I’m skeptical, but grief made me see a medium

I have always considered myself a skeptic. If I couldn’t touch it, or see it, or read some form of documentation or research supporting it, I did not believe it. Conspiracy theories outrage, amuse and annoy me. And I certainly didn’t believe in God or the devil.

Then my life fell apart. The love of my life, Kate, fell ill and died at the age of 40. My rage against the universe knew no bounds. My loneliness was consuming. I felt empty, hollowed out. Surely it was hell.

At that time, someone from my grieving Facebook group asked me if I had ever considered seeing a psychic.

I must have laughed through my tears. A medium ? You mean, like a medium? My first thought was Whoopi Goldberg in the movie “Ghost”, comically guiding Patrick Swayze to Demi Moore. Let’s go. Do not insult me. I am in mourning and I have character.

But I was also desperate. I asked my pragmatic-minded grief counselor if she could recommend a good medium (chuckle, laugh). Well, yes, in fact, she could – someone that another client implicitly trusted. She lives in Los Angeles, she said – because of course she does – and I should call her.

that was approximately a year ago. Since then, I call her at least once a week. Along with my grief counselor, therapist and grief groups, she is a valued member of my recovery team, bringing me back to life. I trust her and I rely on her. I consider her a friend.

What the hell happened? Has your loyal correspondent gone woo-woo? Can I still claim skepticism?

Yes I can. But I can also admit that death completely changed my conception of spirituality.

First of all, I was lucky. I found a remarkable enough woman to walk me through this. My medium is sincere and generous of heart. She suffered tremendous losses in her life, and that made her wiser. Our conversations are like philosophical speeches. I ask questions about grief and spirituality, and she responds with a lifetime of knowledge and perspective. When she talks about Kate, what she says is verified and it resonates with me: Kate always wanted me to have a good life, and she still does. She’s not mad at me for my fragility, and I shouldn’t be. She is with me when I write. I should be kind to myself first and foremost. The truths we discuss are more emotional than fact. I don’t really test her with the names of family members, or pets, or that sort of thing. Maybe I don’t want to face the fact that she’s a mortal like me.

My first impression on that introductory phone call was that she looked like the nice old lady from “Poltergeist” who advised Carol Anne not to step into the light. Then, one day, while we were discussing the purpose of suffering, she texted me a photo of her and her late husband 34 years ago. Sitting in front of me was a dark haired couple that could have come out of an old Italian movie, maybe “8 1/2”. It turns out that my medium is beautiful.

Am I to believe that she communicates with the dead? Well, I think some people have abilities that others don’t, and now I believe some of those abilities are metaphysical. I believe that there are planes of energy and existence that most of us do not have access to. I’ve also read memoirs of so-called psychics and watched videos of them working in a room, picking up topics from a TV studio audience, and find it hard to buy it. They make semi-specific guesses – “I see a five,” “Did anyone have an accident that wasn’t their fault?” – who enlist people. There is something too smooth, too perfect. (You see, I’m still skeptical). I often hesitate to call my medium a medium. For me, she is more of a spiritual advisor. And when she says Kate is saying or feeling something, it sounds like exactly what the woman I love would say or feel.

But my relationship with my medium has as much to do with me as it does with her. When someone close to you dies, your whole view of the world changes. I now refuse to believe that Kate is gone no matter what “gone” means. My medium is firm on this point: a relationship doesn’t die just because part leaves the earth. I tell Kate that I love her every morning and night, and several times a day. I think love is the key here. I think, as Stevie Wonder once sang, I believe when I fall in love it will be forever. It’s too powerful, too nourishing, not to do it. Maybe love is my God.

Many people claim to believe in a God they can’t touch or see. They even live their lives according to words written by humans, often attributed by believers to this God whom they cannot touch. or see. It is a form of spirituality. It is an act of faith that helps the believer to make sense of the world and ideally to behave honorably in this life. Is this plausible? Neither more nor less than me having conversations with my missing loved one. It is also a form of spirituality. And it helps me heal.

When Hamlet spoke to his father’s ghost, his friend, Horatio, described the ghost’s presence as “wonderful-strange”. Hamlet hastened to reply: “There are more things in heaven and on earth, Horatio, than is dreamed of in your philosophy. There was nothing logical or scientific about the appearance of the ghost, nothing that Horatio could look up to in high school. But it was there, wonderful, strange and real.

That is to say, the inexplicable, the invisible, can give meaning; indeed, it always has. But you have to believe, or at least be prepared to consider the possibility of believing. In recovery circles, they talk about believing in a power greater than oneself. It means to take a leap.

Sometimes this leap is intimidating and my skeptical nature reappears. These are crises of faith, and they hurt. It’s like someone has turned Kate’s volume down. My psychic says I try to do with my head what can only be done with my heart. Faith and doubt exist on the same spectrum; you cannot have one without the other.

I carry Kate inside me now. When I tell her I love her, I can feel her say, “I know you love her. I love you too. Now go to work. When I get an illogical sense of guilt – a common illness in bereaved people – I can feel her say, “Stop beating yourself. I hate that. “Maybe Kate’s spirit is the embodiment of my best angels, the life force I need to keep going in the face of impossible sadness. Kate is the kindest human being and the nicest I have ever known I want to stay close to her.

And so, I call my medium, who has no doubts about these matters. Maybe I borrow his faith. If so, I thank her for the loan. And for giving me the will to believe.


Vognar is a freelance writer in Houston.


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