Yesterday I went to the wake of a friend’s husband.  She was in the midst of the emotional turmoil that surely accompanies any one in that moment. Standing in front of the casket greeting people with tears and hugs desperately trying to hold it together. His diagnosis only a week earlier, he left this world quickly.

We worked on the inpatient hospice unit together many moons ago.  She and I have since become grocery store friends, running into each other exchanging hugs and updates on the events in our lives.  Sometimes friendships can be as simple as that.  A hug.

Working in hospice both of us have witnessed much in the way death comes and the aftermath of emotion that ensues the left behind living.  You don’t become immune to it, it is just different to be a professional in death and dying, an observer, a helper of sorts.  But when death becomes personal it reminds us that we too are deeply touched by its presence on another level.  It is a journey we all witness, a journey we all will ultimately take.

Recently someone asked me “How do you do this?”  I can only say that death for me is a bittersweet moment.  I often feel relief for the person who had passed into the Afterlife, restored to their Spiritual being, whole, no longer suffering. Now unconditionally LOVED  in GOD’s world.  That I am truly grateful, but I am also human, my human heart breaks over and over again when someone leaves the emptiness we feel.

Grief takes residence in our brokenness; it brings unbearable moments of deep emotions that may bring us to our knees.  Grief is the great releaser of sadness, it provides a way to empty out the broken heart, so that at some point the heart can rebuild itself, heal into a new version of itself.  Grief is always present, sometimes it is loud and demands every ounce of our attention, other times it is soft and reminds us of the LOVE we shared and still do.

I often say the bonds of Love are never broken, Love is never destroyed, Love is the fabric of our very existence.  Grief reminds us how important Love is.

My friend embraced me in a seemingly endless hug, held tight my hand.  Love embraced us, two friends opening our hearts to the journey of grief.

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Change is the only constant in our lives.  November has arrived and with it the early morning brisk sunrises, the hope that the sun will warm us as he passes along his path.  Sweatshirts and jeans are calling from my closet, a hot cup of tea, a snuggle with the dog. Part of me mourns the passing of the warmer days, I keep my window open at night listening to songs of the creatures who grace the darkness.  The colder nights they become quieter, the songs recede, the stars twinkle brighter in the depths of colder skies.

Change is coming, change is only the flow of life through the passing of the seasons.  In our world time is linear, the sunrises and then sets, the moon’s phases mark the month, the earth mirrors back to us the passage of time with her seasons.

In hospice I watch the final seasons evolve to a higher plane of existence. My little lady lies in wait, her body finding winter, cold and barren, her breathing shallow as if to question whether to see another sunrise, another phase of the moon.  She lies in waiting, no longer hunger urging her, no longer consumed with the worries of humans, no longer aging.  She waits for the moment, when all of her thoughts turn from this world to the next.  She waits for the leap of faith, the walking from this world to the next, the leaving behind the mortal flesh with gratitude and no regrets.  Her life’s work accomplished, she survived the changes and challenges that life demanded of her.  Her legacy of heart, sweet and endeared to be remembered.

We wait for the change; we lay witness to her transition.  I kiss her forehead ever grateful for the honor of sharing her journey.  She and I have come full circle.  She and I have completed the spiritual agreement laid in place eons ago, and now it is fulfilled.

The change is coming, and the world will be a better place for it, bittersweet our human hearts, joyful our spiritual hearts.

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Saving Each Other


Sometimes the Soul speaks. I have a patient who has Parkinson’s disease, she has expressive aphasia, she has thoughts she cannot put into words. This causes her a great deal of frustration.  Last week she decided she had had enough and want to go to the hospital to die. We talked about this choice and that perhaps going to the hospital doesn’t always equate into death. We talked about her frustrations, and her loss of self-control, the tremors, the inability to walk, the need to be fed.  I acknowledged all of these things, she cried and released a lot of pent up emotion, wordless expression of her sorrow. I sat with her and held her hand. Her husband sat silently in his recliner listening to the interaction. By the end of the visit she felt calmer, peace had found an entry way into her sadness.

Yesterday I visited again, she asked me this “When did you move back from California?” Her words were clear and concise. At first, I was confused and offered, “I only visited last Spring, two of my children live there…” Thinking perhaps she had confused my vacation time away from her.

Then she looked me right in the eye, there was a light in hers I hadn’t seen before and she said, “You don’t remember- do you?” Now I was totally intrigued, magic was afoot, her soul was speaking…

“Tell me what I have forgotten…” I encouraged her.

“You saved me once before.  When I was a young girl you came and saved me.”


“I was going to commit suicide and you saved me.  And now I have three beautiful children and Bob!”

It was a huge statement; I wasn’t sure how to process it.  My mind reeling, she is 89 years old, 32 years my senior.  Mathematically impossible, at least in my current form.

I replied, “I am so glad we are together again.”

We talked a little about why people choose to take their own lives, to stop the pain and suffering they find unending.  We talked a bit about how the ones left behind are left in that pain, and how it breeds sadness for everyone.  She nodded her head, she understood that now.

We sat in silence, I held her hand, the soul light receded from her eyes.  She complained she was uncomfortable, I repositioned her with pillows, she closed her eyes to nap.

I later spoke with a friend who suggested that I had indeed intervened, as a different person, in a different lifetime for me, and now it has come full circle, as now she is fulfilling her life and I am walking her home.

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Sometimes there are moments you cannot deny are signs from Spirit. You can say they’re mere coincidences, but your heart knows different.

One of my patient’s sons told me this story: his mom had passed away a few years ago.  She had a favorite song, but he couldn’t remember the name of it.  He was upstairs cleaning before the funeral and thinking about the song and a book fell off the shelf, after it a post- it note fluttered to the ground.  When he picked it up, he read the words “You are the wind beneath my wings.” They played this song at his mom’s funeral.  A few months later he was in his car thinking about her, he asked out loud if she was ok, he just needed to know. He turned on the radio and the words “You are the wind beneath my wings…” sang to him.  He smiled at me when he told me this, his mind struggled with the idea that this really happened, but his heart knew.

Just the other day my neighbor was celebrating her birthday.  Her son died two years ago; every celebration is bittersweet for her. My son and I were picking out a card for her, my son picked one with birds and words of encouragement- it was a beautiful card, so our search was done. When we got home, I asked him to sign it and when I looked at the bottom left corner of the card, I realized there was a bible verse, which I hadn’t really noticed before, it was from the book of James. This is her son’s name. He had already signed it.  What a lovely gift for his Mom.

Our lives are full of Love and Support from the Spirit World.  If we remain open, we will see not only with our eyes but our hearts that the bonds of Love are never broken and our Loved Ones remain in the Heart of God.

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Song of the heart


I am having repairs done to my house due to water damage.  A lot of new people in and out of my house. Recently a contractor asked me what I did for work, I told him I am a hospice nurse. He caught my gaze and said, “Oh you do God’s work!”  It was sweet to be validated, but it made me think-don’t we all do God’s work? I believe we are all children of God, the Divine, the Source or whatever you choose to call the mystery of our being.

I truly believe we all do God’s work, and that’s why we are here.  Whenever we are kind, loving, compassionate, we are doing God’s work.  Whenever we stop to listen to someone who feels forgotten, give a hug to someone who longs for touch, or show up on a Sunday to stop a burst pipe, we are doing God’s work.  The plumber who arrived to help me was an angel in my eyes.

We often don’t give ourselves credit for the Divine Beings we are, a Light Body Spirit wrapped in a Biological Body of miraculous complications.  Life is messy, very messy.  When we stop and help others, we are doing God’s work whether it is our paid job or not.  God gave life to everyone of us because he believed in us.  He believed that we are worthy of this gift.  He gifted us freewill to explore and create and expand the Divine Love he sent us here with.  There are endless ways to express this, all are equally important, all are God’s work.

So, I am so grateful for all the people who have showed up to help me, because without them I would not be able to do the work God asks of me. We lift each other up into the Light. We care for each other. Kindness has no downside; it is the song of a compassionate heart.  It is a song we can all sing while doing God’s work.

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The Dress


I have a hospice patient who is dying, I know, this is what they are supposed to do, but my heart breaks for her husband.  She is his one and only, no children. Her decline has been both fast and slow, but I feel as though we are coming very close.

Last week during a visit she had her eyes closed and a smile on her face.  I asked her why.  She asked me if the girl who was with me was my daughter. I asked, “Is this what you are seeing with your eyes closed?” She replied yes and describe the girl with brown hair.  This is the first time that a patient has shared with me seeing spirit that isn’t directly related to themselves.  It is not uncommon for a patient to see their own family members prior to death and in fact she had seen her own Mother the previous week.  I don’t have a daughter in spirit from this life that I am aware of, but I do have a cousin who passed at 6 years old and she remains close to me in my work.  In any case it was a gift to me, knowing that my patient saw spirit beside me brings me comfort on so many levels.

Her husband then mentioned he wanted to get her a white dress.  He wanted her to look beautiful and send her off that way.  He said he was going to run to the local thrift store to look, I was pretty sure it had closed down and told him I had something in my closet he might like. I have one of those closets, like my mother before me, clothes from 30 years ago that don’t fit because my body has found a new form, but I just don’t want to part with things just yet.

I dropped off the lace ivory sheath, leaving it on the front door handle as he had run to do a few errands. The next day when I returned his eyes lit up and he was so grateful, the store no longer existed, and he had found nothing.  He showed me the matching sweater he wanted to pair with the dress, it was perfect. He said he couldn’t understand it how it seemed like this dress was meant for his wife, and yet it had come from me.  Looking at the pattern of the lace I realized it was hearts intertwined, yes it was perfect.

We cared for his wife and I complimented him on all his care, he said, “These things you can learn to do, but the sadness, that I don’t know what to do with it.” His eyes smiled through the pain, he walked into the kitchen dabbing at his eyes. I allowed him his privacy, he had shared what he could. I kissed his wife on her forehead goodbye and told her ‘I will see you tomorrow’.  She nodded her head yes; she is not ready yet.

Love is patient, Love is kind, Love is a lace dress adorned with hearts.


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Kindness by boat


I grew up on Cape Cod. Anyone who has been there knows that in Provincetown there is a large gay community.  Perhaps I should call it something else now but growing up that was how we referred to it as. In many ways it was a place where people could be themselves, often displaying their sexuality in flamboyant style.  I don’t really remember questioning my parents about this, it was just the way things were.  In our small-town miles away we had one man who had long blond ringlets and breasts.  He was always nervous and often avoided eye contact. I would see him at the post office, and I am almost certain I asked my mother about him, he confused me as a child.

My Father was a kind man often too much for his own good.  He brought home stray animals and lonely people.  He could have a hard shell but beneath it was mush. He had a small motor boat that we would go out on and fish.  On one such trip into the bay, the tide was coming in as we rode through the narrow creek out into the bay where the flounder were waiting for us.

In the mist of the oncoming tide maybe a quarter mile off shore stood two lone figures on a rapidly disappearing sandbar.  The water was rising, it was up to their waists and the look of distress on their faces became clearer the closer we got to them.  It was the man with the blond ringlets and breast and his friend.  They were beyond nervous and seeing four children in the boat there was a lot of silent adult dialogue exchanged between these men and my Father.

“I can’t swim!” the man said trembling with fear. My Father pulled them both into our boat and turned to the shore to return them to safety. They were beyond grateful.

My Father did not explain their predicament to us, we were children after all. He just did the right thing, the kind thing.  He rescued two men from a certain death, it was a profound moment.  I honestly think their sexuality confused my Father, but in that moment of need, what he saw was two people who needed help and kindness.  In that moment my Father became a hero to me. Kindness came home to live in my heart.

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When Fairies Fly


A friend died this week.  I hadn’t seen her in a long while, which is the case with most of my friends, we all have busy, busy lives. This friend I spent time with as our kids were growing up and I have fond memories of taking massage class together, Tia chi in the park, losing half the baked ziti out of the back of her husband’s pick-up truck on our way to the beach club picnic.  Both of us looking at the asphalt with the same thought, “well maybe, just maybe we could save some of it?” then bursting into fits of giggles and driving away.

She had a huge compassionate heart, she knew life was messy, she just kept going. One of the kindest things she did for me was after the attack in Oklahoma City I had called her and was crying, “Those poor people, those poor babies! We need to do something, what can we do?” I wanted to do a neighborhood gathering of donations, she had bigger aspirations and called me back within an hour.  She had gotten us a table at the town’s Earth Day celebration, radio time, even the mayor showed up, taking credit for her idea. We collected goods and monies and then these were taken to a drop off center.  I remember the organizer in awe saying we had made the single biggest monetary donation yet.  This was just one example of her impact. She was a pebble with many ripples.

Like all of us she had her challenges, but her heart was kind.  She loved fairies.  I found a necklace with a beautiful blue crystal. She was going through a major life crisis.  She called me not soon afterwards distraught saying the crystal had come loose and fell to the floor breaking in half. There was no way to repair it, but the fairy was intact.  I told her the crystal left because she had been healed and she didn’t need it anymore.  She loved the necklace and wore it for the next 22 years.

She gave me friendship, a sacred gift. Now she is flying home with the fairies.

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Slow Dance


Signs from spirit are lovely, yesterday when leaving for work a vibrant red cardinal swooped past me singing his song. Throughout my work day I saw the same four numbers that are specific to one of my loved ones in spirit. He often makes his presence known to me providing me with comfort as I move forward in this complex and often chaotic human form. My connection with Spirit and the Divine are my coping mechanism, it buoys me up through darkness offering me a “lifeline” to the Light. People often comment about how calm I am, but that is only because they cannot see the inner workings.  They believe I am so strong for all I have endured and the work I have chosen to do.  I am as flawed and broken as the next person.  My heart is broken often, in my line of work this is an occupational hazard, but I also know each time I am broken open and heal I am able to hold more love and light within my heart. But I am not without doubt, recently seeing that I am not the Sprite I use to be I wondered how much longer I could do hospice nursing, it can be physically demanding. I was in need of a backup plan… I often call out to Spirit for help… because I have learnt if you don’t ask you don’t receive…

Last night I had the sweetest dream…standing outside in the grass people were milling around and then I saw my beloved one standing off to the side.  He was healthy, handsome and so beautiful in my eyes. He smiled at me and began to sing…

“Wish I knew what was going on, seems so very long since we laughed together…”

His voice was wrapped in shades of blue…. I walked over and placed my head on his chest, I could feel the vibration of his song… He gently wrapped his arms around me, and we slow danced. I told him how much I love him when he sings to me…. I sing with him….

Later I am sitting in an all-white room sorting thru boxes.  I am perplexed because I need to find a job I can do and fulfill my obligation to the son I am raising…I pick a box and look into it.  My beloved one is standing next to me along with a woman also in spirit.  He says… “You are a writer, use your imagination.” It is the perfect answer to my question. His love and advice are pure.  He can see what I cannot. He sends me love from beyond because the bonds of love are never broken, ever.

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Ground Control


Falling asleep after a particularly challenging day at work my mind swirls around my hospice patients and the day’s events…I wonder if there is more I could have done to alleviate the suffering…it is not physical or emotional suffering that I see, these I can address on some level, it is spiritual pain.  This is a very personal pain, there are no drugs for this type of pain.

I drift into the land of dreams and find myself in an old house. There are numerous guitars lying around, I go on the hunt to find one I want to play.  Out of nowhere David Bowie appears, this seems almost natural to the course of the dream. Since the age of 8 when I went to my first concert I have been in love with the guitar, never able to master much past a few basic chords, I am sure my impatience has something to do it. David Bowie picks out a guitar for me, and then proceeds to give me a lesson, it is a Bach piece. I watch as his fingers display the correct pattern and yet I refuse the lesson stating it isn’t the right way. I want more, I want the sound of music I always hear, not this linear elementary offering.  He smiles at me and states “This is the way we begin…”

He then walks to the front of the building which is now a guitar shop, picks one that he fancies and plays a lovely ballad I have never heard in this life, and yet I know he has written it.  The owners are floored, they can’t believe David Bowie is in their store, isn’t he dead? I smile at their astonishment, perhaps he is no longer physical, but he is surely alive in the land of spirit and here in my dream.

Upon waking I remember bits and pieces trying to figure out why David Bowie would walk into my dream, as surely, he had. I am a radio fan and admired him for his graceful exit from this world.  So, I lie in bed thinking what was the message? And it instantly occurs to me: I didn’t like the way the lesson was taught- I wanted to hear something else more complex and beautiful, denying the beauty of the simplicity of the music I was given. The simple but difficult lesson that I couldn’t even master- and I wanted to fast forward to the harder more complex ones….in the world of spirit lessons are stepping stones up the vast sea of vibration, you cannot skip ahead.

So, the lesson translates to my world of hospice: My patient who is dying is my age, she has had 10 years to prepare for her transition, I have had 6 weeks. I struggle to watch her learn the last few lessons she has chosen before leaving this world, I want to make everything okay even though she is dying, I cannot.  My lessons are simple, Trust the Divine and Be Present.  Her lesson is to Trust the Divine and to Let Go.  In my head I can hear David Bowie singing, “Ground control to Major Tom,” it is a song about letting go…. Clearly, I am ground control and she is Major Tom,

“Ground Control to Major Tom
Commencing countdown,
Engines on
Check ignition
And may God’s love be with you”

I believe he came into my dream to let me know everything is as it should be, even when someone appears to be suffering it is only part of the journey back to Home, where ultimately and eternally we are safe and whole. God’s LOVE is always with us, we live and die (return) in the heart of God. God’s Love is always with us because we are always One.

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