Seven years ago, I lost my best friend to suicide. Ever since then she has been close to me in a way that she almost never could be while we were in this life together.
We met when we were eight years old and at that point we became inseparable, we were intertwined in a way that only small children with big hearts really can be. As we grew older though, her depression forced me out of her life and my own internal struggles only furthered the cause. We stayed in touch over the years through high school and beyond but it seemed as though our souls could not bear to let each other get close enough again to feel our pain as one. If only our hearts had been stronger, we may have seen each other through and beyond what once seemed like an extremely bitter end.
But when she died, I did not blame her. I mourned her loss with friends and family but mostly I avoided my grief as much as possible because I knew and I thanked God for allowing her suffering to end. Even if it did make my own burden just that much heavier to bear. For even in the worst of my own wars against myself, I knew that I could never choose the road that she had taken. I knew that one of us had to survive the entanglement of life and I knew that her spirit was there to guide me.
At times I still cry because I recognize that she died so that I could live and I cry because I feel privileged to do so in her honor. For years she came to me through nature with signs and symbols, most especially in the days just after she had passed…
The day after the news had broken, I met with a mutual friend of ours by a lake to reminisce a bit and sit in our grief together. It was a beautifully still and clear spring day and we were perched on a boulder by the shoreline beneath the new life of greening trees. We talked for an hour at least before his voice broke steadiness and he said,
“I was so in love with her for so long, I just wish that she could know that.”
And before he had barely finished his sentence, the words spilled out from my mouth without my choice, “She does.”
And right in time with that a thick warm breeze washed over both of us and I felt her fingers comb through my hair and down my back as a shower of leaves floated down on top of us –as if in that moment it were somehow fall instead of spring.
A day or two later I visited her mother’s house and we sat in the day room upstairs. It was evening now and the clouds were gathering for a storm but we attempted to keep things light. We talked about the good times, the fun and laughter we all shared, but the longing was building there inside us. Soon her mother became upset and the wind began to bust in through the open windows. As she started to weep I could feel Dominique’s frustration welling up inside me.
“I’m dancing up here! I’m dancing!” she yelled inside my mind, and the thunder began to roll outside like footsteps stomping on the rooftop. I knew in that moment that she wanted us to continue celebrating her life rather than mourn it but I’m not sure that I felt it fair to say so to a mother who had just lost her first-born child.
As my own tears now joined hers on the cushions of the couch, the sky grew dark and the thunder continued to clap. We sobbed and hugged each other tightly as lightning struck and the wind blew rain in through the window; Dominique’s final flare of regret, as she tried so desperately to share in the our sorrow for what had happened. “I’m here.” She whispered, “I’ll always be here.”
“She’s here.” I said aloud, “She’ll always be here.”
After that night she helped me to write her own eulogy which I would later read at her funeral in church. And when her mother sought my counsel for the treatment of her remains, I froze, but Dominique answered immediately and with certainty.
I can not begin to count the number of questions that she has helped me to answer since then.
Years later, when I began attending the Spiritualist Church of New York City, one of the most important messages I received came straight from her.
“There is a beautiful, young, full-figured woman standing behind you with long curly dark hair. She is wearing colored sunglasses, and a very fashionable dress. (Dominique indeed) She says that she was not at all a religious person while she was living but her perspective has changed much since then. She fully approves of all of the work you’ve been doing to enhance your spirituality over the years and she wants to thank you for including her in that process…I’m sorry, hold on…She is crying now and it is difficult to make our her words…She is asking you to pass on a message to the rest of her friends and family. She wants you to tell them that she loves them very much and she is always watching over what they do and that she is SO proud of how far they have come over the past few years.”
Being that I had not told anyone that I had started attending a Spiritualist Church nor that I had been tormented by spirit all of my life and was only just now learning how to protect myself and to explore my abilities as a gift; it was extremely frightening and impossible for me to imagine a situation in which I would feel comfortable with sharing this message with anyone, much less the people who had lost her.
I worried over this for about a week before I somehow found myself registering for a Somatic Therapy training retreat at a spiritual center in the Berkshire Mountains. And while I was there for a completely unrelated training program, Dominique connected me with a spirit person named Michael who was desperately trying to communicate with his daughter, a stranger but a fellow student in my class.
Michael began to harass me in the same way that most spirits always have, by invading my mind with thoughts and impulses that were quite clearly not my own. Dominique then reminded me of the tools I had learned for protecting myself as well as how to open myself to channeling if I should choose to do so, and I did, I very carefully began to let it flow. I approached Michael’s daughter after hours of pacing and rumination, and much to my surprise, she was extremely receptive of the message which I was relaying to her and she knew exactly who it was coming from as well.
So not only did I experience an intense actualization to my own authentic empowerment, but I also reconnected this complete stranger with her father in a way that she believed was of the utmost urgency for the healing of her soul. In addition to that, this young woman and I became very fast friends after that and I do not doubt that I will know her for the rest of my life now and beyond.
Having received such a manifold gift from Dominique’s guidance, as well as from Michael and his amazing daughter, I knew that I had to pay it forward by relaying Dominique’s original message to her mother and also the world at large. And so I did and still I do.
Because the truth is, our loved ones are not ever truly lost unless we actively choose to let them go. And often, even then, they are right there beside us in total support of our desire or need to do so.