Nobody’s Gone for Good

Those who follow this blog know that I do not believe in death. That doesn’t mean I don’t take it seriously. It doesn’t mean that when my husband died, I wasn’t brought to my knees in grief, or that I do not miss him every day of my life. That is why, this past week, when I learned that my friend’s husband had died, my heart broke for her. I feel her grief, just as surely as I felt my own, because death on this earthly plane is very real.

When I say I don’t believe in death, it’s true. I don’t. I believe the person I love who left his body still lives. The person. Not the body.

Over the years, I have felt the presence of those, like my son, like my husband, like my mother, who have “died.” I have experienced things beyond the human senses. I have had evidence, signals of their presence. Christmas ornaments falling from a shelf. A ring, long put away, suddenly appearing on the floor of the laundry room. The presence of a Spirit Guide, come to help me and teach me about life, and life, and life. I know the ones I love are here. They’re here when I am not feeling well, here when I see something extraordinarily beautiful, here when I think of them or call their names. Here when I dream of them.

But my husband’s eyes, the blue, blue eyes that looked at me with such love, are gone. We, my friend and I, have lost their eyes. We have lost their laughter, their wisdom, the gentle kindness with which they shared our hurts and fears. They loved us, and the loss of that present love is real, and painful, and lonely. There will be times when we will say that we “lost” our husbands, but it is not they who are lost. We are.

I’m still amazed at how my mind was working in those last days. As long as my husband was breathing, my mind kept death away from me, away from him, away in spite of all the odds, away, even as cancer progressed in the relentless pursuit of his life. My mind did that for me.We did not think about death. The body we loved still breathed. We were busy taking care of it. And that was enough.

My friend and I knew what it was like to care for the body. We talked about it. We knew what it was like to handle urine and feces, and all manner of bodily manifestations. Nothing was repugnant to us. Nothing. Because love was greater than anything the body could show us. And in my mind, as long as I could keep doing those things for the body, death did not exist. Until it did. And he no longer needed me. That was, perhaps, the deepest shock of grief, the moment when he no longer needed me. Or anything. Or anybody.

And so, my dear friend, I do acknowledge death, even as I give it no lasting power over the ones we love. I acknowledge our loss. It is as real as this earth, as real as time and space, and as the pain we feel. It is as real as the relief in knowing they no longer suffer. It is as real as our moments of anger at them for leaving us, as real as the clothes that still hang in the closet, the shoes that are worn in the shape of their feet, the faint scent of cologne on the shirt, the phone that we will throw away. The light that we must now leave on so that we will not come home to a dark house.

And there is something else that is real, and that is our love. It does not die. And that is where they live, my friend. They live in every memory, in every pain, in the dreams we have in which they are still with us.  They live in radiant, beautiful spirit. In another dimension, but here. Now. They come near to us and somehow we know it. We feel it, because their love, too, does not die. It is the language with they they speak to us and the energy with which they make themselves known. You will feel it. Perhaps you have already.

And you know, dear friend, or you will know, that Nobody’s Gone for Good.


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

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Time Out

Dear Friends:

I am so grateful to those who read my blog every Sunday. Thank you, and thank you for your inspiring notes.

I am taking a time out this weekend to recover from oral surgery. See you next weekend.

Sometimes We Just Know



I went to one of my favorite places a few days ago with a dear friend who came out from the East Coast to visit me. I live in Sedona, Arizona, a place that is surrounded by vortexes, swirling centers of subtle energy coming out from the surface of the earth. If you are sensitive, you may feel it as a vibration that seems to be coming from inside your body. Even if you are not at one of the vortex sites, even if you can’t detect it, this subtle energy will still have an effect on you, and it may manifest in any number of ways. You may feel better, in general. Calmer. You may have a vision. People who are seeking a deeper spiritual life seem to be called here. I know I was.

This is a place where the air resounds with stories of the ancient ones, Native Americans who made this their home, a place where the beauty of the earth, the colorful rock formations, and the immense sky give the word “awesome” a more sacred meaning.

Back to one of my favorite places – it is a great divide in the earth, or a canyon. It is sometimes called the Canyon of the Holy Beings. You have to make your way over its top, and down through an arroyo of stones to get to a high overlook, where the Verde River can be seen below and the canyon wall on the far side can be seen in its entirety. It is not an easy walk, but the reward is great, for it is in the far canyon wall where the Holy Beings reside. You can see them in the formations, standing side by side, silent and still, as they have for millions of years. My friend and I went there with a shaman as our guide. How lucky can you get?

The Hopis, who lived here, (their name means “peaceful people”) believed that a spirit resided in each stone. Other Native Peoples believed that spirits resided not only in the stones, but in the trees, and in the plants that grow from the earth’s floor. They believed that the plants revealed their medicinal properties to them. And the plants were used – effectively – as balms for injuries and cures for illnesses.

With great technological prowess, we have invented instruments that can measure magnetic energy. We have “discovered” that plants are capable of generating electrical impulses that work like the nerve cells of animals. We can measure and record their reactions to life around them. Every day we are “discovering” plants that possess amazing curative powers. Science and technology have provided us with “evidence” of the existence of all manner of unseen, unheard things. But Native Peoples and other peoples from back of beyond history knew many of these things naturally. Unfettered by doubt and shiny technologies, they had the gift of perception. I think we all have it. Gifts like these are never the province of a select few. A gift from the Universe is a gift from the Universe, and this one belongs to all of us.

Since God knows when, we humans have known that there was something in us, something about us, that was more than we could see or touch, something we may call Spirit. We could feel it; it was present within us so powerfully that we downloaded it into our religions, our philosophies, and our practices.  We could feel that…something… that life that is more than, greater than the body. We can feel that something that lives in the stones, and the trees, and the plants, and in our hearts, something that tells us the great truth that Nobody’s Gone for Good and that life is all there is. Some of us have seen or received evidence of this truth. Some of us need no evidence to believe it. Sometimes, we just know it.


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

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A Small Light, A Moment of Peace


There are times when peace seems far away, when the world seems ugly, when all there appears to be is the darker side of our humanness. There are times when the Light of the Universe seems lost in the frays we create. It is not.

I sent my book today to someone who is in pain. I wrote on the inscription page that I hoped the book would bring her peace. She is a mother whose child is gone from this life. Thinking of her has drawn me away from the chaos that emanates from my television screen, which, I admit, I have been watching too much.

But I have a choice. I can turn away from darkness at any time. I can turn away, because I have been given the gift of remembrance. And this morning, it came to me in these words:

“There is a LIGHT in this world. A healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometime lose sight of this force when there is suffering, and too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.”  – Richard Attenborough

There is more to this life than what is on our television screens, more to life than we can see, hear, or touch. It is peaceful, and loving, and lives in the Silence of our higher selves. It is there, always. It is in the heart of those of us who are suffering and in too much pain. I know. I found it when I was there. And the Spirit emerged.

We cannot escape the realities of this world, nor should we seek to. But they are not all there is. There are higher places, there is another reality in which our hearts and minds can dwell, even if for a little while. I believe that when we change our hearts and our energies, just a little bit, when we turn away from the chaos of our creations, we ignite a light of our own, no matter how small. For those who are suffering, like the mother who is in my heart today, like so many of my countrymen who are immersed in conflict, anger, and fear, it may flicker for a moment in their vicinity. It may not. It may just inspire a kind word to the tired clerk at the checkout counter who has stood on her feet for hours. In that moment, in the space of that small light, peace will be mine. It may also be hers, and she may extend it to the customer in back of me. He may extend it to the customer in back of him. And in back of him. There is a Great Power that lives within us, even when it appears as a small light.  All we have to do is remember that It is there.


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




Messages From The Universe

I used to wonder how I might know the difference between a “message” from the Universe (God, if you wish) and a message from myself, that is, my ego. The pastor of the little Arlington Metaphysical Chapel where I began my spiritual path would answer this puzzling question by saying, “Examine the content.” If it is negative, or if it is selfish or self-aggrandizing, he would say, it is suspect, meaning it wouldn’t have come from a Source of Universal Love.

Since I began examining the content of the little “messages” I get, I’ve noticed that the good ones are very subtle. No bolts of lightning for me. Still, I hear them. They may come in the words of a song (like the title of this blog – “Nobody’s Gone for Good), or a line from a play.

At other times, the message comes as an impulse, or an impression. You may call it a “hunch,” if you like. It can come from anywhere, as long as it is beautiful, loving and helpful. It can be comforting. It may flit across your mind as a thought of God Itself. We’ve all had these thoughts, these little “messages,” even if we do not recognize them as such. You may also put them to two other tests: (1) The timing of a message is always perfect, and (2) if followed, it will always produce a positive outcome.

I had one today. Mine was an impulse, or maybe it was more like a little push.  My cat and I had had a bad night. I woke up too early with too little sleep, and I was tired. I was tempted to turn over and stay in bed. Instead, (God knows why) I got up, went to my morning meditation group, and afterwards, when I got home, I debated in my head whether or not I should do the volunteer work I usually do on Saturdays, or cancel it and go see a friend who had just broken her hip and was in the hospital.  Either one, but certainly both seemed beyond me, the way I was feeling. Not knowing what to do, or what I could do, I asked God to direct me— a practice I’m getting better at. And then, a wave of fatigue hit me like a ton of bricks. I had to lie down, and before I knew it, I was asleep. This is not something I do ordinarily or easily. The impromptu nap wasn’t long, but it was enough. When I woke, it was time to get to my volunteer work. Kind of like I’d planned it. I stopped for coffee on the way, hoping I’d have enough energy afterwards to see my friend.

The volunteer work was unusually easy and cheerful, and the energy of the place was uplifting. Afterwards, feeling strongly as if I had to get to my friend, I got in my car and drove to the hospital in Cottonwood. If any of you have driven the 15 miles from Sedona to Cottonwood, you know that the drive is its own reward. Before me was the vast expanse of the Verde Valley, the mountains in the distance, and above, the incomparable, impossibly beautiful late afternoon sky of Arizona.

My dear friend looked tired. She had a right to be. She had just had titanium rods put in her shattered femur a day and a half ago and the hospital staff had made her walk just a few hours before I got there. She had had other visitors during the day, but when I got there, she was alone. She asked me if I’d get her some water. I left to go down the hall, and by the time I got back to the room, she was writhing in excruciating pain. The nurse had hurried off to get her medication. I held her hand as the tears came and a wave of pain distorted her lovely face. A few minutes turned into a lifetime. Time doesn’t fly when this happens.

Eventually, the medication did its work, and my friend, when she could finally talk, told me how glad she was that I was with her when this happened. I knew then that by following my “hunch” to get to her, I had arrived at the point where I was supposed to be, and at the perfect time. Calm now, and relieved from the severest of the pain, she asked me to tell her a story or two, and I did. They were about my husband, Bill, and the sweet and often funny memories I have of him. I brought him into the room with us, because as I’ve often said…Nobody’s Gone for Good, and he was always so good at hospital visits. He could make anybody laugh, from the nurses to the patient at hand. At the end, I left her with a little saying from my pastor: “Remember,” he’d say, “Things come to pass. They don’t come to stay.”  She managed a little laugh as I left her.

It took me a long time to trust my little “messages” enough to obey them. But now, when I do, I find that my life is inevitably enriched, and I am grateful for every loving experience.

On the drive back to Sedona, the setting sun was visible behind the clouds only as a silver lining. (There really are such things.) The enormous expanse of the desert sky was hung with lavender and pink clouds.  The last rays of the sun peeked through here and there and lit the red rocks of Sedona in the distance. It was all I could do to keep the car on the road. It was that beautiful. Was there another message in the sky? Was it telling me that it was a beautiful world, and that all was well? For me, the answer was yes, and all I could think of was, “Thank you, God.”


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

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