When my mother Sophie died of a sudden heart attack in her Philadelphia, Pa. home, my own life seemed to end as well. This was not my first experience with death. There had been other deaths. The only grandparent I knew, my mother's mother was gone. Three of my mother's brothers were gone, plus a few close friends and people I worked with. I knew of death. I regarded it as the end of their learning experience on earth, and the end of our learning experience with them. I felt sad for their family and friends, but after a few days I would just get on with living. I will miss you. Good-bye.
But, I couldn't say good-bye to my mother. My mom. Always there for me. Always a supportive friend. Always so gentle and so strong. Always so firm, yet considerate and thoughtful and forgiving.
I wept until I couldn't cry any more. I wore sunglasses to hide my red, weary eyes when I was forced to leave the house. For days after the funeral I couldn't get dressed. I didn't want her to be gone. I found it impossible to be comforted. I moped and prayed and sat around the house.
It was while sitting in my living room, alone in my own darkness that I suddenly felt the need to pick up a pen, then, a paper. I started to write the capital letter "G". It was curved in a very round, a very artistic, and distinctly creative way. We each have our own way of writing the letters of the alphabet. This was definitely not the way I would form the capital letter "G".
When I went to my mother's house to help my dad the following weekend the strange written letter "G" was last in my thoughts.
I was cleaning my dad's kitchen when my eyes were drawn to a corkboard my mother had hanging on the wall for phone messages. It was near the phone, not far from the kitchen sink, where I was standing. For some unknown reason I had put the paper of the capital letter "G" I had written in my pants pocket. I pulled it out and matched it to the writing on the caulk board. The "G" on the board and the "G" on the paper in my hand was written exactly the same.
Excitement filled my shaking body as I called to my husband, who was in the next room.
He came running as if from the tone of my voice something was terribly wrong.
"What is it?"
"Look at this." I tried to control the excitement in my voice. "The "G" I showed you last night and the "G" written on this paper, by my mother are exactly the same."
He took a closer look at the writing on the paper in my hand and then at the paper on the wall.
"They are the same."
"Look at the way the "G" is sort of rounded at the top, but then squares off.
He looked again.
"They are the same."
While I was almost jumping with excitement, my husband appeared shaken, a little less color in his face, and a great deal of concern for both our sanity.
"What do you think of that?" I asked.
"I don't know. It is the same that's for sure." He stated reluctantly.
"It must be my mother trying to tell me she can use my hands to form letters.
"It seems so."
My husband was a skeptic back then and didn't want to believe that my mom was contacting me. I believe it frightened him.
"When we get home I'll try again."
Later that night I got a piece of paper and pencil, sat down on a comfortable chair, at my kitchen table, paper in front of me, pencil in hand and immediately the pen began to move. I watched in astonishment.
"Hi, Irma. I'm glad you understood the message from the capital letter "G".
"That was you writing with my hand?"
There was no doubt that the person was my mother. I don't know how I knew I just felt it.
"Are you all right?"
"Yes, everyone here is loved. It is so beautiful. Don't worry about your dad, he'll be fine. It makes me sad to see him walking around that big house by himself."
Tears came to my eyes. I was very worried about my dad. Dependent on my mother for so many years, they just celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary.
"He'll be fine." My mom wrote again."
We spoke for another few minutes.
"Mom is there something you can tell me that will prove that this is really you?"
The pencil wrote: "I took care of the dolls you had as a child. I bought them new shoes and socks. I washed their dresses. Take them home with you. Don't leave them in your dad's house."
"I will," I promised. I spoke out loud.
I sat back in my chair. I felt so relaxed, as though I had taken a nap.
I stared at the writing on the paper. The handwriting was not mine. My handwriting is much smaller and bolder. The writing on the paper was shaky irregular and all of the words ran together. I had to make notes so I could remember some of my questions and fit them to the answers.
I didn't know it at the time but writing through the pencil in this way is called automatic writing. Since then I've read many books on it. Many people can do it and are not aware of their ability.
Later that week I went to the house that my parents shared. I was supposed to meet my dad to take him to the dentist. I entered an empty house. I looked upstairs and downstairs for my dad or a note or something. There was nothing.
I forgot about taking the dolls, feeling I could take them anytime. But, since my dad wasn't home I found myself suddenly aware of being drawn to the smallest bedroom where the dolls were put after my mother's death.
I stood at the door staring at the dolls. They were not in good order, as my mother would have left them. They were lying in disarray. One was thrown on its side. One was on its face on a desk, the dolls wig off. Another had a foot up in the air, almost off the table, shoes off. No wonder it was so important that my mother wanted me to take them to my house. Someone, I never found out whom, had thrown my mother's precious memorabilia into a state of chaos. It was important to her that I bring them to my house and take care of them as she had.
I took the three dolls and put them carefully in my car. That done I went back in the house.
Immediately the phone rang. It was my dad.
"Irma, The strangest thing happened. I got in my car to come home, and it wouldn't start. I waited a few minutes and then it started. That's why I'm late.
My dad's car wouldn't start! Then after I took my dolls outside to the car, and came back in the house, my dadÌs car started. I felt myself shiver. Without those few minutes to myself I wouldn't have had the time or the inclination to find the dolls and put them in the car to take home with me. Something that meant so much to my mother.
My mother died February 9, 1983. Ever since then we have had many wonderful conversations. I no longer have to use automatic writing; I can hear her words and her voice through my mind. My mom knows my feelings and she is grasping my feelings for her while she watches the course of those she loves. I am not forgotten.
Over the years I felt I had to tell people of my experiences. There is so much death, so much sorrow, so much pain, and so many tears. I wanted people to know what I had learned. I had to tell anyone who would listen. I wanted to ease their pain and sorrow. I wanted them to know that death is not the end.
I can hear spirits through my mind. I can hear their voices, their emotions, and their concerns.
My husband listens as I talk, sometimes asking questions, always speaking as though to a living person, as indeed we are. Over the years my husband can see what the person looks like. See what they are wearing. Know the way they died. He has surprised many spirits by giving this information as well as describing a loved one they have left behind. So many people on both sides need comfort.
One of those I came in contact with, on the physical plane, was my friend Carol. Her interest in the afterlife was casual, but that was about to change.
I was finishing up the dinner dishes. The phone rang, and it was Carol.
"Can you talk?"
"Yes, what is it?"
"I entered my upstairs bedroom and the aroma of my grandmother's perfume was in the air. I lived in this house for five years and it never happened before."
"What was the fragrance?"
"The old-fashioned smell of flowers that my grandmother always used in her bedroom. I had a feeling of peace. It took me back to a time when I was a child in her house."
We were both silent for a few moments.
"By putting the familiar aroma in your bedroom, your grandmother wants to give you a message. She's here now. I'll call you back as soon as we're finished talking.
"Thanks, I'll be waiting."
I am able to make contact with spirits I don't know. I am also able to make contact with an identifiable departed person at the request of some living person. Only, that is, if the departed person wants to be contacted. Carol's grandmother, I knew, had an important message for Carol.
I first ask the spirit for information that only the two people involved could know. A tender moment of joy or sorrow. A memory that no one else knew. This is to prove to the living person that the spirit is in fact their loved one.
I also write the message on paper to make sure it is accurate and not my interpretation of what is said.
I called Carol back about forty-five minutes later.
She answered her phone on the first ring.
"Your grandmother was here."
"What did she say?"
"First, she spoke about your appendix attack when you were a child. It is to prove to you that she is really here."
"My appendix attack? What did she tell you happened?
I read from the paper: "She had the attack in her mother's house on Thanksgiving. She could not eat dinner. She was taken to the hospital."
"I had dinner first." Pause. "No, wait." She thought for a moment again. I couldn't have. I was in too much pain. My mother and dad took me to the hospital, My grandmother stayed home to give dinner to everyone else.
She was on the verge of tears.
"What else did she say?" Her voice shaking.
I read from the paper: I don't want to hurt my granddaughter or upset her but what I have to tell her will help later. My daughter, her mother, will die soon. I'll be here when CarolÌs mother leaves her body and I will welcome her to this side. She is not to worry, her mother will be with me."
"I had a feeling it was bad news." Carol explained. My grandmother lived one street away from me while I was growing up. After school I would go to her house. She would sit me on her knee on her favorite chair as she listened intently as I poured out my childhood problems. She was always there to help me, as she is now.
At the time the message was given her mother wasn't sick. Her grandmother was right about her appendix attack; she did not want her to be right about her motherÌs forthcoming death.
Two months later Carol called to say that her mother had suddenly taken ill. She was in the hospital.
"My mother's talking about never leaving the hospital alive." Carol sobbed. "What makes her keep saying that?"
Perhaps the answer lies in a conversation I had with my mother shortly after her death.
The pen wrote: "Every night while our physical body sleeps our spiritual body leaves the earth plane. We speak to other spirits. We speak about what's happening in our lives. Our problems. Our futures. We learn to understand why we must go through our experiences. We become one with ourselves, our feelings. Our existence becomes clear. Then upon awakening we forget these meetings. But, not always entirely. There is something to the saying, "sleep on it" when trying to sort out a problem. There is something to being upset about a dilemma before we fall asleep and waking up feeling the situation isn't so bad and know exactly what needs to be done."
That's what I told Carol. I also told Carol that I felt the spirit talking to her mother at night is her grandmother.
"She is helping both of you to understand and accept what fate must bring." I explained.
But, this does not always bring peace to us on earth, for it was an emotional Carol who called a week later to tell me of her mother's death.
Both of us are sure that Carol's grandmother was there to welcome her mother. We are also sure her mother is getting warm and loving support.
The presence of Carol's grandmother brought proof to us that we are not abandoned by our loved ones, no matter how much time has gone by since their death. But, as in life are always with us.
The presence of my mother still remains to this day bringing me an understanding of a different world. A place held in my heart, if not in my memory.
My mother, still a supportive friend. So gentle and kind. Having a smile that lights up my life. She has not left me. She is still helping me from a compassionate and loving world. A world that can hear our thoughts, and know our feelings.
Our loved ones are always close. Talk to them. They can hear you.