There Is a Light in the World


I started this blog to let my friends know that I was about to publish a book. After some forty-two blog entries, most of which were not about my book, I’ve decided to return to it. Because it’s close to Christmas. And because I want to convey, to those who have read the book (so that they will recall), and to those who have not, what my son Eddie taught me.


From The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide:

Chapter 3

CHRISTMAS IS CRUEL. It comes three months after Eddie’s death. It will be here in a week. Harold (my ex-husband) calls to discuss Christmas for the girls, who will be home for the holidays.

“It should be as normal as possible,” he is saying. “We ought to have dinner here, with a tree and decorations.”
“A tree?” I scream. This is unbelievable. “A tree?” I lose it. I am crying and angry. “Are you crazy?” The pain shoots out of my voice. “There will be no more Christmases. Not in this lifetime. I can’t believe you’re thinking about decorations!” I scream at him. And I say it again: “Are you crazy?”

The thought of Christmas is like a kick in the stomach: a table with no place for Eddie. No gifts for Eddie. Christmas is a fresh, new brand of pain. God saw to that. The little glimmer of light from my encounter with Reverend Brown goes out, extinguished by decorations.
Harold starts to say something when I hear a loud crash in the hallway.
“Wait,” I say. “I heard a noise in the hallway.”
“Go look, he says, “I’ll stay on the line.”

There is nothing in the hallway. I open the coat closet. Several boxes have fallen from the shelf onto the floor. Last year’s Christmas decorations. There aren’t many boxes, just a few: a single person’s Christmas decorations. I open one box of glass ornaments, then another. Nothing is broken.
“I hear you, Eddie,” I whisper, “I hear you.”
I am shaking when I return to the phone. Harold tries to rationalize what has happened. Rumbling trucks going by on my downtown street must have shaken the boxes off the shelf, he tells me.
“Then why has nothing else fallen?” I say.
We will have a tree.


That was the beginning of my journey. That first Christmas was a disaster, even with the tree. But, in the years that followed, I kept stringing lights and decorating, mostly for my daughters. Eventually, I came to do it because I realized that I had to add light to my corner of the world. Things are happening these days that give rise to darkness and fear, but I will not dwell there. I used to live there, and I’m not going back. Now I have a choice. I choose to turn toward the light, and to add to it, if I can. Maybe that was what Eddie was leading me to, all those years ago.

I love this quote by Richard Attenborough. It has been associated with Mother Teresa, but I know people to whom this could easily apply.  I have seen their light and healing spirits.

“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.”

My best wishes to those who are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or the Winter Solstice.


Read: The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney. It is available at It might be the perfect Christmas present for someone who needs a little hope.

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There is a Light in the World

“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.


I spent some time with my daughter Michaela last week. She was in Washington, D.C. to address the Gates Millennium Scholars, young African Americans, American Indian/Alaska Natives, Hispanic Americans, and Asian American/Pacific Islanders.

The Gates Millennium Program began because Bill and Melinda Gates had an idea. What would happen, they posited, if kids like these could go to the university of their dreams? AND WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF MONEY WAS TAKEN OFF THE TABLE? And then, they did something about it. They established the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, which is administered by the United Negro College Fund, and endowed it with a 1.6 BILLION dollar grant. Each year, there are 5,000 Gates Scholars. Michaela was speaking to the 2015 kids. She’s an award winner herself, my Michaela. Just recently, the NAACP of New York distinguished her with the Phenomenal Woman Award at the centennial celebration. The city of New York proclaimed her a “Trailblazer” and the Feminist Press honored her for her “empowerment” of women.

As she told me about the Gates Scholars, there were tears in her eyes. And in mine. ” There they were,” she said, “a ballroom full of these kids, wearing tee shirts from Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, and other Ivy League universities.” The scholarships will take them through graduate programs, even as far as a PhD, if they so desire. These kids came from neighborhoods and family environments  that were sad and hard, harder than we could ever imagine. Against incredible odds, they made the cut and qualified for a Gates Scholarship. They sat there, looking up at her, smiling, a brighter future in front of them than they might have wished for in their wildest dreams. Michaela said she was so overcome with emotion she could hardly speak. Sometimes hope is hard to look at directly. Like the sun.

Later, as I waited with Michaela for her train back to New York, the station began to fill with Gates Scholars, on their way back to school. She was greeted and hugged by one after the other, and, through my joyful tears, I could see that healing spirit in every smiling face. “I believe God gave Bill Gates Microsoft so that he could do this,” she said.



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The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney is available at and at the News Center in Easton, MD.

Death Is Not What It Used To Be


Life happens. Death happens. No matter what I think, no matter how much I try to control it, these things happen. I have learned that what is as important as what is happening is my perception of it. I had achieved some measure of this when my father died.

Following are excerpts from my book, The Messenger:

I am sitting before him [Reverend Brown, the gifted medium] once again. “I don’t usually say this to people,” he says, “but Spirit wants me to tell you this. I see a circle of American Indians. They are dancing, rejoicing, getting ready to welcome your father into spirit.”

I am not surprised. After surviving cancer and three heart attacks, my father, who is almost ninety, has had a massive stroke. I dread the visit to the hospital. What will I say to him? He can no longer talk. My father makes it easy. He looks at me and smiles. I know that smile.


It is Christmastime. He comes in from the cold and sits down at the kitchen table, still in his policeman’s uniform. My mother gives him a steaming cup of coffee. I push my chair as close to him as I can get, waiting for the story. He always has a story, and while my mother is cooking dinner, I’ve got him all to myself.

“Guess who I saw today?” he says.


“Santa Claus.”

“Oooh…” I say. I know that Santa Claus is in the department store on Market Street, where Daddy works.

“He told me something.”

“What?” I am breathless. And then he smiles that I-know-a-secret smile.

“What did he say?” 

“He says he knows who you are.”

“He knows who I am?” I am practically screeching.

“Shhh, ” he says. “Don’t tell anybody.”

“Okay,” I whisper, so excited I can’t sit still.

“He told me he was going to bring you that thing you really want for Christmas.”

I can still feel the world light up, as it did that moment, when Daddy and I shared the best secret in the world: I was going to get the doll with the real hair.


He is almost ninety years old, and cannot move or speak. He looks up at the ceiling. His eyes are following something. He looks over at me, looks at it again, and looks at me. I look up.

“I can’t see it, Daddy,” I say.

His eyes are merry and shining. And then, he smiles the smile at me. It’s our last wonderful secret: Someone, or something from spirit is here.

“I know, Daddy,” I say to him. ” I just can’t see it.”

The next day when I visit, the nurses have just finished bathing him and are adjusting his pillow, trying to make him comfortable. I talk to him, try to get his attention, but for the first time in my life, my father is not interested in me. He has gone away somewhere. He dies the next day while I’m at work.


…My father’s pastor gives an affectionate, funny eulogy, and later, the family gathers at my house. It’s been a long day. I see to the guests, thank everybody for coming, and later, when my mother is resting and Bill and I are washing the dishes, I remember my last visit to Reverend Brown. “I see a circle of American Indians,” he had said. “They are dancing, rejoicing, getting ready to welcome your father into spirit.” In the hectic, exhausting months of dealing with my mother’s Alzheimer’s and my father’s stroke, I hadn’t thought much about Reverend Brown’s words. But now, it comes to me: My father’s father was Native American.

That night, I go to sleep thinking of my father in his hospital bed, smiling. looking at a circle of dancers, led by his father. There is no need to cry. Death is not what it used to be.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy.


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Look for The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney on

What Will People Think?


When I finished my book, The Messenger, a part of me was afraid to let it go out into the world. What will people think? I worried. No, I did not write an expose, or a provocative tell-all. I wrote about a spirit guide. But my ego kept interrupting, kept nagging me with its insistent question: Really? A Spirit Guide? What will people think?

Imagine this: You have been given the most beautiful gift, a gift of love, and hope, a glimpse into another lifetime, and your ego whispers that into your ear.

There is a place in the book where I talk about withholding this information from Bill, the sweetheart who was to become my husband. It was relatively early in our relationship, and I didn’t know if disclosing my foray into the world of metaphysics would end it all between us. And here is the ego part – I didn’t want to be ridiculed. Oh, but I underestimated him. Bill did not ridicule me. He did not laugh at me. He believed me. Imagine being married to someone like that, someone who believes you. Someone who believes in you, no matter what.

When it came time to make the book public, Bill was gone. He had read several versions, helped edit it, and encouraged me every step of the way. When he died, I lost a lot of confidence, a state the ego is always waiting for. I wanted to appear as if I were in control of myself, in control of things. I didn’t want my colleagues and friends to think that I had gone round the bend, or was an aging hippie. (A house inspector who overheard me talking about the book actually called me that.) I was afraid people would think that I was just a little…strange. As a matter of fact, when I started receiving my guide’s story, the thought had crossed my mind that I might be losing touch with reality. There is a line in my book to that effect:

“I just do what keeps me alive. I ‘tune in.’ If I’m insane, I don’t care.”

If you’ve been reading my blog long enough, you know that I am capable of getting off track. But I always find my way back. This time, I’ve had help from my friends, who have been sending me emails as they’ve been reading the book – sweet, heartfelt, touching notes. I talked to a friend on the phone yesterday, who told me that when her husband was rushed to the ER and had stopped breathing, she had my book with her. It kept her company through those lonely hours. Thank God, he came through okay. I’m glad it was with you, Peggy.

THAT’S why I sent it out into the world. If it can comfort someone, if it can offer them hope, or if it can just help them get through a few lonely, frightening hours, then the book will be doing what it is supposed to do. This isn’t my book. It is Lukhamen’s. My spirit guide. It is Eddie’s. My son. They gave me this book, and it has a purpose. It is here to comfort. It is to hold out hope to those who need it. It is for those who are in pain and mourning. It isn’t about me. I’ve made that journey.

The ego is clever. It says, You are the author. You created this. And then it blames you for it. Your friends are not going to understand. You can always tell when the ego is around, because it makes you feel bad. It makes you feel wrong, or afraid.

But here’s the other thing about the ego; it is a coward. It will back off as soon as you recognize it. It will fade away as you pray for peace. I have to live with my ego, just like everybody else. But I have learned when to tell it to…bugger off.


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Look for The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney on


Gifts from The Universe


They come when I least expect them, like this quote from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone:

“After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next adventure.” – Albus Dumbledore

The first time I can remember a gift like this was right after my son died. I was in a book store in the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, waiting for the train to take me home to Washington, D.C.  I was a lost soul, desperately searching for a reason to live. I was walking aimlessly through the aisles, when a little book caught my eye. I reached for it, and it fell into my hand. It was a set of instructions on how to connect with a Spirit Guide.

To paraphrase Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart (who was stuck trying to define pornography), I may not be able to define a gift, but I know it when I see it.

But getting back to the book that fell into my hand…As I started to read it, I felt something like an electric shock pass through my body. Later, someone told me that it was probably a rush of energy. Whatever it was, I knew that what I was holding in my hand had been given to me. As it happened, it saved my life.

I have learned to look for these gifts, to be aware, to be awake for them, so that when they come, I can accept them and smile, knowing that they stem from Love. I believe they exist for everyone, and that they are lovingly tailor-made from the same Universal Truth, suited to our capacity for understanding and faith, and timed to be given when we need them or are ready for them.

Sometimes, the gifts come in the lyrics of a song, or the song of a bird, from the words of a friend, or from Albus Dumbledore. Sometimes they come from the still, small voice that is inside all of us. They may be little messages like, Wait, or Watch your step, or Call your friend. I believe everybody has heard them. If you were to ask me, I’d say, Listen, say Thank you, and smile.


Look for The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney at


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Saving Grace

When I was writing my book, The Messenger, I never knew where it was going to go, or where it was going to take me. I just followed it. And that was my saving grace.

It began like this: A child died on my watch. I need to die too. I believed that all in life that was good was lost, and I looked to death to release me from it.

But The Messenger unfolded, and I came to understand aspects of life and death that were outside the province of everything I knew. A story opened my mind to the possibility that no one was lost. Not even me. Eventually, I realized that The story was not to distract me from suicide as I originally thought; it was to show me the futility of it. When my father died, I was able to be happy for him, and say to myself: Death is not what it used to be. Writing the book was a journey of discovery. It was a privilege. A gift.

What I know now is that every day has a story within it. It is for me to go where it leads, and let it be my saving grace. It is so much easier to walk with the wind at your back. And know that the way is good.

I’m not always prepared for surrender. When the buyer of my house walked away (We were so close to a deal that I was checking airlines for a trip to Sedona, the place that is calling me.), I had to remember to stop suffering, to stop trying to control the story. It has its outcome. Something was happening for my good, and for somebody’s else’s good. I’ll know what it is, eventually. I was beginning to feel accepting and peaceful, when water starting sprouting from a faucet in the kitchen. Oh, Lord, what’s next? I wailed, undone again.

But that’s life. People lose their nerve, and corrosion happens, and there are plumbers, and there is somebody somewhere whose house this is, and all is well. And I have a cool, new faucet.

I am human and my faith is imperfect. Even with all that has happened, even with all I have been shown, there are times when I falter. But never, ever, do I think that anything or anyone is lost. And always, always, peace returns.


The Messenger IMG_0416 Look for The Messenger: The Improbable Story of a Grieving Mother and a Spirit Guide by Helen Delaney on






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At the end of the day, what do we have that is as unassailable as our experiences?

As I am no longer young, I am able to view my experiences from a better vantage point than someone who is just starting out. There are more of them, shall we say, lined up. I can, therefore, see patterns. For instance – and I have said this before – it has been my experience, time and time again, that when I am most in need of help, it is there. It comes.

But I am ahead of myself. There was the signature experience that set the stage for everything that came after. It was the premise from which I was to work. It was the earthquake experience – the death of my son, Eddie.

The death of a child is not only tragic. It is unnatural, a failure of the greatest magnitude. It is wrong, and out of order. It leads to despair beyond description, a loss of faith in the Universe. Disorientation. Loss of purpose. For me, all was lost with that one loss. What was needed to transform my view had to be an experience that was equal in significance and power. And so it was.

The experience was important enough to put in a book. It is an improbable experience, an unusual experience, one that demanded of me the will to take my heart and mind beyond their normal borders. If I have to ask my readers to suspend disbelief, it is no more than I had to ask of myself. And yet, it happened. Because it happened, I did not die from grief. I am living proof that hope can spring from hopelessness.

What happened to me is not a prescription for anyone. It is not a request for faith in what I came to believe. What I believe is the result of my experiences. I do not refute other beliefs. How could I, not having had other experiences? What I believe, with all my heart, is that there is a way for everyone, and that everyone can find his or her own path out of despair into hope.

Hope came to me by way of a Messenger who told me a story. In my book, I tell that story alongside my own. As Kevin Costner said in the movie, Field of Dreams, “It’s a long story, but it’s a good one.”


Perhaps with this post, you can feel that the book is closer to its release date. It is. The artist/designer of the book’s cover (who is my brother) has finished the painting. It was slower than usual, and painful, because of the surgery on his hand. But it is no less beautiful. I was tempted to show it to you here, but that wouldn’t be fair. You should see it the way it was intended to be seen – on the cover. See you next Sunday.