Sunday, September 9, 2012

Do You Believe in an Afterlife? Reflections After Watching the Long Island Medium Season 3 Premiere

I watched the season premiere of one of my favourite shows tonight: Long Island Medium, and one of the stories featured a woman's love for her grandmother who passed away when she was nine.

To say I related would be an understatement because my grandma was one of the most important people in my life.

Not only did she make certain my early childhood was replete with experiences like Sunday school and the making of popsicle stick crosses to put into my basket at easter, she taught me all the great hymns so that to this day I am one of the few people in my social circle who knows the words to the Old Rugged Cross, How Great Thou Art, and her all time favourite In the Garden.

When I was a little older, my grandparents moved to the country and I could no longer attend church with them - but this didn't stop me. My best friend Cindy and I would get up early Sunday mornings, put on our very best dresses and ride the bus to the Charleswood United Church where the two of us would attend services.

It's a good thing too. After the trouble the two of us got ourselves into during highschool, we needed all the spiritual support we could get.

Over the years, I gained an appreciation for the vastness of spirituality and the beauty of this thing called existence - the sweet uncertainty that comes with wondering about the unknown.

When I was a little girl it was all very simple: When people died, they wore white robes, had halos, and went to live in this white fluffy, and totally magical place called heaven where they could have all the marshmallows and candy they wanted forever and ever amen.

As an adult, however, the possibilities of what happen to us after we die are less clear. Though I may believe one thing and you may believe another, at the end of the day, none of us really knows for sure.

Belief, like love, is something that you feel.

As such, while most people will look for a flaw in an electrical outlet if the lights flicker, I automatically wonder: "Grandpa is that you?"

Because of this, I've probably had more close encounters of the ghostly kind than the average Jane and run the risk in certain company of looking a little woo woo.

This, however, does not deter me.

Mostly because I realize people think I'm woo woo anyway, but also because of my unwavering belief that there is a vastness and a goodness out there that is beyond our wildest ability to comprehend.

A belief that has rubbed off on others; creating a richer sense of existence for the people around me.


When my grandparents died they let themselves be known.

With my grandfather came the smell his cologne.

I'd be sitting on the couch watching TV or reading a book and I'd get the slightest hint of a scent. Enough to make me sit up and take notice, but never so much that it filled the room. As such it was elusive enough to leave me wondering.

After my grandmother passed away, she was more obvious and for at least two years after she died, I could feel her presence - especially when I was in the kitchen.

During this two year period we began having strange experiences with the TV in our living room. On several occasions it turned itself off, and once it even turned itself on.

It also became a regular occurence for our stereos to do the same.

Most memorably, one day after school while my son was in my room watching tv our DVD player began to play "Money" by Pink Floyd.

He came flying down the hall, his eyes as big as saucers, screaming "Something's wrong with the stereo!!!!"

Luckily, I've been his mother long enough that when things like this happen now he just shrugs and says, "Hi Grandma."


Although I'm certain my grandparents live on in my life in ways both big and small, I haven't felt the tangible energy of their presence in a long time.

The last time my grandma let herself be known was Christmas a few years ago when the living room stereo turned itself on at the exact moment I was looking at a tree ornament that had belonged to her. While a slow, nostalgic tear rolled down my cheek, Silent Night began to play.

So you can understand why, when - three years ago, October 16 - during the long last drive to the vet with our beloved dog Ziggy, I was serious when I asked my grandmother to be waiting for him when he got to where he was going.


The following Saturday after Ziggy had been put down, I was feeling lonely and grief stricken and I told the PB I needed some kind of sign to let me know the dog was all right and that he had gone on.

The next morning I was sitting in front of the computer writing a blog, and as per usual, was completely immersed in the process.

At one point I noticed an anomalous sound coming from somewhere down the hallway but because I was so involved in what I was writing, it took about five minutes to register that the sound was out of place.

When I finally began to listen, it sounded like a pipe had burst.

At first I thought it was coming from outside, but as I made my way toward the back door, it became evident that the sound was coming from inside my house toward the back bathroom or my bedroom.

"Great," I thought as I made my way down the hall, "On top of everything else, we've got a water problem."

But the sound wasn't coming from the bathroom.

It was coming from our bedroom.

The stereo had turned itself on - this time to the radio.

The sound I was hearing was static because it wasn't set to a particular station.

The minute I realized what it was, I knew.

Maybe if it had happened a few months ago I wouldn't have attached the same significance to it.

But in the spirit of "timing is everything," this had me taking notice - especially because, as I write this three years later, nothing like that has happened since.

The next morning when I woke up, I looked at the digital clock on the same stereo.

It read 6:15 am and I wondered if I should get up, or loll around in the rack for another half hour.

After a few minutes, I decided that since I was awake anyway, I may as well get up. So I rolled out of bed and went to get a cup of coffee.

When I came back to the room, I went to check the time. The stereo had, this time, managed to unplug itself just enough from the outlet so that the clock had gone blank.

One happening could have been chalked up as a coincidence, but two in a row, right after this kind of loss, are enough for me to look to the heavens and say "Thanks Grandma, wherever you are."

I'm going to leave with one of my favourite stanza's of poetry ever written. It's from Relics of Joy by Thomas Moore and goes:

"Long long be my heart with such memories filled
As the vase in which roses have once been distilled
You may break, you may shatter the vase if you will
But the scent of roses will hang round it still"


Do you believe?

Stay tuned later today for an incredible recipe for Creamy Seafood Lasagna!

1 comment:

  1. I am kind of in between on this, I don't disbelieve, but not sure I believe either. I keep my mind open on this subject. I am glad that the things that occurred gave you a sense of peace and comfort, which is what makes me not disbelieve. If you had said that you were always being scared and bothered by a presence, that would be more hard to believe. I have watched that show and it seems very believable.