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Love, Grief, Heaven, Loss, Sister, Mother,
Comfort, Death, Afterlife, Spirit

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Excerpt Chapter One

I have always believed in Heaven. I know that is where God has taken my mother and sister. Although I did not grow up in a particularly religious family, we believed in God. As children, we were all christened in a local church, in a small town located north of London, England. The choice of church was not based on any particular denomination, but, rather, on the location; closest to home was the best criteria. Even more conveniently located was the weekly Sunday school at the local school hall, which we were all encouraged to attend. Again, this was not based on any religious beliefs; instead, it gave my mother and father a small break on Sundays to prepare the family dinner without children “under their feet.”

My twin sister, Louise, and I were sandwiched in between Linda, our elder sister, and Scott, our younger brother. We all got along so well as children and this continued into our adult lives. There were many fun and happy “teasing” times. We bonded together through the trauma of our parents’ divorce when Mum became both “mother and father” to us.

I took a natural likening to Sunday school and continued to attend well into my late teens. My siblings happily abandoned Sunday school many years earlier, as soon as they were able to find a “better use” of this time by “having fun” with friends. Linda was always the funny one, with her quick wit and good sense of humor. She used to say that going to Sunday school gave me "Jesus points in the bank," and that, when I was older, I could "draw them out." At the time, I had no idea what she meant by this, but later, throughout our lives, if ever good fortune came my way, Linda would remind me that I was using my “Jesus points.”

Being five years older than “the twins” as we were called, Linda was like a second mother to us, especially during the time that our real mother, after her divorce, suffered from severe depression and could not cope with life, nor her family. Linda took us to school, prepared our meals, and helped us with our homework. On Sunday mornings, Linda took us for walks and played a game with us in which we had to memorize all the street names so “you can always find your way home,” she’d say. By the time Linda was 21, she set off on her journey “to see the world.” When she came home, we sat and listened with great joy to all her adventures.

I, too, left home and moved to San Francisco to begin a new life with my husband. San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and my family visited me often. My brother, Scott, moved to Australia to experience life “down under,” and Louise remained close by to Mum, living in our hometown with her husband and two small children. Mum enjoyed being a grandmother and spending time with her grandchildren. Although the family was “scattered around the world,” we visited each other often and as much as possible.

Linda was in her early thirties when she moved to America to be close to me. I had settled in a small town outside of Washington D.C. called Charlottesville, not long after my marriage had dissolved. Linda enrolled at the local college and immediately made many friends. She loved the idyllic town with panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Most of all she loved Harvey, an older cat whom she adopted from the S.P.C.A.. It was not long before Harvey became diabetic, and Linda lovingly administered his daily insulin shots. When he passed away a few years later, Linda was heartbroken and decided to return home to England to be closer to mother and the family.

Linda adjusted back into British society and was thrilled to work for an American Company she said was like having a piece of America and the best of both worlds. Everyone was pleased to have Linda home, especially mother. Linda would pop in to visit Mum on her way home from work and to take her out on Sunday afternoons. Mother never learned how to drive, so she enjoyed their weekly rides out to the countryside, stopping at garden centers along the way. Also, Linda reunited with her childhood sweetheart, Jimmy, and happily settled into her new life.

Although I lived in America and my family lived in England, distance was never an obstacle when it came to our special family bond. I traveled several times a year to visit them, and there wasn't a year that went by that one of my family members did not visit me. They loved America, and they especially loved New York. Mother used to say how she felt “alive” there, and in her experience as a world traveler, “there was no place like New York.” On her 60th Birthday, I took her to the Windows of the World, a restaurant located at the top of the Twin Towers. She sat in the restaurant looking over the city of New York and exclaimed “at sixty years of age I am sitting on top of the world!” She was so excited. She even took a photograph inside the elevator of a display panel of the buttons for each floor. She always appreciated traveling to new places and never missed an opportunity to live in the moment. She saw the goodness in everyone and appreciated every adventure.

Despite the distance, we were a close family. I was fortunate to have an excellent deal on my mobile phone with a low cost international calling plan, which meant I could call Mum every morning at eight o’clock on my way to work. With the five hour time difference between the two countries, it would have been one o'clock in the afternoon in England, just late enough in the day for Mum to have the latest news on family, friends, and neighbors. One day I called and she was crying. "What is the matter mother?" I asked thinking she was fine just yesterday. "It's Mrs. Prichard," my mother cried. "She passed away this morning." "Mrs. Prichard?" I said puzzled. "I thought you didn’t like one another?" Mrs. Prichard was a neighbor mother had quarreled with over 30 years prior and had never spoken to since. "I know," she said still crying. "But it was nice knowing she was there." I told her that I understood completely because, for better or worse, people are part of your lives. Sometimes I wonder if they met in Heaven when mother crossed over.

Our phone calls were like a daily soap opera, my news then her news, and I looked forward to them. Just two months before she passed away, my mobile phone stopped working. I went to the mobile shop to replace it, but the new phones did not have international coverage, and the sales associate suggested that I wait a couple of months until a new model came out. I started calling mother on the weekends from my landline instead. I was disappointed that I could not talk to Mum everyday as I missed our daily conversations, and reluctantly, I adjusted to our weekend phone calls instead. When Mum passed away I felt that somehow I had been weaned off the daily calls, like a baby weaned off her mother, and somehow, I was saved from this further loss of our daily contact.

Our mother's death came as a shock to all of us. Before she died, I did not think about death. Death only happened to the elderly or people who had serious illnesses. Relatives on my mother's side lived long lives, well into their 80s. My maternal grandmother at 89 years old was still alive when mother died and lived until she was 93 years old. It came as a complete shock when, at 66 years of age, mother passed away suddenly in her sleep; it was a cardiac arrest, the doctor said. How could she be dead? She had a long life ahead of her. She had plans. We all agonized over these questions as we tried to climb out from the depths of despair and the agony of our grief.


The Day Mother Died


I remember the day my mother died. It was the day that changed my life. I woke up to find the world a different place from the life I once knew. I was awakened to find a life that I did not want, a life I did not choose, a life without all the things I had ever known. The phone call came at 7:00 a.m.. Why is England calling so early? I thought. England was my home country, where I grew up, but that was a long time ago. My family still lived there and, with the time change, they were five hours ahead. They knew it was still early in the U.S., so why were they calling this early?

I was tired. I had flown on an all-night flight from San Francisco, after visiting with my friend, Kate, and immediately went home to sleep. When the phone rang I had only been asleep for a short time, less than one hour. I heard the speakerphone built into the telephone announce "Out of area," which I knew meant England was calling. Who could it be? My mother? My sister? Don't they know it is only 7:00 a.m. here? I picked up the receiver and was about to say “It’s only 7:00 a.m. here,” when I heard Linda's voice say "Come home Angie, come home. You've got to come home." Linda was crying. I could hear the tremor in her voice, I could sense her fear, I could feel her pain, and I knew that something was wrong. "What's wrong? What is the matter?" I said, knowing something awful must have happened. "Why are you saying I must come home?" In a daze I heard the words, “It’s mother. She's dead." The words spun around in my head. I tried to make sense of what I was hearing. "What are you saying? Don't say that Linda. Why are you saying that?" I screamed down the phone. "She's dead Angie. Mother's dead. You've got to come home." Linda repeated. With these words echoing in my ear, I dropped the phone and fell to the floor. My knees hit the ground and my body fell on top. "No, no, it can't be true, not my mother, not my lovely mother," I cried out. She was only 66 years old and had been in the hospital with pneumonia and was supposed to be going home today. How could she be dead? There must have been some mistake. I picked up the phone off the floor and heard my sister crying. Linda managed to tell me that Mum’s heart had stopped beating and there was nothing they could do. I felt my body get heavier and heavier. I could not move. Was this a bad dream? Would I wake up soon? It had to be; it couldn’t be real.

That evening I caught a flight back to England. Linda, my twin sister, Louise, and my younger brother, Scott, were all there to meet me. We stood in the arrival hall at the airport crying and holding one another. We could not believe our lovely mother was gone. We were four children who loved their mother so dearly. We stood there, lost, clinging to one another, clinging for any strength we could find to help us through this nightmare: a nightmare that we knew would never end.

There had been some confusion at the hospital, Linda explained. According to the doctor, Mum had a bad heart, a leaky valve. They were going to do more tests on her heart, but before they could do them, they wanted to give her some antibiotics to control the pneumonia, which she had contracted within the last few weeks. Then, on Friday, the doctor announced good news: the pneumonia was better; mother could have the tests done on Monday for her heart, and then she could go home. How could our mother be dead when she was supposed to be discharged today?

We didn't want to tell anyone that our lovely mother was gone. We did not have the courage to face it or to talk about it. All we could do, all we wanted to do, was sit in her house, in her living room, on her settee, just to be with Mum. How could our mother be dead? How could we tell anyone when we couldn't believe it ourselves?




I began to meditate daily, first thing in the morning. It became a wonderful obsession. The more I meditated the easier it became. I found I could meditate up to two hours a day! The lawn mowers, leaf blowers, cars passing by, even the phone ringing did not affect me anymore. I could be in a deep meditative state within minutes without having to picture a staircase or a walk through a beautiful garden. It felt so natural and I loved it. Of course, Louise and Scott thought I was being obsessive and suggested I slow down and limit my daily sessions. But I couldn't. I enjoyed them too much. I found it fascinating that my mind could actually do this. If people want to call it my imagination, that is fine with me, but I never had such a great imagination. I had never been so inspired to write and never been able to write so philosophically. It was a journey I wanted to stay on. I wanted to learn more, I wanted to go further, and I wanted see where it took me.

In the beginning when I first meditated I was very cautious of being by myself, at home, all alone. I never meditated at night. I had seen too many Hollywood movies, and I never liked the dark. I developed my own technique for meditating. At the beginning of my meditation, I opened with a short prayer. I asked that God's love surround and protect me, then asked if my mother and sister could visit me. This seemed to work very nicely!

I had been meditating for approximately two months, and I was very fortunate to always be able to communicate with Mum and Linda. On this day, when I began my meditation, I did not see Linda or mother; however, inspired thoughts came into my mind, similar to how they appeared in San Francisco. I thought this was strange but continued to write down all the inspirational thoughts as quickly as I received them.


Love Is A Verb


A wonderful world awaits you on the other side. Once you know and understand it, it changes your life so much, that you are not afraid of anything—not even death. You can call it Heaven if you like, whatever you imagine Heaven to be; that is what the world is like when you pass over. It is a place full of love. It is a place where you continue to learn and develop love.

Love is a verb, an act of doing: I love, you love, we all should love; all should love one another. That is all. That is all there is to learn in this life and in the afterlife. Learn to love one another and you will live the greatest life of all. Jesus, Gandhi, Mohamed, Mother Theresa, all preached love, and they are here in the afterlife teaching love, just like they did on earth. You don't change your thoughts or philosophy when you cross over. You take these with you. Some have more to learn when they cross over because they did not learn it when they were there. They continue to grow and evolve as a spirit.

Sometimes it may mean you have to come down back to earth again and learn that lesson again.

Sometimes you can learn them up here, but the greatest challenges and learning experiences come from your time on earth because you have obstacles such as temptations, lust, greed, etc. to overcome. These temptations are not here in the afterlife because they are only relevant to the physical body, which of course you lose when you pass over. Love is the essential or essence of life in your world and the after world. It is such a simple word, yet its meaning is ten-fold. Love is a verb; love one another. The act of loving, forgiveness, understanding, caring, and nurturing are all the words that represent and mean all what is good in life.

Discover your soul’s journey; discover your own journey. It is the most exciting thing in the world. It will become part of you and your life. By that I mean, everything you do will have a purpose, a meaning. Your whole existence will make sense once you discover the meaning of your life. It is the same meaning for everyone. Your life's purpose on this earth: we are here to love and be loved.

Love everyone, not just your family and friends, which is the easy piece. But to love everyone, people who come into your daily life, even if it is only for a moment, make that moment special and show your love. A one second smile at a stranger can brighten that person’s day. A genuine thank you to someone goes a long way and will make them feel special. Here you will find that they have helped you in more ways than you know. By saying a special thank you to them, or a 'good morning' to a stranger, it will leave you with a feeling of love and warmth that you made someone else's day brighter, and there is no more reward greater than that.

Life is so simple if only people didn't complicate it by making assessments of others. Assessing others is the mirror of the depth of the pain that is within your own self. You are projecting outward what is inside of you, making that pain inflict itself onto another person for a short-term fix of making you feel better. It is a cop out, as the expression goes. Instead, learn to love that other person and see the good in them, for it is you who put the bad in others by verbally bringing it out in your words and actions. So I say to you, as the great teachers such as Jesus, Mohamed, Gandhi and Mother Theresa, love one another for there is no greater gift on earth than love.

Thank you for today's sermon. I hope you have enjoyed it and that it has given you food for thought for your journey ahead. God bless each and every one of you.


As this sermon came to an end, I listened for a sound or an image to appear of either Linda or mother. It did not feel like Mum or Linda communicating with me. I sensed a male energy, and an image of a monk came into my mind. I felt very comfortable and at ease with this new energy. When I came out of the meditation, and said my closing prayer, I thanked the kind spirit who came that day and gave me this inspirational writing.


What Is Heaven Like?


What is Heaven like? I wondered. Like most people, this thought had crossed my mind many times. Since losing my loved ones, I was curious about Heaven. Could Linda tell me? Would she? I am certain that Linda, in her human body, would want to know. My idyllic view of Heaven is a perfect place full of love and kindness. People often use the words “Heaven” and ‘Heavenly” to describe something that tastes, feels, or looks wonderful. For example, if you eat something delicious, you may say, "It tastes like Heaven." Heaven is a place where everything is more “Heavenly.”

Could it be possible that Mum or Linda could describe Heaven to me? Or, was it off limits? I closed my eyes and prepared to meditate. I saw Linda's face appear and almost immediately she started talking about Heaven. She had been listening to my thoughts.


View DetailsLinda: It is like a balcony: people hover over it looking down at earth waiting to see if they have been called in. There are classrooms off the hallways that you have to go into and learn. Some of them are like classrooms on the earth, like most classes with desks they want you to sit in them. Some of the advanced souls get to go to executive-style rooms with a conference room, and then beyond that, it is like something out of the Roman days where they sit around and talk about philosophy. On days when many are learning for want of a better word, their souls link, into something of a universal system, and they learn as one.