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A loved one has died, and as we wrestle with the grief, now comes the gut-wrenching duty of attending the memorial service.  Whether a funeral or celebration of life, it can be an overwhelming prospect.

But here’s a question … Does it have to be?

What the *$&*%# are you talking about, Karen??  Of course, it has to be!  Going to their service will be devastating!  We loved them with all our heart and now they’re gone!!

I know, I know … believe me … I know. 

I couldn’t bring myself to have any service for my late husband, Ron, and it took a full year before I even scattered his ashes.  And I only summoned the courage to do so then because he came through with a message telling me it was time.  

No kidding.  (See the Pendulum posts for that story.)

So yes, I know that experiencing the memorial service of a loved one is hugely challenging and emotional.  It’s certainly not something to be glossed over. 

Of course, there are experts trained to help with navigating the very human grief that accompanies this kind of loss, and as I’ve said before, I’m not one of them.

However … given what I’ve learned during my years of delving into both the scientific and spiritual aspects of the Bigger Picture of Life, I have an idea to offer. 

One that may provide an opportunity to shift our perspective about such an event … even just a little. In fact, it’s something I tried recently for the service of a friend, and the results were remarkable.

The idea?

Well … invite them to show up.

WHAT??  Wait!  What the … ??

Before you jump all over me, let me tell you what happened …

Introducing Carol

Carol was a vibrant, gentle, intelligent, caring person with a heart as big as outdoors and a smile to match.  She happened to be the best friend of my close friend Joan.

After multiple pandemic-induced travel delays, the two of them finally escaped to their favourite get-away destination early last year to enjoy an extended vacation. 

It started out great … then Carol began to experience a sort of pesky, uncomfortable physical sensation.  Which got worse.

Long story, short … in less than three weeks, she was diagnosed with and succumbed to ovarian cancer. 

The speed at which this all unfolded was stunning and many were left reeling, including my friend Joan.  It was a loss that could send any into a tailspin, but Joan had also experienced the loss of her husband just ten months earlier ….

The Service

The Celebration of Life was scheduled quickly after Carol’s passing, to be held in her hometown of Calgary, Canada.  Although Joan lives several hundred miles away, attending was a foregone conclusion. 

But the prospect of attending?  Yeah, that was daunting, to say the least. 

To provide support, we agreed I’d fly out with her and we’d stay with our close friend Monica. 

Both Monica and I also shared a long-time bond with Carol, having met her through Joan years earlier while exploring a common interest in something called the Law of Attraction (explained in My Back Story Part 2).

So, the three of us would attend the service to honour Carol and the meaningful but all-too-short life she had lived.

Anticipating the Event

Three days before our trip, I thought about what we were headed to do. Here’s the thing …

With all I’ve learned through the years, I had absolute certainty that Carol would be with us during the weekend event.  And I gotta say, this knowing made all the difference.  For me.

But could I make this real … you know tangible … for Joan and Monica?  I mean, it’s one thing to state platitudes about Carol “being there with us” … blah, blah, blah … but quite another to actually demonstrate it.

So, I mused about how this might work.  And then it hit me … ask Carol! 

I wanted her to give us specific signs to watch for, to make it clear this would indeed be more than just a platitude … that yes, you really are right there with us.

Asking Carol

Okay, that’s what I’ll do … I’ll ask Carol.  Right.  Uh huh, yup.  Good idea.

Um … and just how am I supposed to do that exactly … ?

Good question.  

I reflected on my years of learning, and remembered there are actually a variety of ways I’ve come across to communicate with loved ones across the veil. 

I recalled a common one, something called intuitive writing … and decided to try it.

What is “intuitive writing”?

Intuitive writing, automatic writing, free writing, spiritual writing … there are several different names and varying descriptions for a similar technique. 

In its ultimate form, apparently you don’t even know consciously what you’re writing … your hand just moves on its own.  In fact, for those who are skilled, the writing can even emulate the handwriting of the person in Spirit!

Needless to say, I’ve never gotten anywhere close to that level.

But the more generic “intuitive writing” is actually super accessible, and anyone can do it.  Really, anyone!  (I mean, I can do it, so ….)

It was something I came across as the pandemic forced me to turn online for learning and I encountered an inspiring spiritual teacher and channeler, Lee Harris

Lee described this process as a way to connect with your inner self … it’s all about writing from your heart instead of your head.  It sounded kind of cool, so I tried it, and have been doing it almost daily ever since.

Meanwhile, I’ve come across this concept being recommended by several different professional teachers and writers as a way to connect not only with our own inner wisdom, but also with a loved one across the veil.

Yes, yes, but what IS it?  And how do I DO it?

Okay, so the idea is this …

Get quiet … somewhere you won’t be disturbed.  It doesn’t have to be long … in fact, you can do this in just three minutes

Have a pen and paper or keyboard at hand.  Know what you want to ask and who you want to connect with … perhaps your higher self, spirit guide, or whatever, or like me, someone you have on the Other Side.  

Close your eyes and breathe deeply into your belly a few times.  Take a deep breath in and exhale longer than you inhaled … like maybe breathe in to a count of four, and out to a count of eight

This activates a physical relaxation response within the body … you can actually feel it.

Once quiet and relaxed, shift your awareness to your intended audience … yes, in your mind, imagine you’re talking with them. 

If it’s a departed loved one, see or sense them in front of you.  If you struggle with being able to do this, use a photo of them, or just simply pretend they’re there (because, you know, apparently they will be …). 

Keep your focus within, and take a moment to silently greet them, smile, welcome them … then ask your question.

Now, here’s the key to making this work …

Whatever … whatever … comes into your mind next, write it down.  Don’t second guess it, don’t brush it off as, oh, I’m just making it up, it’s just my imagination.  See, that’s the whole point … 

It will always feel like you’re making it up … but this is how it works. 

Science-geeks will talk about the meshing and merging of frequencies, but essentially, words just come to mind. 

And yes, generally they will feel familiar because Spirit has to make use of what’s available in your mind … language, vocabulary, concepts … in order to communicate.

However, there is one caveat to just trusting what comes …

If you get something with any sort of negative tone to it, or something that doesn’t “feel” right, then this IS NOT coming from the spirit world. 

Over and over, I’ve heard one cardinal rule about spirit communication with our loved ones and guides … it ALWAYS comes from a place of love.  

Anything that doesn’t is coming from our own head (which I admit for me can sometimes be a scary place to be … yikes!).

Anyway, try a question or two (or more) and see what comes.  Then try again another time.  Keep at it.  Over time, you’ll know for sure you’ve made a connection when the answer starts coming before you’ve even finished asking the question.

Conversation with Carol

So, I began.  With my awareness tuned to Carol, and using my keyboard, I entered my first question …

Me:  Carol, should we each choose our own sign to watch for (which was my initial thought), or should we choose one for the three of us? 

Immediately, words leapt to my mind and I began to type …

“Approach it as a team.  One sign … make it a team exercise to be on the lookout for it. Yes, Joan can come up with it.  I’ll plant the idea in her head so she can think of something I will deliver.  Be on the lookout and help them see it.” 

Okay, that’s cool.

Me:  Please make it clear and spectacular. 

“I’ll do my best.” 

I felt good about the connection, and as you know if you’ve followed my blog at all, it’s taken me years, but I have finally learned to trust what I’m sensing.  It really felt as though Carol were right there talking with me, so I continued …

Me:  Anything else I can do for you at this time? 

“I’m getting used to being back, so I’m good for now.” 

Me:  This sign idea is okay?  Not too much?  

I was a bit concerned, given it had only been a couple of weeks since Carol had passed, and I certainly have no idea what it takes to acclimate to the Other Side.

But she responded, “No, not at all.  It’s a good idea.”

Setting the stage

I emailed Joan and Monica that evening to tell them the idea.  I didn’t get into all the details of the back and forth I’d had, but I did share the idea, suggesting Joan be the one to pick the sign. 

I also mentioned she may want to pay particular attention to anything that might just “pop” into her head … because this could be Carol, planting the idea.

Both were agreeable.  Joan was absolutely beat and said she was heading right to bed but would keep open to whatever might come.

A night-time visit

The next morning, Joan contacted us to tell us she’d woken briefly in the night … “and what popped into my mind was ‘angels’.” 

She added she felt strongly that “Carol was right there.” 

She wasn’t sure whether angels would “work,” you know, as a sign.  But during the weekly phone calls she’d had with Carol for years, Carol had often spoken about angels.  So, it seemed fitting.

We all agreed … yes, “angels” would be the sign.  

If we came across an angel this weekend … and it had to be unexpected, out of the blue (yeah, Googling one doesn’t count … ), then it would be confirmation Carol was actually with us.

Joan and I were to fly to Calgary in two days … the day before the Celebration of Life.  Would Carol make good on her promise … ?

Stay tuned for Part 2 to find out!

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