We’ve been watching on Paramount + the new TV Series 1883. For those not familiar with it, it’s a prequel to “Yellowstone,” that stars Kevin Costner as present day, big-time Montana rancher John Dutton.   1883 follows John/Kevin’s great-grandparents, James and Margaret Dutton (played by real life couple Faith Hill and Tim McGraw) as they flee poverty in Texas and embark on a journey via wagon train through the Great Plains to seek a better future in Montana. Sam Elliott portrays Captain Shea Brennan, a grizzled cowboy and former Civil War Union Army officer, who is the leader of the wagon train which includes the Duttons, their two children and several German immigrants headed for Oregon. 

Sam Elliott as Captain Shea

Here’s the Teaser Trailer (imdb.com)

Semi-Spoiler Alert-   For those of you who do not want to know anything more about 1883 before you have an opportunity to watch it, then stop reading.  However, I don’t think I’m giving too much away if you push on. 

We recently watched Episode 6, Boring the Devil, and this particular scene and dialogue really struck a chord with us. 

The Duttons’ teenage daughter, Elsa (played by Isabel May), is inconsolable after the death of her cowboy love, Ennis. Isolating herself from her family, she goes to sit by his grave. She’s holding a pistol in her lap. Captain Shea, who is also grieving the deaths of his wife and child, tries to console her.

Shea begins: “I’ve sat right where you’re sitting, thinking the same thing. Thinking I don’t want to live without them. Still do most days. But here I am, living without them.”

Shea goes on:

 “I’ll tell you why I’m still sucking air today. I’m headed to the ocean.

“An Indian passage scout told me once when you love somebody, you trade souls with them. They get a piece of yours and you get a piece of theirs.”

Stunned, Elsa listens as he continues:

“When your love dies, a little piece of you dies with them. That’s why it hurts so bad. But a little piece of him is still inside you, and he can use your eyes to see the world. So, I’ll take my wife to the ocean, and I’m going to sit on the beach and let her see it. It was her dream.”

The thought that Ennis is still with her brings Elsa some much needed comfort.  She gets up, climbs on her horse and returns to tend the herd of cattle.

Pictured: Isabel May as Elsa of the Paramount+ original series 1883. Photo Cr: Emerson Miller/Paramount+ © 2021 MTV Entertainment Studios. All Rights Reserved.


I really believe that.  We explored this in When the Veil Comes Down.   It took me several pages to make the point Taylor Sheridan, the writer and creator of three current hit series 1883, Yellowstone and Mayor of Kingstown, synthesized into two paragraphs.  I guess that’s why he gets the big bucks.  

[Sidenote: Among other films, Taylor Sheridan wrote and directed the 2017 film Wind River.   I was deeply moved by some of the dialogue from the Academy Award nominated screenplay which I shared in this post WIND RIVER. Gil Birmingham and Kelsie Asbille were among the stars of the film and they also appear in Yellowstone as Chief Thomas Rainwater and Monica Dutton, Casey Dutton’s wife]

Here are some excerpts from the chapter “Priests, Mediums and Quantum Theory.”

Near Death Exeriences

A person who undergoes a near-death experience travels somewhere 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.

So, the process 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,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, but certainly not the spooky movie stuff. But if there is a portal, a worm hole, to connect us with those who have passed that is accessible to the near dead, then it only makes sense the departed can access a similar pathway back to here.

In her book, Messages—good read, by the way—Bonnie McEneaney wrote of so many loved ones, including her husband, who perished on 9/11 in the World Trade Center towers and came through to visit their spouses, parents and kids to let them know they were all right and love is eternal. They sat on the beds, stood next to the bedroom doors, dropped pennies and quarters. I believe it all; it’s happened to a lot of us.

Visits and messages from our loved ones are revealed in myriad ways. Jimmy was a playwright and his favorite way to connect is to manifest elaborate synchronicities involving multiple characters and scenes.

Partial Death Experiences

Four months after Jimmy transitioned, Hilary, Brittany and I had our first reading with a medium.  After a brief meet and greet, Tarra focused in on Hilary. She reached for Hilary’s hands and quickly discerned, “You recently lost a son, James or Jimmy, and his death had been violent and unexpected.”

“Yes,” my wife whispered.

Tarra’s concern was apparent as she told Hilary, “When Jimmy died a part of you split. A piece of your soul went with him.” Tarra looked at Brittany and me. “This may have happened to you, too, but it’s strong with Mom.” 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. He sometimes sits on the bed, but he won’t wake you. You aren’t ready. You want to be with him so deeply, and he you, but you can’t go; not now.”

When the San Diego County Medical Examiner showed up on our doorstep with the news of Jimmy’s death, I experienced a profound, literal, physical and painful reality that a piece of me was ripped out.

I completely understood that part of me died, split and went with Jimmy. The piece of my heart that went with him left a vast hole.  I’m pretty sure the same thing happens to all of us who have suffered the death of anyone we love deeply and dearly.

I’m calling these Partial-Death Experiences or PDEs. Unlike a Near Death Experience, the part of us that dies and goes with our loved one does not come back. All I could see was darkness and all I could feel was excruciating pain. From now on, life would be hell. There will never again be any true happiness, peace, or normalcy. We will never overcome our suffering and grief; the weight on our chests would ultimately suffocate us. We might even welcome our own death to be reunited with Jimmy.

What I could not possibly fathom at the time was that the part of me that died and went with Jimmy somehow, someway, created a bridge—a portal—that keeps us connected. And the hole in my heart would become an integral part of the instrument—in Jimmy’s case a pen—that he can play and write through.

It was also impossible at the beginning for me to comprehend or envision that his death and my partial death could become a conduit for beauty, wonder, and—yes—even joy.

And if we apply quantum theory to our loss, even though we are physically separated from our loved ones, from their soul and all the pieces of them that crossed over, either somewhere near or unimaginably far away, we remain entangled and can instantaneously interact with them and affect one other.

Mark Nepo in The Book of Awakening said it better:

Once we pour ourselves into loving another person, it seems as if they take who we are with them when they go. In truth, they take a deep part of us…In every space opened when what we want gets away, a deeper place is cleared in which the mysteries can sing. If we can only survive that pain of being emptied, we might yet know the joy of being sung through.

Mark Nepo with You Know Who


Taylor Sheridan

Sheridan adds further clarity to this.   The next time you see a beautiful sunrise or an amazing sunset, witness or extend a random act of kindness or gratitude, read or create a thought-provoking piece of writing, or hear an emotion-filled song, imagine that your loved ones are enjoying the same experiences.   And how happy you are making them.  

You may find it affects the choices you make as far as what you want to see, think and do.   

This is from the chapter “When the Veil Comes Down.”

And just imagine what can happen if more of us help our loved ones on the other side, bring them closer to this side of the veil, closer to One.

If a critical mass of us truly accepts and acknowledges that those we deeply love are all around us and even closer than before.

 If we, in turn, reciprocate with mindful expressions of our eternal love, and intentionally work at mending, healing, and strengthening our relationships with them, and help them with their healing.

If we do this across multiple generations of loved ones and ancestors.

With a deep knowing in our hearts that they, too, hear us, feel us, and are so grateful for all the things we are doing for them even though they are no longer in their bodies.

That is when the veil comes down.

Trading Souls

Alien Invasion Mammoth Lakes September 2018

One response to “TRADING SOULS”

  1. Michael Eaton Haynes says:

    I often read your stories here when you send them out. In my childhood I experienced the loss of a loved one, a little girl who was a classmate of mine in the fourth grade. Her death has had and continues to have repercussions on me throughout my lifetime. As searingly painful as my loss was, I know that loss pales when set beside the loss of your child. My heart goes out to you. It truly does. If one of my own children died, in my grief I think I might do something rash.

    A few years ago I began to write my memoirs. I’ve written a story about that young girl. I’d like to share it with you—if you allow others to send you stories. Do let me know. I’d enjoy reading a personal note from you.
    Wishing you all the best life has to offer,
    Michael Eaton Haynes

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Author Bios

Write Me Something Beautiful Authors - Casey and Jimmy Gauntt

Casey Gauntt

is a retired attorney and former senior executive of a major San Diego real estate company. He lives in Solana Beach, California, with his wife, Hilary. Casey grew up in Itasca, Illinois, graduated Lake Park High School in 1968, and received B.S., JD and MBA degrees from the University of Southern California.

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Jimmy Gauntt

was born and raised in Solana Beach and graduated from Torrey Pines High School in 2002.   A prestigious Trustee Scholar at the University of Southern California, he majored in English and Spanish. He authored six plays, five screenplays, and a multitude of poems and short stories. Beginning in 2010, the USC English Department annually bestows the Jimmy Gauntt Memorial Award—aka “The Jimmy”—to the top graduates in English.  Jimmy passed over to the other side in 2008 at age 24.

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