The making of Escorting the dead: My life as a psychopomp

ovaldoveSo, the book is out there, and I’ll admit I have mixed emotions about it. Let me explain…my initial reaction was to write the book from the perspective of an outsider. I was going to be interviewing someone else, rather than making it so autobiographical. However, during the course of my writing this and pulling all the pieces of the book together, several people close to me died.

The best way I had of working through my feelings of loss was to write about them. This has always been my way. I express myself through words, rather than tears or hugs. (Oh, there are plenty of those, too, but when showing emotions physically, I find I have no words. If you want to know why I’m hugging you, you’d best read the note I’m probably handing you along with the hug.) So, here I was writing away my sorrows, and before I knew it, I had at least half a book going, though not quite the book I started out to write.

While I wanted to write about those of us who help others make the transition between life and death, I certainly didn’t want to be the focus of the book. But, here it was half done…and to try to rewrite it so that I wasn’t the lead would, (I felt) remove some of the honesty and authenticity. With the information already being slightly on the fantastical side, I certainly needed as much authenticity as I could get. Writing from the heart is the best way to get that honesty, and that’s what I was doing. So, I kept on writing, alternately wondering if I was being egotistical or foolish. After all, complete strangers, as well as close friends might read this, and I couldn’t even begin to imagine what they might think of me once they did.

At one point during the creation of this book, the anxiety became too much, and I found myself not sleeping and unable to eat. Then one morning, one of those who had recently died came to me. She stood in the doorway between the sun porch and the kitchen and wagged her finger at me. A moment later, I felt a warming embrace surround me, and the words, “Trust us…” slipped past my ear.

I let the anxiety go, and went back to work on the book. When I seemed at a loss for what to say, words seemed to just form themselves in my head. It seemed as if I wasn’t the only one who wanted this information shared. The more I began to trust, the easier the words flowed. What had begun out of self-interest, now seemed to have a fuller purpose.

One night as I neared the end of this project, I again began questioning whether I should publish the information. After all, I work in a rather staid, conservative industry at a very conservative firm. The last thing I wanted to do (especially in this economy) was to get myself fired because they thought I was a crazy person on the edge of lunacy. However, when I finally fell asleep I found myself surrounded by a bright white light and encircled by about 8 or 10 of my “crew”. The feelings of support and acceptance were strong, and the message was very clear. This is what I need to do.

So, the next morning, bolstered again, I went back to the computer and let the words flow.  And flow they did, until the pages were filled with information and memories.

If it helps even just one person, then I can say it was worth it, because that was the purpose: to help people understand about death, so that their lives (and deaths) can be filled with hope and love, instead of fear and anxiety.

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7 thoughts on “The making of Escorting the dead: My life as a psychopomp

  1. U have a very nice weblog over here. I just wanna thank you for all the interesting info on it. I’ll follow your weblog if you keep up the good work!

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