On Thanksgiving Day 2017, right during the Holliday meal we shared with friends, my wife received a call that no mother ever wants to receive: Her daughter, Heather, had just been murdered.
A world of beauty, sunshine and joy collapsed in an instance, into a world of grief, grayness and despair.
While this was and is difficult for all of us, it is especially so for my wife. Heather was her best friend, and besides me, her soul mate.
Nobody should have to go through this: the death of a child, especially in such a horrendous way, is one of the most painful emotional things one can go through. Unless you have been through something similar, imagine the worst emotional pain you have ever had, and then multiply it a thousand times. Hell on earth. To this day the moment haunts me, hearing my wife breaking down and crying, yelling “No! No! Tell me it is not true.”
Being a stepdad, I had a different relationship with Heather. Maybe I played my part in all of this as well, as we all did. But her death affects me deeply– as it does so many others because my stepdaughter had touched so many lives. We are all still dealing with the aftermath, and will do so until the end of our lives.
My wife and I have been through other hard deaths before, but this is the one we struggle with the most. When my parents died in their old days, it was hard, too, but I can console myself by saying they had a full live and it was the way things go. But when Heather was ripped out of the prime of life at 33 years of age, being murdered –that is, somebody took her live by intention– this is something we cannot get our minds around.
Dealing with this event was and is very hard.
But this shall not be the focus of this post and the ones that follow. Rather, it shall be about spirituality, about taking this incredibly difficult event and seeing glimmers of hope in it, for all of us.
You see, in the days that followed, strange events started to happen. Events so strange, so out of the ordinary, and yet so frequent, that one cannot but take not notice. We’re talking about lights flickering on and off, radios that could not be turned off anymore, car doors locking, and much more…
Maybe this will sound strange to you, but I strongly believe that we received messages from Heather from the afterlife, letting us know that she is OK. Heather was an incredibly strong spirit in life, and I think she is as well in death.
I would be more cautious stating such beliefs if I had not experienced similar occurrences after the deaths of other loved ones. Also, many years ago I had a deeply spirtual experience that showed without a doubt that we are much more than this body: Spirits, call them Souls, which live beyond this incarnation. And even deeper, that we are all one without separation.
That experience has been the focus of my life ever since. As part of this, I wrote two books which ask “What should I do in this life? How do I find my way, and stay true to it?” But I purposely stayed clear of any spiritual issues. Alas, the books were not commercially successful enough to continue writing. Who knows, maybe I did not use enough of an authentic a voice, because I didn’t write about the spiritual issues they were based on.
So I fell into a sort of spiritual slumber, dealing with day to day issues, like making a living, raising a son, etc.
The death of my stepdaughter ripped me out of this slumber. The gravity of this situation brought me right back to my spirituality. I have had some deeply spiritual experiences, and I know them to be true. Until now, I have only told a handful of people about them. Now, due to Heather’s death, I feel it is time to share these experiences.
I know, not everybody will hold the same views. But I also know that it will help some people. I know this, because in the aftermath of Heather’s death, I talked about it with my wife, and while the pain is always there, it did give her some solace along this hard path. And if it helped her, in this deepest moment of grief, it is my hope it may help others.
So my intention is to pick up writing again, and this time not skirt around the central issue but make it the focus: spirituality. To write about what happened – the many events after Heather’s death and after the deaths of others; about my own journey; about awakening; and most of all: about us, about us beyond this body.
Today it is almost 6 months after Heather’s death, and it is a beginning.
I don’t know where this will go, if anywhere. I’ll start in this blog, as it may be best fit for a series of unconnected posts. Maybe this will over time evolve into something more structured.
This is my path, and it shall involve, through my writing, service and helping others. Maybe some things will ring true to you, take from it whatever helps.
Maybe something good can come out of this tragedy after all.