When we lose a parent, we lose the one true witness to our lives. We lose the person that saw us take our first steps, who heard us speak our first words, who nourished us, took us to our first day at school, and was our biggest supporter through all of our adventures and mistakes. I took the passing of my mother really hard. I’m still taking it hard, two years on. Grief doesn’t simply go away. It is not linear. It shows up everyday, a couple of seconds after waking. It follows you through the supermarket, it wakes you up in the middle of the night, and it permeates your dreams.
It’s on the tv, and it sings from songs it never sang from before. It’s out in nature, and it travels with you on holidays.
Well-meaning friends and colleagues will tell you it’s time to move on. They’ll tell you “it’s what they would have wanted,” when they didn’t even know them. They’ll do or say the wrong thing after a couple of drinks at a party, or first thing Monday morning when you’ve spent the weekend crying at home, and you will find yourself biting your tongue in response to the unwitting blow they have just dealt you. A month or so after losing a loved one, people at work will expect you to be OK again. They don’t know about the hollow dark spiral that churns in your chest when you think about those last weeks, those last conversations, or that day that blasted you into an alternate reality of your former life.
Grief led me to a deep and new understanding. Because I couldn’t cope with the pain. Grief led me on a spiritual journey, a wild, all encompassing search to prove that there is more. I needed to know that there is more to this reality than the current accepted model. I needed to know that my mothers once vibrant life, that had quietly slipped away during the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, was bigger than how everyone else was treating her memory. She deserved more than a small send off and a few condolences. And we all deserve to know that someday, we will be reunited with our lost loved ones.
I was never entirely certain what I believed in. I have odd childhood memories. Flashes of bouncing weightless down the stairs of our old council house in Derby. Gently gliding down from one step to another. As a teenager, I experienced an ecsomatic event when briefly, I found myself looking down at my body from above the room while I lay in bed. I also had the strangest third perspective from the side of the room. It was too much for my teenage brain to comprehend. Had it been real? It didn’t make sense. We eat, we drink, we touch, we smell, we see and we hear and we communicate our thoughts with words. These rare occurrences that I’d experienced didn’t come in via any of the usual senses. They came in through a knowing, an internal voice, a nod from the back row that confirmed to me that yes, that just happened. When I tried to recall these things, they didn’t sit in my memory the same way that regular, everyday stuff did. There was nothing for my brain to compare them to so it simply let them fade away, while ‘real’ life crept back in. And so I got on with my life. I travelled the world, I lived abroad, I made a living as a teacher, a bartender, a model, a Personal Trainer and then eventually, on returning to the U.K, as an actor, before becoming an author.
The night before my mom passed away, I experienced another one of those strange events. We talked via video call, as we did daily throughout the whole pandemic. We had missed each other at Christmas. That awful Christmas in the U.K when the Government had told us to spend it with our friends and families, and then changed their minds only days before. A couple of weeks into the New Year and things weren’t looking much better. I had no idea I was going to lose my mum the next day. At 76 years old, despite a heart condition and arthritis, she seemed fine. She was of course tired of the constant isolation. She was on the Isle of Wight and I was in London. I hadn’t physically seen her in over a month, and even then it had only been a flying visit, in order to not break any COVID rules.
“Who’s that?” I asked, when a man appeared leaning in on the video call beside her.
“Who’s what?” She’d replied, and went on to tell me about the non-events from her winters day sat alone at home.
I was baffled. I’d just seen him, and no one was supposed to be visiting. Indeed no one had visited her in months. He didn’t look like any of the neighbours, we had little family left other then my uncle and cousins in the north of the U.K, and it was too late at night for it to be one of the nurses who would pop in to give her her teatime meds.
“Wait a minute,” I interrupted her as she settled on her sofa. “Are you telling me that no one’s with you in the house right now?”
“No,” she said dismissively. “No one’s been here all night.” She continued to tell me about her day. Yes the nurses had come earlier on, and they were still driving her bonkers. She didn’t need them, she said, she knew how to take her heart medicine unassisted.
I thought on what I’d just seen, while she continued to talk. A man, with thinning grey hair and glasses. I’d seen him plain as day. Gaunt, small silver framed spectacles and receding hair, perhaps in his late sixties or early seventies. He’d leaned in over the screen while she answered the call. In fact I’d thought he was answering the call, whoever he was, since his face took up most of the screen.
And then logic and habitual thinking crept in. I must have been mistaken. There was no one there. I hadn’t recognised him, and now it seemed he’d vanished. It simply didn’t make sense. I continued to speak with my mum for another thirty minutes or more. She would always sound different if someone was with her. She wouldn’t be herself. And there was no indication that anyone else was with her in the room or the house. She didn’t acknowledge anyone. No one said “goodnight Maureen,” and left. I must have been mistaken. A trick of the light. A glitch on the screen. But when I received the call the next morning that she had passed away, I knew it had been none of those things. He’d been there to warn me. He’d been there to tell me she wouldn’t be alone. And I’d completely ignored it.
After the initial weeks of grief, a colleague on a movie set I was working on suggested I start looking for signs. Signs that my mother still existed. Signs that she was still aware of my life and in contact with me. No sooner had she suggested this did I notice a small Christian Spiritual church in my neighbourhood. I’d walked down that street a hundred times and never seen it, tucked away behind a gated courtyard.
The noticeboard said there was a demonstration of mediumship every Sunday evening. I wasn’t too sure what that meant, but I had a vague idea. I emailed the church and asked if it was ok to go along. I had a wave of paranoia and turned all of my social media accounts to private. What if the person I’d emailed gave the medium a heads up? I didn’t want any unscrupulous charlatan looking me up beforehand. But I needn’t have worried.
The medium that night was a lady named Janet Neville. I watched in silent awe as she worked her way around the small congregation, giving affirmations that peoples loved ones still existed. She was receiving yes after yes from the audience and giving incredible detail about locations, homes, and physical descriptions.
Her eyes eventually settled on mine.
“I have a lady with me,” she said. “I feel so much emotion from her towards you. So much emotion.”
My heart began to race.
“She’s telling me that she very recently passed. And oh,” she said, her accent changing from a native Londoner to my mum’s Derbyshire accent. “It was wonderful. Angels came and carried me upwards, and all the pain went away.”
Janet went on to confirm other things. She even bought an old friend through, who had died of a drug overdose when we were young. She also told me that I was already a medium, and that I was a voice for something called ‘Spirit’. She said I’d been experiencing messages from Spirit for my entire life.
I left the church that night and felt my life change. It had changed once again after only very recently changing through losing my mum. Now I knew that I hadn’t lost her at all. Now I knew that she was still with me. I began devouring books on mediumship. I took courses, I began meditating, I joined a development circle. I received sign after sign that my mum was still with me and I even witnessed a glowing Orb floating around my room which I recorded on my phone. I began connecting with my Spirit Guides. I received information and confirmation that we all have a direct line to the Higher Realms, we simply need to tune in. I wrote all of these experiences down, and I was guided to write a book called Letting Glow.
I documented one amazing experience after another and how we can all have them. I went back through every previous so called ‘supernatural’ event I’d witnessed and began to realise there had been many, many more that I’d brushed aside over the years in favour of living practically. And what if those experiences weren’t supernatural at all? What if they were actually super natural? What if moments of inspiration, gut feeling, and ingenuity are the same as intuition, divination, and clairvoyance? I wrote almost daily for months and included every meditation I’d learned and practiced on how to connect with our Guides and loved ones in Spirit. I tied all of this in with my own personal experience as a developing medium in real time. Within days of submitting the book to around twenty publishers, I received five traditional book contract offers, and more followed. I was confident that the messages I’d received from the world of Spirit were meant for a larger audience.
As I continue on this journey, the grief continues with me. I know we go on. I know my mom is close. But it still doesn’t take the pain of physically losing her away. I’d give anything to be able to talk to her on the phone for five minutes. I’d give away years of my own life to have just one more day with her. I regret all the opportunities I didn’t take to get to know her on a deeper level. If you are lucky enough to still have your parents, I implore you, ask them the big questions. What do they believe in? Who was their first love? Do they still have unfulfilled dreams? Where would they most like to go? Take them there. Record these conversations. Take photos and videos, and then take even more. Grief will never stop following us, but some days, when we open our intuition and trust that there is obviously more going on than meets the eye, we get to outrun it.
Letting Glow: A guide to intuition, spirituality, and living consciously By Phill Webster is available from www.o-books.com or from wherever books are sold.