

Image from An Upturned Soul

Image from An Upturned Soul

“As long as you look for someone else to validate who you are by seeking their approval, you are setting yourself up for disaster. You have to be whole and complete in yourself. No one can give you that. You have to know who you are – what others say is irrelevant.”
~ Nic Sheff

 

2014 is a powerful year for clearing  old limiting beliefs and behaviours, especially for those of you brave and wise souls who are choosing to be big ancestral pattern-breakers in your family. 2015 is a year where you’ll be able to fly if you can only get these chains off your wings this year. It is time to do this work, even though the work can be hard.

We inherit all kinds of things from our families – hair colour, body shape, sporting aptitude, quirky humour and survival skills. Some things we learn from them, some we develop for ourselves.

I received a message yesterday from a lovely lass working through this week’s blog challenge. Her message really resonated for me. Perhaps it will for you too;

So I’ve worked out how I’m sabotaging myself, and I realise it’s a learnt behaviour from my father so I don’t get criticised and so I don’t get noticed. Well although I came up with things I can do to stop both the overt and covert ways I do this to myself so my life stays small, my question is how do I break this because knowing hasn’t made it stop. It’s made me notice, but it hasn’t stopped me just not doing what I know I should. So is there something else I can do to break this? As I’m in the crazy ancestral pattern breaking year?
Thanks for the tea, sweets and advice.
Love ya

Oh goodness. Sound familiar?

Have you caught yourself saying that nasty thing your mother said to you during an argument with your own child? Have you watched yourself exhibit that same neurotic obsession as your father, or the bitchiness of your grandmother? Have you done the thing you saw them do and vowed you never would?

OR…

Do you step back into those same childhood patterns of thinking everyone is picking on you as soon as someone questions you, so that you immediately get on the defensive? Do you panic if it’s not perfect because then no-one will love you – a throwback to your childhood insecurity although now you’re well and truly an independent adult?

Image from  The Liberty Beat

Image from The Liberty Beat

You can do something about it, and it’s easier than you think.

In my friend’s case she can work out when she does this thing, and when she catches herself doing it she can conjure an image of her father (and his father – because that is who he learned it from) and loudly say (yes, out loud!) ENOUGH! She might also add I AM NOT MY FATHER! Then she can breathe deeply, smile and affirm I AM ENOUGH. IN FACT, I AM AWESOME!

All you really need to do is arrest that behaviour or thought with a pattern-breaking gesture – by saying out loud ENOUGH! Then distance yourself from that behaviour or thought you no longer want by saying I am not my mother, I am not my father, I am not frightened, or whatever else this pattern is about, and then in that moment of clarity and awareness affirm something true and positive that your younger or wounded self needs to hear. I am enough. I am confident. I am capable. I can do this thing. I choose kindness. Whatever it is that you need and choose, name it. Out loud.

Image from I AM POOPED

Image from I AM POOPED

Then actively choose to behave differently in that moment. That’s a true pattern-breaker. Don’t eat that thing. Don’t say those words. Don’t fly with that limiting belief. Choose what the expanded and wiser version of you will do, and do it gladly.

After you’ve done this a few times you’ll start to recognise this as truth. You ARE wiser, kinder, not your father, worthy of love or success or a good marriage. You’ll be well on your way to reprogramming your old limits, and stepping away from self-sabotage and into that sunshiny place of possibility, peace and growth. You’ll be creating a more truthful and authentic life. You’ll be uncovering your wholeness. That’s a beautiful thing!

Image from Live and Diet

Image from Live and Diet

Why You Need A Tribe

Image from wishstudio.com

A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.
~ Unknown

 

We all need a tribe. A tribe isn’t often the family we are born into. A tribe is a group where we find a spiritual home – a group of people who care passionately about something dear to our own hearts, and who give us a place to belong. A tribe is a place where we can grow, and learn. A tribe is also a place where we can share our knowledge and wisdoms with those walking the same path.

Tribes are built around common interests. I belong to more than one. I’m sure you’ll need at least a couple too.

Before I belonged to any kind of tribe I banged around uselessly on my own, reinventing wheels that never needed all of that effort. There was no-one with whom I could share my successes or failures, no-one to bounce ideas off, no-one to laugh or cry with. I’m all for self-development, but it’s a hard and lonely way to live.

This past long weekend I hung out in the mountains with my writing tribe – the wonderful Sisters of the Pen. We wrote, talked writing, ate and talked writing, wrote some more, laughed a lot, ate, wrote, slept and recharged our batteries with some self time and time in nature. We gave ourselves space and permission to put our passion for writing front and centre in our lives for a few precious days.

I surprised myself, and wrote heaps on a brand new project, as well as getting plenty of planning and project management done. Yep, that’s 17028 words. Yay! My beautiful sistahs helped me negotiate some plot twists and gave useful feedback on issues I’d struggled to nut out on my own.

Our little band of writers has also morphed into something so much more than just a group of women who dig words. We’ve shared tough times and great celebrations, we’ve been secret keepers, cheer squads and good medicine for each other. That’s the beauty of a tribe. You evolve and grow together.

2014-10-06 16.06.41

I also belong to a business mentoring group – we are all successful six-figure entrepreneurs who run our businesses in a heart-based way, and who value the support, guidance and friendship of like-minded people. (Yes, my spiritual friends – it is perfectly okay to enjoy prosperity!)  Each week we connect by skype, and then on an online forum, sharing our progress, goals and problems. We live vast distances from each other,  but we have managed to forge connections across oceans, and despite time differences. It’s actually hard to adequately express how valuable this group has been for my own business. It’s just so good to have friends who get where I am coming from, because they are in that same space too.

My business tribe don’t just support me, they hold a space for me, and they call me on my stuff. They are the ones who shout out to me to slow down when I’m being unrealistic, they are the ones who champion my good ideas and who aren’t afraid to tell me if they think my plan is lousy. 🙂  And of course, I do the same for them.

Image from biz-tutor.com

Image from biz-tutor.com

My other tribe is my spiritual community, including my students and clients, and my many friends and readers from around the world whom I’ve met through blogging and social media. I am happy to step up as a leader for my tribe, and I include them in my daily thoughts, prayers and meditations. If you’re reading this, know that you are included in that energy and intention.

My spiritual tribe is where I share my own spiritual and psychic journey, and the things my teachers passed down to me. It’s where we can feel included and normal together, where we can share the sorts of things that other people in our lives may never experience or understand.

Tribes sometimes exist already, and all you have to do is find them.

Sometimes the tribe is waiting to be formed.

They can be a group of people who meet for coffee and a chat, or people who connect over the internet. Or a bit of both.

When you find or create your tribe, the beautiful music inside you finds a way to be expressed in the wider world.

Image from macnichol.com

Are you having trouble identifying your tribe? Maybe you’ll find the following exercise useful. Writing in a journal is a great way to connect to your own deeper wisdom.

Journal Exercise:

Start by writing this passage at the top of your page.

Dear Universe, 

I trust that there is a part of me that already knows what makes my heart sing. I also trust that there is a Universal Wisdom which recognises my gifts and talents, and that understands what outcomes and adventures are best for my Highest Good.

I am ready to embrace the possibility of a better life for myself. I am ready to move from struggle into flow.  I am ready for friendship and belonging, and I’m keen to embrace abundance in all its forms. I want you to know that I’m ready for whatever wonderful experiences and opportunities you send my way. I am ready for my Soul to show me my heart’s true desire. I am ready to embrace the kinship of my Soul Tribe.

Now choose any of the following journal starters, and use it to begin writing.  Don’t judge what comes next, and don’t over-think it.  Just trust that what you write will begin to create a greater sense of personal and spiritual awareness in your life.

  • I’ve always loved to…
  • One thing that makes me completely lose track of time is…
  • If I could do anything well, the thing I would choose is _____ because…
  • You’ll never guess how it happened.  It all worked out perfectly in the end. One day…
  • When I look back, the themes in my life have been…
  • If I think about it, the happiest times in my life involve…
  • One thing I never get tired of is…
  • The thing that fires me up, and that makes me feel completely alive is…
  • The sort of people I most want to hang out with include…
  • Something people tell me I’m really good at helping them with is…

Once you are clearer about the things that light you up, seek out others who feel the same, or put your own group together! My writers group was formed after we all met at a series of weekend workshops. My business mentoring group was formed from within an online community, and my spiritual tribe has grown out of my own business and interests.

Tribes give you momentum and support, two things that are very valuable in a society where we are often disconnected from ourselves and each other.

So, what’s stopping you? Go find your tribe!

Image from myfairisle.blogspot.com

PS:If you’d like to spend time in the company of some wonderful people and are looking to connect with a tribe of your own perhaps my Soul Sanctuary Retreat is what you’re looking for. Come join us in beautiful Byron Bay from November 29 to December 5 for a soulful week of connection, rejuvenation and inspiration.We still have a few places left.

More details on the retreat can be found here

Lots of love, Nicole xx

Trusting Your Instincts In Relationships

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust: First Part

“We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.”
~Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

 

I have some friends going through hard times in relationships just now. They are wondering how they ended up where they are – with a lover who cheats, with a husband who suddenly wants out, with a boss who keeps lying.

When I’ve talked with them they’ve been so hurt, so distressed and devastated at what has happened.

Then they’ve asked the questions.

Why did this happen?

How did this happen?

Why did I not see this coming?

And the truth is, a wise part of them did see it coming. A wise part of them already knew. So, where did it all go so wrong?

All of us have intuition, and instinct. This force within us operates with a vast amount of information – not just our conscious awareness.

When I pressed my friends, eventually all of them admitted that there had been things in their relationship, from early on, that made them uncomfortable. Or there was a point where things began to change. And that point was a long way from where they are now.

In each situation, my friends had intuitively picked up on an energy or behaviour that was out of flow, out of truth – either with the way the person was presenting themselves within the relationship, or with my friend’s values and beliefs. My friends’ intuition had red-flagged something, using those feelings of discomfort and that instinctive knowledge to bring the situation to their conscious attention.

So why didn’t they allow themselves to be guided by that intuition? Quite simply, their mind got in the way. They discounted or second-guessed or validated that discomfort away. They saw what they wanted to see, or needed to see, rather than what was. They gave second chances, chose to believe what they were told, and shoved that discomfort back down where it no longer bothered them.

Haven’t you done that before? I know I have.

But that’s okay. Intuition is not a one time thing. Our internal wisdom will connect with us over and over again. Our job is to listen, and to pay attention. To give ourselves space to think things through and to honour these feelings and ideas that arise from deep inside us.

Of course, intuition doesn’t simply show us what’s wrong. It can also show us what’s good. We have a compulsion to introduce ourselves to someone at a party. Things blossom into a beautiful relationship.

Suddenly it seems like we can’t stop thinking about a business idea, or studying again. When we are brave enough to honour that instinctive direction we find ourselves loving the changes we have made. They feel so right for us.

We come to an awareness, without evidence or proof, that maybe the aloof girl or guy in the office is just shy, and when we make an effort to get to know them we find out that we were right.

Intuition says, Hey – let’s drive down this street for no apparent reason – come on, humour me! And there you find your dream house, or the shop with the thing you want, or an old college friend walking their dog, the same friend whose address you lost years ago and who you’d had no idea how to track down.

Image from Pixabay

Image from Pixabay

Intuition and instinct show us where we are out of flow with the Universe, and also how to get back into flow again, with relationships and actions that support our Highest Good.

So the big question is – are you honouring your intuition? Or are you second-guessing yourself?

Maybe it’s time you started paying attention, and trusting what comes up for you.

If you’re not sure how to do that, these posts will help:

Using Your Internal Compass to Navigate Life

Understanding Intuition and Gut Instinct

or this program of eight free exercises designed to help you connect to and work with intuition, energy and the metaphysical:

Strengthening Your Intuition – A program of Exercises

Image from forsurequotes

Image from forsurequotes

 

Ghosts, Bones, Love and Forgiveness

Image from Jagero

Image from Jagero

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” 
~ Mahatma Gandhi

 

Many years ago a woman came to me for a psychic consultation. She was probably about the age I am now, and she had travelled a great distance to see me in person.

She wasn’t my usual kind of client. She was an angry woman. Angry at the world. Angry at me. So angry, and so rude and dismissive of my abilities, so defensive and antagonistic that I wondered why she had come at all.

Of course she didn’t tell me. When I explained what I normally do in a consultation she stayed silent and grim mouthed. I could feel resentment ripple off her in waves. I also knew she was deeply tormented.

Towards the end of our session I asked if she had specific questions or photos of anyone she wanted to ask about. Until that moment she had not acknowledged her torment. She had blocked me at every turn. The woman took out an envelope and removed a picture which she passed across to me. It was a photo of three young children. Her children, taken when they were much younger. Two girls and one boy.

‘That’s me,’ a voice said in my mind. Not my voice, a male’s voice. ‘That’s me’. And I then felt rather than heard the name ‘Andrew’. I glanced briefly at the girls, both bright and intelligent. The older one was cowed now, although you couldn’t see that from the picture. I just knew. She was cowed and broken-hearted and downtrodden by life. How do you tell that to a mother?

The second daughter was now gone. Not dead. I mean gone as in emotionally absent, and by the feel of things, a long way away. I knew she had cut herself off from her family in order to survive better in the world.

The smiling young boy, Andrew, was the one I got the clearest connection from. I couldn’t feel him in the same way that I felt his sisters. But Andrew had a heart full of love, and I could feel how close he still was to home, emotionally and physically. He was clever too, and had loved to dance when he was little. Shy with strangers. I also knew he was gay.

What do you want to know, I asked.

The boy… She stopped herself from saying ‘my son’. He’s twenty. He left home. We haven’t had any contact with him for over a year.

It filled the space between us. So, it came across as anger, what this woman exuded, but as soon as she said ‘the boy…’ her heart opened up and I felt into her river of shame and guilt and love and hurt and loss. Her anger was the repressed expression of unbearable pain.

Are you asking if he’s okay, I said, swallowing, because I knew that he wasn’t.

No, she spat out. I want to know if he is queer. A homosexual, she added. It’s not normal. He can’t come home if he is queer. We won’t allow it.

But you already know the answer to that, I said. He is also your son, he loves you very much, and this is not a choice. He did not choose this. This is how he was born. This is how God made him.

She held my gaze, her face mottled red. No! That is a sin against God. That is not how we brought him up. How can we fix this? What do I have to do to fix this illness so that he can come home again? He’s our only son. He’s disgracing our family name. His father will never forgive him unless he renounces that sinful lifestyle. I need to know where he is so I can get him help and bring him home.

Andrew, I said softly. His name is Andrew. I was shaken by her anger, her rage at her son. Her hate.

How do you know that? she yelled.

Because he’s telling me, I wanted to say. But I didn’t.  And anyway, I knew, and I think she did too. He was dead.

Before I could answer she stood up so suddenly her chair fell over behind her. It was a mistake to come, she shouted. You too are an abomination before the eyes of God. I won’t pay. I won’t listen to your rubbish.

She left my office, slamming the door behind her. I was so shaken that I cancelled my next appointments and went home.

About a year later Andrew appeared to me while I was meditating. He was worried about his mother. He showed me that he had taken his own life because he knew that he was gay, and he couldn’t stop being gay. His mother had taken him to a psychologist, the church had made him do a program, but still this thing in him was there, needing to be expressed. He didn’t want to lose his family. So how could he live, when they hated everything that was this thing deep inside him?

He’d barely finished school when he decided what he must do. He packed up a few of his things so it would look like he’d run away. When he next left the house he took those things and put them in an industrial bin at the local shopping mall. Then he went home and into the woods near his family home, where he took his own life. It gave him comfort as he was dying, to have his home so close.

His father was sure he’d run away, and from that moment Andrew had ceased to exist for that man. But his mother had been frantic. Deep inside she’d known, even though there was no proof. Even though his parents had never even reported him missing. After all, Andrew was an adult now. He’d finished school. These were his choices.

Andrew wanted me to tell his mother where he was, and what had happened so that she would stop looking for him. He showed me the national park near his home. He asked me to tell his mother he was sorry. Not for being gay, but for having put the family through trauma. He was sorry too for not having the strength to live. He loved them all so much. And he wasn’t lonely. He was with Boo.

I found the woman’s details in my file. It took two days to muster the courage, but I called her and I passed on the information, including that Andrew was with Boo, whoever Boo might be. The woman listened to what I said and then hurled abuse at me and told me never to contact her again.

So, nearly ten years later, Andrew came to visit me again. He kept me awake most of the night. He told me that he wanted me to let his mum know that he loves his family and watches over them, that he hears their prayers, and that he forgives them. That his mum can still find happiness in this life. Also, that his oldest sister is pregnant, although she does not know it yet, and that the baby will be a girl. Comfort my mother, he tells me. Make her understand it’s all okay.

I am at my farm and my client files are in my office in Brisbane. It will be days before I am back there. Anyway, I cannot remember his mother’s name and I had promised to never contact her again. What can I do? I get no sleep for the worry of it. For wanting to do the right thing and for being sick to the stomach at needing to contact this woman again. Because, of course, I will.

The next morning I am in the car, thready with lack of sleep, my husband driving me home from breakfast at a favourite cafe, when my mobile phone rings. A woman asks if I am Nicole Cody. When I say yes, she tells me she has flown a long way to see me. She is standing outside my old address but the people there told her I moved years ago.

It is Andrew’s mother.

Can she get a cab to where I live now, she asks.

No, I tell her. I’m interstate. I live on a farm now. I felt bad that she had impulsively travelled so far, that I cannot tell her what I need to face to face.

Before I can say anything Andrew’s mother apologises to me for her behaviour. She tells me that she is no longer with her husband, who is a minister of a particular church. Her oldest daughter is still involved with the church, but married to someone outside the church. Her daughter is conflicted because she has been unable to conceive and finally she and her husband have resorted to IVF which is outside the teachings of that faith and considered a sin. Her other daughter went to Europe over ten years ago, and only came home last month. But she is going back. The daughter will not stay. She has a new life now.

She is talking and talking, Andrew’s mother, but I know these are not the things she wants to tell me. It is not why she travelled so far to try and see me.

Still she talks. I know you were telling the truth, that day you rang me, all those years ago, she said. Boo was my grandmother, who died before Andrew was born. I had never told the children her name. To them she was always known as Granny Parsons. But Boo was what I called her, my special name for her from when I was a little girl.

Here it comes, I think to myself. Here it comes. My arms are covered in gooseflesh.

Two years ago, she says, a hiker found human remains in the park that shares a boundary with our house. I thought of what you’d said and I went to the police. I told them Andrew had been missing all this time. I told them the whole truth. They used DNA to match the bones to my son. I hear the catch in her voice as she says the word bones, and feel my heart breaking for her.

You were right, she continues. He was there all along, and his body has lain in direct line of sight with my kitchen window all that time. Every morning, every night, I was looking out over him, and I never knew. I am so sorry that I was rude to you. Please forgive me. We buried Andrew a month ago. I knew that he was gay from when he was a tiny child. He killed himself because we did not act with love in our hearts about accepting his truth. We put him in a terrible position.

My husband still will not say his name. He did not go to the memorial. He cannot acknowledge Andrew and now he will not acknowledge me. I am cast out of our church, and I am okay with that. A God that cannot love their own creation is not a God I can believe in. She starts crying. Sobbing over and over, I am so sorry. I am so, so sorry.

I pass on the messages from her son. She is sobbing so hard that her breath is coming in hiccups. Will you be okay, I ask as her breathing settles. Yes, she tells me. Yes, I will. I know that she is telling me the truth. In her not-being-okay, she will still be okay. She will live with this Andrew-shaped hole in her heart but she has two living children she can be there for now, and a granddaughter on the way. I feel a shift in her; a sense of relief and a clearing of heaviness. I am crying too as I hang up the phone.

Later I pray that Andrew’s mother can find peace.

Love, acceptance, forgiveness, compassion. In the end it is these things that matter. It is these things that endure.

I am grateful that I was able to help. But I am shaken, and fragile and exhausted. I keep my family close all day. I spend the evening in the company of my husband and dear friends. There is a deep need in me to affirm my life and what matters.

Sometimes what I do is hard, and it takes everything I have.

But it is worth it.