Life, Death and Spirituality

Month: January, 2014


Why wait for the storm to pass?  Get out there and dance in the rain!

Rowan was the eternal optimist.  He always looked on the bright side and, amazingly, he usually managed to find a bright side!  He wasn’t brought up by religious parents but he was probably one of the most naturally ‘spiritual’ people I have ever met.  Perhaps this is why he was taken from us so suddenly on 26 December 2012.  Perhaps he wasn’t destined to spend very long on this earth.  I’m guessing the old adage ‘he was an old soul’ pretty much applied to him!

We, as parents, spend a lifetime trying to teach our children all about life and its pitfalls but have you noticed?  Our children are the teachers – they teach us what life is all about – and life is all about love and consequential happiness – the two go hand in hand.  The first time you feel your baby kick; the first time you catch sight of its beautifully formed wee body; the first smile; laugh; word – all these things are unbelievable, mind-blowing, joyful, happy crafted moments all tied together with a huge, surging, tummy-turning tenderness that takes over your life. 

Not long after Rowie died I was introduced again to Jodie; the daughter of an old friend of mine in the UK.  She introduced me to many things and she changed my life completely.  I want to tell you about one of the things she introduced me to – ‘The Gratitude Game’.  This game helped me through the early grieving process and helped our family to begin to laugh again.

At the end of every day I sat with a piece of paper and listed the things that had happened that day that I was grateful for; some of them sound so asinine in hindsight, but at the time they were tiny little threads that I could weave together to form a  safety net.   I started putting these ‘grateful’ sessions on Facebook and I started getting replies from people which proved to be an extremely cathartic process for me.  People started telling me what they were grateful for too.  These wee messages expanded my consciousness – I became aware that I wasn’t the only one struggling with the day to day process of putting one foot in front of another.  I was grateful that people shared their journey with me.

Gratitude is a magnificent way to show love.  Buddha said ‘With our thoughts we make the world’.  This is so true.  If we tell ourselves every day about the things we are grateful for, we are changing our inner self; in turn this affects our family, our friends and their friends and their families…..a little like the ripples on a lake.  Pretty soon our little bit of world is beginning to feel just a little bit happier!  When you realise how powerful your thoughts are, you will never think a negative thought again!

I love Chris profoundly (I can say this because he never reads my blogsJ) and I am hugely grateful for his continuing support.  I have spent 26 years being grateful that I am a mother – a mother to Francis.  He is an awesome son.  He has shown such enormous strength, courage and love over the past year.  I have spent nearly 18 years being grateful that I am Rowan’s mum.  I am still Rowan’s mum and I am still inordinately proud of him and his achievements.  My two beautiful sons have taught me so much about unconditional love, about grace and about gratitude.  For this I am deeply grateful. 



Thirteen months since Rowan was taken from us in a horrendous, life shattering, ever-so-nearly soul destroying accident.  Our lives changed dramatically on Boxing Day 2012.  In these circumstances it is so very easy to become bitter.  It is natural to be angry; full of resentment.  I think that these feelings are probably brought about by fear; fear of the unknown – ‘Did he suffer?’  ‘Was he scared?’  ‘Where is he now?’

If you have children you will know that the love you have for them is greater than any words could possibly describe.  If you heaped together all the love that you have for all the people that are in your life and all the people who have been in your life; and all the animals that you have had and those that you still might have, into one whopping mound that is so full that you can’t imagine loving anymore, and then times that by a million, you may be getting a little closer!  You have no conditions on your love for a child.  It does not matter what that child might think or feel or do or say; there is absolutely nothing that will change that love – it will go on forever; a pure, unconditional, miraculous, mind-blowing love.

I have said goodbye to that fear of thirteen months ago.  This is not the future I want for myself, or for Chris and Francis.  I am more than that.  I am more than fear.  I am more than anger.  This is the reason for my journey over the last year.  I nearly made the mistake of hiding away; burrowing within myself; withdrawing from those loved ones still here.  Sounds corny, but as a mother, as a wife, I wanted to be able to tell them that it will be OK; to take the hurt away; to tell them that Rowan is OK; that he is still with us; that he is contented in his continued travels.  I couldn’t do that then but I can now.

It all boils down, yet again, to love.  None of us are perfect but that incredibly feeling you have for your children teaches us what love is all about.  I am sure that love is the answer to our enlightenment…….sounds a little New-Age like; a smidgen hippy-ish but none-the less I do think that love is energy worth developing.

I am not the most patient of people and this journey doesn’t seem to be moving quickly enough for me – I want to see what is around the corner.  I seem to have hit a wall.  I’m not sure ‘where next?’   I do intend to work on this love-recipe for a wee while longer to see what happens though. 

Thirteen months Rowie – I love you, I’m in love with you and I will love you forever J


I am beginning to believe in using the power of the mind to direct the course of my life; a prospect I would have laughed at a year ago.

I’ve talked about love before.  Rowie was one of the most loving people it has ever been my joy and delight to meet.  He lived from and within his heart centre.  This allowed him to ‘sense’ other people and live comfortably within his own skin – something I am now attempting to do myself!  I think that if I can rely on my heart centre and allow all provocations and irritations to wash over me, then I might just begin to live from the same place as Rowie.  That little inner voice of mine that babbles away about injustice, unfairness, prejudice and discrimination somehow needs to be quietened!  As those of you who know me well will agree, I have never found it easy to keep quiet when I perceive something to be unjust or deceitful!

I need to be constantly aware of my words.  If I inadvertently criticise or rebuke someone I have learned to sweep it away with a quick ‘cancel, clear, delete’ muttered under my breath.  Stray and unconscious criticism can bring unfortunate manifestations!  Unfortunately thoughts can be just as mischievous and maligning as the spoken word.  I am so intent on trying to purify my thoughts and deeds that I sat bolt upright in bed the other night, like a woman possessed, making frantic sweeping movements with my hand and muttering ‘cancel, clear, delete’ in a feverish, fervent fashion!  Thoughts tend to precede your words and can ultimately equally manifest!  I am sure that even my botched attempts at living within my heart centre have to gain some sort of respect and admiration from on high – at least I am making an effort!

Love is a natural state of being.  Love is life-sustaining.  When love is the biggest energy in your life then fear disappears.  I think that fear is created when there is an absence of love.  If we can fill our hearts with love it radiates outwards to people that we meet.  It not only changes the way we view the people in our lives but it changes the way they feel about us.  This love helps us handle everyday challenges and helps us grab opportunities that we might miss if we are sitting in a grumpy, lower energy.  The more joy and love we can find in what we are doing, the smoother life seems to get.

Mirror work!  This was a concept explained to me by Jenny Bell in San Francisco last year when I visited Jodie.  She told me that every time she looks in the mirror she says ‘I love you Jenny’!  She looks in a full-length mirror and says ‘hey there you beautiful thing 🙂 , what an amazing body!  You have done so well for me these past 60 years’!  She told me that since she had begun this little ritual she had lost an enormous amount of weight and was feeling and looking so much healthier.  Basically she was saying ‘see the beauty of who you are and who you are becoming’.  ‘Let your originality and ingenuity be your strength’.  Step out of your mould.  Look at yourself and see yourself as your best friend would see you.  Love yourself with compassion and understanding.  Have the courage to make life changes that will help you be more comfortable in your own skin.

This leads me to ask you a favour.  I am going to try the Mirror Work concept and I would love you to try it too.  I am going to try this for 30 days.  I am going to do this consistently.  Every time I come into contact with a mirror; washing my face, brushing my teeth, driving the car, trying on clothes, I am going to say ‘I love you Sue’.  The thought makes me feel awkward; uncomfortable but I guess it is another way of learning to love and I am interested to see if my life changes in any way.  If you do give it a try please post comments on your results.

Well Rowie, I bet you’re holding your sides laughing at me now XXX


My heart aches for those people just starting out on the same journey as us; one that we have been travelling for nearly thirteen months and one that a number of people in Otago and Southland have just begun.

We all expect to lose our grandparents, our parents, aunts and uncles sometime down the track; this is a natural course of events.  But none of us ever expect to lose a child.  None of us ever expect to lose a class mate, school friend and peer. 

When this journey begins nothing makes sense at all.  There is no solace in any words that anyone can say; how dare people think that they can begin to know how we are feeling right now.  No-one can possibly know what we are feeling.  This is so true.  People can think that they know the extent of pain that fills our hearts, our chests, our tummies but they don’t.  I remember asking a mother who had lost a child how long the excruciating pain lasts.  She just smiled at me.

Talking is cathartic though.  We must talk; we must be open about how we are feeling.  Be angry.  We deserve to be angry.  No-one ever promised life would be easy but this is just the most unjust thing that could happen to anyone.  But please don’t waste too much time on being angry.  Be angry and then let it go.  Remember that there are people still left here that love us and that need our love.  Remember also that our loved ones will still be with us wherever we are and that they don’t want to see our anger.  Seeing our anger saddens them.  Look for the signs. 

We will never again say that something is ‘just a coincidence’.  Our loved ones try in so very many little ways to tell us that they are still around; just out of our reach, but nonetheless close by.  We acknowledge that.  We know that Rowie is still with us; albeit in a different way, but he is ever present.  Look for a rainbow.  Look for a cloud with a silver lining.  Look for the signs.  The sun will come out again I promise.

‘The eyes are the windows to the soul’


Francis is 26 years old; he turns 27 this year.  Rowie would have been 18 this year.  Effectively there were 8 years between them. 

We came out from the UK when Francis was 8 years old and Rowie was 5 months part-baked!  He was known as ‘Kiwi’ from his conception.  Francis was excited almost to breaking point when he heard he was at last about to have a brother or sister!

The UK is heaving with people.  The roads are congested; the population squeezed into house upon house upon house, all tacked together.  Villages that historically hated each other have extended and melded their boundaries.  When someone dies, unless they are directly connect to you it is rare that you even give them a seconds thought.  Suicides escape your radar unless, again, they are directly connected to you.  Mass murderers do still make the headlines as do their victims; The Yorkshire Ripper springs to mind here as do the Moors Murderers, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley but this is a sad sign of the times – mass murder is a worthy topic for the papers.

When we first came to New Zealand in 1995 we of course noticed the lack of traffic on the roads; the large expanses of emptiness between each town; the laid back attitude towards locking cars and house doors.  We noticed the incredible attention given to deaths within the community – funerals were colossal with their observance of ceremony, formality, ritual and attendance; so unlike those we were accustomed to.  We talked about this phenomenon often; explaining this away to each other by saying that this was the “original settler attitude” – sticking close and helping each other through the bad times.

We lived in Alexandra for the first thirteen years of our sojourn in New Zealand.  Francis continued his primary school education and then moved on to Dunstan High School.  During our time in Alexandra seven of his peers died.  This is a figure that should have scared us witless; a population of around 5,000 that loses such a large number of their teenagers.  We put this down to the fact that because the population is so small, New Zealanders are more acutely aware when a death occurs.

In a way the manner in which deaths are dealt with here in New Zealand help the bereaved to come to terms with and understand the death process in a far better fashion than we do in the UK.  I was nearly 40 when we emigrated and I had never seen a dead body.  In the UK someone dies, and if you don’t happen to be the one to come across the body then you are protected from this spectre.  The body is taken away, processed and held in the Chapel of Rest for burial somewhere down the track – I think the average wait for a funeral is around 2 – 3 weeks.  Francis, as a young 17 year old, was introduced to the concept of spending time with his departed peer; allowing him to come to terms with the loss before the burial – a practice that horrified me as a mother because I felt that it could be emotionally damaging for him but a practice that proved to be cathartic for him.  He and his friends would sit with their departed pal, tell stories, laugh and cry.  They would decorate his coffin and feel a part of the grieving process usually reserved for immediate family in the UK.

Chris and Francis went to formally identify Rowan.  I initially stated that I couldn’t possibly go and see him.  I was scared; I was horrified; I felt physically sick at the thought of looking on our dead son.  I changed my mind and then again – I couldn’t get my head around the appalling, unspeakable act of viewing a dead body, albeit our beautiful, warm and wonderful son.  I steeled myself and, accompanied by my other beautiful boys, went to see Rowie.  I was so glad that I did this.  He was cold, he was a shell.  I knew at that point that he hadn’t just ‘died’.  He had vacated and moved on…..

The thought of a dead body no longer holds any fear for me.  We are energy, pure energy.  We have the use of a body, a vehicle to move around in, but essential we are pure, pure energy.  When the body no longer functions it frees the energy, the soul, to continue on its amazing journey.  Rowie, the shell was there for me to look at but his essence, his being, his energy or soul had moved on.  The beauty of this statement is that I now know, categorically, that the energy that was Rowie in this life is still an ever present energy – one that can stay around with his loved ones on this plane, one that can spend time with loved ones that have already, like him, passed.

I am aware that because his passing was accidental it came as a shock to his spirit, his energy, his soul.  He saw our hurt and he hurt too.  As such he had to spend some time healing.  I believe that people, under whatever circumstances they pass; accidental, suicidal, through illness, through murder – all go through a similar healing process – one that allows them to forgive themselves for any unhappiness, despondency and misery they think they may have caused those left behind.  Once they have allowed themselves to heal they can then start on their new and exciting journey, whatever they may choose to do.

….and I reckon Rowie has a lot of fun ahead of him!


Jodie suggested I should try to put down on paper the things I have learned so far on this journey – as a bench mark I guess for 2014.

I have travelled a huge distance over the last 12 months – both physically and mentally.  I would never have thought of attempting to get in touch with my inner self if it hadn’t been for the devastating death of Rowan.  I have learned a lot but I have also failed in many attempted things.

I guess the first thing I have learned is not to reflect on failures or what I perceive as failures but rather ponder on my successes.  Ups and downs are a part of the master plan drawn up by you and the Universe before incarnation.  It is through mistakes and heartaches that we learn – and they lead us to our most amazing discoveries.  Hand in hand with this statement we must add self-love.  I know this sounds self-serving; gross even but the fact of the matter is that until we can learn to like, even love ourselves, we are going to find it very difficult to love others unconditionally.

One of my first realisations was that coincidences do not exist.  I have looked long and hard at these small happenings we call ‘coincidences’; trying in my own mind to measure probability of this series of occurrences against caused happenings. I came to the conclusion that there have been far too many of these episodes to be anything other than ‘caused’ events; so I wipe the word ‘coincidence’ from my dictionary!

I am now deeply aware that there is life after death – I have no doubts about that whatsoever.  Having come to this realisation I now find myself in the enviable position of having no fear of death. Of course I fear pain; I loathe the thought of having a debilitating, terminal illness – but I do not fear death itself.

I believe in The Source, God, Our Creator.  I believe in Archangels.  I believe in Angels.  I believe in Ascended Masters.  I believe in The Arcturians who teach that the most fundamental ingredient for living in the fifth dimension is love.  Negativity, fear and guilt must be overcome and exchanged for love and light.

I know that the Archangels are charged with ensuring that we are all supported in our life lessons.  They cannot interfere unless asked but they are there; waiting to be asked.  Invite them in to you lives.  Their guidance reassures, renews and uplifts us.

We are energy beings.  We can harness our energies to turn our lives around by using positive thoughts and actions.  The gratitude game I was taught to play by Jodie is an amazing tool to work with when you want to change these energies rather than allowing the negative energies around you to take charge.

I have learned that I have a natural intuition which enables me to sense what is going on with others on an emotional level.  I have known this at some level for many years but I have only just accepted this fully and I want to develop this gift further.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama taught me that love, compassion and forgiveness is the secret to a happy life.  I believe this fully and try to practise this philosophy daily (although I sometimes struggle) – but I am not going to reflect on my failures!

Crystals amaze me!  I have learned to use them to have lucid dreams with perfect recall.  I am learning to use them to enhance my energy healing gifts.  Who would have thought a rock could carry so much energy!  I have learned to channel the original sun’s White Time Ray to enable healing – a gift brought back from California.  This energy healing is exceptional.  I have been given the Wholeness Blessing and have been given the gift of passing this Blessing on to others, one heart at a time, a gift brought forward directly from the Archangelic Realm.

On a more personal note, I have spent time with people who can see and talk to our dead son.  They have proven beyond any doubt that they can see Rowan and hear him.  Lynn managed to speak to him very soon after he passed.  The messages she gave to us were only known by Rowan and his closest family.  There was no charge for her service.  She was no fraud.  Kelvin has proven himself time and time again.  He didn’t need to prove himself with me.  He saw my mum and he saw Rowan.  Almora, Ascended Master did not speak directly with Rowan but he told me of his healing and described the place of healing.  Jose, bless his heart, was gifted closure by Rowan and they will never forget each other. 

Jodie; what can I say?  Jodie reappeared in my life when I needed her the most.  Rowan found her and asked her to help.  Between us, and with the help of Jodie’s team, we achieved miracles.  She is no charlatan; she is no liar; she is a gentle, warm, loving, vibrant, beautiful soul with a heart warm enough to melt the thickest ice.  She is a gift from Heaven.  She also tells me that I make amazing curries – what a perceptive soul she is!!

Wow – 2013 was an amazing year.

I only hope that 2014 is just as rewarding.


Well here we are, 2014!

We have completed all the “firsts” and speaking personally, I feel a whole lot better for it.  I am not saying that it has suddenly become easier to bear the loss of Rowie; I just seem to feel more positive; I feel more empowered; I feel that there is life after Rowie and he would be furious with me if I didn’t accept that fact. This won’t stop me talking to him every day; it won’t stop me crying when I want to; it won’t stop me saying ‘good morning’ to the ‘Big Rowie’ picture every morning and giving his hand a kiss and it won’t stop me saying ‘good night’ to the ‘Big Rowie’ picture every night and giving his hand a kiss – routine, ceremony, something I need to do………but it will allow me to allow him to get on with his spiritual journey and it will allow room in my head for the continued learning I need to do this year.

I am starting 2014 without expectations.  2013 was the start of my awakened spiritual journey.  Last year I expected to gain results immediately without putting in the hard yards and to a certain extent this leads to disappointment.  I started thinking that I hadn’t travelled as far as I had intended or wanted when I started this journey.  I now realise that this is ridiculous!  I have travelled an enormous distance and have gained immeasurable enlightenment and guidance from some wonderful sources.  I think that if I start this year with expectations I cannot be fully open to learning and embracing my future path.  I acknowledge that deep inside me there are memories that I have long buried which need to be analysed and then released so that I can move on with my soul journey.

My intention this year is to begin to understand my potential; to develop courage, strength and vision; to develop my intuition and my healing skills; to perhaps help others along the way with my ramblings!  If Rowie chooses to join me on this part of my journey, I am open to receive his love, support and encouragement.  Jodie will be part of my journey this year as will Jose.  Another visit to San Francisco might be necessary……..or they could come here and you could all benefit from their love, knowledge and understanding – there’s positive thinking for you!

I begin the year by studying empowerment.  I will study the psychology behind positive thinking.  Instead of turning a blind eye to things that I don’t want to face because I hate disharmony, I am going to ask questions; I am going to learn to confront issues that may inhibit my spiritual development.

Wish me luck.