"If you steep yourself in thoughts of one who has died, you will in time be surprised by a feeling that the dead person is actually listening. This feeling will be absent only when [you are] inattentive and fail to notice the peculiar warmth that often arises...." -- Rudolf Steiner, "Staying Connected: How to Continue Your Relationships With Those Who Have Died"
From the time she was little, Corey's smile filled the room and lit any dark place. This photograph is one of many in which the light on her face is powerful and strong. Looking at it now--she was only 18 at the time--I allow the tears to fall, because it is impossible not to miss her, and yet I recognize that wherever Corey is, she must still be a creature of light.
It was December 27, 2001. Everyone, including my mother, was at our home in Winston-Salem for Christmas that year. Corey had graduated from high school and decided to experiment with dying her hair dark. She is wearing a t-shirt of her brother's and a rabbit coat her boyfriend gave her. She was radiant, no matter what she wore.
Corey came to me twice in the past week. The visits are always a surprise: sometimes set off by what I now call random-not-random events.
Yesterday I hauled down from the attic books of Corey's and of my mom's, preparing to make a run to the local used bookstore and leave them.
From the pages of one of my mother's books fell a program from a Unity Church service years ago. When I lived in Winston-Salem, I played guitar and sung there on special occasions. The strange thing about this Unity minister is that she has always had a connection with the dead and dying, from the time she was a teenager. In 2003 when my mother was passing through the gates of death, I called this minister.
Now, ten years later, I leave a message at the church--yes, she is still ministering at the same church. Three days later she calls me back and I tell her what has happened with my daughter. As we are speaking, she says, "May I tell you what is coming through?"
Oh yes, please....
"Corey is right here. She is excited about the possibilities of communicating with you now, and she is beginning to understand what you always told your children: Remember, when I am dead you can still talk to me. But the cloud of grief is so thick now that she can't get through.
"Corey is saying, 'I just want everyone to be at peace with this. All is well, all is well, all is well."
It is the hardest thing that God, or my sweet baby girl, could ever ask: to be at peace with her forever-after absence. My only solace is the possibility that she is still here...on the other side of the doorway. As the poem says, "Do not stand at my grave and weep. I am not there, I do not sleep."
And so I reach with everything in me towards the possibility that Corey is here, and that when I and others hear and see and feel her, it is true and right and God-given. That when the butterfly lights before me and pulses its wings, that when the bat lands in my yard and sleeps for the day, Corey is there. That when I hear her voice as I did last night in my waking-sleeping time--clear as a bell Corey's voice was excitedly talking to me last night about Mary Sims and Debbie and Heather and Kate--that real communication is taking place, with the help of the angels. And with the help of the angels, I will get through this.
Love Is Stronger Than Death
These entries are part of an upcoming book about love and grief, in honor of Corey Considine, my beautiful younger daughter. She was with us in physical form from August 12,1983 to June 6, 2013. It was a vehicle accident, at the end of a beautiful sunset she had just watched from her favorite hill. She was engaged to a wonderful young man, dabbling in art, planting gardens, planning her wedding, offering love, care, and healing to everyone she knew.