Life, Death and Spirituality

Month: December, 2013



How simple is that?

These three little words cost absolutely nothing but these three little words vastly enrich the world.

When did you last tell someone that you love them?  Do you just take it for granted that they know?

I have kept Rowie’s text messages on my phone – even got Telecom to spend ages sorting out how to keep them when I changed my phone mid-year!  On the 24th December 2012 he sent me a text from the garden saying “we love you”!  He and Jess had been lying in the sun and, as Rowie often did, he got the urge to tell me he loved me!  How cool is that?  The surge of soul energy that I feel every time I read this is incredible.  There are also other “I love you” and “I miss you” messages dotted all over that I can look back on with a smile (or a tear) depending how soppy I am feeling!

I had lunch with an awesome friend and her wee cherub on Friday.  As we parted she gave me a great big hug and said “I love you”.  Along with the tears came a huge rush of energy deep inside of me – soul strengthened, invigorated, uplifted.  I had, quite frankly, been feeling very unloved when this came along – thank you Sara; I love you too XX.

When we are young is it easier to love and feel loved?  Is it easier to say those three words?  I’m not sure.  There are so many kinds of love but they are love nonetheless; the unconditional love that mums have for their babies; the excitement of young lovers’ love; the comfort of ‘been married for ever’ love; child love for their nurturers; brother/sisterly love; best friend’s forever love; love for animals; love for humanity; love for God; the list goes on.  How many times in a day do we tell people, animals etc that we love them?

As Rowie was leaving the house on 26th December 2012 he gave me the usual ‘Rowie hug’ and said “I love you”.  I said “love you too”, “stay in touch”.   He said “I can’t stay in touch, there’s no reception down there but I’ll text you when we come back in range”.

I am so grateful that we took the time to hug and say those three words.  As he left this world and moved on he knew and still knows that I love him.

There are many people in this world who have no-one to tell them that they are loved.  I find this heart breaking.  I’m not advocating that we all go around telling strangers that we love them!  Try smiling at the lady behind you in the supermarket queue; say ‘hi’ to the old guy walking towards you down the street.  Lend a helping hand when you see someone struggling; open a door for someone; say ‘thank you’ loud enough to be heard!  You may give them the surge of soul energy that they are crying out for.

Rowan and I are a pair of softies.  Rowie spoiled me; I miss being told ‘I love you’ as regularly as he told me!  Don’t leave it until it’s too late to tell those you care about that you love them.  Make sure you do it every day – ten times a day if you can!  Just by telling your loved ones this makes the energy shift palpable – in yourself and the world.

Well, there’s a New Year’s resolution for you (and not half as painful as the deprivation ones we usually set ourselves)!

Teach only love XX


18 December 2013 – a week to go before the 1st anniversary of Rowan’s death.

Well, we will get through Christmas, of that there is no doubt.  It certainly won’t be the same.  The Universe has already done us a favour – Chris has been rostered off work both on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.  We understandably don’t feel like ‘doing’ Christmas this year.  Maree is going to spend the day with her family and Francis is coming to spend the day with Chris and I.  We will eat rare roast beef; something Chris, Francis and I enjoy.  We will have a bottle of red wine with the beef and set an extra place at the table for Rowie (just in case he wants to visit and stay a while).  Presents will be very understated this year.  A little something for Francis, Maree and Janey; I don’t doubt that another owl might turn up for Rowie!  Chris and I don’t want presents.  Last year’s presents were ridiculous; it was almost as if we knew it would be the last family Christmas; we all spoiled each other rotten!

We have found Rowie a beautiful little tree of his own; not classical but striking nonetheless; and his special decoration that he used to place on the family tree, a bird’s nest with two baby chicks in it, sits on his Ashes Casket.  The blue Christmas lights over the window in the dining room remain there from last year – Rowie put them up for us.  We will turn them on.

We are going to try to not dwell on our loss.  Unless he has some pressing business up there, we are sure that Rowan will come visiting us.  We intend to talk about him and to him.  The warm and funny memories he has left us with will never go away.  He enriched our lives and we will make sure he knows that he did. We will try to be grateful that his soul is now free and that he is in a truly amazing place.

Boxing Day will be a tough one.  The one thing we don’t want to do is sit at home.  I sat there waiting last year for the bad news that I knew was on its way.  We must get away from the house.  Francis and Maree have asked us to visit them – if the weather permits we may have a BBQ.  I will certainly be asking the Universe to provide us with good weather on the 26th!  The 28th sees the long-awaited softball match between Central Otago and The Catlins – the one organised for last year that had to be cancelled.  Rowie will be cheering us on!

Chris has decided that he wants to forget his birthday this year.  I respect his wishes – he is working that night anyway.  We are lucky that his days off fall across the New Year break as well – together we can see the New Year in with hope for the future.

The start of 2014 brings a fresh, more positive start for us all.  All the ‘firsts’ will be behind us and we will begin to do some real healing.  I am hopeful that my efforts will pay off and that I will be able to move forward with my life plan.  I hope to master the art of meditation!  I hope to begin to work together with Rowie in whatever capacity he wishes.  I hope to continue my healing work.  I hope that, as a family, we head towards something life-changing, rewarding and cathartic.  I hope that I can practice what I preach – love, compassion, forgiveness!

So that is nearly the end of our first year without Rowie – we will continue with our journey and we will continue to share this with you if you would like us to. 

Come on 2014 – bring it on!


When grief enters your life, be it through the death of a child, parent, partner, friend or pet or even through a relationship that ends, this excruciating feeling of loss creates a total and absolute loss of energy.  This loss of energy accompanied by a crippling physical ache manifests itself as grief.  This total loss of energy isn’t the sort of energy you get from eating or drinking – you know the kind, low body sugar levels, quick biscuit – your body is renewed, energised!  It is an internal ‘energy’ that you may not be aware of until you experience its loss and that agonizing pain that is labelled grief sets in.

When grief moves in you can’t eat, you can’t sleep, your joy of life deserts you.  Your focus has gone and you wander around feeling empty and alone.  Even in a crowd you feel totally swamped.

This is when you give in to the misery and sink lower and lower; turn bitter and become angry or, you try to use the power of positive energy to turn yourself around.  I know that this sounds trite, clichéd; but this was my choice twelve months ago.  I’m not saying that it has been easy.  It hasn’t.  There has been many a time when I have spiralled back into the acute emptiness of grief.

Grief has been an amazing teacher though.  If it hadn’t been for the grief I felt when Rowan was cruelly ripped from us I wouldn’t have started on this spiritual journey.  I try to focus on positive things in my life; the gratitude game that Jodie taught me to play many months ago.  Rowan is no longer on this spiritual plane with me but I have another awesome son called Francis who is here; who loves me as unconditionally as I love him.  I have a husband who is here for me during good times and bad.  Both of them have suffered their own heartaches and whether they understand me or not, they support me wholeheartedly in my journey.  When I do focus on the positives I wake up in the morning with incredulous amounts of energy.  Learning to control my inner energies through this loss has helped me to uncover a power and strength that I never knew I had.

When Rowan’s soul passed he merely surrendered his body back to the Earth.  His soul moved on, free and uninhibited.  He had an understanding of everything that he needed to learn in this life time and his death date was met.

My intention is, as I grieve for the loss of Rowie, to try to focus on the amazing, loving memories I have of him (and there are many).  I feel that these memories create energies that reach out to his soul wherever he now is.  This unconditional loving energy creates a permanent bridge to him which can never be removed and as this bridge is constructed it helps me understand my own spiritual makeup.

To focus purely on my loss; to mourn the loneliness and abandonment doesn’t help Rowie and it doesn’t help me.  Despite my heartache; and I am not denying that I am broken-hearted; by focusing on the love I have for him and on the complete joy, delight, love and fun he brought to my life I feel that I can maintain a connection with him and wherever he is in the Universe he can love me back.  This energy of love is perpetual; everlasting; infinite.  No-one can extinguish it; obliterate it – it is forever.  This love, this unconditional love a mother has for her child; I have for Rowan, holds far more power than the grief and the pain could ever have.

Two things are certain in life; you live and you die.  The thing everyone wants to know is ‘what next’?


Pop was a veterinary surgeon; Mum was a physiotherapist.  Mum always said that the only reason Pop married her was so that she could heal him after his weekly rugby bashing!  I am sure that he found many other attractive qualities in her but I equally share her opinion that her healing skills also played a part.  My uncle was a doctor (GP) and a couple of half cousins were also medically orientated; one a surgeon, the other a GP.  During my early life I was surrounded by people actively involved in the medical profession in one way or another.  This did not stop me having my dreams!


I remember, as a tiny child, thinking that I could heal people – perhaps understandably when you look at my immediate family; but my sort of healing was not quite like theirs.  I would see someone in pain and I would put my hands on them, concentrating real hard and hoping that the willpower I channelled would manifest in healing whatever their problem was. 

There was an old guy who used to work in a shed on the farm where we lived – he was a stonemason – Jack (John) Oats.  He worked at his stonemasonry there rent-free but helped Pop on large animal visits and helped with the kennels that we also operated.  He was delightful; small and as round as a barrel with a jolly laugh that would rival any Santa (just being seasonal here)!  An occupational hazard of stonemasonry is digits that receive an accidental hammering now and again.  I used to spend many fun hours in the old stone shed with Mr Oats.  He allowed me to paint pictures on the walls of the shed and we used to say that in thousands of years people would see them and that they would become hugely important – in a museum somewhere!  Whenever Mr Oats hammered his finger or thumb I would leap in with my “healing powers” and cure the bloodiest of appendages!  He always said how much better he felt afterwards……I was always overjoyed……I never questioned the honesty of his appreciation!

I used to heal Pop. I used to heal Mum (she was prone to bleeding noses – hindsight whispers blood pressure).  I used to heal myself.  For anyone who knew me in my early days, they will remember that I was prone to what we as a family used to call “swelly belly” – many years later diagnosed as hiatus hernia.  Whenever I felt an attack coming on I used to imagine my hands carrying an intense heat – a heat that I used to place on the ‘sore bit’!  I quite honestly cannot remember whether this healing worked or it didn’t.

The strange thing about this story is, that since Rowan died and since this journey began for me, I have been told by every medium and every psychic I have seen that I am a healer, both historically in many past lives, and now.  I was persecuted in previous lives; may even have been burned as a witch.  I woke up in the middle of the night with this epiphany!  These memories have been long forgotten and I have only just realised the possible implications of these ‘coincidences’.

Maybe, just maybe I was a healer in past lives.  Maybe, just maybe as a child I had a vague memory of this past healing ability.  Maybe, just maybe this new healing I have been offered by the Universe – Universal White Time Healing, is a step back into the healing vocation.  Maybe it is what it is.


‘Our God is a rebel’.  I learned this at my Universal White Time Healing tutorial in San Francisco.  He gave us free-will; something other universes don’t have.  The sadness is that I think we have abused this free-will.  Take a look at all the fighting that has plagued the earth for centuries – such a large part of it caused by religion.  Is it any wonder that large numbers of people are turning away from the churches; no longer believing in any form of Deity, Creator, Source etc.  Could it be that these Churches have altered the scriptures over the years to suit their own needs; to line their own pockets, to become stronger and more powerful?  I find it very difficult to believe that a God as forgiving and loving as the original conception and perception would breath fire and brimstone on his own creations for minor, or even major transgressions.  At great risk of being chastised for my views, has anyone else noticed the religious channels on TV – how they are constantly asking for money.  In America you can even buy atonements or penances!  I looked up ‘atonement’.  Atonement – a way of making amends, to repair a wrong-doing, to seek forgiveness for a wrong-doing, to remove sin!  They say that atonement can only come from God; how can these TV channels sell these God-given atonements?  It’s a little like a confession.  As a child I could never quite understand how someone could commit a sin, confess, say a few prayers and be granted a clean slate again by a mere mortal.  We used to look at the children from the religious school down the road from our school with suspicion – what made them so different from us?  Religious sects have used fear of the unknown to control people and develop hugely powerful organisations for centuries.

There are an enormous amount of people looking for hope and salvation (all of us if we were to be honest) and these organisations gain from our fears.

I never gave much thought to spiritual things like this before Rowan died.  I merrily got up every morning, lived for the moment and went to bed at night without giving the future much of a consideration.  I think we reared the boys well enough; we didn’t fill their heads with religion but we certainly taught them right from wrong.  We taught them about honesty and how to ‘live with themselves’ in an harmonious way.  Both Francis and Rowan wouldn’t deliberately hurt anyone; they may grumble and complain about certain people and situations but at the end of the day they wouldn’t cause premeditated sorrow or heartache to anyone.  In this respect I think we did a reasonable job as parents. 

I think salvation comes from within ourselves; again harping back to His Holiness the Dalai Lama; love, compassion, forgiveness.  If we can live our lives by adhering to these three simple words I think that this might well be our salvation.  That little inner voice we all hear when we are about to do something or say something hurtful or cruel or dishonest; cancel, clear, delete!  Think about it.  Does this come from a place of love, compassion or forgiveness?  If not, do yourself a favour and ditch it!  Trust in that inner voice, consciousness, because I think that this might well be our fast route to Heaven! 

‘Teach only love’.  



You will have to bear with me here; I’m not entirely sure where I am heading with it…….just got a push to look at pet animals and the afterlife.

As I’ve said, my father (Pop) was a vet and had no belief whatsoever in an afterlife, either for himself or for his beloved animals. He was a softy; certainly not a businessman, and would have gone bankrupt many a time over if it weren’t for his partner, John (perhaps too much of a businessman)! Pop would treat many an animal and not make a charge, especially if the owner were over the age of 60 and infirm (or under the age of 20 and warm hearted)! He hated euthanazing healthy animals and would not do so unless pushed to breaking point by John. Any kittens and puppies brought in for euthanasia would be housed and fed at the surgery until a brow-beaten but joyful new owner walked out the door with a new pet (vaccinated, wormed and free of charge)!

I grew up around animals and they were always a part of my life. The surgery used to be at the farm where we lived so these homeless pets became my charges during school holidays (along with the myriad of pets that actually belonged to us). Our final family pet was a cat Pop rescued with one eye and a rather unprepossessing blackish, brownish, somewhat tatty fur coat – ‘Roo’ to his friends. He immediately became Pop’s personal property and loved him unconditionally, as animals are so very good at doing. When Pop died suddenly Roo was devastated; inconsolable for a number of months. We kept a cardigan of Pops and Roo could always be found snuggled up on it – wherever we hid it! He would spook us sometimes by staring fixedly at some point just beyond our vision and he would start to purr! On these occasions we would say to each other that Pop had come visiting; sounded silly at the time but now fully believable!

This is where I am tempted to get a little spiritual in thought. The constant theme of spirituality is love; unconditional love, compassion and forgiveness. Think a little about how we love our animals – isn’t it unconditional love that we give them? To become enlightened spiritually we need to be able to love everyone and everything unconditionally. Animals can teach us so much about unconditional love, loyalty and gratitude. I find myself drawn automatically to people who love animals and find that I have little in common with those that don’t. I think that some people are very egotistical in believing that humans are superior to animals. I think that animals, just like us, have a soul and a soul purpose for the time they spend with us. I think animals have an amazing healing power in the unconditional love that they show the human race.

When Chris married me we both looked forward to starting our own family; animal family that is. Foxy Lady was our first joyful companion, a chintzy puss with a fearful temper. She lived for 17 years and emigrated with us to New Zealand; as did Bracken and Dahl, our two beautiful Golden Retrievers. To ship the animals out here cost more money than shipping the furniture and ourselves! We then adopted a succession of beautiful cats; all simple moggies but fine looking nonetheless. They have all given us unconditional love and loyalty. We have been blessed with longevity of our animals for the most part. Bracken and Dahl both lived to a good age. It is always terribly sad when you lose an animal but when they have been with you for many years a dignified and peaceful end for them is all that you can ask.

Two of our beautiful cats weren’t given the option of a dignified and peaceful end – they were unfortunate victims of the destructive house fire we experienced just after we moved to Owaka to work for the Clutha Licensing Trust. Tigger and Dusty; they were both middle-aged and slowing down a little; had snugged in for the night when the fire struck. Both were killed by smoke inhalation. Our other two cats were extremely lucky to survive the inferno.

I talked months ago at the start of my ramblings about ‘Dream or Reality’. I had a similar experience with Tigger and Dusty. They came back to me; only once, to show me that they are now fine. This was no dream, it was a reality, a visitation (now that I know how to tell the difference).

‘Long Cat Yowling’, Rowie’s cat is grieving; he is most definitely grieving the loss of Rowie. He yowls a lot, he demands a huge amount of attention and he is aggressive towards our other cats. He spends a lot of time either on the bunk above Rowie’s bed or on the bed itself. He too looks beyond you sometimes with a fixed expression; as if watching someone just over your shoulder. I like to think that Rowie is visiting his much loved feline friend and us on these occasions.

I have heard many stories retold of people ‘feeling’ the presence of their departed pets; even seeing shadows or movements out of the corner of their eye. Why shouldn’t our much loved pets find a place in Heaven too? They are warm blooded, loving creatures. I am sure, just like us, they too have souls.

If so, Rowie is now surrounded by the unconditional love of a mountain of furry feline friends and allowing myself to think this gives me huge comfort!

So why not?


After Rowan died I had an initial problem differentiating between a dream about him and a true visitation.  Likewise I have struggled with intuition; am I being intuitive or am I just imagining something?

Intuition is a natural ability or power that makes it possible to know something without any proof or evidence; a feeling that guides a person to act a certain way without fully understanding why.  Since this journey began for me I have been described many times as intuitive.  I wasn’t sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing!

Thinking back over my life there have been many times when I have had a bad feeling about something; when I have known the truth and the best course of action without having to think; when I have honoured my ideas without evaluation or consideration; when I have trusted my ‘knowingness’ without question.  I am sure many of you will also have experienced these sensations.  The thing is, do you dismiss these inner thoughts or intuition as wishful thinking or common knowledge or imagination; or do you honour your inner self and act on them?  When you respect these inklings, hunches, ideas the Universe typically rewards you for this and adds extra support to your inspirations.  As Jodie said to me ‘Sue, did you really think the Universe would let you down?’  If you are working for the highest good in a situation the Universe will do everything in its power to help you achieve your goal.  It is soul-destroying to disallow your intuition.  Every time you resist your inner feelings, your heart cracks a little bit; it feels saddened and disappointed at a deep level.  Perhaps it is time to start the renovations by honouring your feelings!  If you are unhappy with a situation it means that something is wrong and taking action is the way to go; in the kindest and gentlest way possible of course – for the highest good of everyone involved!

I have intuitively known when partners have cheated on me as I am sure many of you have.  On occasions I stuffed the knowledge to the back of my mind.  This was a destructive thing to do because it never really goes away.  It eats at you even though you may not be consciously aware of that.  Again you need to take action before it becomes detrimental to your heart and soul.  Talk it through; bring it out into the open; then you can start the healing process.

It would be, perhaps three years ago when Rowan and I were driving to Clutha; for what reason I can’t remember; probably a New World run or something along those lines.  We drove past the pub and down to the old hospital corner.  At which point he decided to share with me!  ‘Hey mum, I went quad biking in the paddocks down there the other day’. ‘It was awesome’!

I felt my stomach turn over; I could feel the blood pulsating at my temples; my breathing quickened and I became almost panicky; I felt hot and then cold all in one moment.  I jammed the brakes on and turned to him.  ‘Don’t you ever do that again’!  ‘How stupid can you be – don’t you know how dangerous they are’?  ‘If I ever hear of you doing that again you are in big trouble’.  ‘Sorry buddy, you are GROUNDED’!

This was an intuitive reaction.  I don’t know why my body reacted the way it did; it was a physical shock-type reaction.  It behaved in a totally uncharacteristic way and I allowed it to manifest with an outburst that was enough to scare most people!

We drove in silence to Clutha whilst I tried to make some sort of sense of this physical reaction.  Boxing Day 2012 was the day I realised why I had reacted so badly to his excited account.  I must have had some sort of intuitive feeling that quad bikes and Rowie were not a marriage made in Heaven.  I have lost count of the times I have said since, ‘Oh Rowie, why didn’t you listen to me’?

In point of fact nothing would have changed the outcome.  Rowie had a death date and that death date was 26 December 2012.  If he had stayed home instead of heading to Jess’ the outcome would have been the same. He would have electrocuted himself on faulty equipment; he would have borrowed the car and crashed.  He would have died that day come what may.  He carries a huge sadness with him though.  He now realises that death dates are immovable but he regrets enormously having to die in front of his friends.  He found this one of the most difficult aspects of his sudden passing to come to terms with.  What a situation to put friends in?

As I have described before, on the night Rowie died I was immediately aware of a massive heartache as soon as the fire alarm went off.  I felt as if someone had driven an ice cold knife into my heart.  I sat and waited for the bad news.  I had actually visualised Reuben and Rowan going over the cliff on their way back from Chaslands – a notoriously bad road.  When Francis walked in, grey and tense, I knew that my life had changed for ever.

Intuitive; jury is still out on whether this gift is a good or a bad thing!