excerpt from


in the


of Joy

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     I spoke early on in this book about my experience losing my son. It was the most heart wrenching, excruciatingly painful experience I’ve ever endured. I watched my son slowly kill himself over the course of about 5 years with drugs and alcohol. Our family went through unimaginable pain dealing with his addiction, and then, just when it seemed like he had finally gotten past it, when he had finally gotten clean and was beginning a whole new life path full of excitement and discovery, he relapsed and died on the floor of his apartment at the age of 20. 

     It was absolutely devastating. I spent night after night curled up on the floor of his bedroom sobbing, begging God to take me so I could be out of my pain and be with him again. It was all I could do to function and still be a parent to my youngest son, Michael, who was only 11 at the time. I spent the whole first year after that going through life in a fog. 

     But as I began to slowly emerge out of the thick of it I realized something. Josh had been preparing me for this. Not only for the grieving, but everything that would come after for me, as well. He got me started on a spiritual path before he left because I had much to learn and much to teach. After I became a medium he started working with me from the other side, showing me what it was like and trying to communicate that there really is no death. We leave our physical bodies but our spirit, the highest vibration of our being, is eternal. And though we can’t translate the vibration of our loved ones with our five senses when they’re in their highest form, we can certainly use our sixth sense to tune into them. 

     One of the things Josh communicated to me through the medium I sat with early on after his passing was that there was a book of his he wanted me to see. He said there were pencil marks in it and he wanted me to look at it. At the time I had no idea what he meant, but in the car on the way home from that session I remembered that I had put the few books he owned (all books about string theory and spirituality) on the shelf at home. So I raced home and stood in front of the bookshelf and just stared. Where should I start? I began scanning the collection and within seconds one book popped out at me. It was called The Path To Love, by Deepak Chopra. I pulled it out and began thumbing through it, not really knowing what I was looking for. 

     About three quarters of the way through the book there was a page Josh had dog eared and there was one line underlined in pencil, just like he had said. It read, "when the mind applies judgment to change, what gets created is loss." The paragraph was talking about death being our greatest fear, that it’s our ego that causes us to experience loss because we judge the change, and how that contributes to the pain of loss or grief. 

     I knew immediately what he wanted me to know was that he was not gone. He left his physical body, but there was no loss and he didn’t want me to be sad. He wanted me to understand that he was still there and that I could communicate with him. He wanted me to know the pain I was feeling was only because my ego was telling me there was loss, but I had the choice to change my perspective and recognize he was only gone from the physical dimension. I could still have a connection with him. 

     And so began my journey to discover how I could do that. And it was in the trying to figure out how to communicate with him that I began my major spiritual ascent by means of meditation, which opened the door to a whole new world I had only read about. 

     Now, I tell you this whole story to demonstrate that your loved ones have not truly gone. Yes, they are no longer with you physically, and it is totally normal to grieve the loss. However, also remember that they are always right there beside you stroking your hair, holding your hand, and trying to let you know they’re there and they love you. The thing they want the most for you is to remember them in love and to find a way to live life in joy in the hopeful anticipation of being together again…and maybe even having more lifetimes together! 

     And the biggest thing your loved ones want you to know is that they are okay. They are always okay. No matter what the circumstances of their passing, they never take the trauma with them. Only their highest vibration translates into spirit form so anything connected to the physical body is no longer. 

     I know…when you’re grieving, none of this makes the pain go away. How can you get over the sadness you feel every time you drive by their favorite hangout or you run into their best friend or you smell the scent of the perfume they used to wear? How can you not be sad when you go to call your loved one for advice and then remember they aren’t there? And I say, those are all legitimate points and the most direct answer I can give from my experience is time….time, and changing the way you perceive the loss.  Allow the feelings to come and experience the pain, and know that the extreme emotions you’re feeling won’t last forever. You need to mourn for a period of time, but you also must take conscious control of your grief, as well. 

     From a vibrational standpoint there are things you can do (and your loved ones want you to do them…they want you to be happy again). Remember the whole vibrational momentum thing? And the whole creating new neural pathways thing? This is a great time to put your new understanding to work. When you’re mourning, you are forever thinking thoughts from the past. You’re remembering all the things you loved and miss about them. Then you’re connecting feeling to that because your ego reminds you that they aren’t here anymore and that you should feel loss, which you do. Then you get emotional and create a flood of emotional energy in the direction of loss. The more you think about it, the more powerful the feelings become. 

     It’s very easy to create so much momentum that you get pulled under and you’re not able to move beyond this pain. But we know that if we can redirect our focus onto something positive and create some new neural pathways, we can get momentum going in another direction and let the momentum of loss subside. 

     Now I am in no way saying that you should forget about your loved one or bury your emotions. I don’t think we ever stop missing them. But you can redirect how you feel about the loss, and over time, the pain will subside and you can have happy memories and live in joy, knowing that that is what your loved one wants for you.

     Also, you may have some reconciling to do around the way your loved one passed. I know I did. There were questions about Josh’s passing and about another individual involved. We had to deal with the police over it for quite some time. But ultimately, none of that mattered. We couldn’t bring Josh back. 

     It became obvious that we were never going to know the whole story or be able to find the person who was present and watched Josh die while doing absolutely nothing to save him. We had to trust that the other individual would ultimately somehow have to deal with his actions. I recognized that Josh was a willing participant on some level, and that his own choices contributed to his death. As much as I didn’t want to at the time, I had to finally let the anger and resentment go. It was the only way I was going to be able to move forward and begin to heal. 

     If you have issues about your loved ones passing, or feel like there was unfinished business between you that you just can’t get beyond, remember that in order to line up with your authentic self, with the highest vibration of who you really are, you will need to transmute all of those lower vibrating emotions and thoughts. Your higher self does not see people the same way you do. It knows it’s all okay. So when you’re feeling things like resentment and anger, it’s an indicator that you need to come back to your authentic self and Source. Remember that resentment only harms the person holding it. But again, all in your own time.


     I had a client who I was coaching through grief say to me, ‘I can’t do what you’re asking because if I’m not constantly thinking about him and reminding people that he’s gone, then he’ll be forgotten!’  Truly, I understand that way of thinking. I remember being there. But trust me, no one will ever forget! Your loved one touched many lives! And he will show you that by periodically bringing people to you who have a loving story to share with you about him, or by showing up in some way when you least expect it. 

     Let me tell you a beautiful story to demonstrate the power our loved ones have to show themselves to us. Nine years after Josh’s passing, I found myself heading to the altar to marry the absolute man of my dreams. We had known from the day we met that we were meant for each other. Neither of us had ever felt so unconditionally loved, so lit up, or so in alignment as we did with each other. We were madly, crazy in love!

     About six weeks before the wedding I had, on a whim, decided to have Josh’s astrological chart read. I have an unbelievably talented and tapped in astrologer (who also happens to be a medium) that I’d been seeing for seven years at that point, but I’d never thought to have Josh’s chart read since he’d already passed over. 

     During the reading, Josh came through and told me he’d be at the wedding. This didn’t surprise me since he was around all the time anyway. But he kept insisting. Then, he talked about one of his old high school friends and said she’d be there. I didn’t know what that meant exactly but I said okay. But he kept coming back to those two things…like he was being really insistent about it and I wasn’t sure why. Chuckling, I finally said, “okay, Josh, I get it! You’ll both be there!” 

     About two weeks before the wedding my daughter, Nicole, called me and asked if I’d like someone to do my hair and makeup on the day of the wedding. Initially, I said no because it was just a small wedding. But she said one of Josh’s really good friends from high school lived down in southern California where we were getting married and she was a professional make-up artist. She’d love to do my makeup and hair! I felt so honored. What a beautiful way for me to remember Josh on my wedding day by having one of the kids who used to hang out at our house all the time with him involved so intimately. 

     But that’s not the end of the story! Obviously, you can see that what Josh said about his friend being at the wedding was coming true and I was so excited. Not only that I’d see Rachel again after so many years, but that, as usual, Josh’s message was real. But it gets better! After the ceremony, I had people asking me if I’d seen the owl. I thought that was the strangest question. “No, what owl?” But I’ll get to that. 

     We held the wedding and reception in the beautiful outdoor section of this quaint little restaurant in the foothills of Topanga Canyon. It was nestled among the old oak trees, with Topanga Creek just below us. Though it was outdoors, there were wooden roofs with beautiful lattice work around the perimeter for shelter over some sections of the dining areas. It was one of the most spiritual places I’ve ever visited, with large statues of Buddha and Kuan Yin nestled under the greenery and situated at the top and bottom of the gently arched steps leading to the patio. There was a charming water fountain in the center of the space and a tranquil waterfall coming down a rocky hillside that was the backdrop to the altar. The energy of this sanctuary absolutely took my breath away.

     So what about the owl? Well, my friends excitedly approached me after the ceremony and said there was this little owl perched in the eaves of one of the roofs over the patio and it had watched the whole ceremony, eyes wide open. Now this might not sound that unusual, but it was at 11 o’clock in the morning, not at dusk as you might assume. And it was on a patio filled with people sitting at tables. It was literally perched just above the whole crowd. 

     Everyone knew immediately that it was Josh. We continued on with the meal and reception, dancing and carrying on. I broke a mini-me piñata (that’s a story for another day!) literally feet from this owl and he never flinched. He stayed the duration of the wedding and reception, eyes open and watching the whole thing. I stood under it and spoke to Josh, and it stared me right in the eye and never blinked. I’m tearing up as I write this remembering how beautiful that moment was. When Josh said he’d be at the wedding, he meant it. 

     The wedding coordinator who worked at the venue said in all the 20 years she’d been there she’d never seen an owl, let alone one that would perch under the eaves for hours and participate in the festivities! We eventually had to clear out so they could get ready for the evening wedding, and we wondered if the owl would stick around. But the coordinator told me later that as soon as our group dissipated, the owl left. 


Here’s me and my three kids…




     I think this is a phenomenal demonstration of just how intimately connected our loved ones still are to us. You don’t need to forever replay their death or continue to remember  that ‘they’re gone’ in order to keep their memory alive. Even though you miss them, you can let the pain go and hold onto the beautiful memories.


     Feeling a constant need to surround yourself with others who commiserate with you in your grief simply feeds the pain inside of you. It’s like ripping open the wound again each time. As hard as it seems to let go of this need, it is always in your best interest to find others you can interact with on a level other than your grief. At some point you must accept the generous offers by loved ones to help you out of the darkness you’re in. To take you by the hand and show you light again. 

     Learning to remember your loved one with a smile and a chuckle at their goofiness, to talk to them as if they are there (because they are), to donate to charities in their name, to spread love because of how they touched your heart, to feel blessed by having had the opportunity to know them…that is healing. One day at a time. Grieve for the duration you need to. And when it’s time, make a conscious choice to raise your vibration, give yourself permission to be happy again, and know your loved one in spirit is with you. 

Owl wedding picture.JPG