Following my first book, Daniel Beyond Death, here are the beginning two chapters from my forthcoming book (as yet untitled, and still to go through final editing!):
A little bit of backstory!
The young man plonked a bottle of red wine down on the table, and stood back, smiling. I had no idea who he was, but my customer did – and she understood his message, completely. “He was a good friend, and would often bring me a bottle of my favourite Merlot”, she explained.
The young girl watched me from the corner of my kitchen. She was wearing a light coloured hoodie, and chewing on her thumb, which was poking through a hole in the cuff. She ‘communicated’, through images in my mind, that whilst dressing her for her coffin, they had struggled to put one of her shoes on. Her mother, on the other end of the telephone line, knew nothing about it. Several days later she emailed me to say that she had been in touch with the funeral home, and yes, they’d confirmed that they had had problems fitting one of her daughter’s shoes.
The little boy showed me an image of himself walking through a doorway, and I understood that he had passed very suddenly indeed: here one moment, gone the next. I was told that he’d suffered sudden, devastating heart failure. He kept showing me a toy vehicle, whilst making “brmm brmm” noises, over and over again. My customer, his mother’s friend, had attended the funeral, and she explained that it was his favourite Ghostbusters car, and that it had been placed on top of his coffin.
The little girl, who’d passed only hours earlier, ‘showed’ me the rocking horse that had been on her hospital ward, and also, how she would hold her nose because of her father’s breath. I was a little uncomfortable about delivering that particular message, but her mother laughed, explaining that her husband loved to eat cheese and onion crisps, and her daughter always hated the smell! The child also communicated that a tree was being planted in her honour, but her mother was baffled; they were still coming to terms with the loss of their daughter, and hadn’t thought that far ahead. That evening, a friend called to let them know that they had planted a tree in her memory.
I no longer do much to promote my spiritual communication consultations, for a number of reasons (none of them sinister!), and sadly, as the years have passed by, I have forgotten many, many of the stories told by those who are no longer physically with us. But the sense of being part of something far greater than anything I can see with my eyes, or feel with my conscious senses, has grown stronger and stronger. I used to worry, to seriously question everything, even whilst working as a medium. I was uncomfortable with the twee, neatly packaged version of life after death that was often presented, and accepted, as absolute fact – so much of it didn’t make any sense to me. I desperately wanted to understand what it was all really about, and to deliver an authentic service to my customers; I wanted them to be able to really feel the essence of their loved ones, and not just provide them with dry bits of ‘evidence’. I often felt inadequate, fearing that even my best wasn’t good enough – and no matter what I was able to receive and deliver, I always believed it should be more!
But I came to realise that very often it is the small, seemingly inconsequential things that mean so much to the grieving customer: a bottle of red wine; a shoe that wouldn’t fit; a toy car; a little family joke. I have heard many people sneeringly ask “if we can communicate with the dead, how come they never tell us anything important or earth-shattering?” Well, I don’t think it’s their job to do so. And who would believe it if old Auntie Minnie, who’d lived and died in the same small village, going nowhere and doing nothing different throughout her entire life, suddenly started spouting politics or great mystical truths, through a random medium? Inspiration and wisdom has always been available to the living, from within ourselves, and from outside sources. It isn’t up to our deceased relatives and friends to proffer mind-blowing enlightenment: it is up to us, whilst here in the physical world, to seek it out for ourselves.
Having said that, souls do occasionally come out with interesting little nuggets of information that prove to be unnervingly true! I remember one consultation in which the customer’s mother communicated that two people were going to lose their lives on the road, locally, and very soon – and that nothing could be done to prevent it. I was surprised by the message, to say the very least, as was the woman’s daughter. I seriously questioned myself, wondering if, for some weird reason, I had just cooked that one up in my head. However, the consultation took place on a Tuesday… and three days later, on the Friday, whilst driving the children to school, we found that the road had been closed off by the police. Two young men, travelling to work, had crashed… and sadly, both were killed. I remember thinking “oh my God… she was right”, and feeling shaken to the core. Okay, you could argue that it was just a huge coincidence, but bear in mind that I live in a rural area, and not a town or a city in which accidents occur daily. And some might even suggest that such a prediction was the work of the ‘dark side’… but I wouldn’t agree. I don’t know why that particular lady delivered the message; she had no connection (that I know of) to either of the young men. However, I understood what was being expressed: that things happen before they happen – if you see what I mean. The fact that the two young men were going to be in a certain place at a certain time, and take certain actions that would lead to a certain outcome, was already in motion… every last second of it. Yes, an extremely terrifying thought – but also incredibly mind-blowing! Because it shows that there is a much bigger picture at play here than we mere mortal souls tend to consider, under ‘normal’ circumstances.
It is our own personal belief about death, and life after death, that will influence our overall response to this story. Of course, first and foremost, we are going to feel incredibly sorry for the families of the two boys; after all, it is they who are left behind, they who will miss their beloved ones every day of their lives. If we believe that death is wrong, is a dark and lonely place, and that God should only take the bad ones, then we will view all of this with fear and loathing… denial, even. If, however, we genuinely believe that physical life is one tiny but meaningful link in a possibly endless chain, and part of something much greater than our current existence, we will still feel sad… fearful even – but not defeated or helpless. We will still miss our deceased loved ones with every ounce of our being, until it is our own time to go… but we will know for sure that love, being the most powerful force of all, doesn’t just dissipate and disappear like smoke up a chimney. They may have finished experiencing this particular part of their existence, but we haven’t – yet. The tough part is not the dying; it is the remaining until. That’s the bit that requires the most courage – that’s the real challenge. And so, when customers would come to me, seeking reassurance that the one who had died was ‘alright’, I would often say “well, they’re fine… but the big question is, what about you?”
Quickly going back to the story, over the following two years, one of the young men (whose name begins with the letter M) showed up in several different consultations, and I got to know him quite well! He had a nice way about him, and was popular. He communicated that his parents had become very bitter, telling his friend’s parents that they blamed their son for the loss of their own, even though he too had died. No-one could judge them, of course, and no-one would want to be in their shoes. Some people cope with grief better than other others do, and that’s all that can be said. I haven’t thought about M for some years now, and writing this makes me wonder how he’s doing? And, having revisited the situation, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear something from him or about him, within the not too distant future!
So, do all of the little stories I have just recounted here prove or explain anything about what happens to us beyond our physical death? No, not really. But they suggest that conscious awareness continues to exist even after the brain and the body have ceased to function. And that basic communication, between what could be called different dimensions of existence, is possible, through the means of thoughts, feelings, and sensations. I never doubted any of that when I was working as a medium, but I desperately wanted to see more of the bigger picture! Accepting that conscious awareness doesn’t die with the body is only the tiniest tip of an immeasurable iceberg… and it wasn’t enough for me! What are we aware of, when we pass from this world? What do we become? What do we do? Do we actually continue to progress, and if so, how? These, and other questions, endlessly bounced around inside my head, pushing me to seek greater understanding. It made no sense to me that, following the amazing, strenuous, sometimes arduous and uncompromising, steep learning curve of life on Earth, the end result was an eternity of floating around in the sky with my also deceased relatives, looking down on the living, sending our love and telling them how happy and at peace we are with our new existence. I decided that if that is ALL there is, I’m not going… end of. In comparison, oblivion seemed attractive – at least I’d get a good long sleep!
But something within me just knew for sure that that wasn’t all there is… and even though there are billions of questions to which I will never have answers, I believe that I have managed to put maybe one or two teeny-weeny jigsaw pieces into place (in a puzzle that has more parts than could ever be counted!). However, each of us may have our own puzzle, that is completely unique and individual to us. We certainly all have our own beliefs, views, and opinions, especially where the subject of life after death is concerned. I have noticed, for example, whilst reading other writers’ book reviews, that some people become incredibly upset when God is mentioned; some state that they already know what happens beyond death, and that the author is way off the mark; others are offended because God or religion isn’t mentioned. And I myself came to learn (the hard way!) that not everyone actually wants to question, or to be exposed to other people’s questioning, because it bothers and unsettles them. And they have the right to feel that way.
One such occasion took place in a large town hall, which was hosting an evening of mediumship. I myself have, over the years, performed on stage many, many times, before deciding that it was no longer something I wanted to do. My friend and I had seen this event advertised, and we decided to go along. I was becoming a bit jaded, and I think I was hoping that I would feel refreshed… maybe learn something I didn’t know, or even pick up a tip or two. We were the first to arrive, equipped ourselves with a G & T from the bar, and settled down to enjoy the evening. After about 30 minutes, I realised that I was paying more attention to the audience of around 120 people than I was to the lady on stage. I was fascinated by their facial expressions and body language. Some appeared to be entranced, others were yawning and fidgeting. It was enlightening to experience the process from the hall, rather than from the stage!
I suddenly became aware that the medium was explaining to us that when children die, they grow up, in ‘spirit’. I noticed that some people were keenly nodding in agreement. She then asked if anyone had any questions; I did, and I raised my hand.
“Do you believe in reincarnation?”
She smiled and responded with an emphatic “yes, I do!”
I had another question.
“And you also believe that children continue to grow up after they die?”
Again she was emphatic. “Absolutely!”
Hmm… okay, now I had to ask another question.
“Could you explain how the two beliefs are compatible with one another? If you believe in reincarnation, then you are saying that the soul is experienced and not new; it is the body that is new, enabling that soul to revisit the physical dimension. Because of death, the new body is no longer functioning, and the revisit is concluded. If the soul is an old, experienced one, then what age or stage does it actually grow up to?”
She went around the houses, not really answering, and when I said that I didn’t feel that she was explaining herself, she became cross with me, snapping “I’m only repeating what I’ve been taught!”. Some members of the audience were glaring at me, willing me to shut my big mouth, and I did. After all, they too had paid to see this lady, and they didn’t want someone like me creating distractions. I understood.
And I genuinely wasn’t attempting to cause trouble, or embarrass the medium. I wanted to hear her explanation. I wasn’t saying that either of her views were wrong, even though I didn’t agree with some of what she said. They were her views, and couldn’t be proved or disproved, either way. But she’d asked for questions, and I had put mine to her. I was initially baffled by the irritation of those around me, but then it clicked with me: they were comfortable with their beliefs about children and death. They didn’t want those beliefs to be challenged, and I wished that I had kept my questions to myself. I didn’t want to go around upsetting others… but that evening reminded me that neither did I want to continue working in a way that didn’t feel right to me. Maybe the medium went home that night asking bigger questions of herself; maybe some of the audience members did the same. Maybe none of them did. Questions can open up doors that can lead to and open up even bigger and more exciting doors (to the unknown, gulp!)… and sometimes we just want to keep those doors not only firmly closed and locked, but boarded up, too!
Now, you might ask why I can’t leave well alone? Why I just don’t settle on a set of beliefs and have done with it? Or just walk away from the whole bloody subject and forget about it? Because one day I am going to die… and because I am completely sure that my life before and after death are inextricably linked… that one follows the other, as part of an ongoing process. Some will say “oh, I’m not going to waste time worrying about what happens when I pop my clogs… I have to live for today.” Well, I’m not worrying. But, having peeked through the tiniest of gaps in the door to the ‘afterlife’, I am stuck with it; that door can no longer be closed. Having seen deceased people I have never met and didn’t even know existed, giving snippets of meaningful information to living people I have only just met or spoken to for the first time, I’d be crazy to think I could accept it all at face value, shrug it off, and walk away. For some people that might be an easy thing to do… and just occasionally I wish I was one of them!
Sweet release, and the power of lifeforce!
Our beloved old dog, Sue, was incredibly poorly. That morning, she’d fainted… I watched, horrified, as she appeared to pass out, before tumbling down the three steps into the kitchen, biting her own lip in the process. She came to, looking confused and disoriented. But still, I truly believed that, following veterinary treatment, we would be bringing her home. I was wrong; she had less than a quarter of her kidney function, and there was no hope. I was holding her in my arms as the vet injected her, and my partner had his arms around me. Suddenly, the most wonderful, amazing sensation of peace flooded through me… and it wasn’t just emotional, it was physical too. “Has she gone?” I asked, and the vet confirmed that yes… our faithful, funny, brave little terrier had left this world behind, and of course we sobbed (I am weeping as I type this!). But what I experienced, as I held her in my arms whilst she moved on, blew me away, and I will never, ever forget it. She’d been more ill than we understood, and she was weary: clearly, physical ‘death’ released her, in the most liberating way. I know that some will say that that was just my own imagination, my own feelings, but I really don’t care. I didn’t expect that experience… it took me by complete surprise. To this day, I feel honoured to have been able to share it with her. We still grieved. Our cats were unsettled for days, whilst the remaining dog, looking unhappy and confused, returned to sniff around Sue’s resting place in the garden again and again. She went into a bit of a decline over the following 6 months, becoming clingy in a way that she’d never been. But that was about the living, wasn’t it? That was us, missing Sue; unfortunately, where there is love, there is always the possibility of loss, though none of us would ever sacrifice one in order to avoid the other (see how brave love causes us to be?). But every time I dust the picture of Sue that sits on the shelf below the television, I kiss it, and remember how I felt when she slipped out of this world… and I can just feel her lifeforce, her funny little characteristics. She is more alive than ever… just not here, in this physical world.
Niki Lauda, three times Formula 1 world champion, explained in a television interview that, following the horrific racing accident in which he was severely burned, he felt as if he was slipping away… starting to feel comfortable (I am paraphrasing here, as I can’t remember exactly how he expressed it), and he consciously pulled himself back. He wanted to live, to compete. But that meant facing ongoing agony and permanent scarring. I admire and respect Niki Lauder for many reasons, one being that, six weeks after being involved in a crash that almost killed him, and despite being petrified, he was back in a racing car… finishing fourth. There is something about human spirit and will that is absolutely life affirming and encouraging. It says “you CAN do more than you believe is possible”… and that is something that definitely survives physical death – a force that cannot be diminished or snuffed out.
I have read many reports from individuals who, whilst on the brink of death, have experienced a sudden and strong sense of ease and relief, before ‘returning’ to life. One was a young man who’d drowned, but was quickly resuscitated by his rescuers; another was a young woman who had been cruelly strangled to the point of unconsciousness. And I once worked with a lady who, when in her teens, was hit by one car which threw her into the pathway of a second car. Amongst a list of serious injuries was a shattered pelvis, which left her with a permanent limp. However, following the accident, she believed that she had been standing up in the street, observing the scene, and fully aware of everything that was going on… until she woke up in hospital, where she was assured that she couldn’t possibly have been on her feet, and hadn’t been conscious when the ambulance arrived. She described her experience as one of of calm, curious detachment, rather than as a sense of peace, and in her mind there was no question at all that it happened that way. Since then, I have come across a variety of near death stories, and my conclusion is that there are people out there who have hovered between life and death, and have lived to tell the tale. There will be different reasons for this, I imagine, unique to the individual, but one thing is for sure: without their testimonies we wouldn’t know that physical death does not mean instant and complete oblivion… that we do actually continue with awareness. Of course, their accounts will not be accepted by everyone: some will dismiss it as ridiculous rubbish, and others will claim that it is an illusion created by a distressed brain. One or both may be right, one or both may be wrong… but I feel more inclined to listen to those who know, through experience, what it feels like to be on the brink of leaving their physical life behind, and to my own intuitive reasoning.
I have only seen two deceased people, but in both cases I was deeply struck by how ‘empty’ they appeared to be… as if they’d just packed up and gone, leaving their bodies behind. And although it isn’t exactly the same, two years ago I awoke, bleary eyed, in the early hours of the morning, to briefly ‘see’ my friend’s mother standing next to the bed, smiling. I knew that this lady had recently been taken into hospital for tests, and was due out the following day. I reached for my phone, intending to text my friend, but then thought better of it… what the hell was I going to say to her? “Hi, sorry for disturbing you at 2 a.m., but I thought you might like to know that your mum just showed up in my bedroom”? I went back to sleep, telling myself that I had been dreaming, or more likely imagining things… but when I awoke at 7 a.m. there was a text message waiting for me: “Mum passed away in the early hours of the morning”. I was sad, but also hugely reassured, not to mention honoured, by the visit. Her death was unexpected; she had developed a health issue that was under investigation, but there was no question that she’d be coming out of hospital. My friend was looking forward to taking care of her beloved mum for a few days, until she was ready to return to her own home – and so you can see that it wasn’t as if we were just waiting around, anticipating ‘the call’. This made the experience all the more real to me, and I will never cease to remember it with gratitude. And although I saw her, it wasn’t her physical self that I was seeing… it was her lifeforce, presented in a shape and form that would be easily identifiable to me. More than twenty years have passed since I first began working as a medium, but I remain as awestruck as ever by the way in which ‘spiritual communication’ works, be it a mere wisp of a link, or something more mind-blowing!
I have come to believe that each of us is a soul, an individual shard of the great creative force of life (which might be the same as God, or the Universe, dependent upon your beliefs), and that the purpose of our existence is to create! And if you think about it, that is exactly what we do, whether or not we recognise it: we create. A cup of tea, a meal, a home, a family; a business, a work of art, a piece of engineering/technology/architecture; a cure, a solution, a peace process; an argument, a problem, a mess, a war… all our own work. And some of what we create will leave a definite imprint, a testimony to our existence in the physical world, be it on a handful of souls, or maybe even billions. But in order to create, a soul in human form has two jobs to do: 1) recognise and learn how to handle ego; 2) embrace and develop spirit… and whilst it is a collaboration between the two that contributes to, and shapes, our lifeforce, spirit really needs to have the upper hand! You might ask what any of this has to do with life beyond physical death – and I would explain that it is my own personal belief that when we die, the only thing we take with us is the nature and the dynamic of our spirit. And I believe that we, the individual soul, absorbs all that our spirit has become throughout our physical incarnation… and that an imprint is also made upon the collective soul (the energy field of everything that exists), so that nothing is ever insignificant, or forgotten, or lost… ever!
The lifeforce is the essence of the soul we have known and loved, and it is that that we miss the most. However, it is the lifeforce that continues the journey, and the lifeforce that can sometimes be intuitively felt and seen by those still passing through the physical world; it is energy set free, to continue to grow and to develop and to thrive. Lifeforce doesn’t die, and the ‘end’ of life is actually the beginning of life… with each soul ultimately deciding upon the nature of his or her evolution!
Think about the elderly relative whose body was frail and weak… but whose weary eyes displayed a determined, inextinguishable sparkle, right up until they closed for the very last time.
Think about the young person who, understanding that their time on earth was coming to a premature end… reached out to inspire others, to make a difference, before they left.
Think about the baby, the tiny child, completely innocent and untouched by society’s inevitable programming… how pure and sweet was the lifeforce, the essence of which touched, and remained with, all who associated with them.
Think about the adventurers, the chancers, the boundary-pushers, the competitors… how can the vibrancy of those souls just fizzle out and cease to exist?
Remember the Stephen Hawkings of this world… powerhouses of curiosity, intelligence, and humour, despite being encased in increasingly painful and unresponsive bodies.
Remind yourself of all that has been left behind for the human race to use, enjoy, and appreciate, long after the creators have moved on from this world. Music, literature, paintings and sculptures, architecture, roads, bridges, furniture, machines, fashion… the list is probably endless. And every last one started as a thought, an idea, in the mind of a vibrant soul, who then took the kind of action that transformed their vision into a physical reality. Lifeforce in motion, and at its absolute best!
But what about those poor souls whose experience of life on earth was so challenging, that short-term survival was all they could possibly hope for? Or those who left the world in a horribly cruel way? Or who endlessly struggled with deepest, darkest depression? Am I saying that these souls are without lifeforce? Absolutely not: lifeforce is as much about emotion, courage, strength, and the ability to face the harshest of challenges, as it is about creativity, enthusiasm, and joy. Those who have suffered have provided the most important legacy of all: the opportunity for the human race to consistently recognise and understand the need for tolerance, acceptance, kindness, empathy… and love.
And I have seen souls who have entered into a form of healing, beyond their physical death. The consciousness can be as traumatised as the body, maybe even more so, but each soul’s experience will be unique to them, as will the healing. I remember, many years ago, seeing a young man who had ended his own life. He was seated in what appeared to be a hardback chair, looking glum, elbow on his knee, chin in his hand… and he was surrounded by brilliantly shining, outstretched arms, patiently waiting for him to feel ready to accept their help. He was most definitely not alone. And there have been many who have shown themselves seated in plump, comfy chairs, catching their breath, so to speak… some of whom have been holding a cup of tea, even though we don’t have lungs to breathe, or a stomach to digest, when we are physically deceased! It seems to me that we can continue to experience some of the things that have been comfortingly familiar to us, for … well, I can’t actually say for how long… maybe forever!
Copyright Leanne Halyburton 2018
Daniel Beyond Death
(available globally on Amazon)
Daniel Jackson was an ordinary teenage boy with his whole life ahead of him… until he forgot to look both ways, running into the pathway of a car that catapulted him into a whole new existence. Surprised that he still felt very much ‘alive’, and that being dead was actually quite pleasant, Daniel slowly began to adjust to his new ‘life’. The first soul to greet him was definitely not the one he’d have expected to show up, but Daniel was soon to visit with his beloved grandparents… and one or two souls he’d never met, but kind of recognised! He learned how to communicate in a non – physical world, and how to visit his grieving loved ones, reaching out to his devastated mother through her dreams. But even death has its dark side, as Daniel was to discover, on a disturbing visit to a place in which the lost souls hide out until choosing to be rescued. And Daniel’s story ends not with an ending, but with a new beginning! Warm characters, love, laughter, lessons and a few tears… Daniel’s wonderful experience of life beyond life! Contains strong language. 106 pages.
Amazon Kindle: £0.99 Paperback: £3.99