For years I have thought about writing down my experiences with death – and the afterlife. Mysterious things have happened to me personally. In addition, I have had brushes with the other side through my patients, especially Hospice patients.
I have written many poems about people’s final moments – the suffering, the connections, the unexpected beauty. But I felt to reach the widest audience I needed to put these stories down in a style more factual than imagistic.
In January of this year, I was seized by the notion that I HAD to write my stories. I needed to do it NOW. No matter what I did to avoid – not the small, quiet voice – but the very loud insistent voice – it wouldn’t go away. So sat down at my computer and began typing. I chose a story from my own life to begin, the very sad events surrounding my grandfather’s later life and passing. I figured if I could get through this tale of heartbreak, I could manage anything.
I wrote another personal story and then started on the ones about patients. I knew I needed to change the names to preserve confidentiality, but I found the words wouldn’t come unless I used real names. I could substitute others later. As I recalled the amazing events of each person’s life and death, I felt him or her telling me what to say, how to say it.
Every single morning I got up and wrote for an hour or two. Once I got all 24 stories composed, I began to go back and smooth them out, adding or subtracting details, working with the words to make them clearer and more complete. I added one important patient story I had forgotten about. I also added another family tale.
I decided to use my personal death experiences to frame the ones I witnessed with patients. There are several ghost stories. One chapter involves a UFO. A couple involve technology that transcends its electronic brain to send a difference message. Many are stories of extraordinary love and courage. Others involve a twist of fate to lead me to an extraordinary moment.
My husband Jim designed the cover of the book using a photography of a rainbow he took in Sedona last year when we were visiting friends. Three of the stories include a rainbow. My friend Norma meticulously copy read the entire book for me.
My book is finally here! I feel it is the next step in my life adventure of both creativity and service.
“There’s Always a Miracle: True Stories of Life Before and After Death.” $19.95. Black Triangle Press, Olympia, WA. ISBN: 978-1-5323-0396-8.