Accidents and Sudden Deaths – My thoughts from a psychic perspective

“Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
I am that swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.
~ Autumn Rain – Mary Frye, 1932

 

This is the next post in my Wednesday series on death and dying.

Many people have asked me what happens to a person if they have a sudden death through accident or illness.

I’ve sat holding the hand of people who’ve been suddenly and gravely injured and who have then passed away.

I’ve also been ‘visited’ psychically by souls whose life has suddenly terminated due to trauma, or I have connected with them through my meditations.

One of the strongest psychic experiences I have ever had was of sitting in my friend’s body and being aware of his thoughts in the hours before and after his death from suicide. Although that remains the most brutal experience I have had, it was also a supreme gift.

This is what I have come to understand…

Death that is sudden is a shock for the soul. We live on, and our capacity for thought and awareness lives on. There is a period after death where the soul must orient themselves to their new circumstances.

This doesn’t always happen the same way.

 

Some people die in trauma and there is a short period of nothingness – as if someone wiped part of a video. In this way the soul is spared the traumatic memories. There will be no trauma to process even if the circumstances of death were difficult. Sometimes the soul abandons the mortally injured body before death takes place. There is no suffering. Life just stops. In every instance the newly liberated soul is met and guided by loved ones who help to move the soul to a place of love and comfort. Later the soul may revisit their body or the scene of their death, but by then they will have disconnected from their life to an extent that the revisiting adds no trauma, only understanding and closure for the life they have just lived.

Some people die, and don’t immediately realise that they are dead. They may look down on themselves and be completely disoriented and confused. There is no physical pain. I liken this situation to when you awaken from a dream and are not sure where you are for a moment. Then gradually understanding comes as you orient yourself to the room you are in. This may take minutes or hours. There is never a situation of being trapped in the body, or trapped on earth. Instead there is a period of readjustment before the soul accepts their death and moves to wherever it is we go after this current life journey is complete. And wherever that is, it is ALWAYS a return to love.

My friend who suicided realised too late that he had acted from emotion in making the decision to end his life, and that he didn’t want to die. He was still alive when that realisation came but it was impossible to change his outcome. In the moments before death he experienced extreme regret and sorrow, and a deep awareness of the trauma he would now inflict on his family. After death he came to a place of deep love and acceptance for himself and his life. That was his gift to me. He showed me and allowed me to feel that love. I have never experienced anything as comforting or all-encompassing as that place of unconditional love his soul moved into after death.

Souls don’t remain trapped on earth, or stuck in some strange in-between place because of trauma, sudden or violent death. We always return to love.

The true suffering is done here on earth.

The energetic imprint of trauma, violence and suffering can remain in a place, and many psychics and empaths will pick up on that. They can tune into thoughts, emotions and even images that have been imprinted. This energetic residue is NOT a trapped soul. Lightworkers can bear witness to that low vibration energy, and use love and light to dissipate it and heal a space or place if that feels right.

 

Do we always die because it is our time? I would love to say that I am wise enough to know the answer. All I can say here is that while many people do indeed die because whatever experience they needed here is complete, there are instances of accident and mishap that can terminate our lives before we did all we came here to do and experience. Life is fraught with risk. We are biological organisms. It’s a crazy adventure that sometimes goes wrong. I do know that, no matter what happens, we return to love when we die. And everything we experience teaches us something and helps us to grow – either in this life or in our time between lives.

It is important to remember that the ones most affected by sudden death (be it accident, suicide or medical) will be those left behind in life.

 

I also had a question from a reader about organ donation that fits in very well with what we’re talking about here on the blog this morning. Here it is:

“My understanding is that taking organs when the person is brain dead, or just after their heart has stopped beating means their spiritual body hasn’t completely left the physical body yet. I understand that this can cause distress in the next world and maybe even problems when reincarnating with a spiritual body that hasn’t fully healed from having parts taken or damaged. have you had any experiences of this type of thing, or is it something you could enquire into? My only personal experience is living in a building where they did experiments on human eyeballs in the basement. I’m not scared of ghosts usually, but the corridor by the basement always seemed to be teeming with unhappy souls.”

 

A ghost is an energetic residue. Many empaths and intuitives pick up on strong positive or negative emotional energies that have been imprinted upon objects or places. I believe that the reader who posted this question is highly empathic and intuitive, and hence their ability to tune into old energies held within the building where they lived.

When organs are taken from a donor, the person is already brain-dead or their heart has stopped beating. There will be no possibility that this person could be brought back to any form of life. Life is sometimes artificially continued for a short period of time through the use of machines that keep a supply of oxygenated blood flowing through the body. These keeps the organs viable so that the donor’s wish to gift life to others can still take place. The soul of this person will have already detached from their body when the organs are removed.

A soul is never hampered in their journey after death because of what may have happened to their physical body before or after death. A soul would not experience difficulties because part of their physical body continued to exist. That organ serves no purpose for the disembodied soul. We exist as more than just our physical bodies, and we have no need for our physical body after death. Our physical bodies may continue to do good and be of service after our death though, through acts such as organ donation.

Be kind to yourself, and those you meet. We never know what is going on within another, and this is often a hard time of year remembering those we have lost.

Much love to you, Nicole <3 xx

 

Suicides and Sudden Deaths – Perspectives From My Experience as a Psychic

Image from www.radiomonash.net

Image from www.radiomonash.net

“Did you really want to die?”
“No one commits suicide because they want to die.”
“Then why do they do it?”
“Because they want to stop the pain.”
~ Tiffanie DeBartolo

 

The morning I am blogging about suicide comes directly after the night where I have been awake for most of it, messaging and then skyping with a suicidal client.

It comes directly after the news that another person in one of my Lyme support groups has taken their own life.

It comes two days after a very ill friend died, in a way that could technically be viewed as assisted suicide. She had been in great pain, and was in palliative care. The morphine given to her in increased doses relieved her pain but depressed her respiration and slowed her heart rate, speeding her death. All of us were relieved that there was no pain or suffering in her final hours.

Suicide, and thoughts of suicide, are common in our society. I’m grateful that we are starting to have more of an open dialogue around this. As a psychic I have been witness to perspectives on suicide that most people don’t have. I’d like to share these perspectives with you, in the hope that you will begin to see suicide differently.

 

Suicide is defined as the voluntary and intentional taking of one’s own life. I have seen four circumstances that I define as suicide (*note that this classification is my own):

  1. Being in a situation where help is (or is perceived to be) unavailable and the escalating pain, illness (mental or physical) and lack of control make ending a life seem to be the only viable option. This situation, arising out of desperation, exhaustion, disconnection or other intense negative emotional states is the most common form of suicide that I have encountered. It is also the one most regretted by those who take action to end their lives.
  2. The deliberate sacrificing of one’s life for a greater purpose or higher ideal. The primary motivation behind this type of rare act is love, and it is usually a spur-of-moment choice. I do not include martyrdoms for ideological causes (such as suicide bombings) in this category. Instead think of the parent who risks and loses their life to save their child. The spouse whose last act in a car accident is to position the car so that their partner is spared the worst of the impact.
  3. The assisted and hastened death of someone who is already dying and whose life has run its course.
  4. The deliberate ending of a life where that life’s parameters are non-negotiable, non-changeable and no longer acceptable to the person living that life. That person is not in the same situation as the first circumstance I discussed. The decisions made here come from a place of clarity and peace, rather than from heightened emotional distress or disturbed thinking.

Suicide is, in so many ways, a complex issue.

There is much to say about this topic, and it has raised so many questions from you, my dear readers, that I am going to break this subject down into more posts over the coming Wednesdays. I’ll examine each type of suicide, and I’ll also look at accidental and sudden deaths, and how these impact the soul, as well as those left behind.

Be aware that in the overwhelming majority of suicides there is a realisation of deep regret at their actions in the moments before and after death –  when they understand that it was truly not what they wanted to do, that they have made a terrible mistake but that it is now too late to change this sudden ending of their precious life.

And of course the fallout for loved ones left behind after suicide is often immense, life-altering and devastating.

No matter what the circumstance of the suicide I can render the truth of it down to this. After death, ultimately, a soul returns to love.

Wherever you are this week, and whatever head space you are in, know that you matter to me, and that you are in my thoughts, meditations and prayers.

Be kind to yourself. Reach out to others. Live from compassion. Life is messy and sometimes hard, but we’re all in it together.

All my love, Nicole xx

 

Need Help To Cope?

The following links provide support for those who are suicidal or bereaved by suicide:

Australia List of links and contact numbers here

 

International Support 

Wikipedia has a great list of international support services here

Suicide.org also lists support services for all corners of the globe here

 

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

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

Requiem For A Lost Poet – #Lyme

Photo of Heather Askeland

Photo of Heather Askeland

“I don’t need a cloak to become invisible.”
~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

 

I found out earlier this week that a fellow Lyme sufferer in the USA took her own life. I never met Heather, but I know her journey. All late-stage Lymies know, and understand, because so easily, that could have been us. The news of Heather’s death made me sad. So very sad. And angry. But anger won’t bring her back.

The news of Heather’s death made me feel helpless too. I never knew of her struggle until it was too late. This wretched disease that has wreaked havoc and destruction in the lives of so many, including mine, became too much for this young woman to cope with on her own. People need to know. It isn’t right.

Sadly, Lyme disease, like most ‘invisible’ illnesses has a very high suicide rate. Sufferers get worn down by their illness, by the cost of treatment, by the contempt of friends, family and many in the medical fraternity who don’t believe that they are sick. When you are desperately ill, and you can’t work, and you have no money and no safety net of family or friends (or you wore out your welcome, or spent your family’s last dollar) and you can no longer take care of the most basic survival tasks in your life, you run out options pretty fast.

But that’s not why I’m writing this post.

I’m writing to honour Heather Askeland as a poet, and an artist. I wanted to share her work with you. I wanted her to be remembered with the fullness of who she was.

This is a poem she wrote about selling her beloved violin to help pay for treatment:

the sold violin by Heather Askeland

the A string keens, a notch flat, lost
songbird carrying morning.

the sun is a steak knife slicing dust.
you crouch, release the zipper’s

low whine. case like a toothless mouth.
there is no music here.

no wooden neck to cradle
like a newborn’s head,

no thin steel creasing prayer
into fingertips. no satisfied tendons,

no sweat
other than the nightly fever.

you used to play Tchaikovsky.
your fingers were silverfish,

the audience thunderclap your
favorite drug. now bright lights spin

you like a top. snap you in two,
a severed dandelion.

you are lucky. illness is expensive.
you trade horsehair and childhood

recitals for antibiotics.
how many centimeters of soundpost

for homeopathic injections? for the
metronome of an IV drip?

how much varnish for hair loss?
for the skipping stone

pulse, for each battle between gut
and bread? which Bach sonata

for the skeleton memory?
your neurons are sunken ships,

the dead fish sing you lullabies, let meat
rot in cupboards and crackers grow freezer crystals.

for a moment you panic. wonder why
the case is empty. check the windows. the cats

are two otters in their sun pools.
you remember: the violin is gone.

the violin is everywhere.
it is white cells, methylation pathways

morning yoga sessions. medication three times
a day and herbs that taste like molding twigs.

the 1812 Overture blasts its cannons
with each push of blood from chest to toes.

no one can hear it but you.
your arms are warm.

the music never left, is waiting for you
to turn it up.

Image from wall alpha coders

Image from wall alpha coders

And this is the final video Heather made, her one last shot at trying to find help. As you already know, it never came.

 

Spare a thought for Heather today. Say a prayer, send a blessing, wish her peace. Honour her short life for the artist she was – not as her disease, not as a lyme warrior – honour her for her poetry and her caring heart.

Heather Askeland

Heather Askeland

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.

On illness and being unreliable…

“I’m a very loyal and unreliable friend.” ~ Bono

One of the issues you need to deal with when you or a family member lives with chronic illness is your unreliability factor.

When I speak of chronic illness, I am talking about any condition that lasts for more than a few weeks, that doesn’t conform to a normal healing arc, or a condition that cycles into more active or less active phases.  The condition could be a physical affliction, a mental illness or a combination of these.  For whatever reason the presence of this thing in your life means that there is always a possibility that your plans, no matter what your intentions, may go awry.

Depression makes it impossible for you to get out the front door, irritable bowel means you don’t dare go to that intimate dinner party with the people you don’t know very well, a sudden infection or a flare up for you, your partner or your child and you’re back at the doctors, back on medication, back in bed…

Sick child - image from www.bloggingdad.com

Sick child – image from www.bloggingdad.com

Too often over the years, mine has been the empty chair at the dining table, the empty bed at the retreat, the face missing from the ‘family event’ photograph.

I don’t enjoy letting people down, or being unreliable, so over time I have accepted fewer invitations and my world has shrunk small.  Talk to anyone with a long term health issue and as much as they may seize the day, they often don’t know until they wake up whether the day will be a good one or not – so they become champions of winging it and making the best of those times when they feel strong, positive and with some charge in their battery.

One thing I have come to understand is that you need to have a few friends or family who know what’s going on, who are on your side, and who can cope with last minute invitations or cancellations.

Yesterday I was running on not much sleep, and it was in fact not the greatest of days.  But I had promised to meet a friend for breakfast. She has her health issues too. She understands.  We often text each other at the very last minute to cancel a meet-up, but we do everything we can to get there. We’ve also connected at very short notice, because both of us feel up to it, and why waste a moment?

I’ve caught up with Carly when she’s had an IV line hanging out of her neck, when I’ve been on my way to or home from hospital, and when both of us have felt very much less than glamorous.

Illness has taught me something important.  Friendship is more important that looking fantastic as you head out the front door. Connection is worth more than self doubt. And laughing and being with people you care about, and who care about you, is the very best of medicine.

2013-05-05 09.19.05

Today, both of us are heading back to doctors to have scans and more medical appointments.  Both of us have heads full of wondering what’s going on ‘inside’.

And both of us are unreliable. Not because we want to be.  Not because we are casual about commitment, or how much we care about you.

We are unreliable because our bodies run their own agendas, and we really have no idea how things might look from day to day.

We’ve learned that the cost of ‘making the effort’ to engage can sometimes be too high, and we’ll keep paying for days…

If you’re in the Unreliable Club, I’m sending you lots of love, and I want to remind you that it’s worth trying to make that connection, but that the bottom line is you ALWAYS need to honour your body, and your intuition around situations and relationships.

If you are friends or family of someone with a chronic health issue, I ask that you keep loving them, keep reaching out, and do your best to make sure they don’t end up alone and socially isolated.

One of the greatest tragedies of chronic illness is that so many people end up alone, with no support network. And when we have no one to care about us, and life is so hard, some people give up altogether.

Life is fragile, and we are all vulnerable. Let’s do our best to look after each other, to stay connected, and to live life the best we can with every breath.

friendship-quotes-The-sincere-friends-quotes

The Girl who sees Angels

“For it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you carefully.”

~ Luke 4:10

*Note: Names have been changed to protect the identity of those involved

I received an email from a young friend yesterday.  It was a simple note, and this is what it said;

Dear Nicole,

I can still see Angels.  Is there something wrong with me or can you help me? Thank you very much.

Kirsten

I have known Kirsten since she was a baby. Her parents separated when she was six.  David, Kirsten’s father, had suffered from mental illness and alcohol addiction for many years, and her parents were living apart, but still had close contact.

Two years ago, when Kirsten was eight, I supported her family through a very tough time.  David disappeared and no-one could contact him.  His family feared the worst. And their worst fears came true.

Emma, Kirsten’s mum, asked me to sit with her one Friday morning while she broke the news of their father’s death to her young children.  And it was there that I witnessed something extraordinary as I sat with the family in their grief.

Emma was struggling to keep her emotions in check as she sat with her three small girls. She had not yet begun to say anything.  She’d just gathered them together on the lounge.  Kirsten, the oldest, became very calm and placed her hand on her mother’s arm.

“It’s okay, Mumma,” she said.  “Daddy was taken home by his Angels because he wasn’t happy here and he couldn’t get better. Now he can be happy again, and they will take care of him, and he can take care of us.”

What Kirsten said surprised us both.

“How do you know that?” Emma asked her.

“Because first there was one Angel, and then there was two, and then last week there were so many when Dad took us to McDonalds.  They just sat with him, even though he was grumpy and sad the whole time. Then one came and visited me on Tuesday night, and told me Dad had to go home.” (Tuesday was the night this man took his own life, but Emma did not find out until Thursday morning when the police contacted her.)

Image from www.konca.net.ua

Image from www.konca.net.ua

Kirsten cried for a moment, and then pulled herself together, hugging her mum and siblings.  Then she said, “Everyone has a time to go, and Daddy was finished here. I will miss him heaps, but I can still love him and he can still love me, and if he is happy now then it’s actually okay, even though that makes us all really sad.”

Kirsten doesn’t come from a family with spiritual beliefs.  If anything, she’s had a faithless upbringing.  Life for her and her family has simply been hard. But she spoke to us with deep conviction. She was absolutely sure of what she’d seen.

Now Kirsten’s ten.  And she’s still seeing Angels. She doesn’t talk about it much, because she worries people will think she’s strange and they won’t believe her.

I understand what that’s like – to know things and to see things that others can’t experience in the same way as you.  So we skyped last night, Kirsten and I, and she finally had a space to talk freely about what she sees and how this affects her.

It was important to me that she felt okay about being sensitive, and about having psychic gifts. I believe her, and I believe in what she’s experiencing. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with her at all.  She’s simply a sensitive soul, with a gift for clear Sight. She sees Angels often. Kirsten told me there are more of them in places like hospitals, and with people who are ‘alone in a lonely way’ as she so beautifully explained it. They come and go, but they are always aware of us, and of how we are feeling. They are filled with kindness and with love for us.  When we need them, they are there, whether we realise it or not.

I find her visions very comforting.  Don’t you?

Diagnosis – Lyme Disease

Image from www.caryinstitute.org

Image from www.caryinstitute.org

‘All delays are dangerous in war.’ ~ John Dryden

There’s a war going on in my body.  In fact it’s been going on for a quarter of a century.  First there came the enemy invasion. There was no loud and obvious display of force. Instead it was an invasion by stealth. A mass of tiny bacteria, regurgitated from the stomach of a tick, entered my body via its bite.  My body fought back, and it’s been fighting ever since, but this is a war where the odds for victory aren’t high, and decrease resoundingly over time.

Amazingly, I recorded a tick bite in my sister’s school diary in August 1984, and actually taped the tick to the page! (Why would I do that?) A short while later I was diagnosed with German Measles, but looking back I am sure my rash was tick related, and anyway I had already had measles, and at the time no one else at home or school became sick. I was sixteen years old; bright, ambitious and high-achieving. Sadly, that was all about to change.

For some reason Simone remembered and dug the book out, all these years later…

TickInDiary5

Oh my goodness what a rough road it’s been since then.

My recent diagnosis after years of chronic illness is end-stage lyme disease with heart and neurological complications. I first received a clinical diagnosis of lyme weeks ago, based on my medical history and symptoms.  But I have come to distrust diagnoses – I’ve had so many, and been so disappointed when I’ve not been able to be healed of these things, or the diagnosis has later proven to be wrong. Then, two days ago, I received lab results that made the diagnosis definitive for me.  I finally have a piece of paper I can hold in my hands, reassuring me this whole thing is most definitely not my imagination.

It’s not a great diagnosis. There is much collateral damage after such a long time with this war raging within me. My results list brain lesions, advanced Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lyme carditis and dilated cardiomyopathy, a weird undiagnosable multi-drug resistant gut parasite, severe adrenal fatigue, almost zero DHEA or cortisol or other good hormones, tumors on my ovaries, enormous uterine fibroids, lots of deficiencies due to malabsorption issues, and in fact I could go on. It’s a long and very depressing list, and the catalyst for it all is Lyme…

Here’s my brain in 2000. It’s much worse since then. In fact, I stopped getting SPECT scans because they became more and more depressing.  There is nothing quite like watching your brain get hole-y and feeling your cognitive function slide. Luckily I had a genius IQ to start with (seriously – LOL) so I had a little more up my sleeve, or at least that’s what I keep telling myself!

SPECT Scan A

I have fought for a diagnosis for a long time, and I’ve had many. Included in the list have been Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Ross River Fever, Q fever, multiple chemical sensitivity, ME, Fibromylagia, Post Viral Syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis (both later recanted), Bell’s Palsy, Guillain Barre, Acquired Brain Injury (I love this one – it sounds like I went down to the shop and just ‘picked one up’…), depression, non-specific auto-immune disorder, mitochondrial disease, endometriosis (but my gynacologist can only ever find gross inflammation, NOT endometriosis affected tisssue), and recently ideopathic dilated cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure..

I’ve also been told over the years that this is all in my head, and that my condition is psychiatric. That’s done so much damage.  I doubt everything that happens. I blow off the worst of symptoms and take ages to act on new health problems. After complaining of severe chest pain on many occasions to my general practitioner, I was told it was stress related, given a script for ‘something to relax me’ and advised to ‘learn to meditate’. It was recorded in my chart that I was a hypochondriac two days before I was hospitalised with a major heart attack.

I always knew there was something VERY wrong, but it has been so hard to find doctors who would take me seriously, or who could manage me on an ongoing basis.  I’ve seen so many specialists and natural therapists, I’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on my health, and it is still my greatest ongoing expense. I’ve done everything you can possibly imagine in my quest to be healthy, but it’s never worked completely, and I’ve never achieved wellness.

Past life regressions?  Done. Faith healers, reiki masters, and psychic healers? I’ve seen the best. Diet?  I have tried and complied for YEARS with many, including being a raw food vegan, fasting, a macrobiotic vegetarian, an elimination and anti-candida low allergy diet, food combining, paleo, body ecology and a few other weird and wonderful ones.  I even drank my own wee!

Image from www.ukskeptics.com

Image from www.ukskeptics.com

I’ve IV chelated until I whimpered with pain at every session and vowed I would rather die than do one more treatment. I’ve detoxed and sauna’d, had my blood removed from my body and passed through ultraviolet light before being pumped back in again, I’ve done health retreats, hypobaric chambers, hormone therapy, psychology, psychiatry (they said my problem was physical and send me to an infectious diseases specialist), seen a geneticist, cardiologist, immunologist, gynecologist, ear nose and throat specialist, rheumatologist, environmental medicine specialist, and many other wholistic doctors and clinics. I’ve tried EVERY form of natural and complimentary therapy, and most of the multi-level marketing pills, potions and lotions.  I’ve also used vega machines, biofeedback, Hulda Clarke’s zapper machine and held onto electric fences in fits of inspired desperation after reading about farmers who had cured themselves of Ross River Fever doing the same thing…

I still use homeopathy, meditation, acupuncture, chinese and western herbs, nutritional supplements, chi gung, diet, chiropractic and prayer. In fact, I am convinced that my twice-daily meditation and visualisation sessions have saved my life and maintained my ability to function.

Over time I have become very good at managing my condition, and keeping things in a crazy kind of semi-balanced state. But if I’m honest it’s not living. It’s existing.  Existing with good bits and gratitude, yes, but I have been robbed of so much. So many years and opportunities I will never get back.

There is an upside, of course. I have gone deep within. I have done more work on myself than I ever would have, had I not walked this path. When everything else failed, I have always had my psychic ability and my spiritual connection. It is the one thing that allows me to say I wouldn’t trade this if this is the gift I received in exchange. But it’s a gift that isn’t very useful if I’m dead, which is the way I was recently heading.

So, now I have a diagnosis, what next?

One doc says it’s manageable but not fixable, one doc says it’s sort of treatable although he is not hopeful of a positive long-term outcome this late in the game, and one doc says to me I have drugs for the bacteria, and they’ll make you sick, but they might make you well – what do you think, Nicole?

I said ‘Give me drugs. Give me all the drugs. Cos I’m gonna kill all the things!’

kill all the things

In my long war I have used everything else, and it has all helped. But I have never used targeted antibiotics, anitparasitics and anti-microbials. So now I have a fistful of scripts and I shall rattle like a maraca but it’s something. And I am hopeful. Hopeful I can mend my heart and my brain.  Hopeful that my future here is not only a long one, but one with a better quality of life.

I’ll keep you posted. And I may spend a little more time blogging health things and wellness things, in with my usual mix of stuff. Over the past 25 years I’ve learned so much about health that has aided my journey. Perhaps some it will be useful to you too.

If I have one message for you out of all of this, it’s this: Back yourself.  Trust yourself.  We always know deep down, when something isn’t right.  Don’t ever give up looking for answers. Don’t ever give up expecting that you can have a better life.

Much love to you, Nicole ♥ xoxo

Image from www.weheartit.com

Image from www.weheartit.com

Some useful links:

Lyme Disease Association of Australia

Karl McManus Foundation Australia

Lyme Disease Association, Inc United States

The Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation

Mummy told me to talk to the Angels…

Image from google.com

Image from google.com

“The guardian angels of life fly so high as to be beyond our sight, but they are always looking down upon us.”  ~Jean Paul Richter

*NB – The names have been changed to protect the identities of the family involved in the following post but I have permission to share their story.

On the morning of December 29 my husband and I went down to Byron Bay for an early swim and coffee in a favourite cafe.  The power was out from a storm the night before, and I’d cancelled a day of work.  We had just said goodbye to the last of our Christmas guests and were looking forward to a day on our own.  We felt relaxed and happy.  The surf was gentle, we bumped into friends and shared laughter and news, and we wound our way home through the hills singing along to the radio.

But as I sat under a tree in the back yard I began to feel uncomfortable. Something was wrong, although there was nothing I could think of to make me feel that way.

Out of the blue I thought of Mandy, a student of mine I have not seen for years. The last I’d heard of her she had two small boys. The skin of my arms was covered in goosebumps, and I felt sweaty and anxious. Something was not right with her husband. Something was not right about her kids.  I couldn’t put my finger on it, I couldn’t get a clear picture. I just knew I had to call her.

I ripped through my database until I found her details. The landline was disconnected, but finally I found a cell phone number for her. She picked it up on the third ring.

Of course she was surprised to hear from me, and I made it all the more awkward by blurting out, “How’s Wayne?”

“Oh,” she paused for a moment, a catch in her voice, “we separated just before Christmas. I’ve moved back home with Mum and Dad til we work things out.  Wayne’s changed so much in the past six months, Nic. So depressed and unmotivated, when life is going well for us finally.  I don’t get it! He just isn’t who I married any more. I still love him but I didn’t know what else to do…”

“Is Wayne with you right now?” I asked her.

“No, he picked up the boys for a sleepover early this morning. Why?”

Why?  I didn’t know why. All I knew was something wasn’t right.

Before I could say anything, Mandy continued. “He’s got a place just around the corner.”

“Go. Get your Dad and go there now. Call me when you get there!”

“Why? Is something wrong?” I heard the panic in her voice.

“I don’t know.  I hope not.  Just hurry.”

She hung up and I sat in my backyard with a desperate anxiety. It took three hours before she called me back.

They’d found her husband and three small boys in the family car, the engine running in the enclosed garage, semi-conscious from exhaust fumes. Ambulances took them to hospital. Their two older sons stayed in overnight, their toddler a few nights longer, and her husband is still there.

By some kind of miracle, a tragedy was averted.

Mandy called me again today, and we had a long talk. Two things emerged.

Firstly, one of her sons, Blake, who is five, told her roughly what had happened.  Daddy had put them all in the car and said they were going on a trip.  But Daddy wouldn’t stop crying. Blake hadn’t known what to do, but then he remembered his mum telling him that he could always talk to his Guardian Angel. So Blake said to his Angel, “Please help Daddy. Please stop Daddy crying.  Please help us find out what is making Daddy so sad.”

Blake fell asleep, and he had nice dreams about a kind lady.

Secondly, as part of a routine set of tests, it was discovered that Wayne had a serious thyroid problem. Serious enough to have created the mood swings, fatigue and depression that had led to him growing away from Mandy. Serious enough that he’d gotten to a place where he felt life was hopeless.

He’s getting the medical help he needs.  Doctors are convinced that it is the thyroid issue that created this sudden change in Wayne’s personality.  And the family is going to get counselling.

Wayne and Mandy wanted to share their story. They wanted to reach out to others suffering from depression and ask them to seek help.  Speak with your family doctor.  Get a health check-up, including a thyroid work-up. And reach out to loved ones, friends or a help line and let them know you’re struggling. There is help out there. You don’t have to battle this alone.

In Australia you can contact Beyond Blue or Lifeline, and for people outside Australia you can find help here.

I-believe-in-angelsThe-kind-that-heaven-sendsI-am-surrounded-by-angelsBut-I-call-them-friendsAuthor-Unknown

And as for Blake, I am sure that his childlike faith and certainty helped change the outcome for him and his family.  How can I not believe in Angels?