October 4, 2021
It’s Erev Yom Kippur. The holiest 25 hours on the Jewish calendar commenced at sundown. On Yom Kippur, we endeavor to transcend our physical bodies and reflect on our souls. To come closer to God. According to Jewish tradition, at the end of Yom Kippur, God's “Book of Life" is closed and sealed until the next year. Jews are taught that in order to ensure our names are sealed in the Book of Life, we must repent, pray and do good deeds. We can only hope that our names are sealed for another year based on our works.
I converted to Judaism in 2008, while pregnant with Molly. Being part of this faith and its resilient people has enriched my life. I view all religions as pathways to the same destination – a deeper connection to our Creator and true home. None are right or wrong. Like Molly, I appreciate that Jews are encouraged to question Rabbinical teachings, even to “wrestle” with God. The high holy days give us a recurring opportunity to self-reflect, apologize and commit to be better.
I do not subscribe to the notion that God decides if we live or die – whether our place is secured in the Book of Life – based on how we good we are. If so, Molly would still be here. We are souls having human experiences. Energetic beings that temporarily take up residence in physical forms, like crustaceans inside seashells. We come here, perhaps over multiple lifetimes, to teach and learn certain lessons. To love. To evolve, on a soul level.
On this day of reflection, I am thinking of the woman who gave birth to me. Today is her 63rd birthday. I haven’t seen my mother in over seven years. It’s been longer with my dad. Neither were there when we welcomed Eli in 2016. Nor a few months later, when I was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. I was terrified of leaving our kids without their mom and Jon alone to raise them. They weren’t there after the unthinkable happened in 2021, when our only daughter was killed in a bicycling accident. Instead, during the excruciating days and weeks after her passing, they sent us manipulative, and in my dad's case, cruel messages.
There is love between us. And a sea of pain. I’ve forgiven them and asked their forgiveness for my own shortcomings. It hurts having parents who are here but gone. I mourn them. And too many who have crossed to the other side. My beloved grandparents, who raised me as best they could. Friends who battled breast cancer alongside me. Our Molly Olivia.
Molly’s 14th birthday is on October 21. She’d be showing Nate the ins and outs of Geffen Academy, where he’s a new sixth grader. Nate wanted to go to her school. He’s more interested in theatre and singing. He feels closer to his sister doing what she loved. I imagine how Molly would look now, taller and more mature. The funny conversations we’d be having, the new friends she’d have. She’d be excitedly decorating our house for Halloween, planning to dress Eli up and take him trick-or-treating. Although Molly would be a full-fledged teen and even more determined to do things in her own time and way, she’d still enjoy being with her family. Molly would throw her arms around me, declaring, “You’re the best mom ever!” as she kissed my cheek, which I remember with joy and sorrow. Molly never held back her affection. She taught me a kind of no-holds-barred love.
I miss being with Molly. The everyday moments. When she’d walk into our bedroom, fresh and still damp from a shower, and say, “Mom, I’m ready for bed!” I gaze at our empty doorway, night after night. Molly would always want me to lie on her bed and chat with her before she fell asleep. I miss Molly jumping on the trampoline with her brothers. I miss driving up our street and seeing her walking our dog, Calvin. I miss Jon and Molly at the dining room table doing math homework. I even miss hearing Molly scream, “Naaaattteeee!!!!!!!” as she erupted about whatever he was doing that annoyed her.
Life hasn’t become easier. I no longer cry heaving sobs every night. Our grief is less raw. The initial shock has subsided, leaving us with an indescribable void. It feels like we are moving farther away from Molly. Those around us are moving on. We can’t, nor would we want to.
There have been moments when I’ve wished I could join Molly. I haven’t talked about them publicly for fear of being misunderstood. I don’t know any bereaved families who haven’t had these fleeting thoughts. Sometimes when I soak in the tub, a small part of me wonders if I could slip underneath the water and stay there, joining Molly wherever she is. I would never harm myself, but I understand how a wounded soul reaches that point. I take anti-depressants and work closely with a trusted therapist. I share openly with Jon and he grounds me. I still have the steely determination to live, with him and our family, that I found within myself during cancer treatment. They need me, now, more than ever.
Nadin, Holly, Jill and Martha, women who became my sisters (as breast cancer warriors immediately do), are never far from my thoughts. No one could have fought harder, three of them with young kids, the fourth a newlywed. Treatments stopped working for them. Like Molly, their goodness didn’t secure them more time. I’m reminded of Viktor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search For Meaning,” which he wrote after surviving the Holocaust. Frankl said, “the best among us didn’t return,” meaning those prisoners who chose kindness, who gave away their last crumbs of bread so that another person wouldn’t starve, were the ones who didn’t make it out alive. I remember Nadin, with whom I was close, and our conversations about death. Her physical suffering, which she endured with grace, deepened her faith. Nadin’s soul was radiant. Even when her small body was ravaged with cancer. The best among us often depart early.
Although I no longer fear dying, I pray for many more years. With a one in three lifetime chance of cancer returning (which would be stage 4 and incurable by current treatments), I know every day is a gift. I soak in the essence of my family. I marvel at details I somehow overlooked before, my heart feeling as though it might explode with love when I hold them. Death teaches us how to live.
When I close my eyes, I pray to be with Molly, then return to my body. I long for my girl. I need her, like air and water. I move through my days feeling like an amputee – without limbs necessary to perform basic functions we often take for granted. My missing limbs are invisible. I encounter many people who have no idea that an essential part of me is absent. If they know about our situation, they often regard me with a familiar combination of sadness and fear. Blessedly, most don’t know what it feels like. They “can’t imagine,” as I’ve heard countless times.
I’ve found solace in a few friends who walk this desolate path. As when I had breast cancer, there is no substitute for these relationships. I don’t mean to imply that that I don’t need and appreciate everyone who lends support in a myriad of ways. Not at all. I am often sustained by a simple act of kindness from a stranger. Our family would not have withstood the storms of the past six years, beginning with my cancer diagnosis, without our extended community. We need both. Fellow patients, survivors, grievers, whatever our particular situation is, and the rest of our people.
Last weekend, I traveled to the Omega Institute with Nikki, whose twelve-year-old son, Tommy, went to sleep one night in 2018, and did not wake up. Like my friends, Suzanne and Erin, who climbed the mountain of breast cancer treatment before me and reached back to pull me along, Nikki has been my sherpa in the wilderness of child loss.
Nikki and I flew from LA to Manhattan, traveling another hundred miles to the Hudson Valley. I was mesmerized by the canopy of majestic trees overhead and surrounding us, turning shades of yellow, orange and red. The Omega Institute is a place to heal and learn. We attended a weekend workshop called, “An Illuminated Life,” taught by Laura Lynne Jackson. When we arrived in Rhinebeck, I felt Molly’s and Tommy’s joyful energy, as though they were leaping around us, high fiving each other and pumping their fists. They wanted us to attend this retreat and made it happen, even after it was cancelled due to Covid last year. Nikki and I were shown to Cabin 23, which was Tommy’s soccer jersey number. His family established a non-profit in his honor called the TM23 Foundation. It was no coincidence that we were assigned Cabin 23.
Laura Lynne Jackson is a high school English teacher, mom of three, and world-renowned psychic medium. She authored “The Light Between Us” and “Signs,” which helped me find a glimmer of hope in the dark days after we took Molly to the hospital and could not take her home with us.
Over 330 people from throughout the country and across the globe attended the workshop. The purpose of the retreat was to learn how to live more “illuminated” lives, to recognize and tap into the light within and between us. Most of the attendees seemed to be grievers. Throughout the weekend, we shared stories of shattering losses and faith-affirming accounts of connections with the Universe/God and loved ones who have crossed.
Laura Lynne was in teacher-mode, although many still hoped she would give them a message from the other side. Before and after the sessions and during breaks, people crowded around Laura Lynne. She couldn’t have been more gracious, but there wasn’t time to connect individually with everyone nor for psychic readings.
I could write a book trying to describe what I learned last weekend. I can’t do it justice and fear I may be losing your attention before I get to what I’m most excited to share. My key takeaways are summarized – albeit, inadequately – as follows: we’re all light beings, communication takes place at all times energetically; our consciousness survives physical death; our thoughts and collective energy are powerful; it’s important for our physical health to ground ourselves by putting our bare feet on the Earth every day; there are tools to enable us to connect more fully with our spirit guides/angels, loved ones who have crossed and God energy; this ability is our birthright, we come to Earth connected to the other side, but often close ourselves off at around ages 5-6. Laura Lynne emphasized that we never need a medium to connect. Throughout the weekend, I began to experience this truth. I saw and felt profound connections I thought were impossible without assistance from someone with an extraordinary gift.
When Molly passed, I wasn’t giving up our relationship. I couldn’t. Deep down, I’ve always known she’s with us. I struggle with silence in the spaces where our inquisitive, chatty girl used to exist. With her empty bedroom and chair at the dining room table. It’s hard for me to quiet my thoughts, to be still. Three exceptional mediums, Robert Brown, Rebecca Rosen and Anthony Mrocka, gave us readings that were specific and consistent. Molly has delivered signs – a fin whale, baskets of lemons as requested by Eli, a rainbow on the anniversary of her crossing (in Southern California, where it almost never rains), my requested blue and purple cat which appeared on the wall of a school auditorium, a baby seal bobbing in the waves so close I could almost touch her, just to name a few. Molly also came to Jon and me in our dreams, at the exact same time, shortly after she crossed. I’ve been flabbergasted by how she has used other people to deliver messages, including dozens who have written about their own dreams of Molly.
Despite powerful evidence of Molly’s continued presence, doubts would resurface. In our grief, we lost sight of how powerfully Molly has come through for us. As her mom, I wanted her to hold on tight to my hand and never let go.
On the final day of the retreat, Nikki and I skipped breakfast to sit close to the stage, hopeful that Laura Lynne might have time for a photo with us. We were disappointed when we arrived and there didn’t appear to be remaining seats near the front of the room. I suddenly spotted an open chair at the end of the first row. Nikki found one a few rows back. We decided that I would make a beeline to Laura Lynne after the last session and secure our place in line.
Laura Lynne saves a special activity for the end of the retreat, once there is a certain level of trust amongst group members. She stood on stage, with her flowing, blonde hair and angelic energy, and led us through a guided meditation. Once we were deeply relaxed, we could meet our loved ones in a waiting room. Molly was there! I held my baby, burying my face in her hair, pressing my cheek to hers. I was aware of tears streaming down my face and others were weeping. Time flew by and soon Laura Lynne was counting us back. I wanted to stay with Molly. More than anything. Soon, I was back in this world, wiping tears away with the back of my hand.
Laura Lynne was on stage, explaining our final project. It involved moving around the room, cutting images from magazines. Once the activity was underway, I was on my feet, pulled like a magnet, straight to Laura Lynne. In tears, I confessed that I didn’t want to return from the waiting room, that I wanted to stay there with my daughter. I said, “I have two little boys who need me, and these thoughts scare me.” Laura Lynne wrapped me in the warmest hug. She pulled me aside, behind a partition on the stage. Then she began to channel Molly. It only took her about five minutes to reveal all the following specific and correct information.
- Your daughter’s name starts with “M.”
- She was 11-12 years old when she crossed.
- She loves animals. She’s surrounded by them on the other side, even baby rats and other odd animals. She loves every one of them (Molly used to insist ants be carried out of the house, unharmed, on a piece of paper – she valued all living beings).
- She has two younger brothers. The younger one is very spiritually connected to her. Pay attention to what he does with the fridge magnets. He delivers messages from her.
- She passed suddenly from a head trauma. There was an issue with her cervical spine (also correct). She was in an accident with her best friend a year and a half ago. She left her body immediately. There was no pain or fear. Her spirit stayed next to her body and could hear everything being said. She did not pass immediately because we needed time with her. She passed around a holiday (It was the day after Valentine’s Day).
- Her dad’s name is Jon. He’s less open than you but he will get there. She is helping him.
- Molly is a very advanced soul.
- Our souls knew we could do this (lose her at a young age) in this lifetime because of our deep love. We agreed before we came here. We can’t remember because our human brains make it like trying to teach a dog algebra.
- Molly likes the drawings that people make of her. (We’ve received many drawings and paintings of Molly that are displayed throughout our house).
- I am meant to be here. I am needed here. We are working together to teach and help others. She is going to help me heal. It will take 2-3 years.
- There are bracelets associated with her (correct, and this also came up in Robert’s reading).
- She’s as close to me as the necklace I wear (I always wear a gold locket with her picture in it).
- Our family will do something with a donkey or mule rescue group of some sort near Petaluma, Palo Alto, something with a P name.
- She has come to visit us in our dreams and will come again.
- I have an issue with my tooth. (Yes! An old filling fell out before I left for NY and was bothersome all weekend. I had a dental appointment first thing Monday morning. I have never had problems with my teeth before).
- Molly is not alone on the other side. There is a grandmother or great-grandmother there who has the same name (Molly was named after her great-grandmother, Molly Steinsapir).
- Someone has a tattoo in honor of her (when Laura Lynne sees this doesn’t register with me, she says it may be someone we don’t know. Anthony Mrocka said the same about a tattoo).
- Molly has tremendous reach in the world. It’s going to expand.
- She likes the color of my nails (yellow, her favorite color as a little girl. Rebecca Rosen made the same comment when I had sparkly nail polish. That was a large online group reading where Molly came through immediately and clearly – see previous blog entry).
- Laura Lynne sees me writing a book (Rebecca said the same, and that she saw me with Oprah!).
- Laura Lynne’s guides show her that we (LL and me) are meant to work together (!!!!!).
- Molly brought me to her in this exact way. It was supposed to be like this, instead of an individual reading. She showed her all the hoops I jumped through to get there.
As Nikki and I walked out of the airport, I received a text from Molly’s former teacher, Lauren. “I have a surprise for you! Do you want to see it?” I replied in the affirmative, thinking she was going to send a picture of a pained stone for Molly’s garden. It was an image of Molly’s butterfly art (her Foundation’s logo) freshly tattooed on Lauren’s shoulder. I stopped in my tracks. The tattoo was the only fact Laura Lynne mentioned that I couldn’t confirm.
Laura Lynne profoundly affected me. It wasn’t just what she said, which she could not possibly have known from any source besides Molly. It was that she delivered any message to me. That morning, I asked her assistant if she ever did private readings. He said the wait list is about ten years. I said, “Ok, please add my name. I’ve got time.” Two women later stood up and begged Laura Lynne to do a reading for them. She declined, kindly explaining that she’s not open to the other side while teaching. Mediumship takes a tremendous amount of energy. She must get into the proper state to conduct a reading. Scans of Laura Lynne’s brain appear largely normal when she’s teaching and otherwise engaged in everyday life. When Laura Lynne is channeling, her brain scans are dramatically different. It appears she is comatose, although she is awake and talking.
Laura Lynne didn’t know I’d asked to be put on her wait list. Not that it would have mattered if she did. The fact that Molly managed to come through, even when Laura Lynne was not planning to read for anyone, is astonishing. We always knew Molly was special. From the moment she opened her eyes, which were like shining stars in an onyx sky. We recognized her as an “old soul,” as thousands who never met her observe from her photographs and writings. We are coming to grasp just how extraordinary Molly is. It’s been shown to us since the time of her accident, when strangers from over 160 countries, beamed their collective love at her and our family. Through profound signs and messages, including from Eli, who told Jon about being with Molly and Nate before they were born, arguing over who would be first to arrive. Of course, Molly pushed them both aside! Eli sleeps in Molly’s bed and regales us stories of their dream adventures in a chocolate wonderland. As we say in Judaism, I’m kvelling. Bursting with pride that I am the mother of three beautiful, old souls.
Over the past week, which our faith deems sacred and holy, I’ve come closer to God. I felt God in the trees of Hudson Valley and Central Park. In Laura Lynne’s embrace. In my connections with Nikki and others at the retreat.
I feel God in my everlasting and deepening bonds with Molly. And everyone I love. The light between us is real. I finally realize I am exactly where I’m meant to be.