man alone


 Phillip made a Zoom appointment with me on the fifth anniversary of his wife’s passing. Philip, a handsome man in his late 50’s with salt-and-pepper hair, said he really missed Nora, who was taken by a stroke due to high blood pressure. Phillip confided there were times when he wished he had passed into spirit with his wife; he even read me two short articles about long-married couples who had died just hours apart. “That sounds so beautiful,” he said. The way he smiled when he said that gave me concern.

Before I could try linking in with Nora’s spirit, Phillip blurted out, “I think the only way I could find happiness would be to join her. If I did that, would that be a sin?”

The suddenness of his outburst, and a bleakness in the tone of his voice, took me right out of my right brain and brought me back to the moment. Recognizing a hard-edged look in his eyes, I wondered if he might be contemplating a bad decision.

“I don’t think your wife would want you to do that,” I said.

“The past five years have been awful,” he replied, and talked about how much he missed the only woman he had ever loved. His work as a bank vice-president no longer interested him. His two adult children, both employed in the financial sector and living on opposite ends of the country, had young families of their own. Phillip was lonely; he’d gone on a few dates several years ago, but none of the matches he’d connected to online could hold a candle to Nora.

“The twenty-five years I shared with her – twenty-eight, if I count the time we spent together before getting married…” He gave a heavy sigh. “That was the happiest time of my life. And if Nora is, as you say, still alive on the other side of life, I think I’d like to join her.”

I politely suggested to Phillip that I might not be the person he needed to talk with, and I could recommend several well-respected grief counsellors. He shrugged and said he would think about it. But the way he said that made me think he would do no such thing.

I recalled a similar situation I had read about in Man’s Search for Meaning, one of my favourite books, written by Viktor Frankl, a psychotherapist who survived a Nazi concentration camp. His experiences in that bleak environment empowered him to write one of the most life-affirming books I have ever read.

“Phillip,” I said, “suppose the situation was reversed, and you had passed before Nora. Do you think Nora would contemplate what you are thinking about?”

He thought for a long moment. “No, he said slowly. “She would want to spend time with her grandchildren. She was like that.”

“And you’re not?”

As Phillip was quiet, I detected a female spirit who popped in to give a quick message, and promptly left. This happens sometimes – spirit only stays momentarily because they know their presence causes deep grief to those on this side of life. But the spirits are still available, and approach when their loved ones are better able to handle it.

I relayed Nora’s brief message: “Stay.”

This session occurred several months ago. I haven’t heard again from Phillip, but I occasionally pray for him and hope he took his wife’s advice.

If you have any questions or comments on this subject or on any other spiritual matter, feel free to write me. And please visit me again!

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