Joy, Not Grief

I talked to a friend a few days ago, and she told me that in the last few months, she has lost several friends. Two she cared for in their last days.  And yet, this woman is one of the happiest people I know. It bummed her out for a time, but she didn’t stay there. I have another friend in Belgium who volunteers at a hospice. She, like me, has lost a child. Her only child. And yet, she is the epitome of cheer to souls who are ready to depart this world.  She had her dark time, too, believe me. But both of these friends can cheer the dying and come away with their own joy in life intact.

It took me many years to find joy after my child died, and I am still not known for my cheer. But joy? That I have. Could joy be the companion of grief?  One state of being that somehow, however inconguently, is joined to the other? If so, then that must be the definition of hope.

Some of us don’t want to let go of grief. It binds them to the one who is gone. For a long time, I felt that if I lost my grief, I would lose Eddie. Again. Eventually, though, visions of Eddie started to come to me that let me remember him in another way. I started to remember how funny he was. Sometimes, when I was seriously deep into practicing a Bach Invention, Eddie would slide into the room and dance to the music, pirouetting around the piano like a disjointed ballet dancer, abolishing my seriousness, doubling me over with laughter. I remembered more about the cool things he did – his painting and his martial art. I remembered all the friends who adored him, how they cheered when he crossed the stage to receive his high school diploma. Those are the things that live with me now. The precious, joyous things. Now, after all these years, I know that that is what stays. Not the grief. Not even when you want it to.

It is almost eight years since my husband Bill died, and I am beginning to think of him the same way. Bill, like Eddie, was a funny guy. He was loving, and kind, and irreverent.  He was also cool. New York cool. Although he never quit his daytime job, he was an actor. Many is the time I sat in the dark, watching him onstage, or cheered when he appeared in a snippet in a movie. I was a fan.

I remember one day in particular.  Bill had gotten a job as an extra in the movie, “Minority Report” with Tom Cruise. One evening during the filming, he burst through the door exclaiming – “Guess what? Today I was directed by Steven Spielberg!” That stopped me. And then he said, “You know what he said to me?” “No,” I said excitedly. “He said, ‘Could you please move over there, out of the way, sir?'” Those are the kinds of things I remember about Bill. Somehow his joy in life and Eddie’s joy in life have found their way into my spirit. They have infused me with it. Their joy has traveled from their spirits into mine.

I don’t try to understand how the Universe works. I don’t question the imponderable – things like the connection between loss and life, grief and joy. I just accept them. And I am grateful for the joy those beautiful spirits brought into my life. That is what they left me. That is what lasts. Not grief.


Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at For a signed copy, go to

Not Yet

I have an aunt who is ninety-six years old. She lives in Maryland, where I used to live. I wanted her to come out to Arizona with me, but she refused.

Every few days, she drives to Walmart to do her grocery shopping. I wish she wouldn’t. A friend of mine, who works at Walmart, texted me a few days ago. He said he saw her and she was “struggling.” I know it’s true.  She’s generally in good health, but she has a bad knee and walking is difficult. She is ninety-six, after all. She gets around Walmart leaning on the pushcart. My friend helped her get the groceries into her cart, stood with her in the checkout line, and loaded her car. He offered to help her again, and gave her his phone number. I’m lucky and she’s lucky that a kind soul was, and is, so near. Thank you, dear Rick.

I wish she lived in a place with other people (she lives alone ) where her meals could be prepared for her. My brother and I talked yesterday (he lives in New York), and we’re going to try – again – to get her to consider another living arrangement and to give up her car. But it’s hard, because she’s smart, opinionated, and up to date on everything from politics to well…politics. That’s her favorite, because its something she can rant and rave about and come away from it energized. The thing is, she’s mentally sharp, and she’s not sick. But her reflexes are ninety-six years old. She’s an accident waiting to happen, not only to herself, but maybe to somebody else, too.  But this isn’t about being reasonable. She’s afraid. She has said that she knows that some day, she’s going to have to give up the car, but not yet.  She believes she’ll die when she gives up the keys and life on her own terms. She’s probably right. And she’s not ready. Not yet. Maybe she’s not ready because it’s not her time. But when it is her time, I hope that she will be able to hear the Voice that says, “I love you. Come home. ” And no longer be afraid. I hope that for myself, too.

Some years ago, I had a near-death experience. I was on an operating table. The lights of the operating theater were in my eyes, and the last thing I saw was the silhouette of the doctor standing over me. I told him I was ready. He said, “Well, we’re ready for you.” But that wasn’t what I meant. I meant I was ready. I had a ruptured fallopian tube, I was bleeding out, and gently sinking into another place. It was the loveliest feeling I’ve ever had in this lifetime. I wish I had a better word to describe it. I couldn’t tell him what I meant, because then everything  went dark. When I woke up, all I wanted to do was to go back. I never thought of saying, not yet. I still don’t. But then, I’m not ninety-six. Not yet.


Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at For a signed copy, go to











Nothing Lasts Forever


I live in Arizona and we’re having a heat wave. Imagine that – a heat wave in Arizona! It was 108 degrees in Sedona today. Phoenix, two hours away and in “the valley,” has been hovering between 118 and 122 degrees. Airline flights have been cancelled. Smaller airplanes can’t fly safely in that kind of heat. I didn’t know that. I’ve never lived in the Southwest before.

I have been in 120-degree heat before. In India. It was about three years ago, and my daughter Michaela and I were in Delhi. She went for business and I tagged along. One of the sights there was a not-to-be missed mosque. Of course, we had to take our shoes off before entering. There was a courtyard between the entrance gate and the interior. Running across the paved courtyard was like running on a bed of hot coals. Michaela, bless her heart, gave me her socks. We toured the dark, cool mosque and carried on. I mean, how many times in one’s life does one get to see Delhi? Arizona doesn’t seem so radical, when I think about it.

For the last week, I have hunkered down and stayed inside except for early morning excursions to the supermarket and my air-conditioned meditation group. Today, my outside cat became an inside cat. He has braved the heat for the past couple of days, but today I laid down the law.

Oh, yes, and did I mention the desert roaches are back? The people here tell me when it’s this hot, they come in looking for water. Of COURSE they do. So, I’m doing what people here do – I spray the insides and outsides of my front door, my garage door, and the door to my patio. For the past three mornings, I have come into my kitchen to find no roaches lying on their backs, wiggling their spindly little legs. I thank God, sincerely and fervently. But then, this afternoon, I found one who made it in through my patio door. (How do they do that?) And why do they always end up on their backs? Never mind. It’s better than having them run around.

These creepy little insects are part of the balance between the incredible beauty of the high desert and the things that live in it. I don’t like sharing this space with them, but they were here before I was – probably before anybody was.

Back in Maryland, where I lived before, it was rain. And mosquitoes. I lived in wetlands. My house was beside a gorgeous river, but when I opened the door in the summertime, the mosquitoes would eat me alive, and I hated the days when the sun didn’t shine. It doesn’t matter where you live. Wherever you are, the earth will be made up of beauty and beasts. It will be blazing hot or freezing cold. Wherever you go in this life and on this earth, there will be something over which you have no control. In the meantime, I spray. (I found out that Raid makes a lavender scented poison.) I try to distract my complaining prisoner cat with toys (that lasts for about a minute). I stay in my air-conditioned condo. I read. I work on my book. I binge-watch good things on Netflix. I eat a lot of ice cubes. And…I treat myself to ice cream. Without guilt.

When I really think about it, things are okay. And guess what? The monsoon rains are coming. They come to us in Arizona from July to September, to cool everything off and make the cacti bloom. And the sky will be dramatic and breathtaking. The roaches will disappear. (Yea!) And Dorian (the cat) can stay outside under the car port and watch the rain.

I like the way the Buddhists handle this. They see the impermanence of things in life – the good, the bad, the heat, the cold, the beauty, and the beasts. They know that nothing lasts. And they don’t sweat it.


Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at For a signed copy, go to




Do you ever feel as if you are…watched over? Protected? I did, last week.

I went hiking on a new trail. It’s what Sedona people do. It’s also what people all over the world come here to do, not only because it is ravishingly beautiful and awe-inspiring, but you can enter a trail and in a few minutes, be in wilderness. Sometimes the silence (if nobody else is on the trail) is, as they say, deafening. I’m a city girl, and until I entered a wilderness, I don’t think I’ve ever “heard” true silence before. It is quite an experience. Oh, occasionally, you will get the sound of a bird, or the wind rustling a tree, but if no one is on the trail, there are no human sounds. That kind of silence can put you in an altered state, the state you reach for in meditation. That’s why a lot of us do it. You can feel something in that silence you can’t name, but it feels like God.

At the entrance to some trails, there are signs that warn hikers to watch out for snakes and bears. These signs never stopped me.  Maybe I didn’t really believe them (you should). The trails I usually hike are popular (by that I mean you meet humans now and then), and I figure the wild life avoid them. As a matter of fact, I’ve never seen any wildlife on a trail except once – two gorgeous mule deer, a doe and a fawn, once looked down on me from a shelf above, and that was all. Well, until last week.

As I said, I was on a trail I’d never been on before. I’d read about it in our local paper. I also went on a weekday when the tourists are scarce. The trail was exquisite – not too steep as trails here go, and dotted with the most beautiful cacti and wildflowers I think I’ve ever seen. It was also shaded – lots of trees. Ideal. And I was alone in the blessed silence. Had the God place all to myself.

But when you’re in the wilderness all by yourself, something kicks in. Awareness, maybe? Some kind of survival mechanism? A little ways in, I became acutely aware of my surroundings. I watched where I put my feet. I stopped every now and then and looked around me. I felt the wild life there, even though I couldn’t see it. I began to feel a little wary, a little uncomfortable. This trail felt different.  It wasn’t the challenging climbing trail sought by tourists. This was a walking trail, a trail for the locals.  People who know what they’re doing. Not city girls.

At some point, I saw a dog, making his way toward me, and behind him, two couples, aged like myself. One couple was obviously showing the trail to the other – visitors, and it seemed, city people like myself. I began to feel a little better.

“I thought the dog would have noticed,” I heard the taller of the two men say. I came closer to the four of them, and they were stopped, looking at something. “Don’t worry,” the man said, looking at me, it’s just a king snake.” And I got a look at my first snake in the wild. He was a beautiful creature, not too large, decorated in green and black diamond-like patterns. We all stood still while he slithered across the trail, calm as could be, as if he were used to seeing people on his trail all the time. The thing that surprised me the most about all that is that I wasn’t afraid. “That looks like a pack-rat’s nest,” the knowledgeable man said, pointing toward a tree, “and I guess he’s going in for lunch.” Now that stopped me. A harmless snake is one thing. Rats are another. I couldn’t see it, thank you God. I wouldn’t know a pack-rat’s nest from a hole in the ground (that isn’t a pun, but excuse it anyway), and there are some things I don’t want to know.

As the two couples made their way past me and back to the trail’s entrance, one of the women stopped, looked back and said, “Don’t worry. King snakes are harmless, but if you see a snake with a diamond head, they’re the ones to stay away from. But,” and here’s where she got me, “isn’t it nice that we were along when you got to the snake?”

And there’s the miracle. Out of all time and space, I was to meet these people at exactly the point and at exactly the instant a snake was about to cross my path. I wouldn’t have known that it was a king snake, or that it was harmless. I would have freaked out, for sure. Maybe I would have stumbled and broken my ankle, like a friend of mine did on a trail.  I saw nobody else on the trail that day, coming or going. I had to look after those people to make sure they weren’t angels. Or were they?

This kind of thing happens to me too often for me to just dismiss it, or chalk it up to coincidence. Something or someone is always put in my path when I need help, and the timing is always perfect. It may be something I’ve “lost,” like records for my tax return. It may be stopping in traffic, not knowing why, just before another vehicle appears out of nowhere. Did God, did my angels, put these people in my path at just the right time? What do you think?

I went on my way, as far as my strength would take me on the trail and came back, back across the place where I saw the snake. The snake was gone. And I was unafraid.

I embarked upon a spiritual path years ago. The death of my son left me with nowhere else to go. After years of study and experience, I am now aware of small and large miracles, “coincidences” that were overlooked in the everyday busyness of my earlier life. I see angels where there were none before. Sometimes, they meet me on the trail and tell me not to be afraid.

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Psalm 91


Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at or, for a signed copy, go to



Levitating and The Circle of Life


Last week, I wrote about my daughter Debbie’s recording of The Circle of Life from the Disney movie, The Lion King. Debbie sang the French version, L’histoire de la vie. Her gold and platinum record hangs on my wall. Can you imagine someone giving you such a thing?  That tells you a lot about Debbie.

I was asked to share her recording with you, and so I shall. Click on the link and enjoy the video.  Thank you Debbie, thank you Elton John, thank you Disney, and thank you to all the friends, guides, and loved ones who have completed the circle of life and have gone on to begin another.


I read a small article today on levitating. No, it wasn’t about actually levitating, but the exercise of rising above a situation that has you baffled or frustrated, in order to see it from another perspective. Notice, I said exercise. This is something you have to practice.
I encountered a situation recently that called for levitation. It involved someone who wouldn’t do what I wanted them to do. Oh, I hear you chuckling. But honestly, haven’t you ever wanted somebody to do something they just wouldn’t do? It’s really frustrating, especially when what you want them to do would make their life easier – no, better than that – it would make their life pretty wonderful. And, like a wilful child, they just won’t do it. It’s enough to make you tear your hair out.
I spent a couple of sleepless nights arguing with someone who wasn’t there, giving them all the reasons why they should do what I want them to do. And while I was awake, angry, and righteous, I’m pretty sure that person was sleeping like a baby.  Come on, tell me you haven’t done the same thing.
Anyway, back to levitation. I’ve noticed that whenever I am in a state of suffering (because that’s what this was), the Benevolent Universe comes to relieve me. It sends me a gift. The only trick here is that I have to ask for it.
On the night in question, while in the throes of my wee-hours agony (I couldn’t get to sleep and I couldn’t stop arguing with the invisible person), I remembered to pray. I asked the Universe (I called It the Holy Spirit this time) to change my perspective, and a few minutes later, this thought came to me: Why don’t you try to see this person as God sees them? That’s when I levitated. I rose above my desire to control this person and tried to see them – not as I want them to be – but as they are in the sight of God – beloved, accepted and embraced for who and where they are at this moment, and endowed with free will. All the things I want for myself.  It was the next morning that I came upon the article. It was like a telegram from God, confirming what I’d received during the night.
This kind of thing happens to me a lot. It’s not because I’m lucky. It’s because I have been in the company of spiritual teachers, and every once in a while I remember what I’ve been taught. Plus – I don’t like to suffer. Trying to control somebody else is almost the definition of suffering. It feels terrible and it never works. What a relief to remember that I don’t have to manage anybody’s life but my own!  When I get a little out of line, my job is to levitate. Get above my ego and adjust my perspective. My perspective. Everything else will go as it will.
I can just hear the Holy Spirit saying, “Now wasn’t that easy?”
Actually, it was easy. It only took a minute.  I got to sleep and didn’t worry the next day. We are all on our own paths, and we have the right to our own learning process. This all reminds me of when Debbie was a baby. She was my first, and I hovered over her and watched her like a hawk. One day, when she was getting used to standing alone, she let go of the coffee table she was holding on to, and tried to take a step. She started to fall and I caught her. My then husband watched me do this a couple of times and said, “You know, if you don’t let her fall, she’s never going to learn to walk.” I suppose I levitated then. The next time she tried it, I stood by but didn’t catch her and she fell onto her bottom. It was more like she sat down. I think it was in that moment that she got the hang of it, because she got up and tried it again, and sat down again. But she learned to walk, and learned to sing, and learned to be a mother herself. One might say it was the Circle of Life.
Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at For a signed copy, order it at

The Complexities of Life

Life is up. Then it’s down. It’s happy, then it’s sad. It’s never wholly one thing or another. Life in human form is complex. The question is: can we get comfortable with that? Can we see that it is all right?

I was in Los Angeles last weekend with people I love more than anyone or anything on earth—my three daughters and my granddaughter. Debbie, my oldest daughter and Celine, my granddaughter live there. Michaela, the youngest, had come out from New York on business.

Debbie called me with a last minute inspiration and said “Why don’t you come out, too?”  And I got lucky. My cat sitter had a cancellation in her schedule and she was free to stay with Dorian.  Then we learned that Niki was flying out from Washington, D.C., to round out the group. It was a spontaneous, star-studded turn of events. Heartwarming. Happy. Joyous. It’s not easy to get us all together. These are incredible girls, all of them— women, I mean—with careers and commitments. But we made it.

In spite of our scheduling “miracle,” we weren’t completely rounded out.  My granddaughter Elenni (Michaela’s daughter) in New York couldn’t be there because of her job. We face-timed our missing link and she was “there” for a laugh with us, but do you see what I mean? Therein lay the complexity. Complexity doesn’t spoil the joy that is ours; it is just life. It’s the way it works. The question is, can we get comfortable with it? Can we see that it is all right? The girls are conscious people, spiritual and awake. They were fine. So was I. We took it as it was, we missed our dear Elenni, and were grateful for the joy that was ours.

The meal of the weekend was a cook-out in my granddaughter’s back yard. It was elegant – lamb chops and teriyaki chicken, no less, and other luscious tidbits, like grilled pineapple. The table was set beneath a canopy fashioned by God – a full, lush avocado tree. Celine’s orange tree was heavy with fruit, as was the lemon tree. Something blue on a large shrub (I don’t know its name) was in full bloom, as were crimson hibiscus. It was California at its best. The weather was perfect; the food was delicious (the girls are good cooks). We laughed a lot. I was overflowing with love and gratitude. We are a tight group. Still…there was that little piece missing. And then, there was Zoe.

Zoe is Debbie’s cat. I slept in her room and Zoe (who sleeps there too) commandeered my little weekender. The bag was just her size, and from the moment I put it down, she got on it to sleep and never moved from it, pretty much the whole time I was there. We had to move her when I needed something from the bag. Finally, I just took everything out, so that Zoe, seventeen years old, frail and ill, could have what she wanted. My granddaughter’s two dogs, on the other hand, were young, robust, and feisty. They’re pit bulls. Big. Commanding. Another little complexity.

On the last night I was there, I went to a real Hollywood party. A friend of ours, whom we’ve known for many years, is a film director, and a movie of hers was premiering on television. The “watch” party was at her house – a dream place that looks like you think a movie director’s house would look like—high on a hill with the lights of LA twinkling below. Glamorous food. Some of the cast members were there, humble, shy, and friendly. Not a sign of ego. Normally, I am not a big fan of parties, but I had a great time. Every once in a while, though, I thought about Zoe.

The next morning, I packed my things in bags and left my weekender for Zoe to sleep on. She looked so sweet, curled up like a baby. I couldn’t take it from her. I drove back to Sedona through the Sonoran desert. It is a breathtaking drive in the spring. The desert is in bloom and so spectacular that at times I was compelled to cry out loud, “Oh, my God!” But it takes about eight hours, with a stop or two for gas. Breathtaking drive, God’s beauty, long hours, fatigue. There it was again.

When I got home, I texted the girls – it’s what we do when we travel – and asked about Zoe. Debbie had taken her to the vet that morning. She texted back that by afternoon, Zoe was gone.  Amidst our great joy of being together, there were tears and loss. We had loved Zoe for seventeen years. She was family. She was also failing; we all knew that, and nobody wanted Zoe to suffer, but still. There it was.

Debbie is a singer, and she had a big hit a while back. While living in Paris, she recorded the French version of “The Circle of Life” (L’Histoire de la Vie) for the soundtrack of the movie, The Lion King. Niki found it on YouTube and sent it to all of us. And that’s it. The circle of life is life as we are able to see it, complexities and all.  But the complexities of life are not without purpose and meaning. I believe there is a Divine Order and that Love has created it. We are just in a place where we cannot see it with human eyes or understand it fully with human hearts. Yet, in those moments when we are comfortable with our limits and accepting of the complexities of life, we are in a state of peace. In those rare, beautiful moments, we know that everything is fine, and we are safe, and loved, and at home, as are those who have gone before us.

Zoe as we will remember her – young and happy


See the Sonoran desert in bloom at


Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at For a signed copy, go to



Dear Friends:

I am traveling today. I am with my daughters and my granddaughter in Los Angeles. I am one of those lucky ones who still have children and grandchildren with me, even while I have a child in spirit.

Tomorrow, Memorial Day, please remember the mothers and fathers who have lost children in wars, children who have lost mothers and fathers in wars, and all the beautiful beloved ones who have fallen on battle fields. Above all, remember that nobody’s gone for good.

See you next week.



How To Learn From A Roach

Fear is sometimes a survival mechanism. When I’m hiking alone in a wilderness area, for example, I don’t go off the trail. Who wants to disturb a rattlesnake? It makes sense to be afraid of a rattlesnake, but most of my fears are unfounded. The thing about unfounded fear is that it can drive me to do or think things that, in my right mind, I wouldn’t approve of. For example, I killed a roach the other night. Actually, I murdered it.

Just for the record, there are wild roaches out here in Arizona. I’m not kidding. These aren’t the everyday roaches that live in your kitchen. These are the ones you would see on a Nature show. These guys roam the desert and occasionally find their way into a house. And they’re big. Maybe not as big or as scary as the flying roaches I’ve seen in South Carolina and Texas, but they’re big enough. Here’s the thing. They don’t fly. They don’t bite, and as far as I know, they don’t carry diseases. They’re just creepy and unpredictable.

The one I murdered the other night still bothers me. I was on my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night, (isn’t that always the way?) and this roach was between me and where I was going. He was lying on his back with his legs twitching in the air. Ordinarily, when I encounter something in my house that belongs outside – like a spider – I’ll scoop it up between two pieces of cardboard and just put it outside. I hate killing things. I mean, they’re God’s creatures, aren’t they? Still, I murdered this roach in a most brutal way. He was too big to step on (ARRRGH), so I got out my can of RAID and sprayed him. Drowned him is more like it. And here’s the horrible part. The poor thing’s legs kept twitching until he died.

It was murder, all right, because I killed something that was on its back. In my mind, that is just unethical, but I was driven by fear – the stupid kind, the kind that has no basis in reason. What did I have to fear from something that couldn’t harm me, something that was so much smaller than I was, something that was helpless to boot?  What was I afraid of – that it was going to jump on me? Crawl into my bed? That’s highly unlikely. And even if it did, it wouldn’t hurt me. This is the kind of baseless, mindless fear that drives us human beings to do things that are against our better natures. It drove me to an act of brutality. I know it was just a roach, but the instinct to kill it – for no good reason – was in me. Is in me.

The actress Katherine Hepburn once said, and I am paraphrasing: A sin is something you feel remorse about afterward. Now I don’t happen to believe in sin as a concept; I prefer the concept of error. But whatever it is, if I feel remorse about it afterward, I know it was wrong. And I know it was wrong of me to kill that helpless little creature because I couldn’t go to sleep afterwards. It may not have been wrong for somebody else. It was wrong for me.

There is a lot of fear in the air these days, and you all know what I’m talking about. Some of it is justifiable. It has cause. Some of it is that survival mechanism activated. But I’ll wager that too much of it is based on a lack of something within ourselves. Faith, maybe?

I learned of an acronym for fear the other day: Forgetting Everything’s All Right. Way down deep inside (and some days it’s deeper than others) I know that everything really is all right. I know that everything that is happening has a purpose of which I may not be aware, and I know that a benevolent Universe is in charge, but I forget it constantly. It is in that state of forgetfulness that I can lose my head and do something that isn’t what my higher, believing self would do. It doesn’t have to be an act; it can be a thought, or a thoughtless statement. I am capable of directing my fear at a human being and thinking or saying dark things about that person, even though I do not know what living their life is like. Let me assure you, that is murder of a kind.

I have to recognize misdirected fear when it comes, understand that I am capable of it, and nip it in the bud. Name it, own it, and dump it.

That doesn’t mean I can’t speak or act to prevent bad things from happening. I can and I do.  Yes, I embrace causes and work on political campaigns. My country is my responsibility. But there are people I do not want to hang out with.  There are people who are mindless, ignorant, and mean.  There are people who are loveless and there are people who act out of fear and hurt others. God help them and their karma. But the assassination of someone’s soul out of fear is not something I want in my head, in my heart, in my energy field, or on my conscience. If they’re doing something dastardly, they are, in all likelihood, already on their back.

Sorry, little roach. Really.


Read The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. Find it at or, for a signed copy, go to

Happy Mother’s Day, Mama

Moma 001

Dear Friends:

I wrote this last Mother’s Day. I couldn’t think of better ways to remember my mother, and so I re-post it here. The older I get and hopefully the wiser, the more I understand how fortunate I was to come into this life with this remarkable soul as my mother. Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, those with children living and those with children in spirit. 


This beautiful lady is my mother. She gave me her whole heart, and the better part of her life.

Thank you, Mama,

For sitting next to me at my son’s funeral, and never letting go of my hand. You were grieving, too, but I fainted, and you forgot everything but me. You held me up. Thank you for always, always holding me up.

At the end of your life, and in the deepest throes of Alzheimer’s, for never forgetting my name. For showing me that love is greater than any disease.

For tending me round the clock when, newly arrived from Germany, I came to you sick with pneumonia. For taking care of a six-month old baby and three active young children, while I recuperated. For climbing stairs all during the day to bring me medicine and meals. For coming into my room in the middle of the night and adding a blanket to my bed.

For taking care of my children when I went to work, too poor for child care because my husband was in law school. For when, in your sixties, you fed them, cared for them, kept them safe and loved. For never making me feel guilty.

For, when I got divorced, never saying, “I told you so.” For never judging me. For showing me how to let someone make their own mistakes, and learn from them.

For marching me down to the Philadelphia Board of Education and demanding that I be admitted to a high school that was known for its high academic standards.

For defying the principal of my junior high school when he tried to convince you that it would “damage” me to send me to school with more privileged, better educated children. For saying, “We’ll take the risk.” For teaching me to be brave, and to never listen to anyone who tells me I cannot fight for my dreams.

For scrimping and saving for piano lessons. For giving me a love of music. For teaching me that money, or the lack of it, cannot keep you from feeding your soul.

For never successfully teaching me – no matter how hard I tried – to make your fried chicken. For teaching me that some things can’t be duplicated.

For ignoring my anger when you made me wear leggings to school on cold, snowy mornings. For making me eat a hot breakfast every morning. Yes, and for making me swallow castor oil! For teaching me that sometimes somebody knows better than we do.

For making a fire in the furnace before I got up every morning. For washing my clothes in the tub. For walking me to school on icy mornings. For teaching me that sometimes loving somebody is hard, daily work.

For never criticizing me. Ever. For knowing how harmful that can be to a person’s soul.

For how your hand felt on my brow when I was sick. For teaching me that love is healing.

For going to work when I was in high school. For bringing your paycheck home in bags for me so that I’d dress as well as the more affluent girls, the girls whose fathers were doctors and lawyers. For always making me feel proud of my father, who was a policeman. For that enormously expensive graduation dress. For teaching me to study hard, that how I presented myself to the world was important, and to never, ever apologize for who I was.

For never doubting that I would go to college. For forgiving me when I dropped out to get married. For cheering me on when I went back.

For giving up your career as a teacher to be my mother twenty-four hours a day. For never looking back. For teaching me that when the choice is yours, not to resent it.

For knowing that love is the great healer of every scraped knee, every broken heart, every disappointment, and every failure.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mama.


Thank you, dear friends, for the lovely comments about The Messenger. There is a chapter in it about my mother and a special gift she gave me. I hope you will enjoy it. By the way, her name was – is – Precious.

Look for The Messenger by Helen Delaney on