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In Loving Memory

My uncle Derrick passed away a couple weeks ago. He has been in my life since I was a teenager and although he has had a cancer diagnosis for as long as I can remember, it didn’t affect his life for a majority of that time. It wasn’t until last year when it started to flare up again and when his son died suddenly in the fall, that his body and heart decided to follow not too far behind.


As a medium, grief is an interesting concept. Although I know that Derrick is already reunited with his son and enjoying his new space in heaven, my heart is still heavy with missing his physical presence, and even more when I think of my aunt now being alone. When tragedy strikes, I, like most of us, want to offer assistance in any way I can. We often find ourselves calling, texting or posting our condolences and prayers that end with: “please let me know if you need anything at all.”


In my experience with supporting many clients, family members, friends and myself through grief, I have found that during times of depression, anxiety or grief, reaching out to ask for help is one of the hardest and most daunting tasks we can do. Your world has been turned upside down and everything as you’ve known it has stopped while everyone around you seems to be moving forward. One of my favorite books, Option B, shares that when tragedy strikes someone you love, find a way to show up for them in which they don’t have to ask. I know that flowers sound like a nice gesture, but what clients share over and over again is that when those flowers die, finding the energy to throw them away feels like an even bigger task. Since flowers inevitably will arrive, a great way to show up is to arrive a week later with a big trash bag and throw them all away. Clients have shared that something better than flowers is planting a tree in their loved ones honor, or getting a bench donated in a spot they love, making their favorite meal and bringing it over, or if you’re far away, just taking a photo and sharing that you’re thinking of them.


I no longer live in the same state as my aunt and uncle, which made it hard for me to know what to do. Yes, I know I will get to connect with his soul and share the messages, but I usually like to give souls about six weeks to settle into their new home before connecting. It helps them be a bit more clear in their signs so that I can deliver exactly what it is they want me to share.


In the meantime, I wanted to do something but wasn’t sure what. My first inkling was to jump on a plane and be there for my aunt. She had decided to fly to Chicago right after his passing to be with our family and I was determined to join. But then my intuition softly reminded me what so many clients share with me. In the beginning is when they always receive the most support; that’s when the flowers, condolences and meals arrive and everyone is worried about them and asking how they are. But then, after a while, they return to their lives while yours still feels hollow and incomplete. And that is when they need the next batch of love. That’s when the grief begins to move through in larger waves.


So, I decided to postpone my trip and fly out in two months, when those things have slowed down so that I can be there to still talk about him and to also talk to her about how she is feeling. My clients share over and over again that they just want to be able to talk about the person they have lost without it being a sob story. They want to laugh or cry when thinking of the memories they shared and for their stories to still live on. I am excited to head back to Los Angeles and take my aunt on a spa day so we can share stories and eat delicious food just like Derrick would want us to. In the meantime, I will continue to talk to his soul and look out for his signs he is sending—he really loves red cardinals! And I listen for any needs that may arise with my aunt. For example, the day after he passed, she shared that the only thing she needed to do was get his remains cremated. So, I offered to find her a crematorium and her friend supported her in filling out the paperwork. What took me an hour of time, would have taken her days to focus on. Sometimes the small things like offering to help in seemingly mundane tasks can go a lot further than you think.


As my aunt moves through her grief process I am ensuring I also allow my own grief to rise and fall and welcome it with open arms, for holding onto it only brings more sorrow. I will truly miss his beautiful smile and his love of key lime pie! But I will especially miss how much he made my aunt smile. Grief is a beautiful roller coaster in that way, with the beautiful highs of memories and the deep lows of loss, and all of the in-betweens.


Thank you for your beautiful life you led Derrick, I am so glad that you are free and loving your new digs and I know your light will continue to shine forever here on earth.


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