Touch- Introduction to the “Reunions” Episode, aired March 22, 2013
Bodies at rest, stay at rest.
Bodies in motion, stay in motion
Unless acted upon by an outside force.
People, like objects, become set in their paths,
Embedded in a constrained reality.
As we travel our paths, the possible futures
Which were once infinite
Collapse down to one.
What can be powerful enough to change your path—
To change your future?
An act of nature—an act of love.
Once this deviation happens
You find yourself on a new path—
Unchartered, unknown and stretching out ahead of you.
The loss of a child is most certainly powerful enough to change our paths. In fact, I’m hard pressed to think of anything more powerful.
In the Into the Light chapter of our book, I describe our first meeting with Tarra, the medium from Sedona, who was so very helpful to us. December 21, 2008 was a beautiful Sunday morning as Hilary, Brittany and I drove over the bridge to Coronado, a quaint town across the bay from downtown San Diego. It had not escaped me that this day, 38 years earlier, my father took his life.
Tarra was staying in a friend’s house for several days to see clients. We were immediately struck by how “normal” she was. A very nicely dressed, short in stature, wide of body middle aged woman, with no piercings, tattoos, purple hair or scarves. Tarra is a mom with two grown sons, a very thick New York accent and an engaging laugh. Although insanely nervous, we instantly liked her.
After a brief moment of meet and greet, Tarra focused in on Hilary. She quickly discerned with no help from us that Hilary had recently lost a child, a son, by the name of James or Jimmy, and his death was violent and unexpected. She went on to express grave concerns for Hilary.
“When Jimmy died a part of you split. A piece of you went with him. A piece of your soul went with him.” Tarra looked at Brittany and me. “This may have happened to you, too, but it’s very strong with mom here”.
She looked back at Hilary. “Jimmy’s telling me he can’t come into your dreams or make his presence known to you because he’s afraid you’ll embrace him and not come back; you want to be with him so deeply, and he you, but you can’t go; not now. Do you understand what I’m talking about? “
Hilary nodded. Brittany and I exchanged a quick, painful glance. I thought of my dad.
“When you’re asleep he sometimes sits on the bed, but he won’t wake you. You aren’t ready.”
Tarra strongly recommended that Hilary see a colleague of hers, a shaman, Jade Wah’oo Grigori.
“We refer to Jade as the ‘Big Guns’. He’s Mongolian and a strange looking dude; but he is highly experienced in these things. You need to call Jade and tell him about Jimmy’s death and that a part of you split with him. You need to have Jade help you retrieve the piece of your soul that left to be with Jimmy. You need a Soul Retrieval Ceremony. The sooner the better. Jade will be coming to San Diego next month.”
The three of us saw Jade three weeks later on my 58th birthday and I wrote about the experience in Soul Retrieval.
A part of you split with him. I will come back to this.
Near-Death Experiences (NDEs)
A few years ago our good friend Marilyn Willison sent us an article, Four Minutes With My Father, written by Donna Nakazawa that appeared in the July/August 2010 edition of More Magazine. Unfortunately, More Magazine is no more. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Ms. Nakazawa described her near-death experience when the medicine she was given to treat a rare neurological autoimmune disease caused a sudden and very dangerous drop in her blood pressure. She was reunited with her father who died when Ms. Nakazawa was 13 years old—her father died in the same hospital 29 years earlier on the very same day. He was 42 at the time of his death. She would, hopefully, reach the same age in three days. During the NDE, her father repeatedly told his daughter to ‘Choose Life.’
“Nothing like those four minutes has ever recurred. And yet everything was altered. I’d always hoped there existed a greater presence. Yes, God. Now I felt sure there was the possibility of something more, another layer of meaning, bigger than our daily striving.”
She and others who have experienced NDEs know what that they saw and heard. She also knows that there are many who are skeptical of these NDEs including some in the medical community.
“I know that many experts believe such moments are chemical hallucinations, caused when the brain is deprived of oxygen and glucose.”
Ms. Nakazawa reached out to a doctor leading a research study of NDEs who, perhaps, reassured her with his opinion.
“Even if we’re able to pinpoint the exact chemical processes that explain near-death experiences in scientific terms, that doesn’t mean these experiences aren’t real. All human emotions originate from neurological processes and chemicals firing in the brain, including love. But that doesn’t mean the love we feel doesn’t exist.”
Really? She knows what she saw, and what she heard.
“I’m not sure that knowing exactly what happened really matters. Those four minutes in that hospital room—whether they came from cascading brain chemicals, a higher source, my father’s love or a high-powered cocktail of all three—have been my own small miracle.’’
Reading Ms. Nakazawa’s article brought to the surface something I’d been thinking about. An NDEr travels somewhere—over there—and usually witnesses something beautiful, full of light, deep love, peace and, sometimes, communicates with loved ones who have passed over. When they come back to life they are uniformly and forever changed with a new awareness and elevated consciousness.
NLEs: Near-Life Experiences
Here’s my question. NDEs should work both ways, right? I mean, if someone close to death can go over—let’s just call it ‘there’—for a few moments or even longer such as the NDEs Dr. Mary Neal describes in her book, To Heaven and Back, and Dr. Eben Alexander in Proof of Heaven—shouldn’t those who are over there be able to come back to life here for a few moments now and then?
I’m not talking about ghosts, the paranormal, or poltergeists—well, maybe I am to a certain degree—just not the spooky, scary, stuff. Bear with me. I suggest if there is a portal—a worm hole let’s say—to the dwelling place for those who have passed that is accessible to the near dead, then it only makes sense the departed can access the same or a similar pathway back to life, here.
In her book, Messages—good read, by the way—Bonnie McEneaney wrote of so many loved ones, including her husband, who perished in 9-11 and came through to visit their spouses, parents and kids to let them know they were all right and love was eternal. They sat on the bed, stood next to the bedroom door, dropped some pennies and quarters. I believe it all—it’s happened to a lot of us. Hello- The Things They Leave for Us
Hilary’s and my sister Laura’s Moment In Paris where they simultaneously saw Jimmy cross the street in front of the Café Les Deux Magots nine months after Jimmy was killed. Mike Lueth driving past his best friend, Mike Sims, who had taken his life a few weeks earlier, with his thumb out on a lonesome road in Algonquin, Illinois. Mike, Is That You?
There’s also visits and messages from our loved ones that manifest in myriad of ways. Where someone over there comes through—not to the extent where you can actually see or touch them—but nonetheless make tangible connections that sometimes involve and enlist multiple people who somehow all get plugged into the same energy field and leaves everyone scratching their collective heads wondering ‘What was that?! What the heck just happened?’ Each participant performing his or her part to complete the whole story.
The players are like the strings of a harp, each being plucked seemingly at random until the chord is completed and the most beautiful sound you could ever imagine envelops us all. The instrumentalist is so close, utilizing and orchestrating all of the resources available that transcend this dimension as best as he or she knows how—thoughts, love, dreams, intuition, faith, hope, despair, spirit. The departed are seemingly so very close to being in this life with us in all ways except the body—the shell that has been abandoned—the deceitful flesh, as Jimmy described it. Plucking the chords, using us as his instrument, with the unspoken words of the director clearly heard by all the actors: ‘Hello? It’s me. It’s OK. Pay attention! Do you appreciate what’s happening? Thank you for your participation. Isn’t this cool?I love you.’
I’m choosing to call these sightings and events Near-Life Experiences—or NLEs. The synchronicities and multiple cast members involved in our stories The Letter, Rabbit Hole Letters, The Other Letter, Want To Go For A Ride?, The Ghostwriter, The Fraternity and, more recently, Healing All Around.
These are NLEs where Jimmy (and my Dad in The Letter) clearly and spectacularly came through to give us a message, provide input and advice, connect us with old friends of ours and Jimmy’s as well as others who needed-or would soon need- help, or helped us. These visits were not random. They were meticulously and divinely planned, and there was a purpose for each NLE—sometimes obvious, other times taking awhile for us to process what had happened.
My friend Charlie Myers, our connection the result of another one of Jimmy’s NLEs, is a firm believer. He quickly observed after getting caught in the slipstream of The Letter and Want To Go For A Ride, “Jimmy is writing a play and he’s directing the players and actors here on this life stage.” I initially thought that was strange. But I think he might just be right. Ask any of the players involved and they will uniformly tell you of the other-worldly feelings they have experienced from having touched or been touched by these NLEs. Hair standing on end, bodies full of goosebumps, dissolving into tears of wonder and joy. They say these experiences have changed their lives—the way they think— their thoughts and views of what’s next—over there and here. Very similar to the reactions of those who have had a Near-Death Experience.
As far as I know, I never had an NLE before Jimmy died. There was nothing after my father’s suicide. So how come these NLEs came flooding in after Jimmy left us? Why now? What makes them happen? What forces are at play? I sought out the guidance of two Catholic priests for help with these questions.
I will pick up with this in Part 2.