I have been very lucky in my life so far that death hasn’t been a major thing. My grandma was the first person close to me to pass away, she was in her eighties and died on Christmas day 1999.I was 19. I was upset but it was expected. I flew to Mexico the day after her funeral to teach English. I was supposed to be there for 6 months. My grandad then died in May 2000. I flew back home as I felt it was important to be with my family and to have closure at his funeral. My other grandad passed away whilst I was at University in Manchester. My dad called me just as I had sat down for a lecture. I left the lecture and cried all of the way home on the bus.
I have been interested in the afterlife/spirits since I was a little girl. When I was about twelve I read a book about a famous medium, Doris Stokes, and since then I have always been curious. When I was 25 I went to see my first medium. She knew things about my family that she couldn’t have possibly done. This was pre-Facebook where really no one knew you! I was fascinated. My grandad came through bringing memories of my dad when he was a little boy. I started attending monthly psychic events watching how different mediums work, whether the messages they gave were accurate. I needed more proof and evidence that there was something after we die. After attending for several years and receiving various messages myself I was confident that we don’t just turn to dust and that’s it. Your soul moves on. Where it goes I have no idea. But what I have learnt is that your loved ones are with you and watching you at times when you most need them. When you are at your darkest hour and feel there is no one there. There is. It’s just that physically they can’t reach out and gave you a hug. They are with you, trying to help you.
I met Lisa back in 2005. She was living with my husband at the time. They worked together and she had confided in him that she was in an abusive relationship, wanted to leave and needed somewhere to live, but she didn’t have much money. My husband had a spare room and offered it to her. They became friends. She worked hard to get some money together to afford her own place. At one point she was working 6 days a week, combining her full time job and one day a week on reception at a local hotel.
We became really good friends. My husband helped her to find her own house. We helped her move. Then when it was our turn to move she came to help us. We would see her at least once a week. She was single and in her forties. We set her up on match.com and she met a guy called Dave. Lisa had had breast cancer around 10 years ago and recovered from it. Shortly before she met Dave she had learnt that the cancer had come back. She was obviously upset. They dated and he proposed to her after about a year. Lisa had never been married before and was so excited. She had been having chemo and had decided to shave her hair off. She got a wig sorted and was going to wear it to the wedding. There was only 6 of us, plus my 18mo, at a hotel in Brixham. The day was lovely, she was so happy. She had been worried that she wouldn’t actually make her wedding.
In 2016 she found out that the cancer was not only in her breast, but it had spread to her liver and lungs. She had several rounds of chemo but the tumours kept growing. The very last time I spoke to her she told me that she loved me. I didn’t say it back, which I regret. A week later she died, on my birthday. I’m sure it was so that I never forget her.
For various reasons I couldn’t go to her funeral. Her husband said I could watch the funeral online if we wanted. I never even knew you could do this! My parents came down to look after the kids. I sat in the bedroom watching the funeral on my laptop. It was surreal. I sobbed and sobbed whilst they played her favourite music and read things out which described her to a tee.
Dealing with her death hit me really hard. I couldn’t stop crying and sunk into a real low. I’d never felt pain so raw. The children would ask me why I was crying and I explained to them that Aunty Lisa had passed away and we wouldn’t see her again. The children helped as it was a distraction through the day. But in those moments when they were asleep it would wash over me again and the realisation that I wouldn’t see her again/ talk to her would hit. I allowed myself to feel the emotions even though it was so painful. If I didn’t it would have made me ill.
Bottling up emotions can cause such problems physically and emotionally later. I tried to express how I felt and when I couldn’t verbalise it to others, I wrote it down, I needed an outlet. I love crystals and bought myself apache tears which I would carry with me every day. It is a stone that is said to help overcome grief It sounds odd but it did bring me great comfort. I realised that I really needed to take care of myself during this stage in my life. I gave myself Reiki nearly every day. I tried to meditate, eat as well as I could and really be kind to myself. My belief that she was in a better place also helped. A medium friend of mine contacted to say she had heard from Lisa and she was OK.
At my lowest I went to the doctor. Talking to the doctor she said you’re not depressed, but if you need to talk to someone you can refer yourself to a counsellor. I called them and got a telephone consultation. I was entitled to three free sessions. For whatever reason I chose not to go through with it. My friends really helped me through this. I was as honest as I could be with them. They listened and didn’t judge. Day by day it got easier. But it really made me think about my own life. Was I getting what I wanted out of it? What was I doing? Was I living it to the full?
I have made some life changes since then. One of which was to re-establish my company NRG Healing. I have thrown everything into it. You could say it has been a distraction. Grief is overwhelming and so, so, so hard to go through. Ultimately there are two certainties in life, birth and death. We have to roll with the grief, feel it and experience it, for us to grow stronger and to move forward in our lives with whatever it is we need to. How we deal with it is our personal journey. I feel lucky to have had such good friends to support me through this, and to have had some tools to help me, namely Reiki, crystals and an awareness of an afterlife. However there is also support out there in the way of counselling, be honest about your feelings and tell the doctor, your friends and family how you are.
It is one year today that Lisa passed away. I still miss her and always will, but I also feel very lucky that she was a part of my life for those years and the memories will always be there.