A bit of the backstory:
I lost my best friend to pancreatic cancer January 19, 2019, three months shy of her 39th birthday, and the day before mine. She would bring her family of four bambinos under the age of ten from her adopted home of Verona, Italy, to her native home of the Bay Area every Summer to keep their American heritage and English speaking skills in tact. In 2016, when my life was more or less in shambles, she hosted me in Italy for a month, assisting with winery appointments, travel plans, car arrangements, Italian parking laws and other intricacies, and visits to Alto Adige and Venice for little getaways together. The month in Northern Italy changed my life, and strengthened our friendship in so many ways. The Summers before and after my trip to Italy was spent with her and her family in their vacation homes in Sausalito, San Francisco, and the Santa Cruz Mountains where I witnessed what an incredible mother and wife she was. We'd cook together, chat about life, new age concepts, my crazy love life and career, and her complex family life, and career educating children in new ways.
The summer of 2018, we met at a cafe in San Francisco with her baby daughter in tow, so that I could meet her newest addition (she told me she thought that she was pregnant as I was leaving her in Italy the previous April), and so that my friend could meet my new husband.
After the meet and greet, she told me she was having weird period cramps, and I responded with, "You've never had a normal period in your life." and brushed it off. She was incredibly fit, traveling the world as a teenager as a competitive soccer player, and modeling, ultimately landing in Verona, where she continued to stop people in their tracks with her other worldly presence. She was wicked thin but muscular, with stunning tanned olive skin, long sleek black hair, stunning brown eyes, and her body bounced back immediately after each baby. A week after she told me of the pain, she woke up early and took the bus to UCSF so as not to wake the rest of the family. By the end of the day the doctors had diagnosed her with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. A few weeks later she and the family returned to Verona, and she passed away five months after the diagnosis.
I beat myself up everyday, because I didn't tell her to get her pain checked out. At her memorial in California, I learned that she told her half brother she was having pain around that same time, and he chalked it up to bad sushi. I was not alone in blaming myself for not taking her comments seriously. A month ago my husband and I went to see the documentary Fantastic Fungi, and when Paul Stamets declared that Turkey Tail mushrooms cured his mother's stage 4 cancer, I cried uncontrollably in the theater. I should have done so much more for my friend I told myself. She was a fighter until the end. Actually she was on so much morphine the entire time she was in the hospital, that she didn't even know that she was on hospice. The whole thing is heartbreaking, and I've had an incredibly hard time coping with her loss.
So this post is about Letting That Ish Go. Moving past the grief, the guilt, and the loss. Learning how to live my life to the fullest, with her beside me in a different way. I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me.
I spend about 2 hours a day, 5 days a week, commuting from my home in Oakland, to my job in Palo Alto. Sucks right? Welllllll, not so much. I'm a podcast and audiobook junkie. Since 2008, I've listened to about 350 books on Audible (holy crap! I just looked that up!), and thousands of podcasts. I spend at least 10 hours a week on improving my knowledge, business, and well being. I indulge in a fiction book once every six months or so, and everything else is centered on business development, self improvement, wine, and wellness. It's a "university on wheels". The year I spent working from home, I actually missed my commute because I wasn't consuming as many books and podcasts. When you're driving, you have no choice other than to pay attention to the road, and listen to something. You may as well make yourself better while doing it.
My company Enotrias has been all about banging on doors and climbing through windows in order to get exposure to more clients. Last year I was fortunate enough to be featured on two podcasts/radio shows, and I really enjoyed the experience of telling my story, and talking about my business. About a month back, I was trying to find another podcast that might be interested in having me on as a guest speaker in the wine realm, so I started with the simple search word "wine".
Simultaneously I was also thinking about trying to find an audiobook by a medium that would help me cope with the loss of my best friend at the beginning of last year. I’d found the ones I’d listened to in the past by Sylvia Browne very compelling, interesting, and for me, answered a few questions about this life and the ones before and after. I’m also a HUGE Brian Weiss fan, and have gifted his book Many Lives, Many Masters several times. When Crossing Over was on the air, I was mildly obsessed, even after all of the skepticism and accusations came out. And that kid Tyler the Hollywood Medium, I love him.
So when I came across a podcast called Wine and Spirits, hosted by a young woman named Monica Ten-Kate (aka Monica the Medium) I gave it a shot. I’d never heard of Monica or her show, was skeptical as usual but a bit more open this last year, and wow. I cried, I laughed, and I found a ton of comfort in this podcast. And she had me by the end of the first episode. She was fast, and precise, and funny, and had no filter. I ended up bingeing the entire 17 podcast episodes, and I shared it with friends and family (I hope she does more, but she hasn’t posted one since October 2018). I tried to find her show online, but had minimal success. Her book came out in 2019, and the audio version, so I downloaded it on Audible, and listened to it over the course of three days.
Her book, Messages from Above: What your loved ones in heaven want you to know, has so many answers to so many questions. There is incredible validation that you can witness in her podcast, and she refers to some of the sessions in her book, and I encourage you to listen to them first. It will hopefully remove any skepticism you may have about her work, and will allow you to accept the truths and messages that she presents. I've read a handful of books by mediums, visited one myself years ago, and watched dozens of shows centered on mediumship. That being said, I still have a healthy amount of skepticism around it. After listening to her book, I have absolute faith that everything that she says is spot on. I had questions surrounding suicide victims, and other taboo situations, and she goes into all of it.
I’m writing this post because I am trying to find my spiritual path. To figure out my beliefs. And to help my grieving process. So much of what the mediums do bring peace to the dying, and the survivors, surrounding death. I don’t know that I’ve ever feared death, and I certainly am not looking forward to it, but I am at peace with it for myself. (No one close to me is allowed to die though, so let’s get that straight.) I hope that if you’re skeptical you have an open mind. I hope that if you are struggling with grief, this brings you peace. And I hope that if you fear death, this brings you comfort.
My takeaways were these:
The Soul Contract. This is something that I’d heard mentioned in a similar way through the Silvia Brown books. I think they are also referred to as the Akashic Records (that book is queued up next). The principal is that essentially, we’ve decided before we’re born, when we are going to die. I don’t know if we have any control of how we are going to die, but essentially, if it is our time, one thing or another will happen, because it was the time dictated in our soul contract. *coocoo thought, are lifelines real in palm readings???
Earth School. The quote is something along the lines of "We are souls having a human experience", and I feel that. We're here to learn, make it through specific challenges, and grow. I'm 100% showing up for Earth School, and I don't know where it will lead, but I am not wasting this opportunity by not showing up everyday.
Angels. Whoa. In episode 17, Monica chats with Beth Carleton, a *certified* Angel Messenger. Mmkay...BUT so much of what she said resonated with thoughts I’ve had over the last decade or so, AND for the last few months, I start my meditation practice with, “Hello, God, Guides, and Guardians…” And essentially, Angels are guardians. Definitely give this one a listen.
They are still beside us and constantly send us signs. Our loved ones that have crossed are right beside us through everything. They see us, they experience with us, they appreciate gestures, and they send us signs. I’ve seen this, and I’ve experienced this, and while not having them there with us is sad and painful and no substitution for a two-way conversation, or a physical embrace, there is some comfort in knowing that they are here. They are seeing *this*.
I have a close family friend that passed about five years ago, that shows up in hilarious ways for both my dad and I. Electrical issues (he was an electrician and carpenter), and most recently on my way to work when Greenskeeper's "I wanna new drug" (he was a recreational drug user to the extreme) started playing after I got off the phone with my dad, and instead of the "clear signs" of white feathers appearing out of no where, shreds of pink insulation started majestically floating on the air around my car on the Dumbarton Bridge out of no where.
My girlfriend Dominique shows up in so many ways, but for some reason the song Temptation by New Order has been like a soul punch reminding me of her, and will play randomly in my infinite playlist on my phone, at a store I'm shopping in, and last night at a goal setting meeting that I attended last night.
My Papa shows up for me in Iris's when I'm on the right path. A vineyard in the middle of nowhere in Chinon, France, a driveway in the middle of nowhere at the villa I was staying at in Italy (he loved to travel), and hilariously when I was questioning my career path while going to the bathroom at a client's house, Iris's appeared on the Kleenex holder next to me. He showed up as a hummingbird at my cousin's baby's blessing last week.
They want us to be happy and move on. It brings them joy when we are happy. We have to try to be happy. We can’t feel guilty when we find moments of joy because we feel that if we are experiencing happiness, we are not erasing them from our lives and our hearts, we are just moving on with our lives, and we should do it in a way that honors them.
The concept of raising our vibration. So I’ve heard about this for years, read it on a bumper sticker, but didn’t really get it. When she explained that the vibration of Spirit is really high, and ours as normal people is low, we need to raise ours, and they need to lower theirs, in order to communicate. Meditation seems to be the key way to do this, and in my experience, plant medicine.
I added "See a Medium" to my list of 2020 goals. I don't feel like I need it after listening to the podcast and reading the book, because they brought me so much comfort, and I am constantly seeing signs at appropriate times, but I would secretly still love some validation from my loved ones. I hope that this post resonates, and I'd love to know your thoughts, hear about your signs, hear your story's about what you've learned and how you've coped with loss.