Can saying yes to believing in the other side heal my grief?
What would you do if you knew, for sure, that death was not the end? If you were shown that an ‘afterlife’ existed, would it change the way that you approach your life, the choices you make and the losses you encounter?
During a plant medicine retreat in 2018, the message was delivered loud and clear. The visions were well under way, and as I lay in my sleeping bag, wrestling with a heaving stomach after vomiting for what felt like the thousandth time that night, a holographic avatar of the late, great spiritual teacher Dr. Wayne Dyer appeared in front of me.
“Death is a graduation onto the next cosmic adventure,” he said. “There is no such thing as ‘the end’”.
He strapped me into my seat in the cockpit of our spaceship and shot me into another dimension. All of a sudden, I was floating on a technicolour cloud enveloped by a bright white light, with every soul to have ever lived. It was so inconceivably, mind-bendingly beautiful that I erupted into breathy, heaving sobs - the really ugly kind.
As I think back to this moment four years later, I come to a realisation. The message I received that night was intended for my future self - a version of me that would lose both my fiancé and my Dad within just 10 months of each other during the global pandemic.
When Ben died from COVID-19 complications as a terminal cancer patient, less than a year after he proposed to me, I was desperate. I needed to know that he was okay - my survival depended on it. I’d had enough psychedelic experiences to entertain the possibility of something beyond this realm, but the rational side of me needed concrete evidence. I needed more. Something specific. And so down the rabbit hole I went, reading countless books, listening to countless podcasts and watching countless documentaries about near death experiences, mediumship, spirituality and ‘the Other Side’. My search eventually led me to a psychic medium I discovered online called Susan, who claimed to be able to communicate with dead loved ones.
What if Ben actually came through? What would I even say if he did?
Our call was booked for 8pm. The scene was set, my bedroom now swimming in spiritual accoutrements - candles, crystals, feathers, tarot, incense - you name it.
By 8:07, I was mortified. It was going disastrously. Susan the ‘psychic medium’ had gone through every letter of the alphabet besides B, shouting random names at the screen in strange voices.
“Margaret! Sarah. Liz? No, it’s definitely Margaret. There’s a really strong Margaret energy coming through,”, she insisted. “Keep an open mind, it’ll start to make sense later.”
No, Susan. It won’t.
I had many nicknames for Ben, but Margaret wasn’t one of them.
I could see the end of her pencil moving at the bottom of the screen as she furiously scribbled down the letters and names in her notebook. It was obvious - I’d been shafted. Susan the ‘psychic medium’ from Lancaster was, in fact, a charlatan.
But it wasn’t enough to dissuade me. A few months later, I was directed to a psychic medium with a waitlist. ‘This is promising,’ I thought. I booked the session under a different name to eliminate the possibility of a Google search.
This time, I would be Lotte Clark. This time, it would be different. The real McCoy - it had to be.
When the time finally came, it didn’t fail to deliver. In the first five minutes of our reading, the medium gave me Ben’s name, described his features, his character traits, and imitated his mannerisms, down to the smallest detail. Green eyes, shoulder length brown hair with ringlets. An off-the-wall, outgoing character with a naughty sense of humour. He jumped at every opportunity to crack a joke and make people laugh. A wise soul. Kind and gentle. It was him. I was stunned.
For the next two and a half hours, I heard the story of Ben’s illness from start to finish from his perspective. She recounted the highs and the lows and the ins and the outs, and everything in-between - the treatment pathways, the consultations, the complications, the red-tape, his passing, and the debilitating pain of my grief. She disclosed intimate details about our relationship, about my life, and about my future that had yet to be written. She shared things that only Ben and I knew about. Things that I hadn’t shared with anyone.
Our conversation marked a turning point in my journey. It was the validation and reassurance I had been searching for. To me, there was only one explanation for it; the ‘Other Side’ was real, and Ben was still very much alive and present, just not in the way I once knew him to be.
You might not be convinced by my story, but I believe that everything in the known universe is energy. In the words of the late physicist Albert Einstein, energy “cannot be destroyed; it can only be changed from one form to another”. On a subatomic level, the human body is made up of 99.9999999% empty space - or energy - and only 0.0000001% matter. This is scientific law.
So, if we are energy and energy can’t be destroyed, what happens to us after the death of our physical body? Do we really just cease to exist and disappear into a void of eternal blackness? Is our essence, our soul - the thing that once animated our body - simply gone forever?
A TV might be broken, but the signal remains. It’s certainly something to consider.
For me, mediumship has played a fundamental part in my healing. It has paved the way for a new perspective, and a different kind of energy in the face of my grief - one that has felt more content, more curious, and more excited. Now, there is space to be present, to laugh, to experience joy and to appreciate the life that is. Now, I finally feel at peace.
When I pop my clogs, I know I’m going to see Ben again. It might be 50 years from now, or 50 minutes. But until then, I’m going to say a big, fat, resounding ‘YES’ to life, and make the most of what is left. I’m going to wake up every morning and grab it by its balls with gusto, no matter how big or difficult it gets. For myself? Absolutely. But also for Ben, and for other loved ones that I’ve lost. Because they no longer get to.
TikToker Kelsey Russell wants Gen Z to bring back newspapers
woo spent an afternoon with TikTok’s ultimate newspaper girlie to understand why she’s making a case for print media
Condiment Claire wants you to "look around and find flavours to forage"
woo spent the day strolling through a London park with Condiment Claire, here's what we learnt about fending for food in the wild
How to talk to your mates about your relationship with alcohol
Because honest conversations can lead to a healthier approach
Space Available's Dan Mitchell on combatting burnout, Bali life and nature
Space Available is on a mission to create a circular future, they collaborated with woo on our merchandise and visual design, we spoke to the founder ...
vegan meat alternatives are pretty much over - but why?
Pioneering Beyond Meat has seen a large dip in sales so what does this say about our eating habits?
hypnotherapy is the ideal way to nurture self-love
Struggling to find a sense of inner peace and quiet purpose? Try hypnotherapy, it might just be the thing to change your life
self-love might look selfish sometimes – and that’s ok
Navigating the complicated boundary between selfless and selfish