I’m Stepping Away From Work For A Few Days

“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.” 
~ Lemony Snicket

Hi, Lovelies.

Just letting you know that I am stepping away from my blog and my work for a few days and will be back again next Monday.

Yesterday morning we lost a loved one and so I am taking some time out to be with family. It’s one of those times where we need to sit and be with each other and talk about things and drink tea and laugh and cry and re-adjust.

Life is all about these cycles of love and life and loss, and I need to take time to honour this changing season in our lives.

Ben and I thank you for all your love and support,

Nicole ❤ xx

Conversations About Dying – We Need To Have Them!

“When the time comes to die, make sure that all you have to do is die!”
~ Jim Elliot

“Everybody will die, but very few people want to be reminded of that fact.”
~ Lemony Snicket

 

This post is the next in my Wednesday series on Death and Dying…

 

Last year a good friend of mine died.

She died from breast cancer – a cancer she decided to treat naturally. A cancer that completely ravaged her body in less than two years while using those natural treatments. (And no, we are not going to discuss cancer and cancer treatments today.)

My friend avoided seeing me for months and months after she first detected the small lump in her breast. Why? She was frightened of what I might see psychically, and what I might tell her. She knew I would tell her to see a doctor, and to get additional information and ideas about possible treatment plans. So instead we kept never being able to make our calendars meet, even though we lived so close to each other.

But I knew there was something wrong. Very wrong.

Finally her husband rang one day and asked if we could come over.

I was so shocked when I walked through the front door. Here was my friend, suddenly an emaciated old woman. She smelt of death. I could see cancer throughout her body. I packed my shock away. My friend shuffled towards me for a hug and I saw it, a massive fungating tumor where her breast had been – so large that it was preventing her arm from moving naturally. Her arms and legs were swollen from lymphedema.

I hugged her gently, and she burst into tears.

Can you help me? my friend asked. I need some help.

As her husband made us a cup of tea I followed her to the lounge, where they had set up a bed for her.

You’ve defied the odds, my friend said. You’re still here and you should be dead. What else do I have to do to get better?

She then gave me the long list of everything they were doing. The infusions and diets and injections and colonics and green juices and superfoods and anti-cancer foods and no sugar and oxygen therapy and bicarb and turmeric and every other thing. Such a long list of things. Such a stressful thing, this list, with its military precision timing and increased severity as my friend’s condition worsened. They were having trouble coping with administering the regime. And now my friend couldn’t breathe if she lay down. What else could they do? There must be something else they could do? She couldn’t control her thoughts. She couldn’t stay positive. Could I help her meditate? Maybe that would sort her mind out?

I held my friend’s hand and our husbands brought tea for us and then disappeared out into the garden.

I found some lavender essential oil in my handbag and gently applied some to her swollen feet and hands, and showed her how to breathe it in. Then I talked her through a meditation as she sat in her chair, propped on soft pillows. Mercifully, somewhere in the middle of all of that my friend fell asleep.

I took my tea out into the garden, and told my friend’s husband that his wife was sleeping. He burst into tears.

Will she be okay? he asked me.

You already know the answer to that, I said. She’s dying. She needs medical care.

Can you tell her? he asked me.

Yes, I said. I’ll be back tomorrow.

Artwork by Daryl Zang

Artwork by Daryl Zang

The next day I sat on my friend’s bed and we talked about dying.

These are conversations I have had to have with my own husband many times during my illness. We’ve come to realise that they are conversations we all need to have, whether we are ill or not.

My friend and I talked about the possibility that she might die.

We talked about how to manage her care and her pain.

These were long, hard conversations with many tears.

We talked about wills. Did she have one? What did she want to happen if she could no longer make medical or other decisions for herself?

Our husbands joined us and we talked some more. We talked about all the things which were suddenly hard to talk about because they had become so real and so close.

We talked about her wishes, and the need for a plan.

Just a few days later my friend was admitted to a palliative care unit. She remained there until her death six weeks later. Until a few days before her death she had truly thought that she would get better enough to be able to go home and keep fighting.

In that whole time not one medical practitioner told my friend that she was dying. They told her only that she had stage four metastatic breast cancer.

I spent much of those last weeks with her, for short visits. For some of that time I was in hospital too and we would text madly, and talk when we could. We laughed a lot. We cried a lot.

The thing that broke me heart was an incident two weeks before she died.

I came to see her just after morning tea and she burst into tears. She felt so guilty, she said. The morning tea trolley had come around and she’d had the most delicious pumpkin scone with jam and cream. All that sugar. All that dairy. All that wheat. All the things she had been depriving herself of as she continued her green juices and superfoods that her husband brought up to the ward each day. She’d eaten cancer foods.

Darling, you’re dying, I said as I hugged her and wiped away her tears. One scone won’t make any difference. What matters was that it was delicious! Take pleasure from that. Then I went down to the canteen and fetched us both an excellent coffee and a chocolate brownie that was so good and we devoured them and laughed and for a moment we were two old friends who could have been anywhere.

Image from North End Coffee Roasters at Foursquare

Image from North End Coffee Roasters at Foursquare

Am I really dying, my friend asked me when our coffees were done.

Yes.

She burst into tears and sobbed into my arms all of the regrets she had. That she would never get to travel. That she wouldn’t go home. That she never tried the new Thai restaurant, and we never had our beach picnic with the dogs. So many regrets. So many thing she would have done differently if she’d realised that her time was so limited. If only someone had been honest with her. She thought there was still time.

And she confessed that she’d known the natural treatments weren’t working a year ago, but her husband had been so committed to them, and she was a naturopath and dietician so she felt it was her duty to keep going. Now she knew she’d made the wrong choice. She hadn’t honoured her intuition. And that choice had shortened her life and put her on a terrible path of suffering.

The little chemo she had been given palliatively had shrunk her masses and given her a better level of comfort. But it was too late.

I could barely talk that night for the pain of it all.

When my friend died she went downhill suddenly. She and her husband hadn’t talked with doctors about what might happen. There was no plan. Things were managed quite badly for her.

My husband and I got back to the hospital in time and I helped her to have a peaceful transition. Her death became a beautiful one.

But she died without a will. Without instructions. And it took her husband painful months to sort it all out after she was gone.

We don’t know when we will die. We don’t know if we will die unexpectedly and quickly, or if we will have time to prepare.

The only thing we know for sure is that one day we will.

Please talk with your friends and family. Do you want to be an organ donor? Are there situations where you would prefer that medical staff did not fight to save your life? What other instructions would you have if someone else was suddenly making the decisions for you?

Is there a point in trying where you might want to stop treatments?

Would you go into care? What would need to change if you ended up with a disability or chronic illness? Or a terminal one?

Funeral? Do you want one? Buried or cremated? Donated to science? Scattered at sea or the family plot?

Do you have a will in place, or at least have your wishes known to your family and friends? Is there a plan for your home, your children, your car, your possessions, your pets, your finances?

What matters to you in life? Are you living that life right now or are you putting all of these important things off to some mythical time in the future that may never come?

Death is a part of life. Let’s start having those conversations. One day you might be very glad that you did.

 

What Happens When We Die?

“There once was a girl who found herself dead.
She peered over the ledge of heaven
and saw that back on earth
her sister missed her too much,
was way too sad,
so she crossed some paths
that would not have crossed,
took some moments in her hand
shook them up
and spilled them like dice
over the living world.
It worked.
The boy with the guitar collided
with her sister.
“There you go, Len,” she whispered. “The rest is up to you.”
~ Jandy Nelson, The Sky Is Everywhere

 

Welcome to the third post in my Wednesday series on death and dying.

Last week I talked about the end stage of life, and what you might expect as a loved one or carer. Today, I’d like to discuss the moments after death, and what happens for the person who died.

Let’s start with Antoinette, a friend of mine who lost her life to breast cancer at age forty-two, leaving behind a loving husband and two little girls. Antoinette had battled cancer for a number of years. She was the first friend who ever contacted me after she died. Let me share her story…

 

Antoinette

When Antoinette’s time came, it came quickly and she went downhill very fast.  She did not want to die in a hospital, so her family brought Antoinette home, arranged for medical care, and went about their lives with her firmly in the midst of it all.

My friend had been ravaged by cancer. She was bald, skeletal, and frail as a bird, with a hugely bloated stomach and a deep pallor. As I sat holding her hand in the days before her death, my friend would whisper to me about what she was experiencing as she faded in and out of consciousness.  It was very beautiful, she said, and her Dad had come to help her (he had died some years before)  but she was very afraid.  There was a beautiful garden and people dancing, and she really wanted to join them there.  She was tired and couldn’t keep fighting, but she felt so guilty to be leaving her family when her job with them wasn’t finished. 

As her body began to shut down Antoinette’s words became slurred and incomprehensible to others, but I could still hear her voice as loud and clear as a bell. Her mum and husband would come into the room, and her physical aura would immediately strengthen as she tried to be strong and stay with them.  When they left the room her physical aura became instantly weaker and her etheric aura (her soul energy) grew bright again.

The day of her death a strong pink and gold light descended upon Antoinette, and the whole room was filled with a Divine presence.  I don’t often work with Angels or people who have passed over but my friend’s room became filled with Angels that I could physically see.  As soon as they arrived she began the journey of letting go, and became more and more peaceful.

We all gave Antoinette constant attention and love, and told her that it was okay for her to go to the Light.  My friend was leaving a young family behind, and she resisted death with every breath while the living were in the room with her.  Finally a beautiful moment allowed her to begin the process of finally letting go.

I saw the spirit of a charming man, perhaps in his forties, just as if he was really in the room with us.  I couldn’t hear him, but Antoinette could.  “Dad’s here”, my friend whispered, but she was also distressed – she knew her life was coming to an end.  I had never met Antoinette’s father, and did not know what he looked like.  When I described the man I saw later to her mother without saying who I thought he was, she said – “oh yes, that’s my husband’’.  He’d been much older when he died, but he appeared to Pinkie at an age when he was strong and handsome.

 

Then the spirit of an older woman turned up – my Guides explained that she was a relative from Antoinette’s husband’s family – who had died before Antoinette or her husband were even born.  Her presence soothed family members, even though they could not see or hear her, and did not know she was there.  I watched this older woman standing unseen to all but me in the energy field of Antoinette’s husband, strengthening and supporting him, and witnessed the most moving scene as he then began to recall how he and Antoinette had met, and some of the special moments in their lives together.

Hours before Antoinette’s death, the spirit of a physically stunning blonde young woman turned up by her left side.  Antoinette’s eyes widened in amazement and delight.  “My friend’s here, my beautiful friend.  I don’t believe it.  She’s here!” cried my dying friend.  I watched this beautiful girl lean over Antoinette’s broken body and stroke her cheek, whispering to her, and as she did this Antoinette’s physical aura became paler and paler and her breathing laboured.  Then her etheric aura completely disengaged and floated to the top of the room, held by the most slender and delicate silvery cord.  I left then and went home, so that my friend could share her final moments in privacy with her family.

Even though I knew Antoinette was meant to be leaving us, and would be well guided and looked after, I was very upset at losing my friend, and found it hard to sleep that night.  Just after I finally dozed off I was woken by a bright light in my bedroom, which was filled with the fragrance of sweet flowers. My beloved friend was standing at the end of my bed in a pink dress, and with raven hair down to her waist held by a jewelled head band.  She looked years younger and radiantly beautiful.

“Thank you, Nicole,” said my friend, smiling widely.  “I’m okay, and I understand everything.”  She then gave me some short messages for her Mum, husband and family.

I heard from the family the next morning that Antoinette had passed away ten minutes before I saw her.

A girlfriend rang later that day to see how Antoinette was.  I told her of our friend’s passing, and the things I had experienced with her before her death.  This girlfriend had gone to school with Antoinette and knew her very well.  From my description she immediately identified the girl who had come to Antoinette’s bedside as a childhood friend who had died tragically in the company of Antoinette when they were just eighteen.

My girlfriend asked if I would be prepared to share what I had seen with the family of the girl who had died so many years ago.  I was able to share my experiences with that girl’s family, who took great comfort from the fact that I had seen their long-lost daughter and sister, and that the girls were together again, looking after each other. A photo they showed me matched the girl that I had seen exactly.

I’ll share with you with the final thing Antoinette said to me on the night of her death as she stood at the foot of my bed.  “Don’t worry Nicole.  God is everywhere.  It all makes sense when you get here.  It’s really okay, and so am I.  I love you.  Tell them all it’s okay.  It’s all just love.”

 

And here’s another reassuring story, although this one is very different.

Angela

When my friend Angela died, in the early hours of the morning, her spirit stayed in the hospital room for a long time afterwards. At first it was hard for her to believe that she was truly dead. There was quite a period of adjustment for her until she could finally feel a deep love for herself, and for her body. In life she had never felt beautiful, or good enough. In death she looked down upon herself and her loved ones and felt only love.

As dawn approached she slipped out of the room, and understood that with her thoughts she could travel freely. She gave me a running commentary as she travelled from the confines of the palliative care ward in Lismore. Angela spoke with joy about what it was to feel free. The world was so beautiful. She flew back over her home, and visited her dogs and her garden. She flew down to the coast to watch the sun come up over the lighthouse in Byron Bay. She could see dolphins! She could see so far, and the dawning morning was one of the most precious gifts she ever received. She was euphoric.

Angela’s spirit came backwards and forwards to our realm until her funeral a few days later. She was calm, joyful and completely at peace in a way she had never been in life.

Image by micahkiter

Image by micahkiter (The link takes you to great drone footage of the Byron Bay Lighthouse)

 

And this final story is of a stranger.

The Motorbike Man

I witnessed a terrible road accident a few years ago, involving a motorbike. It had just happened when we came upon it. There had been two people on the bike, but I only saw an empty helmet, and a rider who still wore his helmet, but who was horribly injured. As I sat in the car in the middle of the traffic jam, waiting for the emergency responders, a man in motorbike leathers came to the open window of our car. He asked me to help his friend. I poured all my love into the injured man, and prayed for him. I called upon his Guides and Angels and Ancestors. I prayed for the paramedics who were working on him, and I asked for the outcome for the Highest Good for all.

It was only much later that I found out the young man I’d been speaking to had actually died in that accident, and he’d stayed because he wanted to make sure that his friend would live. By an uncanny twist of fate I later met this friend again, at a cafe in Brisbane. You can read more about that here.

 

In every instance that I have sat with the dying, and with their body afterwards, their soul has left their physical body and stayed for at least a short while with their loved ones here, or taken a final tour of important places.

Wherever our soul travels to after this life, I know that we reunite with loved ones who have already passed, and that we feel nothing but radiant joy, love and calm. We return to love and we are never alone.

Whenever I have communicated with souls after their passing they have been at peace. Anger goes. Shame goes. Fear goes. Pain goes. All that is left is love.

Image from tatamom78 at www.photobucket.com

Image from tatamom78 at www.photobucket.com

I also know that love gives us ability to reconnect with and visit our loved ones in small ways, once we are no longer in a body.

Haven’t you ever felt the presence and love of someone dear to you who has died? We might not talk about it often, but it is a common occurrence.

I certainly don’t have all the answers to the mysteries of life and death, but I have seen so much that goes beyond what was ever taught to me or held as true around death and dying that I cannot but believe that we go on, that love goes on, and that love is all there is.

 

 

Thanks for reading. Next week I’ll be talking about suicide and also about grief. If you have any questions you’d like me to cover in this series, please contact me here on the blog or at cauldronsandcupcakes@gmail.com

Wherever you are, go in peace today, and know that you are in my thoughts, prayers and meditations. I’m wishing you well. I’m sending you love,

Nicole❤ xoxo

Supporting Your Loved One at the End Stage of Life

“And then we ease him out of that worn-out body with a kiss, and he’s gone like a whisper, the easiest breath.”
~ Mark Doty

 

Welcome to the second post in my Wednesday series on death and dying.

Today I’d like to talk about the end stage of life, and what you might expect as a loved one or carer. Death is something we have become less familiar with in our modern, western world. Most of us are quite removed from the process of dying, and of being with the dead after death has occurred.

I’ve been privileged to sit with and support over thirty people now as they transitioned from this world and this has taught me a great deal about the process of the letting go of our physical bodies.

I have learned that we each die in our own way, and in our own time. Someone who dies quickly, as a result of an accident or sudden illness will have a different journey to someone who is dying slowly – such as might happen with a terminal illness or old age.
The only thing that’s ever important is to help the dying person to be as comfortable as possible, to touch and reassure them, and to be with them. Love and care is what matters.
2016-06-09 06.14.26
The physical aspects of dying:
As a person enters this last stage they gradually begin to withdraw from the activities of daily life, even things that once held interest for them. They begin to sleep more. Conversation often becomes taxing. Appetite decreases and then leaves. There is simply less energy as the body begins to slow down and then shut down. They will become less responsive to your touch. Less responsive to your voice. Even in the middle of all of this the dying person may rally and be more ‘with it’ for periods of time. They may engage with you, or regain a little appetite. These windows of clarity and strength are quite normal. But they are windows. Please do not raise your hopes that this is a sign of some dramatic turn-around.
I have seen a woman who had been unresponsive for days suddenly become alert and sit up in bed for a final conversation with her brother, who had travelled for two days from across the globe to be at her bedside. She died shortly after, peacefully and easily.
The morning before my grandmother Marga’s death she was suddenly hungry, after days with little or no food or liquid. She ate one last meal of a few small mouthfuls of soft food – a soup, a little of some lamb roast and vegetables, followed by stewed apple and custard. She enjoyed it immensely, telling us over and over again that it was good. Food had always been one of my grandmother’s great pleasures. Then she talked with my mother and sister and I for an hour or so, breathless and fragile as she was, to tell us that she was surprised to still be ‘here’ and alive. She had been sure she was ‘almost gone’. A day later, she was.
As a person moves towards death their digestion closes down, swallowing becomes difficult, bowel and bladder function changes and slows (there can be loss of bowel and bladder function), and eventually they will only want just a sip of water, or a sponge soaked in a soothing liquid to moisten the mouth and lips. You can also use a balm to keep the lips moist. The body no longer needs nourishment. This is normal, and part of the withdrawal process.
The eyes become heavy lidded, or may stay half-open. The mouth might gape open too. Everything is relaxing and letting go. Your loved one’s skin tone will change. They may become mottled. They may become more pale, more ashen, more waxen. They may become momentarily hotter, or colder. Their skin may feel much cooler to the touch. Your loved one may look much less like themselves.
Closer to death the breathing becomes laboured and the mucous thickens, which can create congestion in the airways or mouth. Breathing can become noisy, and a rattling noise is quite common. This is often referred to as the death rattle, and is an indication that the end of life is very near. Breathing will become erratic, until a breath is taken only every so often. Eventually breathing will cease. This can take some time. It is not painful for the dying person, but it may sound scary or distressing to friends and family who have not been with a dying person before.
2016-04-07 17.33.59
On a metaphysical level:
 As your loved one moves closer to dying they move in and out of a place where they can feel, see, hear and connect with souls who have already crossed over. This is a very comforting and reassuring space. I have heard some doctors and nurses pass this phenomena off as ‘hallucinations’, but as a psychic, I know this is not true. (More information on this, and on people with dementia and alzheimers here.)
Some people use the end of their life, over weeks or days, as a time of review. In their dreams, in their mind, in their inner journey they go back to people and places long since gone, to make sense of what has happened, or to make peace with what has gone before. While they are doing this they will seem to be sleeping most of the time, or rambling in their thoughts and words. Please support and love them as they journey. Don’t try to criticize, correct or judge them, or tell them that what they are experiencing isn’t real. For them it is, and it is an important and healing part of their journey.
The act of death itself is simply a shedding of the skin, and a return to another way of existing. The act of dying and the transition back to being ‘a soul’ is always, in the end, a joyful and love-filled one.
Metaphysically you can help by sending love and light to the dying person. Feel the love move from your heart to theirs. Surround them with white light, or whatever other colour feels good to you. You can also call upon God (or whatever you know that energy as), your loved one’s guides, angels and others who have already crossed over (such as family members or friends) – to come and support and guide your loved one for this final part of their journey. Tell them that it’s okay, and that they can go whenever they are ready. Remind them of the great love that is here on earth for them, and that will greet them where they are going next.
 2012-07-16 06.08.03
What can you do to support your loved one?

Simply, just be with them. Hold their hand, sit in their space, touch them and let them feel you near them. You might want to stroke their hair, or press a cool, damp cloth to their forehead and arms. Moisten their mouth for them. Rearrange their pillows. You might want to massage some cream into their skin or brush their hair. 

Talk with them, even if you think they can’t hear you. They can. Please keep talking when it feels right –  even when someone is in their final hours and are non-responsive they hear you. Speak quietly and soothingly. No abrupt noises or movements, and keep the room lighting soft so that the person doesn’t startle.

It’s okay to cry and show emotion. It’s also very normal to laugh and to reminisce. There is often no need for words at all.

Do tell your loved one that you love them. Let them know you are there. Let them know you care.

If it feels right to talk, share some happy memories. Talk about things you have shared together over the years. Tell them about the things you learned from them. What have they passed on to you? Why are you a better person because of them? What can you acknowledge about them that you respect or admire?

Tell them about yourself. Share your life. If there are issues between you say what needs to be said with a spirit of forgiveness and kindness.

2012-03-09 08.09.54

Even when we have had a difficult relationship with someone it helps both people to be able to find something that you can share which helps the dying person to feel that their life had purpose and that somehow, in some small way they were loved, made a difference or were noticed in a positive way. We all need to know that we matter.

It’s also enough just to be in their space, just to sit with them, just to be by their side. Read a book, curl up beside them, it doesn’t matter what you do – it matters that you are there.

It’s okay to say goodbye. Whether yours will be a short visit, or a long period of support, saying goodbye is a soothing and healing thing to do, for both of you, no matter how hard that goodbye might be.

Let your loved one know that it’s okay for them to go. Reassure them. Sometimes they will linger, hanging on for you. I’ve seen many a person pass after their loved ones have left the room. It’s okay to let your loved one know that you are leaving the room. It might be what they need to finally let go.

Above all, ensure that your loved one is comfortable. There is no need for anyone to be in pain, and there are so many options to help you and your loved one manage this final transition so that dying and death are pain-free.

Make sure you look after yourself in all of this too. Take a break if you need one. Ask for help. Call on doctors, nurses and care-givers. Step away when it gets too much. Remember to eat, and to get enough sleep.

If you would like to use essential oils, I have found Young Living’s Peace and Calming soothing for everyone in the room. Place a drop on the back of the hands or the inside of the wrists of your loved one, and a drop on the chest or the back of the neck. A little on the edge of the ear is good too. If you don’t have this oil Lavender essential oil will do nicely.

If there is distress in your loved one (or yourself) use Lavender and Frankincense. Apply a drop of each of these at the wrists, temples, back of neck, throat, heart, and soles of feet.

Yes, you can use all three of these oils together.

Use these oils hourly, or follow your intuition. They can truly transform a situation, and help bring peace and comfort at what can be an emotional and difficult time for everyone in the room. I used this combination when my friend Angela passed over last year, and the difference they made – for Ange, for her loved ones, and for the nursing staff – was truly remarkable.

The combination of Lavender and Frankincense also helps the soul to let go.

gardenia2

 

I truly believe that death is not the end of our being.  I know that love endures. I am looking forward to sharing more of what I know of this journey, and I’m sure you will find it comforting.

Thanks for reading. Next week I’ll be talking about sitting with a person after they die, and what happens in these moments after death for the person who died. If you have any questions you’d like me to cover in this series, please contact me here on the blog or at cauldronsandcupcakes@gmail.com

Wherever you are, go in peace today, and know that you are in my thoughts, prayers and meditations. I’m wishing you well. I’m sending you love,

Nicole <3 xoxo

 

 

Some Early Reflections on Death

“Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.”
~ Helen Keller

 

Hello, friends. Welcome to my Wednesday series on Death and Dying.

This week, I’ll kick off the series by discussing some of my own first experiences of death. I’m choosing to start here because I see life and death quite differently to many people – and I always have. Perhaps this is because I am a psychic, and was born this way. Some of my knowing though, has happened by witnessing events that have thrown traditional views of life and death out the window – because these events have not supported the traditional views, and yet they happened. These events support  my belief that life and the place that is beyond this current life we are living is something  complex and beautiful. I believe that we continue to exist beyond this life. And I know that love goes on forever.

We’re all going to die. Some of us soon. Some of us not for years. But none of us are getting out of this world alive. Death’s something we will all know, for our loved ones and for ourselves. I hope you find these experiences I share comforting.

 

When I was a very small child I found life very confusing.

I thought that we were all dead, actually. Or asleep. Trapped in a dream. Living in a fish bowl. Life didn’t seem quite real. I kept trying to make sense of it. Each night I went to bed and expected that I would wake up back in my proper place. My real life.

Instead, each morning I would wake up and here I was. Still ‘alive’. But not the life that I remembered. The only comforting thing for me was that I also remembered other snippets of dreams (or being dead?) where I was living in a different time, and a different place, with mostly different people. I had several fragments of other dreams I had lived. They were as clear to me as movies, and the details never changed. In one of them I lived in a grand two-storey house made of stone, near an old castle. There was a big circular driveway for the carriages, and stables down behind the household gardens where all the horses lived. I had loved that place so much. I’d been very happy there.

There was another place, or may it was the same place, where upside-down coracles were used as buildings. I remember walking to see them in the fields, and the wind being cold and sharp. I knew the word ‘coracle’ and I knew that it was a boat. Some funny people put their boats upside down and turned them into houses. I told my mum this and drew her a picture, but she told me I was being silly. Then she told me only fairies would live in a house like that, because it was imaginary. Fairies were imaginary too, my mum said. She’d only believed in them when she was little. Eventually I stopped sharing my ‘silly stories’.

I knew, deep in my bones, that adults talking about death and being dead were wrong. Especially the ones who were frightened of death, or who believed that when you died there was nothing. That you just ceased to exist. No, I thought. That’s when you wake up again. That’s when you are home.

These are strange thoughts for a child who has not yet gone to school, or watched television, or read books about bigger concepts of the world. Or gone to church.

coracle house

Image from www.contours.co.uk PS – Mum, see, people DO live in them and they are real!!!

 

As an adult I have met other ‘strange children’ who have strong memories of previous lives or other times and places. You can click on the links to read the full story of each one.

There was the baby who kept staring at me in a cafe. He and his parents were strangers, and I’d never spoken to them. This baby communicated psychically with me, and I was overwhelmed with a series of images of two very young boys – twins – on a farm. There was an accident with a gun and one boy died. That boy had now ‘come back’ as a baby to be with his brother. I shared the information with the father, who -after initially being very angry with me – confirmed all of my information. It was emotional and traumatic, but when the information was shared both the baby and the father became deeply peaceful.

Then there was the little girl, Beth, who insisted that her mother bring her to see me. I had ‘seen’ this little girl before she was born, as a bright bubble of light in her mum’s aura. Beth’s mum had major fertility issues  and had not expected to become pregnant, but then she did and Beth was born. I’d never met Beth, but she knew me straight away. And she had news. Her brother William was coming to be born too. Her brother who was always being her brother. Of course, some time later he did come.

Kevin was a normal little boy until somewhere around the age of five, when he began screaming every time the family car drove under a long overpass or entered a tunnel. The first time this happened his hysteria was so severe that he actually passed out and needed to be taken to hospital. His mum brought him to see me after drugs and psychotherapy had failed to take away this little boy’s terror of tunnels. This wasn’t the only strange thing though. Kevin remembered very clearly being called ‘John’ and having another family with a different mummy. He also remembered how he had died in a previous life. A tunnel had collapsed during the London bombings when he was a little boy. His family had taken shelter there during an air raid. Kevin’s mum researched the things that Kevin told us during their session with me, and they checked out. Kevin had to be telling the truth. He was only five. How could he have made all of that up?

 

I have too many other stories to list here, but I’ll include one more. An adult this time, who contacted me after his sudden death, in order to save his daughter’s life. If death were a final ending, how could this happen? How could he contact me? How could what he told me save his child? The story is too long to recount here, but you can read all the details at this link: The Power of a Father’s Love

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Thanks for reading. Next week I’ll be talking about how to care for and be with people who are at the end stage of their life. If you have any questions you’d like me to cover in this series, please contact me here on the blog or at cauldronsandcupcakes@gmail.com

Holding you in my thoughts, prayers and meditations, Nicole <3 xx

A Short Blog Series on Death and Dying

“I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing.”
~ Neil Gaiman, The Sandman

 

As a society I don’t think we do death very well. It’s not talked about. We try to pretend that it doesn’t happen, and often, sadly, we try to keep it all behind closed doors – either for ourselves or for a loved one.

I’m no stranger to dying, and I’ve come to know death from a number of perspectives. I’ve had my own prognoses of numbered days several times in the past twenty years. From heart issues to life-threatening infections and multi-organ failure, death and I have looked each other in the eye. I have held the knowledge and the feeling of dying within me as I have struggled to keep living.

I’m still here. But that dark bird still sits on my shoulder, and I have learned to travel with that extra weight and the gifts of perspective that this brings. Among my friends are others who have dark birds of their own. We share a special language without words, because we know – we live with this extra awareness, and we have watched others go before us and leave this world. Once the dark bird has visited you, everything changes.

raven, crow, dying, death

The Common Raven, by George Hodan. Image from www.almanac.com

I’ve come to know dying from having been at the deathbed of over thirty people now, as they’ve made their transition from this life. I’ve talked about death with them as their days diminished from endless to numbered. As they’ve grappled with the news of their impending demise and the knowledge that time has almost run out. I’ve cried with them. And laughed. I’ve talked of living, even as they are dying, and helped them to make plans about the things that mattered most.

As their final hours have arrived I’ve held their hand and stroked their hair and anointed them with oils. I’ve whispered in their ear, and cradled them in my arms and helped them to no longer be afraid. I’ve created a safe space for them and for their loved ones who were with them for this last past of the journey. I’ve witnessed as their last breath left their lungs, as their heart stopped beating, as they moved from life to death, and then beyond.

I’ve helped to plan or even officiate over funerals and memorials. I’ve celebrated the passing of many a loved one, with all of those who were left behind.

death and dying, forest light

Forest Light – Image by Rayma Devins.  Image from www.desktopnexus.com

The final perspective I have on death is as a psychic. I have watched what happens to a person’s soul and to their energies as they begin the journey of transition. I have witnessed death and spoken to souls in the moments, minutes and hours after their physical end. I have communicated with souls who have long passed from our world. I have connected with the dying via dreams. One precious soul even showed me his passing by sharing those last hours of life and those first moments of death and beyond with me as I supported him via meditation. I have learned so much about the enduring nature of our souls after death, and the power of love to transcend dimensions and boundaries of time and place.

angels in clouds

Image from www.nastej.ru

Right now I have a number of friends and clients who are facing the imminent passing of an elderly parent, or a terminally ill child or life partner. There are a couple of friends and clients who have been given their own recent diagnosis of a life-ending condition.

This is the territory of my daily life – providing support in these situations. It’s endless, because it is part of the cycle of life. People who know me well understand that I am always walking with death, and in service to that transitioning, although I may not mention it to those still firmly in the flow of life.

So, in response to a number of recent questions about death and dying, I’ve decided to write a short series of blog posts to help these friends and clients, and any of you who are (or will one day be) in this situation so that you can provide support to your own loved ones, and feel comforted in understanding that the end of life can become a beautiful space, after which the soul simply moves to a different state of existence – and yes, continues to exist. If you are one of those friends with a dark bird on your shoulder we can talk about how to live even as you are dying, and what things you may want to consider, of both a practical and a spiritual nature.

I’ll begin next Wednesday. But before that, if you have any questions that you’d like me to answer in this series, please contact me by leaving a comment below, or emailing them to cauldronsandcupcakes@gmail.com

I would be honoured to help in any way possible.

As always, I am holding you in my thoughts, prayers and meditations, Nicole <3 xx

There Was No Blog Post This Morning Because… Life

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“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
~ Leo Buscaglia

 

I’d had every intention of blogging early this morning, as I usually do. As I’ve missed doing during these past two weeks of enforced rest while my heart returned to normal. My routine is always this: 4am meditation, healing and prayers, cup of tea and blog writing time, and then I greet the day, work on my own writing for a while, or go for a little wander around the farm, followed by breakfast with Ben and Cafe Dog at one of a number of favourite hangouts.

But it didn’t work out like that today.

I was up early, and sat down with my singing bowl to do a healing meditation. My dear friend, Angela, who has recently passed over, came straight through. I spent my first waking hours in meditation with her soul’s energy – talking with her, and guiding her and helping as best I could, including sharing the wonder that is the next stage of her journey.

I’d barely finished my meditation when my phone rang. Angela’s husband was keen to meet for early coffee and a chat. He’s just lost his wife. His life is upside down. Her funeral is tomorrow. And he has a million questions about what is happening for him and for Angela.

So, of course, they have been my first priority, and you my dear readers have needed to be second today.

Thank you for your patience and your kindness during these past higgledy-piggledy weeks. Illness and dying follow their own schedules, irregardless of our plans. My life is a strange one by ordinary standards – it’s almost always full of chaos and urgent needs, and psychic phenomena requiring my attention. But that’s okay. That’s what I signed up for, and I’m honoured to walk this path, and to share a little of my journey with you through my blog.

I’ll see you tomorrow, when normal scheduling resumes.

Much love, and gentle hugs, Nicole <3 xoxo

Image from gallerily.com

Image from gallerily.com

 

 

Sometimes The Best Way to Honour The Dead is to Celebrate

The last photo I have of Nana, taken with my Dad on my birthday, 6 September, 2012

The last photo I have of Nana, taken with my Dad on my birthday, 6 September, 2012

“We’re all ghosts. We all carry, inside us, people who came before us.”
~ Liam Callanan, The Cloud Atlas

My beloved Nana would have turned one hundred yesterday.

She passed three years ago, and I find myself missing her more as time goes on. We had a very special connection, and I still talk with her and feel her guiding presence in my life.

Yesterday I held a little celebration of her life, in a way that Nana would have appreciated. A cup of tea and a toasted ham, cheese and tomato sandwich (her favourite) followed by a pink cupcake. It wasn’t Nana, but it was the next best thing. The kind of ritual we had followed in life. Her traditional choice of meal if we went out shopping together.

Homemade toasties, just like Nana used to make!

Homemade toasties, just like Nana used to make!

As I age I seem to be gathering so many ghosts to me. It’s like that for all of us, I think. Friends die. Relatives too. Young and old and in-between. So many holes in our hearts, empty places at our tables.

The dead no longer occupy physical space in our lives, but they live on in our hearts. It only takes a song, the smell of cooking on the breeze, a certain place or particular company and they are right here with me. Sometimes, they visit me as ghosts. The veil between me and that other place can be nearly transparent at times.

People have told me that time heals and that memory fades,that eventually I will forget and move on, but I have to disagree. When you truly love someone, that love doesn’t fade if they are no longer here. Hearts are big enough to love many, and keep loving. The nature of the relationship changes, but the heart remembers. I’m glad it does. Why would you want to forget someone so precious?

Yesterday was also a time of reflection for me. Only three years ago I was dying from heart failure. I was on holidays in Thailand when Nana passed in November 2012. I’d had chest pain all day. I was struggling to walk. To breathe. Everything was hard, and I felt so ill and low. I wondered if it was the last holiday I might ever have with my husband.

When I found out about my grandmother’s death I walked down to the beach, and stood in the dark with my feet lapped by the warm caress of the ocean. The sky was lit with stars and as tears rolled down my face I looked up to the heavens and asked my Nana to help me. I told her that I couldn’t keep doing this – living with so much suffering and ill health. I wanted to live, or be done with it. Not this in-between place I’d been in for so long.

Only a few days later, back in Bangkok, a friend suggested that I get my thyroid checked again when I got home to Australia. A bizarre out-of-the-blue comment that led to my lyme diagnosis and subsequent treatment that turned my health around. I truly believe that Nana heard me that night, and helped in a way she’d never been able to while she was alive.

I’ll keep celebrating Nana’s birthday each year. It brings me comfort. It helps me to hold her close. Or maybe she’s holding me. All I know is that acknowledging her birthday seems as natural and right as it did when she was still here to eat that cake with me!

Sometimes the best way to honour our dead is to celebrate their living.

Thinking of you and sending much love, Nicole <3 xx

That's me on my Dad's lap and my little sister on Nana's lap

That’s me on my Dad’s lap and my little sister on Nana’s lap

Saying Goodbye To Julie

'Hearts and Flowers' by Lauren Marems

‘Hearts and Flowers’ by Lauren Marems

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.

It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”
~Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

 

My friend Julie died last night. We’d known this day would come. Julie was diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer on June 11 of this year, a mere 46 days ago.

Still, we’d all hoped this day would have waited a little longer. In the end she was given just one extra day for every year of her short and precious life.

Her husband has lost his wife. Her small children have lost their mother. Julie’s mother has lost her daughter. I have lost a friend.

We’ve been talking a lot, Julie and I, these past 46 days. I was trying to help her prepare for the inevitable. My friend had time to record some messages and write letters for the events in the future where she will not be there to guide and comfort her two young daughters. She managed to create some new happy memories with her loved ones and to savour some last beautiful and life-affirming moments.

I also shared my insights about death, gleaned from all of my many experiences as a psychic. That we are souls having a physical experience, that when the body dies our soul continues to exist, that love endures, and that we are always and forever connected through love.

Rumi quote from QuotesWave

Rumi quote from QuotesWave

Julie had come to a place where she was no longer afraid of death. But she was afraid of pain and suffering, and given her situation, it was expected that her last days would be difficult, even with pain management.

But Julie died without having to experience any of that. She ended up with a bowel blockage, and needed emergency surgery yesterday after her temperature spiked and she began to have abdominal pain. The surgery went well, her family came to see her after she came out of theatre, and they sat with her until bed time, when she drifted off to sleep. She died in her sleep from heart failure. No pain. No suffering. No distress.

After I got over the initial shock of her death, I laughed. She got a good death. A very Julie death – for my friend was the Queen of taking care of every small detail, of streamlining and problem-solving and organising things just so.

Ah, we’re all saying through our tears. She didn’t suffer. She died in her sleep, which was what she’d wanted and believed she would be denied.

If Julie was a gardener (see opening quote), then the way she touched me is this – she showed me the importance of taking time for what matters and for making time for myself and my healing. She also encouraged me to drink fine champagne, eat the best chocolates, cheeses and cakes, and savour the deliciousness of life, even if it meant needing to bend the rules sometimes. Treating yourself occasionally, she kept telling me, was vital for anyone who worked hard and grew ragged at the edges from stress, duty and the ongoing everyday demands of life.

Oh my darling friend, I shall miss you being physically in my life. But you know you’re welcome to pop in any time, energetically speaking, for a catch up and some love.

Some pretty pink bubbles and cupcakes for you! Onward on your journey. Bless xoxo

Image from ZuJew Life

Image from ZuJew Life

Excuse me, are you the Witch?

Image from Mattsko

Image from Mattsko

“Perhaps I am the only person who, asked whether she were a witch or not, could truthfully say, “I do not know. I do know some very strange things have happened to me, or through me. – Lady Alice Rowhedge” 
Norah LoftsBless This House

 

Last year the little girl from down the road at our city house knocked on my front door. The family had not lived in the street long, and I hadn’t met her or her siblings, although I had waved to them on occasion.

I could tell she was nervous.

“Excuse me,” she asked very shyly, “are you the Witch?”

Before I could say anything she pulled a fifty cent coin out of her pocket which she placed on the doormat at my feet.

“Can you turn my brother into a toad or a rat or something? Not forever, but just enough so he’ll stop pulling the heads off my dolls?”

We never got to finish the conversation because her brother and his friends turned up out the front on their scooters and she took off down the road, giggling like anything.

Image from TiaraKim

Image from TiaraKim

A few weeks ago she again made the nerve-wracking journey to my front door.

She’s taller this year, and gap-toothed. On that particular day her toenails were the most shocking shade of orange, with bright pink glitter. But her eyes were sad.

“I’m sorry to bother you,” she said, not quite able to look at my face. “I know you’re probably very busy…”

“It’s no problem. I have time right now. Can I help you?” I tried to use my kindest smile.

“I don’t have much money.” Her words came out in a rush and she thrust a ziplocked bag at me with a five dollar note and some coins in it.

When I didn’t take it, she looked up, her face screwed up in something between desperation and defiance. “I can get more!”

“Why would you need to give me money?” I asked her gently.

“My granny is dying. I thought you could do a spell for me.”

Oh my. Her words just stole my breath away.

As she stared at me her eyes filled with tears and her bottom lip began to tremble.

“You love her very much, don’t you?” I said.

The little girl nodded, tears spilling down her face.

“And I know that she loves you…”

As we spoke the little girl’s mother pulled her car up in front of our driveway. “Hurry up, Veronica. We need to get going!”

“Just a moment,” I called to the mother. “You’re going up to the hospital?” I said to Veronica, quietly so that her mum couldn’t hear. She nodded, yes. I stepped closer. “Honey, it’s your granny’s time to go. You make sure you get to hold her hand and whisper in her ear. Don’t be afraid. Tell her how much you love her and tell her it’s okay for her leave now. Ask her to watch over you and come visit you sometime. I know she will. Okay?”

“Okay,” she sniffed. “Thank you.”

And she scooted off to the car, leaving me wishing that I did have some kind of magical spell to take away the pain of little girls.

This afternoon I saw her again. She waved, and left her brother and his friends to come and stand at my fence.

Veronica’s face grew pinched, and she looked around to see if anyone was listening before she blurted out, “She smells like soap. That’s how I know she’s there. Granny, I mean.”

She ran over to the other children, not looking back, and I went inside to make a cup of tea. Maybe I gave her the right magic after all.

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