Arriving back on Vancouver Island, I was delighted when my younger brother offered me free accommodation in an unoccupied townhouse they owned. This was to be my home for quite some time while I completed my Nurse Refresher. Since my savings from the motel sale were becoming thinner all the time, I was grateful for this unexpected kindness.

Thus began months of grinding hard work as I buckled down to complete the twenty-two exams required to get my R.N. license once more.

In addition, my poor body, stiffened and insulted by what I had put it through up north, punished me with arthritis-like stiffness daily. It was to be some time before I learned that a regular swimming regimen would set me free.

In the meantime, I sought help from various alternative healers. My chiropractor bills by the time I finished my last exam totaled somewhere around two thousand dollars, but I was able to move around and ride my bike.  It certainly seemed worth every dollar.

When the time came for me to go to Yellowknife to sit my preceptorship under a kind and supportive, experienced nurse, I had little money left, however. And the air fare up there and back, along with accommodation costs, appeared prohibitive to me. But I was so close to the end. I had to get there somehow.

I had met a man…of course. Through the personals, of course. How else could I meet anyone, flitting madly around the continent as I had been doing?

Wallace was very well off, but looking for something a bit younger and prettier, no doubt about it. By this time, with all I had been through, I felt as though a truck had driven through my physical health. My weight had continued to rise little by little.

But I “knew” I was within sight of the end, the light at the end of the tunnel was right there!! I just had to keep going a bit longer.

Wallace offered to pay my airfare and living costs to see me through my preceptorship. I had no idea how well off he really was at that point; in fact, he turned out to be quite wealthy, unknown to me. But he wanted to help me complete this challenging course I had set out upon. And of course, any man of later years loves a nurse!

I arrived in Yellowknife and went straight to the home of the family mentioned earlier. They had set aside a bedroom for me, accommodation up there being almost non-existent.

Many workers and students, in fact, were living in tents, unable to find anything more secure.

I was apparently lucky to get a room at all.

I loved the geography of the North West Territories. In summer heat, I walked barefoot across the smooth, hot rock of the Canadian Shield, dotted with small patches of trees and wildflowers. The resources of the area amazed me. Diamonds! Gold! Oil! It had everything. In such a land of plenty, I wondered at the lack of accommodation.

Great Slave Lake, where people lived winter and summer, even on the thick ice, was fascinating. The proximity of an old-English style tea house close to its shores charmed the daylights out of me.

I just loved the whole area. Some places grab you that way.

But the hospital was in difficulties, closing whole departments as it struggled with the healthcare system’s ongoing financial battles.

I loved the nurses I met up there. What wholesome, genuine people. No pretensions. No overweening ambitions, but a real appreciation for the important things of life. I could have happily lived there, but jobs were scarce, with the hospital trying to keep only the most vital departments open.

The extreme summer heat was a big surprise…I had always pictured life up there to be…cold. Pretty much all the time. But if they don’t get a good tan and enjoy forty degree summers, they feel cheated.

Any kind of travel is always eye-opening.

And so ended my preparation to return to nursing. And a new beginning dawned for me as I pondered the next step…find work!

I flew back to Vancouver Island and stayed with Wallace while I searched for that elusive first job.

What I did not know for a long, long time was that the person in charge of my coursework at the college had made a mistake. She thought I had opted for an easier, gentler course of action and did not realize I had in fact, taken the heavy, demanding Trauma Nursing coursework instead.

Somehow, she had gotten my files mixed up. So each time I gave her as a reference for employment, her assessment of my interests and abilities reflected this mistake. My hard-won achievement in Trauma Nurse preparation went unrecognized and was not passed on to potential employers.

What a crazy world. Without faith in a loving, supportive God and universe, I really would have given up!

Wallace was indignant when interview after interview passed and I still had no job offer. I could not understand it. His supportiveness made a big difference for me. What he didn’t know, and what I was too stupid to realize, was that I should not have put my psychic practice experience on my resume. It was an important part of who I was, so I had included it. Obviously, though I am a fairly bright woman, there is some strange block in my mental processes. No nurse should mention that she has practiced as a psychic! It gives the wrong impression entirely.

When I look back on that time, I also recall how, in the Scottish highlands, I had worn my fabulous gown and long blonde wig to a major dinner/dance event, completely out of tune with my environment. It seems I am often out of tune with the world I live in, perhaps even in a world of my own, some might say.

Wallace suggested I look at Care Homes in some of the larger cities, and I thought that was a great idea. I enjoyed his company and his pleasant home, but, as usual, there was the ever-present problem of alcohol.

Indeed, it seemed impossible to meet a man who did not have a drink habit. Hunter or not!

But his personal choices were none of my business; his friendship mattered a great deal to me.

One day, taking his excellent advice, I faxed off a resume to a little nursing home. I had found it under “Nursing Home” listings in the Yellow Pages.

To my surprise, the director phoned me with an invitation for a phone interview. We talked for some time, then she asked me to come and meet her.

I was more than willing to travel that distance to meet her. I was so eager to get my career started.

When I met Julie, we hit it off immediately. It was just one of those things. I was hired and started work within a week or two.

A Nursing Home was exactly what I had actually been hoping for. More low-key than a busy hospital floor, where my lack of recent experience would show like a sore thumb, this involved a single floor and about two dozen clients.

I had been offered night shift, which was also perfect. A slower start back into my profession. I knew my confidence would grow with time.

I moved into the large top floor of an old, rambling house and made friends with my neighbours downstairs. Funny how things work. It turned out that before the year was out, I was to be very glad for that particular house and those particular neighbours.

Sometimes I would pause in my hectic life and remember the astrologer at that Psychic Fair, only a couple of years back, though it seemed aeons ago. The one who refused to complete my reading, saying there was so much difficulty ahead on my path, he did not want to do my chart.

And I would recall also the palm reader I then turned to in the same Psychic Fair, who assured me happily that everything was going to be wonderful.

I felt respect for the astrologer, who had told me the hard truth. Always so much to be preferred!

As the months went by, I settled happily into a new life working night shift at the Home, enjoying my elderly patients and learning from experience what can never be taught from books or lectures.

One day, the Director told me that another R.N., one with much more seniority than I had, was going to compete for a position involving about half my hours. She felt I should be aware of this impending possibility.

This nurse could easily ”bump” me, according to Union rules, and I would be bereft of half my paycheck! Just like that!

And that is what happened. My head swam with the enormity of this event. I could not drive, and my interviews at other hospitals ended quickly when they discovered that fact. I could not live outside of town and work in those places, because I could not get to work quickly enough if I was called in. I could have moved closer to the big towns, but I had not been able to save enough money to pay for a move.

And that brings me to the really big problem in nursing in Canada.

Seventy percent of nursing jobs in Canada are part time. When a Royal Commission in past years discovered this, they suggested that steps be taken to reverse this. They felt that thirty percent of nursing jobs should be part time, and seventy percent should be full time.

However, that was never implemented.

There are many advantages to having nurses work part time, obviously. There are ramifications in job perquisites, for example, which save cash-starved hospitals a lot of money.

For a nurse who is married, it works all right. Most nurses in Canada work “on call”. They leave their phones turned on day and night, never knowing when they will be needed. Nurses generally get enough work under this system to make their lives flow.

But for single women, this is hard going. Their wage is all there is to pay that mortgage, that car loan. They cannot tell the bank they have full time work, because they do not. What they do have is two on-call jobs, and no one pays for wear and tear or gas bills for their vehicles as they dash from location to location to earn enough to keep things moving along from month to month.

This would be acceptable…to me, anyway…if nurses had little training and were trained as they used to be in Scotland…on the job. No degrees, no higher education involved.

But for anyone to go the incredible expense of getting a Degree, or complete College courses to the R.N. level, only to have to keep two on-call jobs, never being able to turn their phone off, never enjoying the career conditions that most…sorry, here goes my hobby horse…that most men take for granted in their professions, it seems a poor career choice.

By profession, I mean a job of work which involves expensive, extended years of training and membership in a controlling Body which has the power to assess performance and take away one’s license to practice.

That’s what a profession is. Most professions do not involve seventy percent on-call work, for a start.

It is not all about wages. A lot of work satisfaction is found in recognition, praise, and effectiveness. It’s not all about money.

But to put out that much money on training for something where you will probably never get a full time job, seems like a poor choice.

I know Registered Nurses who work two part time, on-call jobs, are in middle years, getting old, and can hardly pay their mortgages. They are divorced, one-income households.

This is how I feel about it. Not all nurses feel this way. Many married women love the arrangement, finding it gives them more flexibility in work hours and so on, which suits their families.

The long and the short of it is…I could not get work in the city nearby as a Registered Nurse without a driver’s license, because of the system involving on-call work. I began to try to get by on half my former wages. And my good neighbours downstairs became quite an advantage.

Bruce and Gina were used to getting by on very little, having disabilities. Across the road from our big old house stood a tidy little building, the local Food Bank. They had learned all the tricks imaginable. They knew how to get by using the Food Bank system.

They knew the best times to go, the best days, and everything else.

The day came when I, a practising R. N., knew I had to accept charity to feed myself. Hardly able to believe the depths I had fallen to, I walked across the road to join the line-up one morning, accompanied by my reassuring, helpful neighbours.

Still, I welcomed every experience life offered. I knew there must be a reason for all this, and I knew I would eventually find an answer.

For two months, I worked my new, limited number of hours on night shift at the Nursing Home, and got my food supplies at the little building across the road, along with a lot of other people.

The first day I went in to register, I was mortally embarrassed. I had to tell them my income and where I worked. I thought they would be shocked and turn me away when they discovered I worked as an R.N.

They gently reassured me. “Don’t worry about that, hon,” the lady at the front desk told me, shaking her white hair so her little curls bobbed around. “We have lawyers, nurses, sometimes even young doctors in here looking for help. Things happen to people. Sometimes it takes time for a professional person to get a practice built up too, and they have families. It’s just reality. So don’t feel like that. Everyone has to eat.”

After two months like this, I decided to go where a nurse could get FULL TIME work…the United States.

Knowing this step would be disapproved of by my peers, I tried to keep things quiet as I started the paperwork trail. An amazing number of things had to be done before I could be placed in a hospital somewhere south of the border.

And of course, my lack of a driver’s license would be a problem there too. I had to get work in the right locale, there had to be a bus service, and so on.

After some time, an agency found a job for me in a New Mexico health care facility. A small town, it sounded neighborly and friendly. Five days a week, a full time job. At last! I was overjoyed. Nervous, but happy.

I had just turned 59. In three short years, I had sold my motel, experienced a rose-strewn romantic passion to rival anyone’s, been dramatically and unceremoniously dumped, gotten a Medical Transcription Certificate at university, completed a Nurse Refresher Course of two years, worked at a medical spa in the far north, set up a successful psychic practice, returned to B.C., travelled to Yellowknife to do my Preceptorship, gotten some good Care Home experience under my belt, learned about the power of Unions first hand, become familiar with the Food Bank system, and had successfully gotten all paperwork completed to work in the U.S. as a Registered Nurse.

My brain was whirling, my cells were exhausted, my nervous system was stuttering and talking to itself. Yes, for sure. But I felt I was almost there…I had almost achieved a secure job with a good wage.

I only needed to work for six years to retire now, and I wanted to do well, put more money aside for some future travel, a decent home, some independence at the end of my life, and a comfortable addition to my pensions.

Were my spiritual Guides looking after me? Well, they were trying to. As the day of my flight to New Mexico approached, many obstacles rose in my path. I could not believe the small, irritating things that seemed to be in my way!

Louise did not have her right shots. I managed to find the money for that, then I re-read the instructions from the travel agency and understood that the carrier I had for her was not the right size.

Again, I pushed my burdened credit card to the limit, and bought what I thought was the right one. I didn’t want any last minute problems!

On the day of our flight, Louise and I trundled down to the airport in a cab. A number of things were about to happen as my loving Guides made a last-ditch attempt to get my full attention and inspire me to cancel my flight and stay in Canada.

I took my ticket up to the airline desk and the first problem struck. Despite my attention to the cat carrier instructions, I still had the wrong kind.

They could not allow my cat on the plane without the right carrier. I was frantic. The plane was about to leave!

She said, “I’ll get you on the next flight. Don’t worry. Your connections will still work fine. Hurry and go to the Vet’s. They are the only place to get these carriers.”

So l left my poor cat locked up in her carrier, howling at the swirling airport world around her, all alone while I grabbed a cab and shot off to the Vet.

I asked the cab to wait while I went in to purchase the carrier. The taxi was one of those big old spacious cars with huge doors. The doors have a sharp corner up at the top right hand corner, the outside corner.

I came flying out of the Vet’s office with the carrier and opened the taxi door to climb back in. As I ducked to slide down into the seat, the door swung back so fast I had no chance to even think what was happening. The sharp upper corner swung into my face, miraculously pushing my glasses up from the bridge of my nose and bashing my face just at the inner corner of the eye.

It struck me with such force that I fell to the ground unconscious for a moment or two. The driver, unaware of how much the door had damaged his fare, remained seated calmly and asked me if I was all right?

I got slowly to my feet, shaking my head. I seemed to be under assault. Life was too much. At that moment, I wanted more than anything to get my luggage and let the driver take me back to my home in the big old rambling house.

But there was no living income to be had staying where I was. I had to move forward. All this shot through my over-pressured brain as I climbed to my feet.

I thought the injury was slight. But events further down the road made me wonder, later, if the damage had been limited to my face. In fact, looking back, I realized that I must have suffered a concussion when the taxi door struck my face. Far from caring for the concussion, I boarded the plane anyway and carried on as though nothing had happened.

I was to pay for this “carry-on-no-matter-what” attitude for a long time – years, in fact.

In addition, I could so easily have lost my eye! As it was, I had a massive swelling bruise around my eye. Great. Just what I wanted again. To start a new job with a black bruise on my face. What was it with new jobs and bruises??

After all that, Louise and I landed relatively safe and sound in El Paso where we had to spend the night, in a cockroach-infested motel near the railroad tracks. We got through the night and, in the morning, waited for our pre-arranged ride to come and take us to our new location on planet Earth.

We seemed to have lived, albeit briefly, almost everywhere in the western hemisphere by now.

We had accommodation set up ahead of time in a nice little motel/restaurant some distance out of town. This was another situation where you really should have a driver’s license. But my agency had thought this would work for me, so I went ahead trustingly. It turned out that friendly staff at the motel were happy to drive me wherever I needed to go.

I’ll call the town Smithtown, which is not the name of course.

The first thing was to meet the Hospital administrator who had so kindly hired me. After going to see him and filling out a mountain of paperwork, I was to meet him out in the parking lot to begin an accommodation search.

I was glad to have help with this difficult problem, for there were not many places to stay in town, just like Yellowknife…but the climate was a bit different down here!

We drove around, picking up tips from locals as we went, and before evening fell, we had found a sweet little cottage with its own yard, very protected with a high wrought iron fence all around it. It was attached to the owner’s adjoining property and felt very safe.

It was so exciting to start at the hospital. The first few days were taken up with watching videos concerning different aspects of law in the United States. For example, if a nurse were to inadvertently give away even the information that a patient was in the hospital, never mind any other information, she could be sued for a staggering amount of money and face a lengthy period in prison.

As I sat watching that particular video, it reminded of something else I had discovered before leaving B.C. A television documentary on women in U.S. prisons had said something about half the female prison population being there due to bouncing checks. I had vowed to be very, very careful with my checking account Indeed while working there.

I was nervous of the many differences between Canadian and U.S. life. It felt much more threatening, more wild, less protected. Being born in Canada and being part of the British Commonwealth, where a kind of socialism mixes well with free enterprise, I had always felt very protected by a vast, invisible safety net. This, of course, is something a lot of Americans don’t like and don’t approve of. So I was really in a different kind of culture.

The Hospital Administrator took pains to say to me while we were house-hunting, “Please don’t base your impression of the United States on this little area. It is mostly quite different from this.”

Smithtown was very different in many ways. It was close to the Mexican border, and bylaws were much looser than anything I was used to. Dogs ran in wild packs, unafraid and quite ready to attack anyone on foot. Anyone, for example, like a nurse walking home from work late in the evening, with no means to defend herself.

I had to call the ward one evening on my cell phone to get help, as a pack of aggressive dogs meaning business had surrounded me and would not let me move forward down the street. There was no one around. Thank Goodness I had taken the trouble to buy the right kind of cell phone before I left home.

One of the staff dropped her work and jumped in her car to come rescue me. As she pulled up, the dogs took off.

How did people live in this place, I wondered? No bus service. One taxi, and that only if the driver felt like being a taxi that day.

Everyone had vehicles, no one walked in Smithtown. All the cars had air conditioning. The temperature while I was there regularly hit 105 degrees. To say you could fry an egg on the sidewalk was an understatement. You could fry sandals on the sidewalk.

I walked everywhere, shopping and doing errands. It was wonderful to be able to just throw on a loose dress and a pair of sandals and off I would go, my sunhat and sunglasses in place, slathered with sun block.

But it took its toll. Locals know better than to walk anywhere, and I began to suffer strange symptoms. I put it down to the heat.

I thought I would acclimatize, however.

But as the weeks passed, something strange was going on inside my skull. It felt like my brain was under some kind of assault. I couldn’t put words to it but over time, real alarm bells began to sound.

At work, the nurses wondered what was wrong with me…I could not remember things.

Nurses in the U.S. are trained to insert the spike for an I.V. line into a patient for a “drip” or intravenous.

They taught me how to do it and put me on the list to attend a formal course so I would be certified in this skill.

But every night I had no memory of being taught how to do this. I could set up the intravenous drip itself, of course, but when it came to the unfamiliar task of inserting the spike itself, I could not remember anything about it. It was as though no one had ever showed me.

Every night the nurse in charge of my orientation took me through the procedure again and again. She was very concerned about my lack of memory, but I myself didn’t feel any concern…that was the other strange thing, now that I look back on it.

I loved the work. It was an amazing privilege, with my limited hospital experience, to be put in charge of a busy acute care ward, housing so many kinds of desperately ill patients. Night shift was of course quieter, but things always happened.

It was wonderful, really, to work in that place. I felt uplifted, honoured and happy in my work. There was a chronic staff shortage with people always leaving. The lack of support staff and the pressure of work were enormous problems. As the weeks went by, I heard several of the Registered Nurses talking about giving notice. I felt sorry for the hospital and for the patients.

But the pressure was, really, huge. There were several Canadian nurses there who felt the same compassion and would stay on when others left. There was something terrific about being so needed, and about having the skills to actually make a difference!

I had one Aide on staff to help me at night, on a part time basis. He was also support staff on the ward next door, so we had to share him.

Who suffers? The patients, of course, though they often don’t realize it.

As morning came, there would be a mass of paperwork to be completed before going home. Nurses normally stayed for as much as two hours, without extra pay, after quitting time to complete the paperwork. It was important, because that was where the hospital made its money. Without that, there would be no hospital at all.

I had, of course, a skewed view of women in nursing. So much of this kind of discipline relies on the giving, nurturing nature of….good ol’ estrogen at work!! Yup, here we were again.

Sometimes I wished my parents had not raised me to observe and notice all these things.

However, despite my love of the hospital and the work, I knew something was giving way in my brain. One day I went to Emergency and asked if they could take a look at me, as I felt something was wrong with my head. Then as we talked, I realized I had to pay money…a lot of money…to just be looked at by a doctor here!! Yikes!! I could not afford this!

The nurse assured me I could pay over a series of payments, but I fled. I was too used to our safety net, our healthcare system. Pay money?? At the hospital?? WHAT?? In fact, I had travel insurance and realized later that I could have had the scan and it would have been covered. But I had no memory of the travel insurance and I did not know, anymore, what travel insurance was or how it worked. I needed care, and there was none. I needed someone who knew me to be around the step in to the situation. But there was no one.

I went home that day and thought about what to do. There was something seriously wrong with my brain, I could see that. The nurse who had been showing me, once again, how to insert the spike on an intravenous patient, had said, “Look, this is the fifth time or something…why can’t you remember this stuff?”

I replied that something seemed to be going wrong with my head, but I didn’t know what. I thought it was the heat.

I knew this could not go on. Whatever was wrong, it wasn’t going to get better. I had to bite the bullet and move on. Good Grief, what next??

That night shift, I went to the nurse in charge of Staff and left a note saying I was giving twenty-four hours notice. I was not well, and had to get out of there before the heat entirely destroyed my ability to function. I apologized profusely and said I appeared to have no choice. Which I did not.

I knew I would have to pay back the hiring bonus they had generously given me, and over time, I did that. However, ultimately, hearing of my sickness, further down the line, they kindly cancelled one thousand dollars of the debt. I had not expected such kindness.

I should not have been living in a place where a driver’s license was not a choice, but was mandatory for survival. But, I still thought it was the heat.

I phoned the single taxi in the area and asked if he would drive me and my cat to El Paso next day. I had booked a flight out. He said he thought he could, wasn’t sure. I explained my situation and thought he had taken me seriously when I hung up.

This taxi driver was a rare, unique find in anyone’s travels. A real individual. He wore a beard and a baseball cap, but below the waist he wore short shorts and wedge high heels. He had the most fabulous, movie-star legs on the planet. He shaved his legs. He had a wife, however.

I never did figure any of it out. It was just a different world. And the taxi never came. He wasn’t in the mood that day. I frantically phoned round the few people I knew and paid a woman one hundred dollars to take me to El Paso NOOOOWWW please.

She drove over as I was packaging up my garbage to take it across the road to the dumpster.

Leave that,” she shouted. “We don’t have time for that. You will miss your plane!!”

As we drove frantically, traveling East, the sun was rising. It was a huge, massive sun, the biggest I had ever seen. Brilliant yellow and HOT. I felt real terror of the sun, for the first time in my life. I could not wait to get out of New Mexico and back to the shady forests of B.C.

So Louise and I found ourselves back on a SouthWest Airlines flight sooner than I had anticipated. We sat in the sun in Phoenix airport at one point, caught in a mechanical problem, for some time. The heat in the shade that day was 120 degrees.

Louise was made to crouch inside a tiny box, just big enough for her to stand up in. She was placed under my seat for the flight, meowing continually. Animals who had been boarded in the usual way, in the supposedly cool luggage areas, had been dying of the heat. So no pets could travel freight, they had to be in the cabin.

And where were we heading to, you ask? Well, before leaving Smithtown, I had gone on the internet down at the local library and found a nursing position in the B.C. north. Thrilled to find a position back in B.C.’s normal cool, damp climate, I figured this would solve my problem. Just get out of that sun!! The hospital had hired me sight unseen.

But before I arrived in my new post, I had a problem: my credit cards were pressured almost to the max. And, given that, naturally the trip home could not be straightforward!

The first thing that happened was that, since I had booked my flight at the last minute, the airlines computer had flagged me as a possible terrorist. This led to repeated intense searches of all my luggage all along the way. Since that ate up a lot of time, I missed my connecting flight and had to re-book.

I’m sorry, madam,” the attendant said, gazing down at her computer screen, “but you will have to pay for your new flight booking.”

I was aghast. I can’t recall now what reasons she gave me, but I had no choice, so out came good ol’ Mastercard for one last hurrah.

This left a small amount available on my Visa and after that…by the time I arrived at my destination, I would have about one hundred dollars and some pocket change left.

My heart sank. What was I going to do? I would not get a paycheck soon enough to save the day. By now, I could hardly think. Someone seemed to have poured thick molasses over all my brain endings. I looked normal on the surface but inside, little was functioning.

Strange thing was, the state of my brain did not worry me as it should have had. And that in itself was an important clue. But I couldn’t think well enough to know even that!

As night fell, I found myself standing in front of a hotel desk, my cat in her carrier on the floor beside me. We still had a little distance to go before we were at our final stop, and I had made a prior booking at this hotel for the night, using my credit card. I KNEW they had taken the money out for payment as I booked it. Our room had been paid in advance, definitely! But she had no indication of that on the booking sheets.

She leaned on the counter, looking frustrated and impatient. She was tired, the day had been long for her too. “Thing is, my dear,” she informed me, “the airline may have made all these arrangements for you from the U.S., but a hacker got into the airline schedules, reservations and everything yesterday and the entire company is in turmoil. We have no record here of anything you did. I’m afraid you will have to pay.”

I was, once more, aghast, exhausted, reeling from the repeated blows and bad luck. How was I attracting all this madness??

And just at a time when I was so vulnerable. How much more could I take? I had exactly enough left to pay the hotel bill and have breakfast. Thankfully, the bus to the small airport was included free!

To be in transit with absolutely no more money is an awful feeling I would not wish on anyone.

Eventually Louise and I arrived in the Canadian north once more, glad to be away from the desert sun, at least. I thought everything would be fine now.

The hospital had booked me into a motel, so we went straight there. They took a note of my credit card and did not, thankfully, want any money up front right then.

After all, I was a nurse about to start work. Surely they weren’t worried?

Apparently there was an end to their easy-going habits, because when I went in for dinner, no amount of explaining would move them. No dinner or anything else until I could pay at the till on my way out.

Well, I went back to my room, hungry. Louise, at least, had dry food in her supplies. Thank God. Fortunately, the room’s coffee setup supplied me with a beverage. I went to bed munching on a bag of peanuts left over from the flight’s bounty.

Next morning I phoned the hospital administration office, thinking I might get an advance on my first pay. I told them my situation, but they could not produce a check that quickly. Certain procedures had to be completed. I had to go for the introductory session, for example, and other things, before they would pay me a dollar.

Desperate now, not able to figure things out properly, I made a poor judgement call. What I should and would have done if my brain had been working, was to go down to Social Services and explain my plight. I might have gotten a little hardship money, enough to tide me over. Or I could have phoned my younger brother.

However, I walked to the hospital and went into my new ward, where I knew no one yet. There was a Registered Nurse seated at the front desk in the nursing home, and I approached her uncertainly.

Hi! I’m the new R.N., I’m starting tomorrow. I just arrived and I have a problem…”

I explained to her that I was in a desperate spot and needed to borrow some money.

She was dismayed. Didn’t know what to do. I was a total stranger. However, her good nature won out and she dug down in her purse and handed me a sum of money…I don’t recall how much. Enough to get a couple of meals at the motel.

I promised her I would return it as soon as I got my first check, which would be a week or so I thought.

She did not look terribly impressed with her first sight of her new colleague.

That first check took longer than I expected, and I had to borrow again, this time from the Head Nurse. She gave me $150 in cash. She was not impressed either.

I was in hell. What could I do? I had done everything right, and yet everything was in total disarray.

I began my first shift at last. The ward was a well run, pleasant nursing home unit with all the expected range of medical conditions present. The work was the same the world over, and still the same mostly as the work we did as student nurses in Inverness, so long ago in the 70’s. There was very little difference, apart from certain technological procedures, and of course some new drugs.

I had no trouble remembering anything from a long time ago; what I could not do was store and retrieve recent information.

The first couple of weeks passed, and still I could not remember the patient’s names.

Thing was, I did not see this as a problem. I did not see anything as a problem, no matter how my brain misbehaved. It all felt perfectly okay.

My colleagues did not think it was okay. They began to whisper behind my back, ignore me during coffee break, generally treat me as a crazy person who had been foisted upon them.

I had found a house at an incredibly low rent, and biked my way home at night feeling lost and puzzled. Something was wrong but I did not know what.

One or two of the nurses still talked to me, making my shifts bearable. But when I got home at night, I could go visit with my landlord and his wife, two very nice people coping with their own problems.

The Forestry Industry had collapsed, leaving their town in a very bad way. People had been leaving for years, making life increasingly difficult for those left behind. If they owned property, they could not just abandon it and start over. For many, this property was all they had in the world. This was the case with my two new friends.

The house I rented from them showed signs of having been left derelict for a long time. Spiders had nested in the bathtub, setting up colonies in the house.

The whole thing was dark and full of sadness and failure. I wondered if I would be able to continue working, when nothing seemed to be going right.

As always, there were bright, special moments in the midst of difficulties. When we moved into the house, Louise, so happy to get out of the motel room, went running through the house, checking out all the corners, then she headed for the front door, full of delight in the spaciousness.

I was behind her as she ran out the front door and down the steps to the lawn, and as she jumped from the steps to the ground, a brilliant indigo coloured starburst exploded outward from her spine into the air around her, followed by several smaller, silvery bursts of light.

How happy she was to be in a better space at last! I had never seen anything like that explosion of starlight from my little black cat that day.

That evening as I sat on the floor, my back to the wall, reading a book, I looked up and saw her standing in the middle of the living room near me. Extending from the centre of her spine upward right through the ceiling, disappearing into the roof, was what they call a “smokestack chakra”, a line of pure misty blue-tinted light, like a chimney stack, going right up to heaven’s gate.

I was used to seeing her blue aura all around her body, it had been clearly visible for years. But I had never seen that chakra connecting my little cat with ”home” before.

I remembered all the times I had treated her like any old ordinary cat (if there is such a thing) and felt humbled. Spirit had Indeed sent Louise to me all those years ago, a little shadow to watch over me and keep me linked to my angels and guides, through thick and thin.

Finally the day came when the head nurse and the Director called me in for a talk. I still did not understand that my brain was “packing it in”. Neither did they. I never did figure out what the staff around me must think. Perhaps they thought I was on drugs? I don’t know.

Of course, these nurses had been working in a Nursing Home environment for a long time. They had, possibly, lost the awareness of head injury which nurses in surgical or medical would have, or else they might have recognized the signs and been able to get me some help.

What surprised me most was the Director’s first complaint. She was a middle aged woman of many years experience working all over Canada, including the far north. She had earned her stripes the hard way in nursing and now had a coveted position which she clearly felt earned her a measure of respect from the staff beneath her.

She said, “You speak to both the Head Nurse and myself as though you were an equal. Nurse, I have worked from south to north, and if I ever spoke in as familiar a way to my superiors as you do, I’d be afraid they would literally have killed me!”

I found it hard, right at that moment, to relate to what she was saying. Like everything else right then, nothing made any sense. I was not aware of speaking any particular way to them.

I sat before them, so surprised I could not think what to say. Certainly, given the depth and breadth of my problems right then, that seemed a very distant runner-up for most important complaint of the day.

Of course, though I did not identify it until much later when my health had improved, she was talking about the same thing my boss way back in the computer courses had complained about…my sense of hierarchy and normal boundaries were no longer in place. I was sometimes inappropriate in my attitudes. Later, when I identified the problem, I was surprised to realize that after all these years…this would be about twelve years after Lori died…I was still exhibiting some of the same behaviours that had marked my journey back to the “normal” world.

Maybe I wasn’t quite there yet.

But the other complaints were vividly obvious…mainly, I could not remember anything, including the patient’s names.

They really had no idea as to the extent of the memory problem and its ramifications although it was some time later that I realized it myself.

Doing the meds one day, I had pushed the cart into a room occupied by a combative elderly woman who found fault with the staff at every opportunity.

She was lying on her side, exposed, the blankets pulled down around her knees, apparently ready to receive a routine treatment.

I’d had no idea what she was expecting. I took her meds out of the cart and thought about each one. They all made perfect sense except for one large, tinfoil-wrapped object shaped rather like a torpedo.

I stood puzzling over it. What was it? What was its function? Was she supposed to swallow it? Something told me, no…she did not swallow it. It was too big. Well, that left two orifices that might be awaiting its ministrations. Which one was it?

I looked at her. It seemed she was in position for a rectal treatment. So that’s where it was supposed to go. But what about the tin foil? Did I leave it on? Remove it? Did the tin foil have some vital part in the treatment, so should be left on?

I had not the slightest idea what it was, but just then she shouted at me, “Well, hurry up, how long am I supposed to lie here like this, for God’s sake???”

So I moved to her bed and inserted the object, having removed the tin foil first. I hoped it was the right thing to do.

As I inserted it, I waited for her to start yelling at me. Maybe it was meant to be vaginally inserted? Or, should I have offered it to her with a glass of water? No, apparently I had got it right.

The important thing about all this is that at no time did I consider my confusion and doubt to be any indication of a problem. I felt okay.

My brain did not know it was in difficulties. It was solving each question as it appeared. It thought it was doing fine.

No one on the ward ever knew about the confusion I had with the meds; it never seemed important to tell anyone.

Eventually, however, someone observed my inability to perform the most basic nursing duty of all…insertion of a catheter. They complained to the Nurse Tutor, who asked me into her office. She posed some pertinent questions about patient care and concluded that I had no idea what I was doing.

This had led to the interview with the Director and Head Nurse that day.

Next day, I found myself in the local EI office asking about sick leave support. They were fully sympathetic, had already talked with the Director, and my income was set up for the next year.

On my way home that day, I went to the main post office to pick up my General Delivery mail. Unfortunately, I could not remember my name or address, so I could not get my mail that day.

The condition, whatever it was, was progressing at breakneck pace inside my skull.

I had thought the problem was the hot sun in the American South West, but apparently that wasn’t it. I just didn’t know what was wrong with me.

Louise and I flew home shortly thereafter, to my old town where I had worked in the nursing home and been bumped by Loretta, a senior nurse. The place where it had all began!

My friends in the big old house across from the Food Bank took me in for a couple of weeks while I tried to sort out this awful mess.

First thing I did was to make an appointment to see my family doctor, Dr. Watson. The conversation went something like this:

What can I do for you today?”

Well, I have been nursing in the U.S. and up north, and something has happened to my memory. I can’t seem to remember everyday things, and I have had to quit nursing as a result.”

He asked me then, “Which part of the U.S. were you in?”

New Mexico.”

New Mexico. I see. Well, you probably have altitude sickness.”

I stared blankly, thinking now my hearing was going.

Altitude sickness?? That’s what mountain climbers get!”

He explained. “I see it all the time here. We live at sea level here. People retire and fly off around the world to travel for months. They travel to high altitudes without stopping to think they have spent their whole lives at sea level. They don’t realize that might create a problem for their health.

The body and brain take time to adapt to different altitudes. Memory is one of the problems we see with this condition. Also fatigue and confusion. You have all the relevant symptoms.”

I said slowly, “So I haven’t got Alzheimer’s or something?”

No. I’m sure you haven’t. I’m confident you have altitude sickness. Particularly if you were working in New Mexico. We see it all the time,” he repeated.

When will my memory come back?”

I can’t tell you that, I’m afraid. Might be a few months, might be a couple of years. And it might not all return at once. You might even lose some data permanently. But you should get most of your memory back over time.”

It did not even occur to the doctor to order up a set of x rays or scans. If only I could go back to that day. I would handle that interview very differently.

But I felt very relieved. I didn’t have some kind of early dementia after all. Whew. I still had a life to live up ahead somewhere.

Now I just had to survive till my memory returned…whenever that might be.

Returning to my friends’ home, I picked up the local paper and took a look at the Personals. Without a family to turn to, I needed a Guy. Fast.

It did not occur to me once to go to Social Services, get some help, settle into a little apartment and wait till I recovered. I was not able to think that clearly. So I followed my previous experience and turned to the Personals.

Thus I happened to see a small ad that stated:

Elderly, easy going senior gentleman looking for companion to share lovely home.”

There was a box number, so I quickly wrote off, wasting no time. I could not stay with my friends forever. I was too embarrassed to get in touch with the nurses I had worked with at the Nursing Home. They had disapproved of my going to the U.S. to work anyhow.

Henry and I met at a local coffee shop a few days later.

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CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE: The Secrets of New Life

Too often, that clonic way of going into a trance-like memory with strong emotional attachment, takes us into resentment, hurt and pain. And in that place of hurt, we are creating more of the hurt.

So having understood this, I practised to reduce the amount of “negative” thinking I did automatically, in a day. Not easy to do, but with practice, I knew I could do better.

Just how fast this stuff happens was demonstrated recently when my friend, Jenny, and I were out driving.

She had dropped me at the recreation centre where I had been swimming for an hour.

As I swam, I pondered a movie I’d seen which showed a couple lost at sea, and finally being eaten by sharks. The movie had left a deep mark of horror on my soul. I thought about it more than I wanted to!

After my swim, Jenny and I drove to a coffee shop. As we left the parking lot, pulling out into traffic, I noticed for the first time that there was a funeral home just a few doors down from the rec centre.

I had never noticed it before.

As we trundled along the road, suddenly a cream coloured car with a flashing purple light pulled arrogantly out in front of us, causing Jenny to slow down. Right behind it came a cream coloured, beautiful HEARSE!!

We drove along behind the hearse.

Jenny”, I said, “how do you suppose we both attracted a HEARSE into our afternoon experience?”

Then I realized that I had been obsessed with the frightening movie, and added, “Oh, I know.

While I was swimming I was thinking about that scary movie where that couple die out on the ocean. It scared me while I was swimming. I kept imagining how that experience must feel.”

No,” replied Jenny. “It wasn’t you. This afternoon I was so angry at Michael (her husband) that I kept imagining he was dead. I imagined how I would feel. I think we need to start going to couples counselling. I’m tired of being mad at him all the time. So, you see,I was the one who materialized the hearse.”

Either way, we had certainly drawn into our day’s experience something very dark, to match the darkness of our “clonic”, emotionally charged thoughts.

During the month following Henry’s death, I was busy every day as all his possessions had to be packed up. His youngest son was coming to pick up everything I did not choose to keep. I did not look forward to the experience of handing over his clothing, books, and personal things to this son and daughter-in-law as these two, especially the wife, had been very hard nosed about my presence in Henry’s life.

Even though I had told them, several times, that if the son were to visit Henry a couple of times a month and have a coffee with him, just that alone, it was possible all the fences could be mended. I had told them straight that if Henry had not been isolated and abandoned by his family who nearly all lived within a few minutes drive, he would never have taken a wife in his old age. But nothing seemed to penetrate their blaming, resentful attitudes.

I had said to both of them, “If you want to see who is to blame for your father’s marriage, take a look in the mirror. That’s the culprit.”

However, the day came when their huge pickup truck pulled up outside our triplex and I went out to transfer a great load onto their vehicle.

His son came onto my front step before they drove away to thank me for taking care of his dad so well. I was surprised and relieved.

Then, as any widowed person knows, there is paperwork to be completed. All his pensions had to be notified. I shuddered as I realized afresh how bereft of security I now was. There were so many other chores as well, and I plowed through them, as all bereaved do.

One day I sent an email to Henry’s pension contact person, asking her outright and bluntly to please tell me if I was going to be entitled to any benefits of any kind whatever, as his widow. Up till then, she had been vague in her answers to my queries.

Now, however, an email came back with the welcome news that I would receive a pension…a lifetime pension…and it would be enough to live on!

I had been in the trenches long enough. But now I would have to learn to live with a strange new lifestyle…retirement. Something I had only given passing thought to. For I would never have to work again. It was like a dream.

How could I not work? What would I do with the time? Those doubts persisted for a long time, but after two and a half years of receiving them, my pension checks feel like they really are mine at last.

When I was doing my first metaphysical email course, back when Henry and I were first together, I created an eight foot plastic banner which has been on my office wall ever since. The banner reads: “Rivers of Golden, Effortless Wealth Flow to Me Today.”

The online course had taught us to place Intent. It apparently had worked.

And I had materialized that very thing. Lifetime, effortless income. A comfortable pension!

But the psychological limitations were still at work, my codependency was still in the driver’s seat. Within thirty days of his death, I was restlessly toying with the idea of going back to the online personals. I could not tolerate being alone. It didn’t seem to matter that I had an income, privacy, good friends to do nice things with, a beautiful town to live in. I still “needed” someone broken to “fix”.

The doctor kept phoning me to make an appointment. He wanted me in for a post-bereavement checkup. Finally, he sent me a letter to that effect. I caved in and made an appointment, feeling that it was a silly effort in pointlessness. What did he want to see me for??

It turned out that our talk led to a major change in my life and the healing I had needed for so long.

As we chatted about how I was doing now that Henry was gone, I admitted that I was very lonely and wanted someone to look after. I was thinking of looking at the online personals again.

He went berserk. Shouting loud enough to be heard out in the street, he hollered, “You are completely bonkers. What do you want to do that for? OK. This is not good. I want you to see a counsellor.”

He glared at me. He was a big man, tall, strong, authoritarian, with a loud, stentorian English accent. I shrank in the chair and muttered, “I am afraid to see a counsellor.”

He asked why.

I explained with great reluctance that someone in our family had apparently committed a serious crime many years ago…thirty five years ago, in fact…and I had always been afraid if I went for counselling for my codependency, that it would all come out and there would be no end of trouble, even perhaps, danger for some, though so many years had passed.

He replied, “Thirty-five years ago? You really are bonkers. Nothing is going to happen with a crime committed that long ago. I want you to go for counselling. What do you say? What is your answer?”

He was adamant, not about to give in because of my puny sounding excuses. I struggled fiercely inside. I was so afraid to involve a counsellor, I just knew something terrible would happen. I knew how long people can hold on to secrets.

But in the end, cowed by his powerful certainty that I should do this, I agreed.

I waited for the local Mental Health clinic to call me, but it turned out that they had the wrong phone number, so I never got their call.

For weeks I waited on tenterhooks for them to call. Finally, I gathered my own resolve and selected a private counsellor from the Yellow Pages. She described herself as a codependency specialist. Perfect. Since I would have to pay privately for these sessions, I took out some extra health insurance, but I thought the expense would turn out to be worth it.

I informed the doctor of my decision and my pending first appointment. This counsellor was young but had a good grasp of the issues involved. As she led me surely and solidly along a carefully defined path, I began to loosen up. And, of course, eventually she asked me about the particular family members who had been involved in that long ago crime…if there had, indeed, been such a crime.

It had been my poor sister, Lorna, with her failing memory and brain problems, several years before entering care for dementia, who had told me about the crime and the details involved. She had been terrified to talk about it, but had finally been unable to resist the temptation to share her fear and distress about it. So she had told me.

I had not taken her seriously at first. But then, as years passed and I occasionally pondered the details she had shared with me, I began to feel her account had been factual. I began to believe her. And so, then, the fear and distress she had carried for so long, finally became mine to carry. And in the midst of all that, the uncertainty…maybe it was not even true?

In appointment number five, sure enough, before I knew I was going to do so, I told my young counsellor about this awful, night-stalking burden our family had been carrying around.

She reached for the phone and said, “I’m sorry but I have to call the RCMP.”

She talked to the police there and then, and handed the phone to me. They made an appointment to come talk to me at home, and there it was.

The secret, so to speak, was out in the open at last. Now what would happen?

After talking to the RCMP officer who came to my home, I then had to tell others in my family. The police wanted to talk to them as well.

They were angry and blamed my counsellor and then me.

Look at the trouble you’ve caused,” one of them said in an ocean of self-righteousness.

I groaned in total horror. This was the last thing I wanted. Why oh why had I ever gone to see this counsellor??

My family continued to be upset. Some would not talk to me ever again. Clearly, this had wrought its destructive effect on the psyches of more than just my poor sister Lorna.

We had all been walking around with this awful secret in its vivid, terrifying Technicolor whirling round in our minds for years and years.

However, after a brief investigation, the matter was dropped…I suppose too much time had passed and some of the key people had died anyway. I never heard from the police again and don’t know what happened, if anything.

One day I called the local police to ask if they could tell me what had occurred as a result of the investigation. They had no idea what I was talking about, as I could not recall the name of the officer who had interviewed me at home.

So that was that.

But nevertheless, I went on to have a total of twelve appointments with this codependency counsellor, who, one day, said to me some magic words:

I think you have been in denial for years. I think you have been trying to hide from the obvious fact that your mother was mentally ill. And that has been key in causing a great many problems.”

I was furious that day, went home in a steaming rage against her. How dare she talk about my poor, downtrodden, worn out mother who never had a thing in her life and suffered so much?

But as the week between appointments passed, I decided one day to pretend she might be right. No one had to know I was pretending she was right. I could process the idea in the privacy of my own mind and no one need ever know. So the disloyalty I felt, examining the idea, didn’t surface.

I realized with tremendous impact that really, it had always been different from what I had thought. If mom had not been mentally ill, she would not have allowed us to live way out there in the middle of the woods with no human contact except for school. She would not have put up with a life where she had only one new dress in twenty years. She would not have accepted living without hydro, running water, any of the normal everyday amenities. She would not have stayed in B.C. with us when the Yukon had her heart and soul and she yearned to be back there. 

Although, whether that would have been better for us or worse, who could tell?

I was finally able to consider it a possibility that she had been mentally ill. And when I looked at that, something else happened. I realized that my dad was not entirely to blame for everything. He was not the demon she had painted him to be. He, also, had to cope with her illness and its effects on us and on him.

It was a new way of seeing things, and it made so many things fall into place. Like finally being able to scratch a sixty-year itch that I’d never gotten to before.

As the days passed, more and more things made sense. And as that happened, I saw how she had been so needy, and I had been appointed, out of all the children, to be her main caretaker as we grew up.

However, as time has passed and I have thought about my mother and her difficult, sad life, so devoid of the incredible potential she could have offered her community and the world, with her strong intelligence, her immeasurable curiosity about things, her dedication to the tasks life dropped on her, and her patient, never ending courage, I think of my mom as a Hero, whether she had a mental illness or not.

If I had been in my mom’s shoes, I would have put a plastic turkey-roasting bag over my head, taken a big dose of sleeping pills, (not in that order) and left earth with my middle finger in the air. But she never seemed to think of leaving or of giving up.

She did feel grossly disappointed that we failed her, in that way that all children fail their parents…they cannot save them from old age and all its suffering. They cannot fix a thing.

All my life I have been thinking of my mother as frail, delicate, with her sweet, utterly genuine smile sometimes and deep misery etched clearly on her face other times. I have felt so ashamed that I could not save her or help her or make things better for her.

But nowadays, I realize that was a false image. She was a tower of unbreakable strength. How did she raise six children with so little income? How did she survive years of solitary aloneness, even when Dad was home? The loneliness of an empty marriage is lonely indeed. How did she bear that she never saw her parents or relatives again? How did she bear seeing her oldest son descend into hopeless, accelerating alcoholism, and me disappear from her life by boarding a jet for faraway Britain?

Most of all, how did she bear that she gave her all, her every breath and ounce of strength, every penny, every moment, from the day she first became pregnant, to her family, receiving so very, very little in return…especially that terribly important thing…credit for her life’s work?

Your mother was mentally ill.”

Well. The summing up, the final judgement, the ultimate gathering-up of a vast life into one small, devastating, minimizing and denigrating sentence. By a very, very young counsellor.

If I knew more about my mother I would write a book about her life…and call it, My Mother, My Hero.

Perhaps my Dad deserves the same. I don’t know enough about him either, and there would be a great deal more to him than the small amount of negative information I was allowed to gather about him during my childhood. There would be more to him than the things he did wrong, the mistakes, the rages.

What holds any of us back from violence, rage, antisocial behaviour, except that ultimately important sense of Belonging?

That sense of Belonging was once ours, when we lived in small tribes and villages, knowing each other thoroughly and growing old around each other. But nowadays, over the last few centuries, we draw more and more apart, knowing each other less and less, forgetting our elderly, our families, our villages, our communities.

So many adult children of the elderly are “too busy” to take time to involve their parents in their lives or even have an occasional cup of coffee with them.

The art of sitting quietly in the evening sun, sharing our family stories, supporting each other, making plans to help each other through the next day or days, all those things that used to be taken for granted in families, now are under siege and drawing their final breaths in so many family units.

My parents were Heroes, whatever they did or didn’t do. No one could survive what they did and not come out looking pretty odd to those protected from such difficulties.

However, be that as it may, we as children still grew up paying a heavy price for the circular, extremist thinking of our parents and for growing up in that isolated way, never participating in so many normal activities.

Recognizing the one fact does not diminish the reality of the other facts…that they bravely and selflessly did the best they could, given the tools they had to work with.

When I see nowadays what other children endure in various forms of abuse, violence and death, all around the world, I realize how lucky we were in many ways. My sister Lorna once talked to me about that. As a Social Worker, she knew all about such matters, and strove to convince me of how well-cared for we were compared to so many.

Lorna had a saying when confronted with the damage individuals did to others: “God’ll Git’em” she’d say. And leave it at that. She was a Master of Forgiveness, always seeking rapproachement, new beginnings. Alas, too often rejected. And that, too, she forgave.

My brother Tom was a different story. What his childhood experiences had been in the convent in the Yukon, in captivity to the strikebreakers in Campbell River, I was never to know. He was unable to rise above those experiences, unable to put them behind him. As he grew into adulthood, he began to drink, always believing he was the most reasonable and righteous of men.

I was afraid of my oldest brother, of his heavy drinking, and his size. He was a big man, capable of frightening behaviour, though he could be soft and kind just as easily too. I never forgot my mom moving my camp bed into his room at age fourteen, giving me to my brother for…what?

I knew for what. I continued always to be afraid of him.

One day my mom phoned me while I was at university. She begged me to come get her. I asked her what was wrong. I knew my older brother had been living with her off and on.

She told me, “Tom’s drinking so much. He said he would come into my room while I was asleep and cut my throat with a straight razor. He does have one. He brought it out and put it into the middle of the kitchen table. I am so afraid. Please come and get me out of here.”

At that point, I thought she was hallucinating. But later on, as I put together more about the events that had apparently transpired thirty five years ago, I began to think she was most likely telling me the exact truth.

I phoned one of my sisters and we did get mom out of there quickly. She began her prolonged stay in care homes. In the end, she took several CVA’s, the result of chronic, life-long high blood pressure, and died of many strokes after being in a hospital bed for years.

I so grieved for my mom. For my lack of ability to save her. If only I could have saved her. From…what? From the sadness that had enveloped her life after a point, around age forty-three or so. From depression, from powerlessness, from a lifetime of loss.

She believed we did not love her, not being able to understand that we loved her most terribly, but could not find a way to save her from the inner monster of depression that ravaged her life so mysteriously.

I had puzzled for many years over the need to go and care for my mother, perhaps to live with her. But my other siblings directly involved with her life were a real obstacle course. None of them would have welcomed my presence coming in and changing many things.

In all likelihood, she herself would not have allowed me to make the changes necessary for me to share my life with her. Tom had always been the one she specially loved and looked up to. His presence in her life on a daily basis would have had to stop, if I were living with her. And how would I do that?

Tom often needed Mom’s pension money in order to access alcohol. He had threatened Lorna if she ever told anyone of the secret crime that had been committed so long ago. I knew she had been afraid for her safety after she told me about it. If I tried to throw him out of my mother’s house, how would he react toward me?

I was afraid of Tom and could not find a way around the problems he presented.

Over and over down the years, I went through the possibilities but could never find a way through all the apparent barriers.

But I did, finally, through those counselling sessions, come to understand that I had learned a fatal level of codependency by being my mother’s caregiver as a small child onward. That this had impacted my life, resulting in the poorest choices of mate down the years, and the loss of my own potential in the world, the burying of my gifts which might have benefited my community.

I was just another human being trying to grow and learn and overcome obstacles from within. And now I was winning that war.

Thanks to my cantankerous, determined, furious doctor and a young, passionately committed counsellor.

I did write to both to say thank you. Give credit where it’s due.

And I must give him some credit for the fact that, three years later, I am still on my own with no need at all to find someone “to look after.”

Shortly after Henry died, I put our triplex on the market. It was proving already to be too much for me to handle…it seemed that the only renters I could find were ne’er-do-wells.

It sold quickly, and I foolishly took the first decent offer.

I’d like to say that I am a fast learner, but it doesn’t seem like it, now that I have worked my way back through a lifetime of decisions for a second look.

One morning while meditating, recently, I contemplated this series of events in my life.

How I had prepared so thoroughly, gone to such effort, to get my R.N. designation back after such a long period away from nursing.

And how the entire structure had collapsed under pressure from simply being struck in the face with a taxi door and losing my memory.  

And as I meditated, deep in what I call the “red zone” of that dream like state, I was shown imagery from the movie “White Squall”, another movie that left me badly shaken when I first watched it.

A storm at sea had taken a small ship down, and with it the wife of the captain. She was in a room below decks, not the only one to be lost that day. The crew up top were all saved, but those below went down to the dark blackness of the ocean bottom, still alive, waiting for the waters to break through the hull and consume them, sitting there in that awful stygian blackness.

The horror of such a death stayed with me for a long time after the movie was over. And as I meditated that day, I wondered why my Guides were drawing my attention to this movie.

Then I realized that such disasters were part and parcel of life. They happen to many people. My own disaster at such a point in my life…after completing such a pile of work and preparation, after taking such pains to earn my living and prepare for my final retirement, occurring in my ageing years when I could not “pick up” the pieces of such a disaster very easily…my own disaster was as nothing compared to what can happen sometimes.

It was just another personal catastrophe, no big deal in the larger scheme of things.

After all, during my great adventure with Chad, sailing down the Pacific coast in 1985, I could have been “lost at sea” just like that poor woman was in “White Squall”…buried under tons of black water inside the hull of a boat.

That didn’t happen; I was saved that time, by the courage and skill of two crew members.

And, true, I had followed the path my feet had been set upon, and had been taken care of, albeit with considerable challenge involved. That was life.

I want to live long? Then I must be prepared for things to sometimes go wrong…and I should have known that, for the wrongest thing of all had already happened, long ago in 1988. The moment on July 30 when I answered the phone and heard my ex-husband’s voice say the words, “Lori’s dead.”

I also thought about the stress I had placed myself under. When the motel sold, I could have taken the money, quietly invested it and gone to live in a tiny cottage somewhere for a while, maybe taking a job in an office or something.

But I had become accustomed to living the “survivor” lifestyle…make big decisions, do hard things, push myself to the limit.

And as I pushed that envelope one time too many, the seams had come undone.

It was time for some quiet living.

 Two years later, one morning, over my first cup of tea, I experienced the most amazing “download” of information.

I had been wishing I could do a hypnosis course and wondering whether to pursue that direction. Hypnosis had always fascinated me. It would be a nice way to earn extra money to top up my pension.

As I sat there sipping tea, I suddenly remembered that I had already done a hypnosis course, after the motel sold. I remembered all the taping and interviewing I had to do, the practice sessions on friends.

How could I have forgotten all that work?? Along with memories of how to perform CPR and other important data, which also “opened” in my brain, like a stuck window which someone had thrown open to the sunlight.

Over the next few minutes, a mountain of memories came tumbling back “in”…all sorts of stuff I had entirely forgotten.

I wondered, that morning, if I now had all the “stuff” back, or if, unknown to me, there were buckets of life experience still forgotten, never to be retrieved in this lifetime.

Perhaps I would never know, and maybe it would never matter very much.

Looking back, I think of my hometown physician who instantly diagnosed me with ‘altitude sickness’ without a scan or x ray or any other evidence.

I think, too, of another physician in northern BC where I had gone to nurse in the local hospital, thinking it was the New Mexico heat that had undone my memory cells.

We rely on doctors so much in our society, for they hold the key to the gateway to the resources we need to heal and thrive. If those doctors are overworked, careless, tired of their job, taking their own drugs for stress and pain, all the normal human failings we hope our doctors are immune to, then what hope do we have to receiving proper care?

Among all the other things I had forgotten, as I went up north to work, were my own meds. I had not taken my thyroid pills for at least six weeks, maybe longer.

When I had seen that doctor up north, who knew me from the ward where I was struggling to work with unsuspected  brain damage, he treated me with great disgust, dismissing my anxiety and request for help. 

At the moment when he actually began to shout at me loudly, I was unable to think clearly. I had no idea what was wrong with all these crazy people…or what was wrong with me either! As I left his office I tried to explain I could not come back in for memory tests because I had no money with which to pay another month’s rent. I would have to go back down south immediately.

Oh yes, I’ll bet,” was his angry, loud rejoinder, out in the waiting room where the other patients sat observing all this with bemusement and great interest.

Well, I clearly was getting no help from that quarter. He must have thought I had a lot of money from working in the U.S. I could never figure out a reason for his attitude apart from that.

I felt angry and disappointed at being yelled at by the doctor in his waiting room, but at the same time I knew well how overworked our doctors and all healthcare workers are during these times. His behaviour was far from professional, but at the same time, he was only human. And no doubt becoming worn out with the load he had to carry.

In addition, I had to admit, my problem was a really, really weird one.

The twists and turns of my life path had brought me now to January of 2007, when a milestone event occurred in my spiritual path.

Having read and loved Bruce Moen’s books on his discoveries of the Afterlife and exploration techniques of those places, I discovered that he had a forum online in which I could participate.

I began to visit Moen’s site frequently, and, through deep meditation with the Hemi-Sync tapes at first, I eventually built up some good skills. Travel to the various focus levels I had learned about in the Monroe Institute’s Gateway Program was one of those skills. I discovered how to access an important, man-made world called The Park on the Other Side…where my family members were.

They were not all in The Park; my daughter and my mother were residing in another, nearby area, for which I have not learned the name. To get there, I learned to travel further down the same wormhole which had taken me to The Park, where my father and my brother lived and continued on with their life experiences.

According to Moen’s own research into the Afterlife, as recounted in his book Curiosity’s Father, on page 196, the location of The Park, where my family are residing currently, is part of the same developmental work as life is here in the Physical. He asks an instructor in Focus 27 (where The Park is located) “So, what is the relationship between the disc and Focus 27?”

(The disc is a group, like the family group I experienced in the motel that day, when they beamed love so powerful to me it was overwhelming. Each of us has a “disc family” out there who depend on us completing our life tasks and who support and love us through everything. Our truest family. They are all part of one greater personality, to which each of us belong. Perhaps what we call our own Higher Power.)

The instructor (called a CW or Consciousness Worker) replies:

Focus 27 can be viewed as a component of the Earth Life System (ELS) as a whole. It is part of the total experience of being human, and learning in the human school of compressed learning, or the Earth School (ES). Focus 27 is not separate from physical reality, where your attention is mostly focused now. Both are components of the same Earth school.”

So the post-earth life we enjoy in The Park, among other places, is an extension of the Earth experience, the next state beyond the physical. Our physical life on Earth and our non-physical life in The Park, are both part of the same developmental state.

As mentioned, some members of my family were not in the same location in the Afterlife as my father and brother when I first found them.

However, as I write this, my mother and daughter did eventually come to spend a lot of time in The Park with my brother, who started his experience there doing healing therapy with the care of small animals who had passed over in trauma states. As he progressed, he was given management of a herd of horses, and my mother and daughter both began to ride and enjoy the horses themselves.

I will explain more about these things at the end of the book in Appendix I.

Posted in Afterlife Contact, Child sex abuse and paedophilia, Creating Reality, Life Story, Soul Retrieval work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Many of my readers have shown a continued interest in the article about numbers and their meanings. Different authors have written books about this topic. Doreen Virtue, who has created a virtual reality around angels and fairies (a very pleasant world) has written such a book, for those who are continuing to follow up on this fascinating business of how the universe communicates with us through numbers. Take a look, copy/paste this search term into Google or just type in the words Doreen Virtue Angel Numbers Book, that will do it…this link is a long one.

Posted in Afterlife Contact, Creating Reality, In Love With Life | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR: When One Door Closes…

He was very elderly, suffering from a broken back as a result of a long-ago accident. He lived alone in a nice rancher and was desperately lonely. I thought he probably had a drinking problem.

I asked him if he had children, to which he replied that he had no family and his wife was dead.

He suggested we live together for a bit. After all, he needed companionship and I needed a roof over my head. What was the harm? I was in no state to argue or set conditions. Eventually, I could maybe work again. Perhaps not. I had no way of knowing what lay ahead for my memory problem. 

Louise and I took our few possessions and soon got settled into what was a very comfortable, modern home set in the midst of a built-up residential area.

In the back yard were several trees which, in the summer, would be full of birds. I could see bird houses in some of the bare branches, as winter was approaching.

It seemed like I could cope with this situation for a while. Henry had a good pension and some equity in his house. That was the extent of his small fortune.

I brought nothing except my health problems, which gave him quite a sense of power and made him feel confident and cheerful!

My possessions were still mostly up north from my foray into a Medical Transcription career, had been sitting there in storage all that time. Henry offered to bring them down for me at considerable expense, so I was able to enjoy my nicer things once again.

What a relief to have an address again, a phone number, an identity.
Although he was quite elderly…87 when we met…he was still active in the way that matters most to men, and we soon developed a full life as a “couple”.

Within months, we decided to marry although I was troubled by many difficulties in caring for him. He had a terrible temper at times and drank from morning to night. He was a tall, strong, powerful man and enjoyed his own considerable physical presence.

He suggested we marry, so I would be secure and have no more worries. I would not have to work again. He would take care of me. It made him feel happy, I could see that. In fact, he was almost bursting with his good fortune in finding a needy woman so much younger, a nurse, to look after him!

I agreed on condition that he would take a mini-mental test with his doctor to ensure he had all his faculties.

“After all,” I told him, “you are 87 years old. We have to be realistic. Your doctor might not approve of the marriage, if she feels you are being taken advantage of or something. I need to know you have all your mental faculties in place for this big decision. I want you to make an appointment to complete one of these tests.”

He agreed without feeling insulted, and in the end his doctor and his social worker both set up mini-mental tests for him. He achieved 98% on one and 100% on the other. He was pleased and I was pleased. The doctor, smiling a little, seemed to take pleasure in the situation too, though I knew nothing of his lengthy medical history.

As our wedding day approached, Henry confessed to me that he did, in fact, have a family. He had four sons, and none of them were very happy that their father had chosen to take a wife at such a late stage.

Henry could easily pretend he had no family, as the only person who ever darkened his door was his paid housekeeper, who came once a week. Indeed, he told me it was she who had suggested placing an ad in the Personals. She worried about his isolation.

Though one of his sons did express disapproval of the impending marriage, he was defeated as his father’s happiness overwhelmed all other considerations.

We set up a ceremony date with a Marriage Commissioner in her own home and found sympathy and support with a dear couple, friends of his for many years.

They decorated their car with silk roses and ribbons and drove us to the Marriage Commissioner’s home.

Dressed once more in a plain skirt and blouse, I became a bride for the third time. Unless you count my first, common-law, marriage to Lori’s father, which would make it my fourth time.

Henry’s friends who supported our marriage were the only guests. To say I was full of sadness at the turns my life had taken was an understatement. I had never suffered from depression in my life, but I could hardly bear that all my incredibly hard work and achievements had come to this sad end.
I was almost 60 years old. I was married to a temperamental, abusive alcoholic again. The names changed, but they were all the same man, under the skin.

Still, I was in good health, with my memory on the mend. That was a huge thing. And, above all, I still had my integrity, though his resentful sons would have disputed that.

Integrity was, I had found when Lori died, the most important thing anyone can possess.

When all else is gone, integrity will hold you upright, will enable you to turn your face into the storm without running away. It gives a strong rod of iron up the spine and a deep, calm pool of profound self-trust which absolutely no one can shake.

You are the only one who knows if you have still got your full integrity after a lifetime of living in this challenging, unpredictable world. Others can say what they want, it doesn’t matter.

There were many lovely things about being married to Henry. Hours spent outside in the summer garden, feeding the birds, reading, just being content. Ordering in deliveries instead of cooking supper and watching Henry attack his favourite foods with a happiness and gusto not everyone has even at 27, never mind 87!

Knowing I was a vital part of someone’s life, someone who had endured insufferable loneliness and isolation, and was now always looked after, brought me a definite sense of being useful and needed.

I loved being free to spend an afternoon downtown, drinking coffee, reading, walking by the sea, looking in shop windows, going to the gym. Ordinary things were affordable now.

Getting my hair professionally done. I loved getting it dyed red, sometimes with a single purple streak…just to remind myself that I was still me, not a carbon copy of everyone else.

I loved the big bedroom which Henry had offered to me when it became clear that his tendency to talk to himself in dreams all night meant I was getting little sleep. I have never known anyone to dream like Henry did.

Having the big bedroom meant I had the en suite bath, which meant I could lay out my makeup and creams instead of scrabbling around in little bathbags, trying to find the right lipstick. Small luxuries, but they meant a lot.

In addition, a very special moment came for me during my time in that little rancher with Henry. One day, while outside sweeping the patio of autumn leaves, I felt quite suddenly a presence beside me. It was invisible and silent, but I knew without a doubt, that someone was there.

Then a “voice” whispered in my left ear…”I’m sorry.” That was it. Nothing else, the presence vanished.

And in the moment she whispered, I knew without a shadow of doubt that I had just been visited by Mrs. Morley, my old, much beloved boss. The woman who had thought I was after her elderly husband and had been largely responsible for my ending up in faraway Scotland, becoming a nurse, and everything that had then transpired.

At that point, I just still loved her so much, and was so thrilled that she had come to me at all. I realized she must have passed over, though I had no way of knowing that. The knowledge that it was Mrs. Morley was instantaneous and absolute at the moment her voice whispered in my ear.
I pondered why she would have come to apologize. It was quite some time before I processed that apology and fully understood just how much damage her insane jealousy had done in my life and my daughter’s life.

However, what was done was done. She could not undo it and neither could I. Now, I could become bitter and angry at her, or I could find peace and acceptance, thus giving her peace as well.

I try to do the latter. Jealousy is a common monster in the human psyche and I was certainly not the first victim of someone’s completely mistaken fury.

So many of my days in that house passed quite nicely. But Henry was at an age when deterioration of the brain can bring on intense rage, and of course alcohol doesn’t make it any easier to manage!

Sometimes Henry would begin to bully till it bordered on violence. After eight months, it moved past the “bordering” stage. One night I was wakened in terror as the bedroom door came flying across the room to land SMACK against the wall beside my bed.

I had already called the RCMP  twice when he had become dangerous. They invariably calmed him down, approaching him quietly and with great expertise, explaining that he could not treat his wife like that, it was illegal.

He responded respectfully to the officers who came to cautiously sort out the problem.

The second time, a female officer came. She talked to me gravely before leaving.

“You will have to leave, you know,” she told me firmly. “I know you don’t want to, but sooner or later he is going to really hurt you. We won’t be able to get here in time to stop it. You really must move out. Please think about it.”
I was adamantly against that course of action.

“This is my home, my own property now,” I told her. “He has put me on title as co-owner of the house. I wouldn’t consider leaving. Nothing will make me leave. I will find an answer to this somehow. He never used to do this stuff when we first met.”

But age was beginning to affect Henry’s personality in a negative, ebullient way, as sometimes happens with the elderly. No amount of loving care can prevent it or fix it. And alcohol only makes it worse. The right drugs can help, but it’s difficult for the doctor to keep doses at an effective level with alcohol involved.

We attended the doctor frequently. Henry had many problems, including a chronic ulcer which would start to bleed suddenly and required emergency attention. Indeed, our ambulance trips to ER became so frequent, the hospital began to feel like home to me.

But the night I was wakened by the bedroom door sailing past my bed to smash against the wall, I knew what the RCMP officer had been trying to tell me. I was in mortal danger at that moment, and right then, there was no one there to protect me or calm him.

At that moment, I would have given anything to be somewhere else. Property or no property.

They came a short while later after I called 911 again.

I told the policewoman, “Now I know what you were trying to tell me. Now I understand.”

It was July 1 when I finally broke. Never a person who suffers with depression for more than a day or two, I had begun to feel like giving up.
Such huge effort had gone into my life. I had achieved so much. I had lost so much in losing my daughter. Where tremendous hard work had been put in…such as my degree work at university, completing it in three grief-filled years…there was never a reward, only more abuse.

The love and appreciation of hundreds of clients at our spa in Scotland had been a huge reward in itself, but I’d given that up to escape a cold, loveless marriage.

After completing my Medical Transcription training at great expense and effort, and then my R.N. refresher course with all 22 exams behind me with flying colors, I lost it all through no fault of my own.

Never any reward for the hard work. Never any recognition for achievement. And now, at 61 years of age, I had no children, would never have a grandchild, had been through four marriages to abusive, cold, distant alcoholics.

The final straw for me came on July 1, 2004.

I knew few people in town, and had avoided contact with my nurse colleagues at the Nursing Home, still feeling mortified that my health had collapsed so soon after going to the United States to work. There had been considerable disapproval that I was taking my skills south, despite my clear need for full time work.

With the hatred of Henry’s family hanging over my head, the ongoing abuse, the strain and physical exhaustion of my excessive travelling to complete training and find work, the loss of my memory and of my nursing knowledge, I finally hit rock bottom on the lst of July.

I could not bear to think that, after a committed, achievement-filled life full of integrity, I had come to such an end…marriage to this harsh, violent, abusive old man.

Sitting out in the sun that morning, I uncorked a bottle of wine from Henry’s collection, and opened some sleeping pills the doctor had given me some months ago. I always tried to sleep without them, so they did tend to sit in the cupboard, being used only occasionally.

I had no feelings of cowardice over this decision. No one on earth could have given more to build a good life than I did. I had a clear conscience. I knew there was an afterlife, and it contained kindness, compassion and lots of support.

I remembered my awareness of loving, supportive beings surrounding Peter when he had appeared in my apartment that day back in 1989. I remembered the “family” who had appeared to me one day in the motel, who had sent so much pure, unconditional love to me that I had to ask them to stop.

I wanted to be near beings who possessed those qualities. I wanted support and love and by God, I wanted a pat on the back from SOMEONE who could appreciate all I had done and been through. I was very sure that, setting foot on that mysterious shore, I would find all those things.

I drank the whole bottle of wine and took all the fifteen pills. I went inside and ran a bath, taking with me a plastic bag and a roll of tape.
Getting into the bath, naked, I placed a mask over my nose, hooked the elastic bands around my ears, placed the bag over my head and, taking the tape, began to wind it round my neck to make the bag air-proof.

As I tried to complete that important part of the task, I discovered in great disgust that the bag itself was not air-proof. Air was getting in through the pores in the bag itself. I had never noticed that plastic bags tend to be…not useful for suicide attempts.

Completely undone, I gave up. I drained the bath, wrapped a towel around myself, and staggered toward the bed to sleep off the wine and pills.
I made it about halfway across the carpet before I collapsed in a dead sleep.

When I wakened next morning, I was in my bed. Getting up, I felt a bit woozy but none the worse for wear. My mouth was full of cotton of course…I was not used to alcohol, never mind a bottle of sleeping pills.

As I looked in the mirror, I was amazed to see bruises all over my face. I looked down at my body, my arms. I was covered in bruises. Some large fingerprints on my upper arms, others were plain bruises.

What on earth? I got dressed and went out to greet Henry as though nothing had happened.

But I knew something had, in fact, happened. He had come into the bedroom shortly after I collapsed. Had put me to bed, he said. Then I asked him about the bruises. “That happened while I was trying to lift you onto the bed,” he said.

After thinking about it for a couple of days, I said to him. “I don’t believe you just lifted me onto the bed, Henry. I think you had been drinking as usual, and felt like beating me up, and I think you did.”

He hotly denied it. But there was no way to explain the extent of the bruising.

Really angry now, I told him I was going to go talk to the neighbors whose window overlooked my bedroom. I knew if he had been hitting me, they might have seen it all, if they were in the right room at that time.

He was frantic, begging me not to talk to them. I felt that told me all I needed to know, so I dropped the matter.

I was alive. I was unhurt, really…nothing had been broken. The bruises would disappear soon.

But no one had ever beaten me before. The fact that I had been unconscious at the time took away the fear I would have felt if I had been awake at the time, but I was outraged that anyone had succeeded in laying violent hands on me.

But no one knew I had tried to leave earth that day. I never told anyone till years later.

I wondered how I could have been so uninformed as to not realize that plastic bags are not airproof. When you look at one closely, you can see they could not possibly be. In later years, reading Final Exit, I realized that I had chosen the wrong kind of bag.

It was not time for me to go, and I would not get any cooperation from the Other Side until it was my time. That was the end of that.

The doctor eventually put Henry on different drugs which helped greatly. It was not easy for the medical team to sort it all out, with his morning-to-night drinking. With an elderly person, even a sober one, the wrong drugs can wreak havoc.

Another problem was his motorbike. Though he was long past the age when he should have been driving anything downtown, the police had turned a blind eye to the sight of Henry, helmet on, powering down the streets of the small town. The traffic on some of the roads was especially heavy as they were routes to the nearby big city.

He was almost totally deaf and had been for a long time. His vision was poor, though he never made that obvious. But I knew that he had problems seeing properly when I had to adjust the plastic cover over his electric scooter, which he used a lot. If it rained, he could barely see anything through the plastic and would become upset, as it exposed this vulnerability, which he tried hard to hide.

When he spent a short stay in hospital at one point, the hospital doctor discovered he was driving a motorbike downtown. He was totally furious.
“You will put a stop to this at once. He will not take that motorbike out at all, ever again, or I myself will contact the police. Do you understand??”

I waited a while and the doctor eventually called and asked me if anything had been done. I had to admit that I had not kept my promise.

Under threat from the doctor, I finally phoned the police.

“Look,” I said desperately. “It’s hard enough to look after this man. You have just got to come here to the house and talk to him and tell him that his motorbike days are over. I know none of you want to do it, but it has to be done or the doctor is going to get personally involved in all this.”

Next day a young, kind Officer arrived at the house and spoke quietly and gently to Henry about the problem. I moved away from them to give them privacy, but I could still hear what was said and felt great frustration when I realized he was still getting away with it. All the Officer said was that Henry had to be more careful!!

Honestly!! Deaf and almost blind, and allowed to scoot around town on a motorbike. I couldn’t credit it.

I waited a week or so and finally called the police again.

I said, “My husband just left the house on his motorbike. He has been drinking. He won’t stop riding it and you people refuse to make him stop. Well, he is weaving all over the place, he is going to hurt someone. You MUST stop him.”

They turned on their siren in the middle of town and pulled him over. Two police motorcycles with flashing lights parked around him so he could not pull out. They confiscated his bike and drove him home. That was the end of the bike.

I called the doctor and told him his orders had finally been carried out.
I felt like the world’s greatest heel. But truthfully…he could have killed someone. Let’s face it.

Still, I felt like a bully.

Henry and I had gone through great arguments about his Will. Not wanting to be the Terrible Stepmother, I had pressed him to give what amounted to considerable sums of money to each of his sons – $20,000 each.

In fact, as it turned out, those amounts would have totalled more than was left when he actually passed away. So I could not have paid it out anyhow.

He went to a lawyer and drew up his Will so that I was satisfied.

One evening one of his sons drove up and came into the house quite aggressively.

“I want to see the Will,” he demanded.

Henry said to me, “Go get the Will, let him read it.”
I did so.

When he left, I thought he might be a bit happier. But the acrimony continued. I wondered what on earth these guys wanted from me. I was doing no harm, they were all getting a goodly amount from the Will, and I was looking after their Dad perfectly.

I had already pointed out to them that, if they would only turn up to spend a little time with him every week or so, Henry would probably leave everything to them and I would be satisfied with whatever pension I might be entitled to.

Nothing seemed to penetrate…even though I kept saying this, none of the boys was willing to spend time with their Dad, except to borrow money. Although, as time went on, one of the boys came two or three times. It was a tiny gesture, better than nothing.

It would have been so easy for them to mend fences with Henry.

Meantime, my spiritual search continued.

One day we received a letter from the phone company, offering us a free gift for being “such good customers.”

Henry suggested getting a book, so I went online and ordered a book by a well known metaphysical mentor. They offered online courses, and as I read the book I became excited about learning these skills.

Signing up for their most basic course, I learned the steps involved in building Intent to create in the physical realm.

I decided to do a simple blueprint of a place I would like to live in.
If I were wealthy, I would have a house with five bedrooms, several bathrooms, a big flower garden, a forty foot swimming pool, two kitchens, and so on and so on. Oh, and a personal Chef of course.

So I drew this dream property the best I could on a big sheet of drawing paper.

I followed the email course carefully and did everything they taught me.
Another activity I began to play with involved trying to contact my deceased loved ones using electronic equipment. Taking an ordinary tape recorder with a blank cassette tape in it, I set up some candles alongside photos of my departed dear ones, spent some time in meditation, and then finished by requesting one or more of them to leave a message on the tape for me for the morning. I would leave it running.
I blew out the candles and went off to bed.

In the morning I put on my headphones and rewound the tape, which had been left running all night. There seemed to be nothing. I listened painstakingly, and it takes a long time to listen to every inch of a 90 minute tape!

Suddenly there was a sound. Quickly I rewound back to where the sound began. I could barely make it out, but there was something there. I turned up the volume to its loudest setting and listened again. Barely there, but yet, there was something. That tape had been brand new, just taken out of its package the day before. There could not have been anything on it.
As I listened in total concentration again and again, I got it.

My mother’s voice, faraway and so distant, saying something I could not make out. But her speech, probably a couple of sentences long, ended with my name.

My name. My mother’s voice. From far, far away.

I was awestruck.

I tried for hours to find a way to make it louder, more clear. I took it to computer people in town who knew how to do things like that. No one could get it any louder.

In frustration, I did the dumbest thing imaginable…I erased it.

I was sure I could just set the recorder up again and get more messages from beyond, no trouble. If it happened the first time, it would happen again.

But it never did.

I eventually bought a very expensive piece of software, the kind real musicians and singers use at home to record their work. A complicated thing I had great trouble learning to use.

But I never again got a message to put on it.

A hard lesson to learn.

Christmas arrived, and one of his sons picked us up to enjoy the festivities with their children and grandchildren. Their home was fabulous, the huge living room set up with a massive tree, lights everywhere…I was awestruck! What a beautiful sight! But my presence in their home was not warm and welcoming, and clearly they had extended this hospitality to meet basic social requirements. It might have been fine, but the son’s wife clearly felt hostile. The others stepped around me as if on a minefield. I endured it patiently, as usual, and took my elderly husband home, hoping things would eventually settle down and I might be accepted.

As New Year came and went, and none of the boys phoned to say “Happy New Year” to us, Henry went into a deep despondency.

“Those boys,” he said. “I never would have believed they could behave like this. They should be happy I found a wife like you to look after me. My Will is quite generous, thanks to you. But they still treat us like dirt.”

He thought about it and then announced, early in January, “I am going to the lawyer again and changing the Will. There is NO WAY I am giving that much money to these boys when they treat us like that. Not even a single phone call on New Year’s Eve.”

He was deeply hurt and I was deeply fed up. The boys had every opportunity to make up with their Dad, to come for coffee, to come for meals, to be friendly. They chose to carry on what felt like a silent war with their father instead. My efforts to cook meals and invite family members only made me look foolish and overly placatory.

When Henry returned from the Law Office, a new Will was in place, giving the boys very little. In it, he stated clearly why.Those were his wishes, and I had done my best.

To Hell with them all. I gave up.

You can’t change other people, even when it’s in their own best interests. Maybe, ESPECIALLY when it’s in their own best interests!!

At around that point, Henry began to ask me to go on the internet and find a property in a nearby town, where his eldest son lived. This boy did call him now and then, and Henry desperately hoped for a friendly relationship with him if we lived in the same town.

I emailed that particular son and told him, and his wife, what we were doing. Then I began a search for the right property.

They sounded very happy we were moving so close, inviting me to stay with them when I came to look at properties.

We put our home on the market and I set out to look at houses across the Island.

His son Ford was very kind, and his wife the same. I felt at home with them right away. Why hadn’t we known these two people before now? They were so friendly!!

But as time went on and our big move approached, they became remote and cold. Maybe their siblings had been at work, turning them against us. I didn’t know what to think. Once again, Henry had to face the cold distancing of one of his children. It must have been awful for him, but he never flinched or showed his feelings.

I said to Henry, “What do they want from me, Henry? I tried to make sure they got a bucket of money out of your estate. I did everything I could to be friendly. I had them for meals. But they hate me and there is no reason for them to hate me. I don’t get it.”

He just shook his head. He couldn’t understand it either, but his hurt expressed itself in anger. He just told me to forget about it.

Our home was hard to sell. Over several months, while other houses were selling like hotcakes, our pretty little house had a grand total of fifteen viewings. No offers.

I wondered if the family had interfered. Phoning our realtor, I told him that if we did not have at least an offer by a certain date, he would be replaced with another realtor.

He threatened me with legal action, saying we had a contract. I thought to myself, “He must think I am a real dummy.”

I said to him, “Listen carefully. The only people who control this listing are my husband and myself. Not you and not anyone else. You have a set time to get us an offer, or else you will lose the listing.”

I hung up and sent him a fax stating all of the above, so he had it in writing.
By the written date, there had been no action, so I phoned another realtor, giving the listing to her instead. The house sold very quickly after that, albeit at a much lower price than it should have gone at.

We no longer cared whether things were going on behind our backs or not…We just wanted out of there.

So glad to be on the move, we boarded the train across the Island and arrived to take over our new home, an elderly triplex near the banks of a beautiful river. A river where people swam and walked their children in the summer. Beautiful.

The thing was, this triplex was beside that swimming river. I thought about the 40 foot swimming pool I had intended to create! In addition, it had not two kitchens, but three. It had six bedrooms, not five. And it had three bathrooms. It was surrounded by a flower garden and fruit trees. It bordered on a beautiful park which I had free access to, as the public “own” such parks.

One day I realized that I had, without even paying attention, materialized my first ever dream into physical reality…the house I had drawn a rough blueprint for was now a reality. I was living in it. It wasn’t quite right…I wanted the house to be just a house, not an apartment building..maybe I hadn’t been clear?

I was so amazed, and still remember the lengthy email I sent to my first metaphysical teacher.

Settling into our new town was a real pleasure. While at home, the tasks involved in nursing Henry grew in geometric proportions every month. But at the same time the pleasures of dog walking in that strongly dog-centered community brought new friends quickly and easily. Within two or three months, I could say that I had an extended family.

This was a great emotional support to me as I struggled with Henry’s last year of life. His systems began to fail, his sadness at his children’s neglect began to overwhelm his innate ebullient optimism with life, and, like so many, he reviewed his life internally and said often, “I ruined my life.”
Anyone who drank the way he did would have to acknowledge, at the end, that they had Indeed ruined their lives. Alcoholics have little memory of how they treat their loved ones while under the influence and frequently say, “Why is everyone so mad at me?”

However, Henry appeared to be a habitual bully, accustomed to using his height and muscle to make others do what he wanted. That was in addition to his drinking habits. So I could only wonder at how he had treated his boys when they were little.

It was only after he died that one of the boys came forward with stories of exactly how he had treated them.

That nice little rancher, stuck away in a corner and surrounded by neighbor’s windows, was, perhaps, part of an unconscious punishment.

Because his back had been broken long ago in an accident, he was on many drugs for pain and drank from morning to night. He slept very little, sitting up and drinking most of the night, always struggling with his painful back.
To be placed in that empty house and left alone 90% of the remaining years of his life was quite a punishment, whether it was intentional or not.

Who is to say if it was appropriate or not? But no matter what anyone else thought, it was clear that God had decided Henry had had enough, and should have a caring companion for the last years of his life. My memory loss was a vehicle prepared to bring me to Henry’s side. No one asked me to undergo this trial, but I was grateful for the protection and shelter he provided me as I recovered my memory during those two and a half years.

No one could say Henry had not been generous with me. He had paid for my possessions to come down from the north, had given me whatever I needed or asked for, and much, much more.

He had always been in the habit of giving his debit card to the young folk of the family when they turned up at his door, telling them his PIN number and letting them take what they wanted.

I had noticed on Henry’s old bank statements many instances where hundreds of dollars at a time were removed from his account. Sometimes he did that himself. But I could see that my presence in his life had stopped a remarkable outflow of money from going somewhere.

However, I did persuade him to write checks for considerable sums to some of them when they asked, and sometimes even if they didn’t ask. Henry loved to give, whether to his family or to charity. The phone rang every day with various charities anxious for him to continue his generous support.
While I knew I was being viewed by some as a gold digger, I certainly didn’t feel like one. I had an all-encompassing job of work caring for Henry, and I did that job to a standard of obsessive excellence.

Well, I had come into Henry’s life because I was destitute after losing my memory. I had little expectation apart from hopefully a pension of about eight hundred dollars a month, which someone had commented I might be able to apply for. Not very efficient for a gold-digger!

I worried every day about what on earth would happen to me after Henry passed.

But at least my memory was now intact and my health was good. And I could still produce a pretty good resume, though how to handle the collapse of my health in the U.S. and up north, I did not know. It would not look good on a resume no matter how I dressed it up.

Finally the day came, while in consultation over his bleeding ulcer, the doctor said to me, “You look as though you have had all you can handle. I think the time has come to place Henry in hospital. He will not be coming out this time. You have done a good job of caring for him, and it is now beyond what anyone at home can do. He needs full nursing care. I will arrange for him to be taken to hospital by ambulance right now.”

He asked his receptionist to call an ambulance for Henry, and that was that.

My duties from then on were composed of hospital visiting…lots and lots of it. Again, I was surprised to find how exhausting this part of it all was.
As a nurse, I had never had a clue how hard families must work at home to care for elderly or infirm patients. My education had been incomplete up to this time. This experience was very illuminating. And taking the bus almost every day in life to spend hours at his bedside or wheeling him around the hospital corridors, took almost as much energy as the home care had done.

Henry died in the winter of 2005-6. He had wanted to be cremated. I carried out all my Executor tasks, sending the Will out to his family, arranging for benefits to be paid out according to his wishes, and keeping the information flow going so they knew when the cremation would be. After his passing, I was told by a family member that his son, who he had wanted so much to spend time with, and who had ignored him after our move, had died of cancer. No one had informed him of his son’s illness. How families love to punish each other, feeling somehow they are gaining something by creating suffering.

His passing hours brought me a gift I think only a few ever receive. As I sat by his bed, waiting for the end to come, I was stunned and thrilled by the sight of his spirit-body rising from his physical self with immeasurable slowness.

Very clear, about nine inches above his face, was the misty outline of that same face. The large Roman nose; the eyes gazing straight ahead, very calm; the bushy brows. I watched mesmerized as the mist formed slowly above the bedcovers.

I waited for the outline to develop more and change. But it did not change much after that. I waited till I was unable to bear the fatigue, then went home to my own bed for two hours.

I woke to the sound of the alarm clock and called my girlfriend to drive me back. She arrived swiftly, still in her housecoat and pyjamas, and we returned to the ward together.

As we stepped out of the elevator, the charge nurse approached, telling me that Henry had passed.

His years of suffering were over. I believed he was now in a state of sweet relief and discovery of the new life that awaited him.

He had most emphatically not wanted a religious service of any kind. He had ordered a plain plywood box to enter the flames. He had absolutely wanted no obituary. We had discussed all this at length after we were married.

My girlfriend accompanied me to the cremation itself. I was not alone standing by the simple plywood box as it moved toward the furnace.
It had all been a most strange experience. My friend had lost her father recently, and was still grieving for him. She wept copiously as the cremation took place. I stood silently, unable to cry, simply continuing to do my job for him, as I had done for the past two and a half years.

There is one more note to make about Ted’s passing. A few days after his death, I was given an unexpected “image” visit by Henry and his first wife, Bev. It seemed he had crossed over and immediately found Bev. Their differences and troubles were clearly forgotten as they stood before me, arm in arm, both smiling broadly. As he stood there, Henry, grinning from ear to ear, pointed to his teeth.

At the time I could not think what he was trying to tell me. Later I realized he was rejoicing in having all his own teeth back again…his dentures had always bothered him so much. He was also rejoicing in being free of that broken back. Although neither of them had at that point chosen a “bodily” return to full youth, which most of us eventually do over There, he was standing straight, tall and pain-free at last.

No wonder he was smiling.

I wondered what on earth would happen to me now. I had lost a great burden; but I had also lost a great deal of safety and support. His violent outbursts had stopped after we moved house and his health began to fail.
I had worried often, wondering what to do when he passed away. I had my own pension eventually, but I was far from 65. As far as I could ascertain from the Pension staff I talked to on the phone, I was not about to receive any real amount of pension income from Henry’s side of things. This meant I would have to, once more, retrain for a new career!!

I wondered if Employment Insurance would retrain me, as my motel money had all gone on my poorly planned real estate venture, my Medical Transcription training and my R.N. refresher, not to mention the vast amount of travel involved in all of that. And the general cost of living while I carried it all out!! Money goes very quickly if you invest it in yourself and then discover you are too old or too sick to work.

Meantime, while all this was going on, I was continuing to learn to manage my mental state in a more creative, upbeat way.

Posted in Afterlife Contact, Creating Reality, Finding Love, In Love With Life, Life Story | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO: Of Handguns and Square Dancing

But one day the spa sold to new owners and the job was finished. So I was on the internet every evening, trying to find Transcription work somewhere. The day arrived when I finally got a “hit” and was offered work in the north.

I put my faithful little Louise in her carrycase and flew up north to begin another chapter of a strange and hectic life.

Meeting a stranger, people often don’t understand what they are looking at. Particularly if they have lived a somewhat narrow life, comfortable in their own little rut.

Some people have lived difficult, complicated lives, and when such individuals pass through the lives of these others, in their safe little worlds, wrong impressions often happen.

I arrived for my first day at this busy medical clinic to start work as a transcriptionist. I felt lucky and thrilled.

But I had just gone to the dentist, and had failed to tell him that I had been taking aspirin lately.

Result…a big bruise on my jaw the day I started my new job!

I thought nothing of it, and did not realize that my new acquaintances and bosses were jumping to the worst possible conclusions… they thought I had been the victim of physical abuse with some partner or other. They lived in what could sometimes be a rough part of the world, and came to conclusions accordingly, I suppose.

Unaware of their hasty and mistaken belief, I worked away, not mentioning the bruise. Somehow, I just thought they would realize its source since I had already said I’d been to the dentist.

But the bruise and their ideas as to its source, were to have an interesting effect on my plans!

At least, I put what happened later down partly to that big black and blue circle on my jaw.

Shortly after arriving, I had seen an ad in the local paper for training in handling guns. I wondered if I might meet a romantic hunter/fisherman if I took the course. And it might be interesting to know how to handle guns anyway.

I had noticed in Alaska that everyone had guns and they were certainly not hidden. My own friend there had had a collection of about twenty rifles, some quite beautiful. He told me he had a friend with two hundred guns…all up on the walls!! Something no one in Canada would do, but Alaska was another world.

I also thought if I could learn to shoot well, it would improve my hand-eye coordination, which had never been good. For example, on a nine-hole golf course, my score was usually something like 101. It would be nice to improve that.

I knew golfers who felt I was a danger to the Old Growth.

So I took the course and spent a few days learning how to shoot, clean and handle a rifle and a handgun, how to take them apart and then put them back together. There were several of us. About one third were women. I didn’t seem to stand out in any way except that I did not have a partner. The other women were all planning on going hunting with their husbands and boyfriends.

We got our licenses without trouble and I began going to the local shooting range to practice my exciting new art.

Initially, I went to the local firearms store and bought myself the only rifle I could afford on my Mastercard, which happened to be a duck hunting rifle. It maxed out my card, however, and after only two nights with the gun in my house, I decided it was a daft waste of money. I didn’t need a weapon in order to practice at the range, as they provided whatever was needed.

And when would I ever shoot a duck? I couldn’t bear to bring down a winged creature, not nohow. Eating one out of the freezer, that was different. But shooting one, no way.

So next day I went to the store to return the rifle. It was winter, and I was wearing on my boots those metal spiral slip-ons that keep you from sliding on ice.

They are a very bad idea, however, on a slippery store floor. As I strode through the store, carrying my dismantled rifle in its case, my step slipped. Caught unawares, not expecting to lose my footing, I staggered, trying to catch my balance as I approached the counter, succeeding in getting upright in front of the clerk staring at me in amazement as I handed her my rifle.

I explained that I was returning it and asked for my money back. But my ungraceful approach to her counter had her concerned. It appeared I was a drunk with a rifle, a bad combination. She began to harshly and intrusively question my original reasons for wanting the rifle to begin with.

Puzzled, I just said that it was for protection, as I lived alone. It didn’t seem necessary to explain my plans about meeting a hot middle aged hunter who could keep my freezer full of smoked venison.

Protection” was the wrong answer. Now she got really wound up.

Are you really that frightened to live alone?” she asked me. “Maybe you should see a counselor.”

Well. What a crazy place this North was. I really had no idea how to proceed. Now a total stranger was trying to get me to see a counselor. I began to get angry, being used to the service and attitudes of a far more sophisticated body of sales personnel further South.

What I did not know was that in the North, the rights and privileges we take for granted in the southern provinces of Canada are not at all sacrosanct.

Those rights and privileges can be suddenly cut off without warning if you so much as blink the wrong way. That is, if you act in a way that northerners are not used to.

I had read about this phenomenon in books written by other travelers to the north, but this was my first personal experience of it.

And what does a middle aged lady, staggering apparently with drink, want with a rifle anyhow? She shouldn’t have one. Who gave this crazy woman her license? Who is she? What’s going on?

So instead of just quietly returning my rifle, which I did not need and had no wish to own, I found myself the subject of hard, cold suspicion by this nutty young woman. For my own part, I asked myself, what on earth is this person doing working at a gun counter anyway?

However, I did return the rifle and did leave the store without further incident, and did return three hundred dollars back to my credit card. Very relieved to get the heck away from that weird store clerk.

It was only later I realized that she probably thought I had been drinking when I staggered across the floor, trying to get my balance!

After a few days, I received a phone call from the local Firearms Officer. He did not sound friendly.

Turning up at his office, I was surprised by his hostile, accusatory and sneering attitude. It seemed someone had given him a completely wrong idea of what I was about.

Looking fiercely officious in his smart uniform, he said, “A younger officer gave you your license. If I had been on duty, I would have taken a much more careful look at you before issuing you with a license. What would a woman like yourself want with a gun??”

OK, this made no sense. I decided to tell the truth.

Well,” I started cautiously, since his attitude seemed as crazy as the store clerk’s had, “I actually wanted to meet someone who hunts and fishes, hopefully someone who doesn’t drink much. I thought it made sense to take the course and get involved in the Fish and Game Club if I wanted to meet someone like that.”

He roared his protest from behind his desk. “That’s the stupidest reason to own a gun I have ever heard. And anyway, men who hunt and fish all drink…there aren’t any who don’t.”

Then he really capped it.

If you want to meet someone,” he proceeded grandly, full of worldly wisdom, “you should learn how to square dance. That’s the way to meet someone.”

Well, I was speechless. The twilight zone had nothing on this. It was clear he was looking at a middle aged, somewhat overweight woman who would have gray hair if she didn’t dye it. The only reason he could apparently think of for such a person wanting a gun would be, I suppose, to shoot some spouse or lover with it.

Later on, looking back, I could see that the combination of the bruise on my jaw on my first day at work alongside my unwieldy entrance to the gun store in my ice-walking boots, might have given an overall impression, through gossip, of a crazy woman who got beat up and drank too much. Who knows? Tongues never stop wagging, and, bless their too-human hearts, most people will pass on wrong information without ever checking its accuracy. I have been guilty of that sin myself, mea culpa also, and I blush as I type these words.

And then, of course, you could always throw in the aspect of psychic readings. Beat-up, drunk and reading teacups. What a combination. Yup, the clinic hired the right girl all right.

I said firmly, “I’d love to see what you have on that computer about me. There should not be ANYTHING about me on that screen. I’ve never put a foot wrong, and I’ve worked hard and paid taxes all my life long. What is this really about?”

He was not forthcoming, of course. He was behaving like a police officer working with a suspect.

It was clear that nothing I said would convince him I was not about to turn into a pistol-totin’ mama with a red light in her eye.

I really was nonplussed. In fact, to this day, I don’t know what his problem actually was.

He ended up, after two or three interviews, agreeing that I could keep my license if I would go to the shooting range six times and practice. He would keep in touch with the men there and make sure I turned up.

Well, I didn’t drive, and the range was some distance from my home, so getting out there six times was going to be expensive, going by taxi.


Now that he didn’t want me to have a gun, I definitely wanted one. I couldn’t think of any good reason for wanting one, but that no longer had anything to do with it.

I looked at myself in the mirror. I looked pretty normal, I thought.

I had already been at the range once, met several of the members who were very kind, respectful and friendly. I had had a pleasant conversation with one who offered me a lift home and we

talked at length about his children and their school as we drove.

They’d seemed like a nice bunch, mostly family men. There didn’t seem to be any single guys among them though, so I was already rethinking my plan.

I turned up for my second practice session knowing my presence was being duly noted and would be reported to the gun control officer who believed in square dancing.

To my great dismay, the respectful and polite demeanor I had enjoyed on my first visit was gone, replaced by casual sly glances at my bust and my figure.

No one chatted with me now.

As I shot at the target through the evening, eyes were on me in quite a different way from before.

I was no longer a respectable woman learning to shoot, a perfectly understandable pastime with these guys.

Instead, I was some crazed floozy looking for a guy on the make.

Next day, I phoned up the airline and made a reservation to get out of the North. I’d had enough. What a crazy place.

Even if my body was not beginning to stiffen up from typing all day, I could not have stayed after that experience.

Much as I loved the job and loved my psychic clients, I was unnerved by the insane behavior of the store clerk and the gun control officer.

Well, once they start staring at your breasts openly and without caution, it’s time to make tracks for a more civilized place. Most women would agree.

I went to the gun control office and told him I was leaving. He was visibly taken aback. “Already?” he asked.

I just said, “This whole business has a lot to do with my decision. I have no idea what it was all about.”

However, I still had my gun license tucked away in my handbag. Probably would never use it again though.

I thought the story would end there, but it was not to be.

Months later I had to fly to the North West Territories to complete my R.N. preceptorship.

There was no accommodation to be had in the city, which is renowned for low vacancy rates. So I found a room in the home of a married couple with two children.

There was no lock on the door of my room and I often came home from work to find that someone had been going through my things. The lady of the house assured me it would have been the children.

One day my hostess told me that a local policeman was coming for dinner. She asked me to join them if I liked, but I had to study and so declined. Later I wished I had met the man.

I had my bike with me up there, as it gave me the means to get around without a car on what was mostly pretty flat country.

My big bike saddlebags contained a lot of stuff, and on the day I moved out of there into a larger, more comfortable living arrangement, I had packed my purse and other items in my saddlebags as well.

I carried my possessions out of my room and sat them at the front door for the taxi driver to load into his vehicle.

As I rushed back and forth moving my stuff out, my saddlebags, containing my purse and, incidentally, my gun license, lay,unprotected, on the floor there by the door for the cab driver to load up.

I never saw the saddlebags, my handbag or my gun license again.

The lady of the house, as it happened, was loading boxes into her attic at the same time I was moving out. What happened to my saddlebags I never found out.

The cab driver denied ever having seen them, and I believed him.

Funnily enough, though I phoned the Yellowknife gun control officer several times to report that my gun license was missing and probably stolen, which worried me greatly, he never once called me back.

Strange, but then it was the North again.

Well, each place on earth has its own written and unwritten code of behavior. If you inadvertently break some of the unwritten code and don’t realize it, you may find life very confusing for a while.

I was just so glad to get back to the sensible, sane South. Of Canada, that is. Well, not being able to drive makes it a no-brainer that life up there will be a little more arduous than it would be for a driver. But, really, I just can’t stand insanity. Life has to make sense. And really, I guess, most of all, life has to involve some kind of good manners and ordinary, everyday respect.

But we don’t always have to understand everything. Not necessary. I put it behind me and moved on.

And I have never needed a gun, or wished I had a gun, not once.

In addition, the officer was maybe right. There probably are not that many men who hunt and fish and don’t drink.

Why is that I wonder? After all, you can’t shoot straight if you are full of whiskey…can you?

If it should happen that some clean and sober gentleman who goes hunting every autumn, should read this, I hope he will not be offended. Apparently he would be the exception to the rule.


A new problem reared its head which would overshadow all the rest.

When I had squandered so much of my little motel fortune on my R.N. re-training and my medical transcription certificate, I had reckoned without one overwhelming factor…

I was getting older and hadn’t noticed the fact.When I had begun that transcription job in the cheerful, well-run medical office, I typed for several hours a day, five days a week.

The work was interesting, even fascinating. I loved taking transcription from these northern doctors, whose dedication and caring attitudes to their patients floored me.

I really had never realized how much doctors care about their patients. Working with these tapes, full of highly personal information and colored with each doctor’s concerns and observations, was an illuminating experience.

I also enjoyed the challenge to produce more and more work, faster and accurately. They were a generous, mostly good-natured and highly competent group of people, including the support staff.

A foreshadowing of the troubles ahead occurred one day when one of the doctors approached my desk. She was not one of “my” doctors. I did not type for her.

The expression on her face was grim. I smiled nicely and said hello, wondering what was coming. To the best of my knowledge, I had not done anything to annoy this woman.

Her eyes fell onto my wrist supports, which I had always worn since starting the job. One problem I did not want was carpal tunnel syndrome, so I took the preventative measure of protecting my wrists right from the beginning.

She said coldly, “I want to ask you something. Did you come here to work for the purpose of injuring your wrists so you could get disability?”

I stared, uncomprehending. Well, in my varied life I had experienced many strange things, but this one amazed me.

My mind quickly flitted through my work history at the office. I had been typing up a storm, maybe perhaps two mistakes in my total transcriptions since I began. I knew my work record was fine. It couldn’t be anything to do with my work.

I explained to her that I was wearing the wrist supports as a preventive measure, and I assured her my wrists were in good shape and always had been.

She glared at me and without apology stalked out of the transcription room.

I shook it off and carried on, thinking, what next?? That was so totally unexpected.

What I had failed to consider was the impact my psychic work could have on my reputation at the clinic.

It did not occur to me even for a moment that my bosses might have a problem with one of their trusted transcriptionists doing psychic work in what was a pretty small town, where most of their patients lived. In fact, it was only when one of my clients came back for a second reading that the light began to dawn.

This particular lovely young wife was recovering from lengthy cancer treatments and was anxious that her current tests would confirm that she was still “clear”.

I could see no indications of any problem, and told her so. But I advised her to keep in close touch with her doctor nevertheless.

When she came back the second time, I repeated my advice. Keep in touch with your doctor!

She replied, “Oh yes, I do. In fact I just saw Dr. __________ last week and he told me everything seems fine. I told him I had already been to see you and you had told me the same thing…everything seemed fine!!”

As soon as she revealed her doctor’s name, all the lights came on. I suddenly saw what I had completely overlooked…it was inappropriate for one of the staff at the clinic to be doing psychic work in the small community. In spades.

What would I do? I would have to decide on a course of action. Obviously, I should shut down my side-business.

Then I thought about teaching Reiki classes instead. I could do that. So I had begun to advertise Reiki training, and had an immediate response. So I was able to continue earning a little on my weekends anyway.

But the damage was probably done, I realized. Doctors in general look down on such work as tarot reading or past lives, and I wondered at my obtuseness in not considering this.

Another problem arose. As the months wore on I noticed the oddest thing…when I went downtown, which was not often in those harsh winters, it was so hard to get around. I thought it was just the slippery sidewalks, the ice, the cold.

In fact, unknown to me, my joints were slowly seizing up in a way that indicates the approach of serious aging. My body hated having to sit all day in a typist’s chair.

I would try to get up from a chair, only to find my body had turned to cement, and I would have to slowly unbend myself so I could walk out of the room.

What was happening to me??

I was glad I had kept at my Nurse Refresher as a back-up. It appeared, I might soon need it!!

After almost a year, I had to give my notice. The expensive training at university I had undergone in Alaska was all wasted; I would not perform this kind of work again.

I was too old. There it was.

What an expensive mistake!!

Later on, back down south, I discovered a cure for the joint stiffness which had helped to drive me away from transcription work…too late to help, but still a welcome cure. By going swimming at the local rec center once or twice a week, I found complete relief from the joint stiffness. Why, I don’t know, but it worked. Unexpectedly.

I can’t say I regret my psychic practice up there. I had a few readings each month and so loved getting to know the locals. They were a loving, open-hearted and genuine lot.

Sometimes they paid me in cash and sometimes in kind. I ended up with a nice collection of bits and pieces of home-made pottery, items I treasure even today as I prepare a meal with them. One client paid me with a set of home-made candlestick holders, and each Christmas as I pull them out of the big boxes from the attic, I remember the young man who carved them, one of my Reiki students.

The recent opening of my ability to “see” past lives and channel colorful sensory information to clients, which had begun at the spa down south, stood me in good stead. While I had been doing tarot readings for many, many years, I had never been exposed to this quite different, “holographic” type of reading before. Practicing it in the far north was thrilling.

Some beautiful sessions occurred, particularly with young people.

One young girl yearned for romance, as so many teens do. In her reading, we took a journey through more than one lifetime in which two particular young men re-appeared over and over again.

One of the suitors could never get her out of his system, down the centuries. The other also loved her, and won her hand again and again through different lifetimes.

The two young men were, throughout, best of friends, making the story more touching and riveting.

The particular life we looked at that day took place literally in the times of knights and ladies. Tournaments, crusades, horses, shining armor, all of that. The lucky man who had stolen her heart wore her ribbons as he rode off to war, returning to spend his days with her.

His not-so-lucky friend continued to love her from afar, unwilling to fall in love with another.

Romantic, gooey stuff. She told me she had a poster of an Arthurian lady knighting a man on bended knee before her, clad in shining armor. She loved everything Arthurian, and no wonder, with this deeply buried history circulating in her subconscious mind.

Another client was a bit older, a lovely young woman in her early 20’s with flaming red hair tumbling down her back, a very smart looking girl.

She sought advice about a career choice. We took a lengthy, 90 minute journey into her movie of both past and future lives.

It seemed to me she probably would, at some early point, become a government agent in a high security organization, for a few years.

However, the reading which extended into the future saw her in Africa, working with people in dire need of knowledge and skilled mentoring. It seemed she was to go through an epiphany, seeing the world in entirely different terms. She’d throw over her fine career in the Government Agency, and, against all counseling to the contrary, set out to teach in Africa for the rest of her life, working in hot sun with a bandana round her head, her face running with dirty, smeared sweat more often than not.

Quite a change, quite an epiphany. I wondered what would trigger it, and she took it all in her stride, excited to be on the threshold of so much challenging and worthwhile work ahead in her life.

And many others, too many to recall here.

Many readings involved the imagery of higher spiritual figures who welcomed me as I “saw” their faces and figures overlooking the table where the client lay waiting for information.

In one case, a woman who had been undergoing two years of basic Buddhist training with some local monks came to me.

Before any information came through, I had to undergo the rather unkind scrutiny of two monks in Buddhist robes sitting on the floor near a bowl of incense.

Both gazed at me coolly and with a strong sense of warning. “Be very careful how you handle my student,” was the message I got from their steady, hard gaze.

I told her of her teachers and assured her they were present and keeping an eye on her well-being as we undertook this journey into past and future together.

Some time later, a native Shaman in full feathered and painted regalia appeared before I started work on the energy centers of a small, elderly native woman from a far outlying area of the north.

Not only was he hostile, he was outright threatening and attempted to stop me working with her. Bedecked with weaponry, he was a very impressive figure.

I described him to her and asked her if she wanted me to continue or stop.

She was enthralled that one of her tribe’s spiritual leaders, albeit one from the past no doubt, had taken a fierce interest in her well being and was watching over her.

I began the treatment, acutely aware that I had better watch my step. To this day, I have absolutely no memory of what the reading contained or what messages she got. I have wondered at times if that skilled and capable warrior-shaman did something to my memory before I left the hotel room where the reading took place!

However, the day came when I once more gave up my comfortable home and climbed aboard a plane with my little cat.

I would not miss the endless snow or the square-dancing gun control officer, but I would always miss my friends. Still, I will no doubt meet some of them again in the next world.


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