Comfort from the other side

Comfort from the other side

Thursday, August 9, 200712:45 p.m.. After a discussion with Rita. She used the word “perseverate” – and Rich had earlier referenced the movie Defending Your Life – both of which I associate with Joyce.

[Joyce Johnson-Jones and I met at a Lifeline program in July, 1995, the only time we were ever in each other’s presence. She died the following year.]

So – Joyce? Do you want to talk with me? I mean, do you have something on your mind?

You’re forgetting the first nudge that came yesterday, but yes, I do. You are hearing “Time to Say Goodbye” and tearing up. This is very good! You continue to unfreeze.

The iceberg is still melting.

The iceberg is still melting, and I’m so glad for you. It’s a tremendous burden to carry around so long, and there is no need.

You know – without being insulted, I trust! – that I cannot remember what the tie between us is, when or where it was forged. But I love you so much!

You were the last person to talk to me on the phone, you know.

Yes, I figured. I just “happened” to know when to call, and just “happened” to assemble the group at Dave’s to pray for you. I never doubted our connection.

Global warming isn’t all bad, Frank!

Meeting the melting of glaciers and icebergs? No, no it isn’t. Are you all right, love?

Just fine. You took care of that years ago. [This refers to a retrieval I did after she died.]

How well I remember. I don’t wish that you needed help again but I wish I could do something for you.

Do something for yourself, instead.

Sure. What? Apply more heat to the iceberg?

Just know that you are a good person, deserving good things.

Okay, my love. You must be the ultimate unavailable woman!

Seeing a pattern?

Well, you know.

4:30 p.m. I am so sad, so deeply tired. Why? I feel like I want to pour all this out but I can’t actually say to anybody – it’s too hard, I can’t access this part of myself. Or – maybe I can.

Joyce, is this what you mean to help with?

Only someone on the other side will have access to all the things you can’t say, and we don’t have our own needs for you to consider.

God, that would make contact worthwhile just by itself, wouldn’t it?

But you have to be able to sit still and listen, and talk, and not run away – to the extent you are able.

Yes, that can be hard for me.

But you can do it.

All right. I’m making the attempt.

You ran away twice already but you came back. It’s just a matter of awareness and then you won’t let yourself run.


You forget that in some ways we know you better than you know yourself, because you are dealing with yourself day to day and we are dealing with the completed self even if we are talking to you at a given point, as we must do.

What is all this sadness?

Your life has been filled with the sadness of exile, has it not? You have no home even when you are home. At best you get resting places.

True enough. But by definition of what you’ve just said, it has been going on my whole life, so what’s new now?

What is new now is your openness to feel it.

It is my wedding anniversary — is that part of it?

Yes and no. You are always aware of dates, so it is factored in – but it isn’t just a sadness that your emotional life has been so hard, or that your marriage didn’t work out. It is more than that.

I remember vividly your kindness in asking if you could sit with me that day at Lifeline and I said I was praying that you would.

We were always able to comfort each other and move toward greater awareness. You were holding down a lot of things, more than you knew. You had your mind centered on one thing – Katrina – and couldn’t see that she was “story” in a way, in that she exemplified so much pain and suffering and exile in your life.

Isn’t it strange that life should be so much that, to me? I have friends, people who love me, satisfactions, talents, and enjoyment – but there’s really more sadness and pain than anything else, even joy.

It’s best to know what is, because you can’t ever know all the players or all the roles. There’s always more going on behind the scenes than you can know. It’s enough if you can know what you feel; that will hold you to reality despite “story.”

Everything is so futile, well, except love.

Remember that you don’t have a very good vantage point to judge your life from. Most of it is just a rumor to you. It is only later that you realize what you did, what you were.

One thought on “Comfort from the other side

  1. The stories of our lives. A song activated a memory of something that happened years ago. The events were long gone, but I saw that I had not given up the story about those events. The story makes it something bigger and more interesting than admitting just the facts. The emotional energy invested in a story becomes an energy attractor. Tragedies are great attention-grabbers. And remembered stories are brain states, that become stronger by remembering. Repeated remembering becomes the flavour of life lived. 10 minute suffering can make for a life of suffering if the 10 minutes is repeatedly remembered. Biologically it makes sense to ruminate the time when the sabre-toothed tiger almost got you at the watering hole. But when it is one of lifes’ unavoidable pains, ruminating does not make sense. But the brain is built for lightning-quick learning of negative things. And then it becomes difficult to remember one is a good person deserving good things.

    Without the story, there is just one thing after another. Nobody expects to play violin well the first time they try. You pracice and sound horrible, and gradually you learn. You keep trying even though you make mistakes. And you know not to make mistakes the main point of attention. You just start again, and gradually you get better. We do not make this into story about a battle against the demon of non-musicality. Even when it is about life and death: a close call with a sabre-toothed tiger makes you wiser and more conscious about your choices, if you survive and take the lesson well. A story to tell your children so they can get wiser too. But stories that remind that we are good people deserving good things are the best.

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