What is your book about and why did you write it?
I started writing The Dreaming Road as a diary. On the day of my daughter’s funeral, a very kind soul suggested that I begin a diary to record my thoughts and emotions after her sudden death. My friend implied that if I remained steadfast in my recording I could look back over the years and see how far I had progressed in my journey through what we, on this side of the veil, call grief and loss. And so, several days later I began to write, and I found that the writing was healing for me.
After a while, I started to hear a very insistent voice inside my head telling me in no uncertain terms that I was just writing half of the story. I tried to ignore the voice, thinking it was just a fragment of my overwrought imagination. But the voice was extremely persistent, and every time I sat down to work on my memoir I became utterly distracted by this voice in my head. So late one night I just gave it all up and asked the voice what it would like to tell me. And the words just kept flooding in faster than I could write them down. I lost all track of time, and I really didn’t know what I was writing until I read it over the next morning and was completely blown away. It was my daughter describing her encounter with an angel in a life review wherein she was guided to confront all the emotions that led to her suicide. In the months that followed, she provided more information about her adventures in the afterlife.
After receiving a number of these communications, I started to realize that there might be a larger purpose to our collaboration than the writing of a memoir based on a true story. The book was taking on a life of its own with two related but separate journeys. The first was my recovery from the sudden death of my precious daughter who meant the world to me, and the second was her experiences on the other side of the veil as she came to terms with what she’d done and its effect on everyone who loved her as well as her growing understanding of her soul’s intention in choosing such an abrupt and traumatic exit. But I have no way to verify her experiences in the part of heaven that she calls Summer Wind.
This is the reason why my book has ultimately become an inspirational novel and why I have decided to share my story with more than family and friends. For those of you searching for a lighthouse during a raging storm, it is my way of helping you navigate your own journey. It is my hope that readers can get a glimpse of the enduring connections that exist between us and our loved ones who have passed on. The ties that bind us remain unbroken even in death, and when we understand the soul purpose of our journeys here on earth, we are set free.
So, The Dreaming Road is ultimately an exploration of the connections that continue to exist between us and our loved ones who have crossed over to the other side of the veil. The stories of the two primary characters, mother and daughter, are braided together like plaits on a horse’s mane. The novel describes the motivations, inner thoughts, and feelings of Callie, a 16-year-old girl, who crosses herself into a different dimension while in her sophomore year of high school and discovers, much to her surprise, that she’s not dead after all. Her devastated mother, Diane, begins a desperate search for her. Through dream visits, messages channeled through a medium and a spiritual healer they both learn that life is eternal, and love never dies.
2. How can someone cope with a suicide of a loved one?
As a mother who has lost a child to suicide, I think it’s one of the greatest challenges we can face on this earth. Our grief is complicated by tremendous guilt. We blame ourselves for the red flags that we missed. Our job as parents is to protect our children from harm and we couldn’t save them from themselves. So, if someone you love has committed suicide, the most important thing to realize is that it’s not your fault, you may feel that you contributed, in some way, to your loved one’s suicide, but to survive this you must forgive yourself and anyone else involved. This is the most important, and yet the hardest lesson I learned. Life can become overwhelming and people sometimes just don’t have the internal resources to cope.
You may be angry with your loved one, with God or with life itself, and that’s okay. Express these emotions no matter how awful they feel, don’t bury them inside you. Share your experience of grief with a member of the clergy, a counselor or a trusted friend. Try not to isolate yourself. Your friends care and want to help. Tell people what they can do to help you, they may want to, but just not know how. Take care of yourself, sleep, remember to eat, even if you don’t feel like it and exercise, movement will help you release your emotions as well.
Everyone’s experience of grief and loss is different and there are no time frames. Take the time you need to grieve but also know that at some point you just have to pull yourself together and get on with life. You will know when you are ready. Also remember that men and women may express grief differently so it’s important to allow your partner to grieve in their own way.
Try to find a way to give your loved one’s life meaning. For me, it was writing The Dreaming Road. You might become involved in suicide prevention activities in your community or establish a memorial scholarship in your loved one’s name, coach a youth sports team. There are many ways to contribute when you are ready.
Seek the meaning in your experience and strive to make the world a better place because you are still in it. This is what your loved one would want you to do. And remember, in the end, you will be together again. The loss, no matter how painful, is temporary and your loved one is not gone forever they’ve just crossed over into another dimension of reality. Establish a connection with their eternal soul because they are anxious to communicate with you to help alleviate some of the pain they’ve caused. I do believe that they become our guardian angels and watch over us until we join them once again.
3. You write about psychics…How can psychics help us?
My experiences have been primarily with spiritual mediums rather than with psychics. Mediums are messengers. They can communicate with the angels to aid our spiritual growth or with our departed loved ones to reassure us that they are still alive and well in heaven. For those of us who don’t believe that we can communicate with our loved ones who have passed on directly, they act as translators, so to speak, and can provide much comfort and healing. Another type of medium is a physical channel, they literally step aside so an angel can use their voice temporarily to communicate with us. They can convey very powerful messages of healing as the angel, Seraphiel, did in The Dreaming Road.
4. You also write about angels. How and why do you think angels intervene in our lives?
I believe that angels are all around us even though we can’t see them and are here to help us when we are going through difficult times. They will make their presence known in some way, especially if we are feeling that the challenges of life are just too much to bear. They will always try to guide us towards the path that will provide the most light and healing. Our challenge is to believe that they are real and can truly help us. They have a unique ability to see exactly what’s in our hearts and even though they are empathetic to our suffering they invite us to see the bigger picture. A perfect example is when the angel Seraphiel confronts Diane in The Dreaming Road telling her that she is becoming addicted to her pain and that every time she chooses to experience pain she is robbing herself of a moment of joy. One thing to remember about angels though is that they intervene only if we ask them, so we must learn to reach out to them when we are in pain.
5. How can we be more open to the spiritual realm when we face so much stress and suffering in our world and daily lives?
Stress and suffering can be part of our journey on this side of the veil for how can we know peace unless we have been stressed and how can we know joy unless we have suffered. But we can learn how to choose peace and joy even in the most challenging circumstances. We are eternal beings and what we are going through is only temporary, everything will be alright in the end. I love the words of Fra Giovanni, a Franciscan monk, who in 1513 wrote a letter on Christmas Eve to a dear friend who was going through hard times. He said. “The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in the darkness, could we but see…we are pilgrims together, wending through unknown country home.” If we can step back from our challenges and view life from this broader perspective it will ease our journey.