In the last few weeks I’ve gotten a number of questions about what I was referencing in this post, so I thought I’d clarify. I’ve collapsed some of them into summarized queries below.
What happened with that spirit that showed up at a patient’s bedside and gave you helpful information? And the stuff that followed?
Good one. I can’t give you any identifying information, but what I can tell you is that back in 2006 I had a bedfast hospice patient who wasn’t very communicative due to overall decline following her spouse’s death a few weeks before being admitted and then referred to me. I’d had zero additional information – typical for that facility, which was huge and understaffed. In that first visit, I was having an unusually hard time getting rapport with the patient, who seemed more interested in sleeping than answering questions, her deceased husband just sort of popped into my awareness; I could somehow sense him standing at the foot of the bed, trying to get my attention. I didn’t “see” him with my naked eye, but it was absolutely unmistakable that he was there, with what looked like Brylcreemed hair, wearing a plaid short-sleeved shirt, white undershirt, black oxfords, and khaki pants. I couldn’t really hear what he was saying, but he showed me an African violet plant and pointed emphatically and excitedly to the patient. During this, I felt uneasy because at that point in my life I’d thought that I had successfully willed away such experiences. However, it was absolutely clear to me that he loved his wife very much and wanted to ease her suffering, and that her love of this particular flower was a possible inroad.
I asked her to describe her husband to me, which is common approach with grief work, and was able to confirm the attire I’d “seen” him in, from the slicked-back hairstyle to the black oxfords. Hoo golly. Nothing in my training had prepared me very well for this sort of thing, except that you don’t blurt out to patients that you’re seeing their deceased spouse standing there. I gradually changed the course of the discussion and asked the patient about her interests and hobbies, asking “Do you like flowers by any chance? I’ve always thought African violets grew really well on this side of the building” – yeah, I thought I was all cool like that.
Her eyes flew open, widened, and began to tear up a little. She nodded and then smiled, and for the first time, turned her head to look out the window. It sounds like a small thing, but the waves of misery that rolled off this woman seemed to gradually still, and then stop. She smiled again, this time at me, and I reassured her it was okay to rest in this memory and that I’d see her in a week.
I’ve seen people deep in the throes of mourning many times, but nothing like this, nothing like this absolutely oceanic, bone-deep response to loss.
I went to the nurses’ station and retrieved her chart, and thumbed through it before writing my preliminary assessment report. I’d gotten so little hard data from her that I needed to dig into the social history information to fill in the gaps. I saw that she and her husband had owned a florist shop, and that her favorite pastime was, you guessed it, raising prize African violets.
I visited a few more times, offering support and hopefully a comforting presence, which is the better part of bereavement therapy; it’s nothing fancy, but you must be absolutely 100% emotionally and dare I say it, spiritually present to the client, a witness to their soul-suffering. I got the facility to find her an African violet and put it on her windowsill, and this seemed to brighten her spirits for a time. But finally, in what was to be the last visit, the husband again appeared, this time with a huge pair of garden shears. He pushed them together twice, and I heard a “snick snick” sound as he cut an emanation of light that came from the patient’s belly button area. His expression was thoughtful, and when he turned to me, apologetic and mournful but resolute. I knew it would soon be her time to go, and yet didn’t want to believe it. But sure enough, when I arrived the next week, she was no longer there.
I stood at that empty bed, silent. I had other patients to see, but I needed to take a moment to reflect. I grieve when patients die, but it’s not the same kind of grief as over a personal loss. I experience it mostly as an absence of their emotional pain, and a strange kind of goodbye-less closure, and it was much the same that day. There was no sign of her presence there, nor his, except for that small pot of African violets on the windowsill, a poignant reminder that love really is stronger than death.
A few weeks later I had an experience with a fairly healthy new patient, where an old flame basically popped in to tell her he loved her and had never stopped loving her, even though she married someone else. Inside my head, I told him that this was very nice and all, but that he needed to communicate with her directly because I wasn’t supposed to say stuff like that to patients. He was quite insistent, and I’d like to state for the record that this dude was wearing a trucker cap and Canadian tuxedo, e.g. jeans and a jean jacket. That’s what you get for interrupting my visit with a patient, sir. I will front out your dubious afterlife wardrobe choices, on the real.
Anyway. Eventually, after a lot more his continued lovesick pestering despite my attempts to spiritually shoo him away during that session, and after a desperate intercessory prayer to the archangels, I was able to find the right words to bring relevant aspects of this into the conversation without sounding like the Long Island Medium, who I find really intrusive and inappropriate. Also, my hair looks a lot better than hers.
Somehow, miraculously, it worked out. I don’t exactly remember how the conversation went, but I do remember that this patient mentioned that she’d been thinking a lot about this fella prior to our visit, and that she felt a lot better having talked about him. He never showed up again.
The rest of this long, strange trip will have to be saved for another post.
Isn’t it cool being a psychologist and a spirit medium because it’s like having an advantage over regular shrinks, right?
See, telling my psychotherapy peeps about what their aura looks like or the exact floral pattern on their dead grandmother’s apron ain’t quite cricket. These things are not kosher in the world of professional licensure, definitely not considered valid mental health treatment approaches. Which I utterly respect; we gotta have rules, otherwise any ole crackpot with a doily of ectoplasm on their head starts telling clients that they don’t need their meds or their reality-testing skills and next thing you know, BOOM. Malpractice.
There have been times when I knew specific factual details about a client and I forgot that they hadn’t actually told me, but brought it up as if they had. This sort of thing has the potential to make people feel exposed or uneasy, and so I’d be forced to chalk it up to being a “lucky guess” or clinician’s intuition on my part. I’ve had to be very careful, because First Do No Harm is always paramount, and vulnerable clients thinking I have a powerful mojo hand or something similar, may contain potential to do harm.
Is it true that only some people can see auras and stuff?
I think all of us are born with the hardware to see auras and whatnot. I have a lot of theories about how and why certain people are able to more easily see/hear/feel/know in this way, but that’s a long post for another day. Suffice it to say that you don’t have to be a holy person or ascetic mystic to have metaphysical (literally: beyond physical reality, unseen, or transcendent) experiences. I sure ain’t. Oh my Lort no. I mean, I’m not even vegetarian.
If I get a consultation from you, is there anything I need to do to prepare? Do you need a picture of the person or their birthday? Or can you just read my cards?
Nope. It helps to have a question or two in mind, or we can do a general kind of overview thing. If you’d like to pray or meditate or perform rituals like lighting candles, that’s cool if you’re into it. Anything that elevates our level of discourse can be helpful, but it’s not necessary. You can totally wear sweats or #afterpants or whatver. Put a doily on your head. It’s all good.
If you’re interested in contacting a deceased loved one, please know that all I do is extend the invitation; it’s their choice to show up. Somtimes they don’t, and sometimes someone we didn’t formally invite really really wants to speak and so they show up, e.g. Canadian Tuxedo Guy, see above. I just need a name, and an age is helpful, but I don’t need pics or anything they owned. Both human and spirit energy are pretty subtle but also non-local, so I also do email readings. Trippy.
Yes. I’ve been reading Tarot cards since my Mom bought me my first Rider-Waite deck when I was turning 16. That’s a lotta Tarot. I’m self-taught and have my own divination system, which is geared towards learning about oneself and the archetypal energies we both contain and encounter, as well as changes one can expect within the next few months up to a year or so, if current trends continue. If I’m on like Donkey Kong, I can touch the cards in the layout and receive clairvoyant (clear-seeing) impressions.
You can book a consultation here. And if you book from now until 2/14/15 my services are available for only $50, to celebrate me busting outta the spiritual broom closet Broadway-style. Bookings made after 2/14/15 will be at full price, so book soon.