You might think the beach as the most relaxing place on earth, but not necessarily so. Not when you don’t have your own space to write or meditate in, not your mother recently died and you’re a recovered alcoholic visiting your friend’s alcoholic family who you drank with 20 years ago. Not when the TV is blaring and all you want is quiet. Not when your friend’s aunt asks you hard questions, questions that maybe most others would not think of as hard, questions like, What have you been doing for the last 20 years? Does it matter? Nothing important, I told her. What is important anyway? Right here and now is most important, and I’m having a hard time with right here and now.
Think of the positives. Everyone has been incredibly sweet and hospitable. No one has done anything wrong, and in fact they have done nothing but show me tremendous hospitality. Them being alcoholic has no bearing on me and what I’m doing. The real reason is that I have a hard time being around people, period. It’s hard being around groups of people, even more so now that I’m grieving the loss of my mom.
The other thing that’s bothering me is the phone conversation I had last night with a healer, a woman recommended by my acupuncturist. She doesn’t want me to work with a medium while I’m working with her because she doesn’t want any bad spirits to enter into the picture, and the possibility of that happening is what’s bothering me. The conversation I’d hoped to have with her was that she would contact my mom and help me get through the grieving process in a healthy way, and maybe that she’d show me how to keep the communication open, what signs to look for. She did say that she’d help me communicate with Mom, but not in a two-way conversation, because evil spirits look for vulnerable people to prey on and she wants no part in that. She also said she’d help Mom and me to let go of our attachments to each other, for her to pass safely, but that we would keep our connection. To let go of our attachments sounds like I have to let Mom go, and I don’t want to do that, but at the same time, I wouldn’t want her to stay in limbo, purgatory, bardo, or wherever the in-between space is; I wouldn’t want her soul not to be in peace.
What I believe is that maybe the dream I had a few days after Mom died was the result of those negative spirits or energy, and I know it wasn’t Mom herself. I don’t know if I included the dream on this blog, so I’ll explain now: we were standing in the kitchen of my childhood home, and Mom had her eyes closed and head turned, looking like she did when she was unconscious in the hospital. When I saw her, I realized I was dreaming, so I said to her, “Mom! Mom! Tell me you love me!” I repeated it several times, and then her voice answered, “I don’t love you.” I recoiled and got out of the dream, because I knew it wasn’t Mom, and I didn’t understand why it happened or where it came from. My friend from work suggested it was the devil, which seemed weird to me. The experience baffled and confused me. But I’m not afraid of or sad about whatever it was, because I know it wasn’t Mom, and I know that if I continue to pray, meditate, and do all the things I need to do to stay in a positive space of love and compassion, I am protected.
The other thing is that this way of thinking is all new to me. If you’d told me three months ago that I’d consider the possibility of evil spirits trying to take over, or that I’d be serious about contacting a medium, I’d have thought it was hokey, woo-woo stuff. In a way, I wish I was more decided about it, that I felt with certainty everything I’m writing here is true one way or the other, that either science or spirituality rules, but my feelings are ambiguous, and I try to remain open to whatever is. One can choose to believe all the feathers came from meaningless coincidences, because I’m outdoors more and there are a lot of birds outside, or that while that’s true, maybe it’s also true that they’re messages from Mom, that she’s in peace.
This morning I went to the beach hoping to find peace there, but instead it was 60 degrees out while I had only shorts to wear. “Wonderwall” by Oasis kept running through my head, and I’ve learned to pay attention to the songs that enter my head during this time:
And all the roads we have to walk are winding
And all the lights that lead us there are blinding
There are many things that I would like to say to you
But I don’t know how
Because maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me
And after all, you’re my wonderwall
James van Praagh suggests that songs are ways in which our deceased loved ones try to communicate. Whether that’s true, or whether there’s something scientific going on about how my brain works, or both, doesn’t matter. The point is that the lyrics speak to me. And the lyrics are self-explanatory. The path I’ve taken in life has been a winding road, full of unexpected twists and turns; it has not been a direct path. I want to say so many things to Mom, as she maybe wants to say to me, but we no longer have the traditional method of communication. You could say her death will be the thing that somehow saves me in a way, that helps me reconnect with the truth of who I am.
“Good Life” keeps popping into my head too, and that’s another obvious one, in spite of the fact that it seems hard to see how good my life can be without Mom in it. While I feel that I have a good life now, it would be better, in my opinion, with Mom in it. I suppose you could say she is in it, that she will always be in my life, and in the afterlife too.