This is what happens when Death embraces life. Watch the video for a light-hearted look at what happens when Death encounters the youthful passion and innocence of a child. [click here]
This is what happens when Death embraces life. Watch the video for a light-hearted look at what happens when Death encounters the youthful passion and innocence of a child. [click here]
I’m going to use my blog to answer some of the questions that I have been getting during my presentations and talks.
Q: Does everything stay the same when you die? Even if you don’t realize that you’re dead?
I have to say yes, sometimes people don’t realize that they’re dead. To them the world has continued, but for reasons unknown (or unwilling to be recognized by them) others no longer respond to them.
We (those of us working as psychopomps or guides) do not let this remain for long. We work with the soul to get them to accept that their physical lives are over and that it’s time to move on. Here’s an example of such an experience:
The book shop had been her life, and no amount of coaxing from me was going to make her leave it. She had been 42 and the mother of one. Married, her husband was at home with their son while she had been busy working at her book store. It had been her life, more so than anything else. Unfortunately, she had had an aneurysm and died almost instantly. In fact, it was so sudden and unexpected that she hadn’t yet registered that she no longer had a physical presence.
At the moment I arrived, she was upset that there was a body on the floor behind the counter of her shop, and she was dithering at me about wanting to call the police. The body was face down, so I sort of understood why she wasn’t recognizing herself. But even so, the clothing, the hair color and style, and even the shape of the body should have been giving her some idea of who the person was. Yet, she still could not, would not, comprehend that it was her.
Instead, we played this game of her demanding that I call the police while she tried to revive the poor woman. Of course, I did not call the police, and she had no way of reviving the poor woman. And once she began to realize that she could not touch the woman, let alone turn her over for resuscitation, the harsh reality of her situation started to come clear to her.
I was almost feeling sorry for her, until she again refused to come with me. I thought perhaps she was concerned about leaving her family with no notice; however, while she did hope that her husband and son wouldn’t be too upset with her, that wasn’t her problem. No, her crisis was in leaving the book store.
She was afraid that if she left with me, her husband would get rid of her dream. She loved that book store. She had sacrificed a lot to buy it, build it up, and keep it going. In her mind, her family had never appreciated it, nor had they appreciated how hard she had worked to make it so profitable. She had struggled against the big, generic book stores that had come to town, and she had won. She had beat out most of the competitors in her little town, but most of all, she just plain loved that book store.
To her, her son and husband were all about sports, NASCAR, and hunting, while she was all about books and reading. So, no matter what I said about it being time to move on, no matter how I tried to explain that she was no longer physical and that what happened to the store was no longer up to her, she refused to go.
This is how hauntings get reported. This is how people start talking about ghosts. She was so attached to that book store, so insistent on making sure that the book shop remain in the family (even though she knew that neither her husband nor son cared for it or for books in general) that she wouldn’t let go.
She so wanted someone to care about that shop as much as she had, as much as she still did. And as long as that connection was so strong, I knew it was going to be very difficult to get her leave.
I finally convinced her to go into the back room to her office. However, when she stepped into the back room, it was one I had created. I don’t like to trick people, but I really needed her to move away from the physical store. So, now she was haunting a replica of her book store, a copy that existed in the transition level. I created a copy so exact that I even included a replica of the body that she wouldn’t acknowledge as hers.
For her to acknowledge that she was dead so she could move on, she needed to go through the whole scenario of the body being found, identified, examined, and buried. However, by doing it in the astral plane, there was more control over the situation, and more help available to her. Leaving her wandering the physical book shop would have only prolonged her agony, and that of her family.
Once she figured out and accepted (more or less) that she had died, she opted to return to the physical plane almost immediately. She had no patience for working through any of her lessons or issues from that life, nor did she care to do much planning for the next one. She’s one of those souls that is very tied to the physical world and what it has to offer, and so that’s where she wanted to be.
Summary: “The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where one ends, and where the other begins?” –Edgar Allan Poe
Juniper Townsend died of carbon monoxide poisoning at the ripe, old age of 22.
However, death isn’t the end. In Limbo, she finds a foggy wasteland and strange creatures. She also discovers that during night hours, she can walk among the living. But there are rules. Never influence destiny. Never interfere, because the consequences are dire.
Will she sacrifice eternal freedom to save the innocent?
Recommendation: Love it!
Review: This is one of the best novellas I have read in a long time. It’s quick (unfortunately too quick for me) and eerie and fun at the same time.
Juniper (the protagonist) along with all of the other characters were so real, I felt as if I knew them. From the moment the story starts, the author begins building a world that is both recognizable and bizarre.
A recently deceased Juniper wanders through this strange existence searching for answers and purpose. As she does, she encounters Cricket, but although Cricket appears harmless, is she really what she seems? Juniper also runs into a man named Gareth, who, while seemingly friendly, hangs around with jackals and has claws for hands.
While Juniper struggles to figure out not only where she is, but why she hasn’t moved on to whatever lies beyond death, she decides to attempt to interfere in the ‘real world.’ Her best friend is being abused by her boyfriend, so Juniper decides to intervene. However, things don’t work out exactly as planned. The more Juniper tries to interfere in the real world, the more trouble she creates for herself in the strange between-world in which she is trapped.
The world and characters that the author built are believable, exciting, and above all, relatable. In fact, they are so relatable that I wanted to jump in and help Juniper achieve her goals. That’s the kind of writing that makes a great story.
Unfortunately, the story ended much too soon, and I had to say goodbye to Juniper, Cricket, and everyone else in this marvelous land of the dead that Lea had created.
So, if you get a chance, grab a copy of What the Dead Fear (it’s free on Amazon) and read it through. You won’t be sorry.
About the author:
Lea Ryan is the author of several books and stories. She writes about the strange and the dark, as well as the light and love and strives to immerse readers in vivid fictional worlds. She currently lives in Indiana with assorted family members and various pets.
Website and blog – https://authorlearyan.wordpress.com/
Newsletter Signup – http://eepurl.com/dvlSxn
ellisnelson conducted an interview with TA Sullivan about her book Escorting the Dead: My Life as a Psychopomp, and we have republished it here for you to read.
AN INTERVIEW WITH TA SULLIVAN
One of my favorite movies is The Ghost and Mrs. Muir starring Rex Harrison (1947). In it, the ghost of a sea captain comes back for Lucy when she’s ready to pass. I always loved that he came back for her when it was time. Many of us will have heard stories about people getting close to death who see their loved ones, or sometimes angels. Beautiful, satisfying stories. But what if they’re not stories? What if that’s precisely what happens for many of us?
I recently finished “Escorting the Dead: My Life as a Psychopomp” by TA Sullivan. It’s a fascinating read about her experience as a death escort for the recently departed. As a child she was sensitive, but it wasn’t until she had her own near-death experience (NDE) that her life took a turn and she started to train as a guide for the dead.
Please welcome author and photographer, TA Sullivan. Thank you for agreeing to talk about what is a difficult subject for many.
Can you briefly describe your NDE when you were hit by a van? How old were you then?
What I remember most about the NDE are the emotions—the feelings of loving acceptance and joy that surrounded me like a warm comforter on a cold day. But what stayed with me the most, was the feeling that I was finally at home.
As for my age…well, I was old enough to know better, yet young enough to ignore my own advice. I’d just hit my mid-forties and had no idea what a crazy ride life had in store for me on the other side of that mid-point.
At the time of the accident, had you been exploring any deep philosophical questions or were you at a turning point in your life?
At the time of the accident, my life was in a bit of a turmoil. My mother had just died, my spouse and I had just relocated (changing states and jobs), and one of my close friends had just been diagnosed with cancer.
With everything that was going on in my life, I was feeling somewhat uncentered and scattered. The accident and accompanying experience, actually helped me put things back in perspective. It made me realize just what was important and what wasn’t.
What is the basic role of a psychopomp?
We ensure that the death experience is what the soul (person) wants.
Think of your life as a movie extravaganza, where you are the director and star. The psychopomp would then be the set designer, prop master, and extra in your death scene.
Can anyone take on the role of psychopomp or must a contract be in place prior to an incarnation?
Anyone can function as a psychopomp at any point during their lifetime without making it a full-time commitment, such as I have done. Someone can ask you (at a soul level) if you would be there for them when they die. Often, it is referred to it as a shared death experience. Whatever name you give it doesn’t really matter, though; not as much as your being there for someone who needs you and your support during that transitional period.
What have you learned as an escort that could help alleviate people’s crippling fear of death?
That life is eternal. It doesn’t stop just because the body dies.
This isn’t some abstract belief based on religious teachings. It’s a belief born of experience. I’ve been there (multiple times), and so have you…you have simply forgotten. Let yourself remember. Remember the encompassing feelings of love and compassion; remember the feelings of acceptance and peace; and remember the feelings of belonging.
If you want to help someone overcome their fear, just give them love. John Lennon said it best, all you need is love. Believe in the love, and the fear will disappear.
What are some healthy ways to communicate with loved ones who have died that won’t create the negative energetic cords you caution against?
Communicate, but don’t cling.
Love them, but without strings.
In other words, accept that they are physically dead and not a part of your reality anymore.
Speak to them, if it helps you. But don’t cling to expectations of getting a response or seeing a ‘sign.’ You all have to move on. After all, some souls may wait for you (as depicted in the movie ‘The Ghost and Mrs. Muir’—one of my all-time favorites, also), but others may move on to take on new lives and new families. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you; it only means that things need to change.
Also, don’t expect literal responses to your communications. After all, once released from the physical constraints of our world, most souls aren’t all that concerned with where they stored the insurance policy you can’t find or where they hid that winning lottery ticket.
What is the most satisfying aspect of acting as a psychopomp? What is the most challenging?
The most satisfying part of being a psychopomp is seeing a transitioned soul awaken. It’s the moment that a transitioned soul realizes that he/she isn’t confined by who or what he/she was on Earth. It’s when the soul suddenly recognizes that he/she is more than just Billy Ray, husband and father, or Mary Francis, business woman and wife. When they see the bigger picture, the awe and wonder expressed by them is wondrous. It’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever experienced.
The most challenging part of being a death escort is not interfering. I mean, it’s human nature to want to help; yet, if someone wants to believe that they are completely alone when they die, then we have to remain hidden. Or if someone wants to experience excruciating pain (emotional, mental, or physical); then we have to let them, even though we know we could help them alleviate or overcome it.
Is the work energetically draining? Do you wake up exhausted?
There are times when I’m so drained by an experience that I just want to spend the next day in bed or simply lazing around the house. But there are other times, times such as when you get to see and share that awe of awakening with a soul, that it energizes and elevates you. Then the next day seems brighter and nicer, and I feel more energetic and full of hope and joy.
How do you protect yourself emotionally in difficult cases (i.e. deaths of children, murders, accidents, etc.)?
I used to find myself emotionally drained and my aura shredded from all the turmoil that I encountered. However, as I’ve grown into this role, I’ve learned more (and better) techniques for creating safeguards (barriers, cocoons, walls) around myself to keep the backlash of emotions away.
When you touch someone to see what type of experience they want, you need to have a filter, of sorts, in place. This ‘filter’ enables you to keep out the physical and emotional trauma that the person may be going through so that you can focus on what the lesson is the soul is trying to create.
The filter is like any other barrier that many empaths and intuitives instinctively learn to erect around themselves. It allows a limited amount of energy from other people to filter through…just enough so that the empath or intuitive can relate, but not so much that they feel overwhelmed. In the case of death escorts, we must learn to focus these filters so that we can pluck out the information we need without becoming overwhelmed by the situation or the people participating in it.
Do you know anyone else (in person or online) who is doing this work? Is it lonely or isolating?
I met another death escort online a while back. He had shared a comment on an online article, and something about the way he worded things sort of gave me a start. So, I contacted him directly and as we chatted, we recognized the shared connection. It was nice being able to discuss things with someone who understood the ups and downs of this ‘job,’ and who grasped why we wanted to do it, anyway. We also shared some of the ways it brings weirdness into our otherwise mundane lives (getting pulled across in the middle of the day, which might mean telling your boss you’re not feeling well, so you can answer the ‘call,’ that sort of thing).
We continue to communicate once in a while. In fact, he’s even found a couple more like us, so we now have a group of 5 that we can share our triumphs and sorrows with. It’s nice. We were a group of 6 for a very short while; however, TJ died soon after joining our group and my friend had the privilege of escorting him across. Very surreal.
What are you currently working on?
My current writing project is book 2 of my paranormal romance series.
The first book, “The Past Rekindled,” will be coming out this November. “The Past Rekindled” has Terra McGinley dividing her time between writing how-to procedures and escorting visitors to the astral plane. Her new partner is a by-the-book, hard-to-deal-with transitioner with a secret, whom she finds attractive, yet exasperating. But when one of her charges contacts Terra directly for help, she encounters Death, who has his own plans for her. Now she must decide who she can trust with her life and her heart – past love or new partner?
It kind of reflects my own life (but without all the drama), inasmuch as I’m also a techwriter and a death escort, but Terra has a much more twisted sense of humor than I do…
Thanks for joining me today to talk about your role as a psychopomp and your writing! For more about TA Sullivan’s work and books, check out her links below.
My blog, Tas Through the Looking Glass, can be found at https://taslookingglass.wordpress.com/ and contains book reviews, essays on the paranormal, and wanderings of my mind. I also have another blog called Insights and Awareness (https://michaelreadings.wordpress.com/), which is a cosmic Q & A site—I, and other intuitives and psychics try to answer readers’ questions.
Seeing loved ones, angels, or other guides to the afterlife is a common occurrence for those who are dying. However, many living (and healthy) people find the concept ludicrous, frightening, or just plain fanciful. Yet, ask any hospice worker or doctor and you will find that they have hundreds of stories showing just how often this occurs.
Is it simply a daydream, nightmare, or hallucination induced by the dying mind or the drugs? Not according to most doctors and nurses.
As a psychopomp who escorts the dead to the afterlife, I’ve often been the stand-in for some loved one that the dead and dying expect to see–a loved one who has already moved on to another life or who is otherwise ‘unavailable’ to make an appearance.
You can read more about end-of-life experiences and people’s reactions to them, here:
A friend (Thank you, Ellis) shared an article with me about shared death experiences. These are events in which people are contacted by someone they know (friend, relative, business partner, etc.) at the friend’s or loved one’s moment of death.
The article gives several anecdotal examples of this phenomena interspersed with opinions from different ‘experts’ expressing both pros and cons as to the authenticity of such experiences. The article is (to me, anyway) extremely fascinating and reaffirming.
You see, I’ve been on both sides these types of experiences. As a psychopomp, I’ve been the one who has helped the dead visit their still living friends and family in order to say a last goodbye. And, I’ve been the one who was visited. In fact, as an adult, I’ve had a number of people visit me as they die. But three of them stand out.
One of the most outstanding of the three visits was the Halloween night my mother-in-law came to call.
My mother-in-law was one of the most caring and accepting people, and my spouse and I loved visiting with her. When she became ill, the whole family gathered at the hospital dreading the worst, but hoping for the best. After several days, she seemed to be getting better, and Dale and I headed back home to get some rest, change clothes, and check in with our pets before returning. We were at home for only a few hours, when the dog began acting oddly. He was lying by our feet as we sat at the kitchen table, but he kept raising his head to stare at the foyer. He’d put is head down; then a few moments later, he’d stare at the foyer. This went on for a minute or two, and after peering at the door and seeing nothing, I finally got up and went into the foyer.
I immediately felt chilled, and being late fall, I presumed the door was open. I pushed at the door, but it was firmly closed. I shrugged and was about to return to the kitchen, when I saw her. My mother-in-law stood on the other side of the foyer from me. She smiled and opened her arms as if to hug me. I took a step closer to her, while trying to find enough voice to call my spouse to come. The dog stood staring at the apparition, his head cocked to one side. When my husband joined me, his mother mouthed, “I love you,” and then she was gone.
Soon afterward, the phone rang and we knew it was the hospital calling to tell us that my spouse’s mom had died.
That experience opened my eyes, my mind, and my soul to the recognition that life is more than just what we see in front of us.
The other two visits that I find extremely memorable were from a dear friend and my sister-in-law. Both of these visits came during points in my life when I needed encouragement and support. While both of these visits provided that, they also gave me comfort, peace, and the determination to continue my goal, which was to publish the story of my near-death experience.
My friend was one of the few people who knew of my near-death experience. She was one of the few people who also knew of the other paranormal experiences I had had through the years. We had a shared love of paranormal, philosophy, and science, so always spent hours in long, thought-provoking discussions. When she was diagnosed with cancer, our discussions took on more somber tones. I shared with her all my beliefs of a continued existence based on everything I had experienced and read, and she clung to that like a drowning victim clings to a life ring.
When she called and said the cancer was in remission, we both celebrated. Our lives went on, our heartfelt discussions continued, and everything was as it should be.
Months after her remission diagnosis, I was surprised to look up from my computer to find her standing in the doorway to my sunroom. I had been staring at my computer screen debating the wisdom of writing about my NDE. I hadn’t heard the door bell, nor had I heard her come in. Yet, there she was, all smiles and as radiant as a new bride. Her brown eyes were shining and happy, and she said, “Do it, Trish. Write about it; all of it. ‘Cuz you were right. It is beautiful over here.”
I was so dumbfounded, I didn’t know what to say. Then she said, “Tell my sister, I’m sorry.” I nodded, and she whispered, “I love you, friend.” Then she held up her hand, palm toward me, and a moment later she disappeared.
My experience with my sister-in-law was similar, except all the more shocking because I didn’t know she was ill. She had injured herself in a fall, so was in the hospital. I had completed my story regarding my NDE, but was having second thoughts about actually publishing it. I had just turned off the computer and was turning to leave my home office, when I felt a chill. A moment later my sister-in-law shimmered into view. (And yes, it was a definite shimmer. Very much like a heat curtain that sometimes appears above a very hot road.). She didn’t so much speak to me, as she smiled, and then nodded. A sort of peace fell over me and I just knew that publishing the book was the right thing to do. As that thought flowed through me, her smile grew bigger, and she mouthed the word, “Yes.” She, then disappeared.
So, can we and do we share our deaths with others? I certainly believe so. Is there a continuation of life after we die? I certainly believe that, too.
But what do you believe? And why? Have you ever had the chance to say goodbye to someone when they’ve died? Have you somehow just known the moment a friend or loved one has died?
What are your experiences?
Death is a part of life, no matter how much we shy away from it.
I’ve recently been asked by multiple people how I stay so positive while going through something so difficult and challenging. If I’m being completely honest, the answer is quite simple- accepting that death may come a little sooner than you had once anticipated.
I know death is a difficult subject. The majority of people have a hard time accepting the death of a loved one or dear friend, let alone their own death. It is too often seen as the worst possible outcome.
Perhaps if it was seen in a more positive light those who suffer/suffered from a physical illness could live a happier and more fulfilling life.
I’m not saying it’s an easy pill to swallow. It’s not like I woke up one morning and decided that I was okay with my life ending at such a young age. It took a few months, and much thought but I…
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