The Universe hardly ever moves in a straight line. At least it doesn’t for me.  Consider for instance, the long and winding road I traveled to find a place to live in Sedona (two posts ago). Even though I am called there, and even though I know I am meant to be there, I still have to get there on a merry-go-round. I still have to encounter obstacles. My faith is invariably pushed to its limit, and just when it seems that all is lost, Pow!  Everything falls into place. This has happened to me so often that I recognize it now for what it is – a pattern. Not that knowing this makes the process any easier – it doesn’t. I just know deep down that the Universe is working for me and that everything is going to turn out all right. It’s the faith that comes from seeing a process repeated over and over.  My faith isn’t blind, believe me. It’s the result of experience. And I give into it. Completely. I’ll go the long and winding road.

But every once in a while…the Universe comes shining through in a brilliant split second.  If I’d had my eyes open, I would have seen it from the beginning. I had to go through the whole process before I realized the Universe had given me the “go ahead,” the “thumbs up,” the “I’ve got your back, kiddo.” I missed the sign. And it was a big one.

I said in a prior post that I had vowed never to live in a subdivision. Well, my new place is in a subdivision, and it’s beautiful. I barely noticed that it had a name: Nepenthe. Somewhere in the back of my head, I said to myself, “I wonder what that means?” But I was busy. Too busy to look it up. Then, on my lovely drive up the Pacific Coast with my daughter, I saw it again. Twice. As the name of a restaurant. And an inn.

A couple of days ago, weary and dizzy from packing, (Moving is exhausting!) I took a break and looked it up.  Sorry, my literate, academic friends, I found it on Wikipedia. I did check it against other sources, just to make sure. And here it is:

The word nepenthe first appears in the fourth book of Homer’s Odyssey:

Then Helen, daughter of Zeus, took other counsel.
Straightway she cast into the wine of which they were drinking a drug
to quiet all pain and strife, and bring forgetfulness of every ill.

Figuratively, nepenthe means “that which chases away sorrow.” Literally it means ‘not-sorrow’ or ‘anti-sorrow’:  Penthos, from the Greek, means “grief, sorrow, or mourning”. In the Odyssey, in the passage quoted above, nepenthes pharmakon is a magical potion given to Helen by Polydamna, the wife of the noble Egyptian Thon; it quells all sorrows with forgetfulness.

For those of you who do not know me, my name is Helen. I have had a life that has been rich in grief. And I have a karmic connection to Egypt (see my book, below).

I need say no more. Except thank you, thank you, thank you.


Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it on www.the or

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For The Fathers Whose Children Are Gone

I took a drive along California’s Pacific Coast last week with my daughter. The endless beauty of Highway One between Los Angeles and Monterey is indescribable, so I’m not even going to try to describe it. I’m one of those lucky people who traveled for business, so I’ve seen many beautiful things in this world.  I had a career that gave me so much, that taught me so much about the world and the people in it. What I learned from all that travel was that people are more alike than they are different. If there was one universal truth, one single thing I shared with people in countries all over the world, it was that we all had an abiding love for our children. We shared a strong desire, no, more than that, we possessed a will, a determination that they would be happy and safe.

The coastal scenery was beautiful, but it was the trip with my daughter that was precious. It was just the two of us, enjoying the beauty together and talking about everything in the world. Before and after the road trip, I spent time with my granddaughter  – in her house!  Imagine that! I met her “significant other” and her two adoring pit bulls (and spent a little time with my daughter’s two cats – old friends of mine).  My granddaughter took a day away from her business (she owns a baby boutique) to spend with me. We went to the famous farmer’s market and to her special place in Los Angeles – The Last Book Store. That’s actually its name; it’s a fairyland for all who love books.

Funny where your attention goes when you stop climbing the ladder, when you abandon the rat race. You actually get to STOP and savor the things that are most important, the things that were there all the time, the things you were going to do when you got the time. Again, I’m one of the lucky ones who got to live long enough to begin doing those things. There was a time in my life when I thought I’d die relatively young, a time when I didn’t know that life could be worth the effort, a time when I thought life was cruel and pointless. Sometimes it still seems that way, even while I know better.

While I was enjoying all that beauty, while I was cherishing the time with my daughter and granddaughter, people in the city of Orlando were being gunned down. Mothers and fathers lost their children, a horrifying experience I know all too well. I heard thoughtful people on the airwaves saying that we would have to ask ourselves what kind of a country we wanted to be, what kind of a people we wanted to be. It was difficult to reconcile – all that beauty and all that horror, and that awful question: Who are we?

My opinion on the political will to end the ease of getting weapons of mass destruction – or the lack of it –  is my own. I will not put it on this page because my purpose is not to engage those that take delight in controversy or those who need an audience for their opinions.  That is not what this blog is about. This blog is for mothers and fathers here and everywhere whose hearts are permanently broken, whose spirits are crushed, whose rage and disorientation will last for a very long time. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether or not it is war, or crime, or mental illness, whether or not it is the righteousness of religious fanatics (and all religions have them, we have seen that), or the greed of purveyors of weapons that take our children from us. The only thing that matters in that awful moment is that our children are gone. Later, perhaps, we can take up a cause or fight for a world of peace, but not immediately. First, we fall into darkness.

It is for you who have fallen into darkness that I write this blog. I want you to know that I know your heartache. I want you to know that even as I have healed enough from the death of my own child to enjoy the beauty of this world and cherish the time with the children I have left, and with the dear grandchildren I have lived long enough to see, I can still feel the unspeakable agony of your loss. I want you to know that one day you, like I, will feel the presence of your children who, in spirit, are safe and at peace. To all the mothers and all the fathers who will not have a happy Father’s Day today, I send you all the love I can muster, all the hope I can gather, all the surety that one day, your heart will learn to live again.


Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. You may find it at or at

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What I was looking for (a place to live) was in the last place I looked. Isn’t that the way? I spent a long, hard day in my car, driving to neighborhoods around Sedona, far and wide, looking at every rental on the web site. The agent had asked me to do this before she showed a property. I had only seen what was inside virtually. In photographs. I had fallen in love with nothing I’d seen so far.

The next day, I looked again at a few I had already driven by.  I was to meet the rental agent at noon for a look inside the only one I hadn’t visited at all.  It was in a subdivision (something in which I said I’d never live). But it was beautiful. A waterfall greeted me at the entrance. The grounds were immaculate. The minute I walked in, I knew this was the place. It was new, light, airy, and clean, with white walls, white tiles on the floor. A blank canvass. It was small – I’d have to manage – and it was pet friendly with a tiny open space out back for my cat Dorian Gray. There was only one problem. There was a couple there who had gotten there first. By the time I arrived, they had an application in hand. They scooted out to get to work. The agent advised me to get mine in right away.

I had to fill out the application and supplement it with documents I could only reach by Internet. The Internet was down where I was staying, so I raced to Starbucks (of course!) and started. One of my bank statements wouldn’t download. The application asked for a story of my life. (I’m renting and have to be credit approved.) I was nervous. But I remembered a message I had been getting recently:  RELAX.  I had had a reading with Rev. Brown the day before I left (always a comforting experience) and upon leaving, told him that I’d hoped that I’d be able to access my source (my Spirit Guide, Lukhamen) easier when I got into my second book. He gave me one word of advise: RELAX.  I heard it for two days when I got to Sedona – coming from seeming everybody I talked to. I even saw it on roadside signs.

I really wanted this place. It was the only place available that was nestled among the red rocks. I really didn’t want to live out in the desert. So, sitting there in Starbucks, hands shaking, I decided to listen to the Universe. I RELAXED. Somehow, I filled out the application without my handwriting looking like I was drunk, emailed all the documents to the agent, raced to the rental office (traffic didn’t help), and sat down at the rental agent’s desk, where I saw a copy of the driver’s licenses of the other couple. I was hot (there’s a heat wave here, as if we need one in Arizona), I was exhausted, and of course…afraid. If I didn’t have a place to live by the time I left on Tuesday, I wouldn’t have one. I didn’t want to think about staying in a motel with my cat while homeless in July. Think it’s hot NOW.

“Am I too late?” I said.  “No,’ she said, “The other couple didn’t have all their documents together yet.” Whew!  The guy at the other desk brought me a cold bottle of water. He must have seen that I was nearing…something or other. That’s when I heard the message again:  RELAX. The agent, named Sara, helped me complete my application ( I had missed some things in my haste.) She was about to close my file folder, saying “Well, the choice or renters is up to the owner,” when I thought of something. Maybe I had relaxed. “Sara, you know that I’m a client of yours from years back. I’ve rented a townhouse from you for a month at a time. I’m in your system, already credit-checked.” She looked, found me, and smiled. “Well, here you are,” she said.  She took my folder back to the owner of the rental agency. I could hear her telling her that I was a former client. Before I got up to leave, I said, “Sara, is there anything else I can do?” By this time, Sara and I were old friends. “Go back and talk to Tina, the owner,” she said. “That can’t hurt.”

Tina was a lovely lady with a lovely smile. We chatted. She was pleasant. I’ve found that to be true of everybody I’ve met here in Sedona. They seem, well, relaxed. As if everything is going to be all right. “Is there anything else I can do, Tina?” She said, well, owners really like people we know already, so that gives you an edge.” “Is there anything else?” I said. “Well, you can leave a check for the first month’s rent and the cleaning fee. We’ll hold it in escrow until you settle on your house. We’ll send you the lease to docu-sign by email.” “Done.” I said. I wrote the check and asked the last question. “Tina,” I said, “have I done everything I can do?” “Yes,” she said. “You’ve done everything you can do.” And then a funny thing happened. I relaxed. Really relaxed. “We’ll call you in a day or two,” she said with that dazzling smile. “I’m sure everything happens the way it is supposed to,” I said, on leaving. “Yes,” she said, “especially in Sedona.”

Knowing that I had done everything I could do, I talked to the Universe. “Well,” I said. “It’s up to you, now.” And I let go of everything.

Two days later, Tina called. “You’re going to be very happy,” she said. I squealed. The owners had chosen me, no doubt with help from Tina. I exhaled, and said, “Thank you, Tina.” I have a home to come to in July.

I will leave here on Tuesday, fly to Los Angeles to see my daughter Debbie and my granddaughter Celine. Debbie and I are going to drive up the California coast. I will have a free mind and a contented heart. And I get to practice a new skill:  RELAXING.