I have heard people refer to those who have “crossed over” as “the departed” or even just called “ghosts.”  I personally prefer “the departed,” as it sounds less scary. I think people often think of ghosts as something to be feared, whereas thinking of making a connection with a loved one who has passed, or connecting with an ancestor we didn’t know but was family, seems interesting and exciting to me, and I would venture to guess to many others as well.  There are those who can do this directly, called mediums, and my understanding is that we all can make these connections as well.  I personally have only had one experience just recently a guided meditation where I was able to get a message from my grandfather.  It was a brief encounter, and I cried because I realized how much I missed him, and his message for me was simply how much I was loved.  It was very touching and meant a lot to me.

Over a year ago, actually at the beginning of my journey of connecting to the spiritual realms, I went to see a medium.  At the time, I had no idea how into this world I would be now!  Looking back, I recall how fascinating it was to experience.  During this session with a local medium, I was able to connect with some deceased relatives that provided me with both insight and comfort.  My grandparents came through and brought some wonderful childhood memories.  Then, they brought in my father.  This was a more difficult relationship. While I loved my father, I struggled with his way of being.  He was very focused on discipline, using the belt on us as kids when he felt we did wrong. He also yelled a lot, and for a sensitive little kid like me, I think I really lived in fear a lot of my childhood, although I do certainly remember fun and laughing times as well.  I guess maybe it was the unpredictability of it all that made things so distressing for me.  Like most kids, I wanted to be able to count on loving consistency.  I had this with my mother, but with my father, it was a different story.  I used to be angry with him over this, but I recognize now that he was doing what he thought was best.  When he arrived at my medium session, the person channeling asked me if he would have something to apologize for.  I started to cry and replied, that yes, I felt he did.  She said he had hat in hand and was indicating to her he wanted to say he was sorry.  She then asked, “did he have a mean streak?”  I was again tearful and said yes.  She said that he wanted me to know that he loved us very much and it was just his mean streak got the best of him and made it hard for that to show sometimes.  I knew it was true.  He did love us and wanted the best for us, but he just did not have a healthy way to express that sometimes.  Then, she asked if he worked in business as she was seeing a briefcase.  I said he was a manager of a truckstop, and she said, oh, this must be my symbol for manager, and she made note of that.  She had explained that her work was like playing charades with people who aren’t there.  They will give her pictures and symbols and sometimes she just knows what they are trying to convey, but she did caveat that while spirit is never wrong, sometimes her interpretation can be confused.  Then she laughed and said, “Oh, he is giving me a lesson.” He is showing me timecards and papers related to his management work.  I said, yep, that would be my father.  Always trying to share his knowledge with the world.  I thought it was funny how folks seem to keep their personalities after crossing over to the other side!

Hearing my father apologize and acknowledge the difficulties validated my feelings.  I always felt like my family thought I made a bigger deal out of his behavior than was necessary, but it really had a negative impact on me.  I’m not one to hold a grudge or to blame others for when things are tough for me, but I know enough about trauma now to know that some of my current struggles in life are undoubtedly tied to my fears in childhood.  Having that validated by my father, with an apology as well, has made me want to forgive and let go.  I certainly still have work to do to rid myself of the damage that was done, but making a decision to forgive and move forward it a good starting point.

I had mentioned my husband to the medium, and that his father had passed.  She said, “let’s see if he wants to come in.”  Sure enough, next thing, he was there.  Joe, Steve’s father, was a lovely man.  Somewhat quiet and reserved, but with a rare kind of gentleness, a great sense of humor, and a mind for fixing things with his hands.  Again, in keeping with his personality, he just simply indicated that, “Boy, things are sure different now than when my kids were young.  Nowadays, there are options, the man can take the kids and leave the wife, or go to counseling to try and improve the situation.  Back then, you just did your best to make things work.”  He further indicated the best memories were times of he and the kids (not sure if just Steve or he and his 2 sisters) going fishing or crabbing or doing things together where they could get away.  Knowing Joe and his loyalty, I don’t think he would have ever actually left Steve’s mom, but I do wonder if they had the advantage of family therapy, if things could have been better.  Like I had difficulties with my father, Steve had challenges with his mother having a temper and being unpredictable at times.  She has a good heart, but struggled at times.  She always worried, and I’m sure that didn’t make parenting an easy role for her.

The last person to visit was my oldest sister Vicky, who had died in a car accident when she was 23 and I was 19 and in college.  Again, with the personality!  The medium asked, was your sister a bit of a character?  And, I said, oh yes!  She said she is showing me an image of a wild looking woman with crazy hair, and she took it as she was trying to show not a picture of herself, but of her personality.  The medium asked if she had died in a single car accident, and I said yes (I had not told her this).  She said actually, she was getting that there was another car.  She said that Vicky called the guy an asshole and said that he almost ran her off the road.  She said she was angry and started to chase him down to flip him off (so absolutely something my sister would have done!) and that she lost control of the vehicle.  She said she takes responsibility for her actions.  She said that even if she had behaved differently, that it was her time, and that something else would have taken her if it weren’t for this.  The medium said, “It’s a shame, and then she said, no it not a shame, it’s just different.”  She said that Vicky was indicating that she knew a lot of people judged her for partying too much, but that she lived her life the way she wanted to and that she was happy.  She had no regrets.  She also said, don’t worry, “we’re still partying up here!” I found this to be so funny because this sounds just like her.  She also said that my friends should not feel responsible for her death, and that she thinks it was hard for them at first, although they have since moved past it.  This was in reference to a few of my friends that had gone down to New Orleans and met up with Vicky before she died.  Vicky was driving them back to the airport at 6 am on her way back to Baton Rouge, where she had just gotten a job to start working for a big accounting firm.  It would have been her first real day of work the very next day.  We joked that Vicky would have liked the fact that she never really had to work a day in her life!  We assumed she was tired, maybe a little leftover drunk from partying most of the night, and we figured she fell asleep at the wheel.  I am still in contact with one of the friends on occasion, and I’ll definitely have to mention this next time I talk to her.

This experience was very helpful to me.  It provided me with what I needed to hear from my father, and provided some comfort around the loss of my sister at such a young age. To come full circle round, if I were able to help others in this way, I would be grateful.  And, I find it fascinating how it works, and think it would be actually fun for me too.

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