I’d never been to a psychic medium before, but my wonderful personal trainer and new friend, Randi Renzi, owner of Why Weight Fitness in Stoughton, Massachusetts, (http://whyweightfitness.com) held a group reading yesterday at her studio. She hired Anastassia Grace (www.anastassiagrace.com) as the medium. Twenty women sat in a semi circle around Anastassia in the group fitness room at Randi’s place and heard amazing messages relayed from loved ones who have passed.
Despite the other-worldly sound of the name Anastassia Grace, our medium did not bring a crystal ball or light a séance candle or wear a veil. She turned out to be a pretty young woman dressed as if she were ready to go to the office, in conservative skirt and blouse. She had beautiful eyes, a gentle, yet strong persona, and loving hands. She was personable and compassionate, and her focus was on helping us to connect with those we’ve lost in an effort to help us heal.
While she didn’t use the word “God,” she repeatedly used the word “Heaven.” She did not use the word in a particularly religious context, but more as a way of identifying an afterlife with a word that most of us could envision, given our background in a country steeped in Western religious tradition. She gave us a beautiful image of heaven where everyone’s ailments and angers and resentments no longer exist, where young men who had been killed in car crashes fly with rocket packets on their backs joyfully greeting and helping other young people who’ve died too early. Heaven, as Anastassia described it to us, is a place where an old lady smokes a cigarette that can’t hurt her anymore and ex-wives and husbands no longer hate their exes. All the love is equal in Heaven, she told us, dead parents or siblings do not play favorites. They love us all the same and their spirits are still connected to us, always.
She told us a story of her own brother who had died young in an accident and how she heard his voice on the day he passed away. And although it was difficult to lose a brother, she came to understand that she never lost him, and that he was still watching over her, and she could still connect to his spirit. She did not sound crazy to me. She made sense, more sense than I have heard in a long time.
While I’m not skeptical of such activities, I have limited experience with any reality beyond that which I can touch with my fingers. Many years ago, I did travel with my friend, Lee, to experience past life regression hypnosis, and I vividly saw, as if in my mind’s eye, a woman from colonial times, married, with children and very unhappy. Her life was not what she wished it to be, but she was constrained by the norms of her times in the early days of America. I knew at that moment she was me, or I had been her. I am still convinced years later that she existed in a past lifetime due to the intensity of the image given to me via the hypnotic state — and I one who rarely has intense visual imagery in her head, ever. And, too, there exists the uncanny parallel to my current lifetime, where, as a gay woman, I’ve often felt constrained by the norms of my society.
So yesterday, I walked into Why Weight Fitness in the afternoon, fairly open-minded, and in the end, I was stunned by Anastassia, not because she got everything perfectly right about me or anyone else, but because she got so close to being right so often. Sometimes she put the right pieces in the wrong puzzle as she walked through the group picking up energy and channeling spirits (not in a creepy way, she never went into a trance, or acted as if she were possessed, she just kept holding our hands and telling us what she was experiencing, what words she was hearing, whose voices she was hearing.) Eventually, we would all figure out which spirit was connected to which person sitting in the semi-circle.
For example, with her back facing me as she addressed some of the women on the other side of the room, Anastassia asked if anyone had a connection to someone who had been intubated and had experienced dementia. No one connected to that scenario when she asked, but I knew she’d been referencing my dad, who died after being intubated for several weeks back in 2006, and frankly, after having lost his mind in the hospital. He’d become a raving lunatic before the doctors stuck a breathing tube down his throat and over-drugged him on anti-psychotics. I didn’t say anything to her until she came up to me. Anastassia had also picked up on the over-drugged issue in relation to my father’s death, but not until she moved to the person next to me. She didn’t realize she was still picking up on my father until I let her know. You see, she did not get everything fitting into the puzzle perfectly, but she did have the pieces. Sometimes, voices would compete if we were sitting near one another or opposite one antoher, and cross channels. We helped her to sort out who belonged to whom as she helped us to better understand where the souls of our loved ones had gone – and the messages they were bursting with energy to pass on to us.
I will paraphrase here some of the things Anastassia said to me:
You are a very old soul and you have great energy. She didn’t say this to many people in the room, and I felt as if she meant it. I guess in my gut, I feel it’s true – that I am an old soul – and I was surprised that this young woman would recognize that.
When I told her I wanted to speak to my father’s wife, she said she couldn’t quite get her name, so when I said Fran, Frances, there was an audible gasp in the room since again, when her back had been facing me, she’d asked twice if anyone was trying to connect with a Francis (although she didn’t realize until she got to me, it was truly a Frances, a woman, not a man, and spelled with an “e.”) She then described my stepmother nearly perfectly, “She wasn’t fancy but she was always put together. She had light salt and pepper hair. She was a mother to you, too. I feel a wonderful energy from her. (She repeated that as if she could feel it.) She says you were always good, right from the start, and she loved you like a daughter. I hear her saying, ‘You were my daughter, too.”
You know, it’s uncanny because all of this was true about Fran: when she was alive she had a remarkable amount of loving, positive energy that my birth parents often lacked. She made up for some of my mother’s shortcomings, as well as my father’s, and she always made me feel loved as if I were her daughter. On her death bed, I had joked with her that my “physique” was all I had going for me (I’d been working out for about two years). In the whisper of the dying, she managed to say, “Cindy, you have everything going for you.” Something about Fran’s death bed statement sounds so much like Anastasia’s message from Fran’s soul in heaven, “You were always good, from the start.” I can hear Fran saying that, her voice would say such a thing.
Anastassia also said that after my father and Fran died, my brother and I sold a house. I confirmed to her that we sold two houses. Anastassia relayed a message from Fran that she was happy we sold a house. I said this was interesting because before she died, Fran had tried to convince my brother and I to keep the Cape house that had originally been hers (but to which my father eventually claimed ownership.) My brother and I always felt a little badly that we didn’t abide by Fran’s wishes and did, indeed, sell it, after they both had passed away.
“That’s why she’s sending you this message,” Anastassia said, “to let you know she’s happy you sold it, to let you know it’s okay. When you pass on, worldly possessions don’t mean anything anymore. She understands that now. She wants you to know it’s okay.”
Somehow she knew, too, that my father and Fran had been together “a long time.” They were, indeed, together for forty years after my mother and father separated. I have no idea how Anastassia could have known this.
She asked me if I’d recently lost a dog, and I told her it was a cat I’d lost. Sweetie had so much doggie-like love that I’m not surprised the spirit felt more dog-like than cat-like. She asked me if I’d lost several cats and I answered that yes, over a lifetime, I had.
“I’m talking about the one you spent thousands of dollars trying to save.” Now how did she know that?
“That’s the one I lost recently.”
I told her it was a Maine Coon when she asked for the breed so that could have led her to the next statement, “She had beautiful eyes.” This was so essentially true of Sweetie, but perhaps Anastassia knew it was true of all Maine Coons? I don’t know if it is true of all Maine Coons, but if I want to be a skeptic, I could assume so.
But there was no way she could have deduced this complex statement: You could see her soul when you looked into her eyes.
That was it. Exactly. This was the inexplicable thing I’d been trying to explain to people so they would know why I was so lost and heartbroken over the death of a cat.
You could see her soul when you looked into her eyes.
“We used to stare into each other’s eyes,” I said out loud. I believe there was another gasp from the audience.
She said she thought I must work with animals and I laughed and told her, “Only at home.”
She asked if my new cats were relatives of Sweetie, because that was the message she was getting, she was seeing relatives from the cat I lost. This is what I mean about Anastassia not getting it perfectly but getting it so close that it felt real. “My new cats are mother and son,” I told her. She added that all animals are related, too, which might have been another reason my lost cat was giving her the message that the new ones were a part of her family.
About my father she said, “He wasn’t easy on you.” How did she know? She could have deduced it when she realized my mother and father had divorced yet here was a stranger making a statement about my father that could not be truer. “He wasn’t easy on you because he loved you.” And yes, this was true. “You were his baby.” Yes, true again. “I’m sensing mental illness.” Absolutely true.
“He’s telling me that he wasn’t much of a help to you while he was alive, but he feels he can help you out much more from where he is now.” (My brother and I often half-joke about how he didn’t do anything for us when he was alive, but now that he’s dead, he’s finally helping us.)
He has a greater perspective now, she said. She didn’t mention the money that I’d inherited and how that practically, as well as symbolically, has helped me out more now after his death, than he had every helped me out in any way (emotionally, financially, or practically) when he was alive. “He says to tell your mother he’s sorry for how he treated her. He wants me to tell you he loves you. ‘Say it to her quietly,’ he says.”
The experience moved me. Today, twenty-four hours after the event, I feel as if my father, Fran, and Sweetie are not really gone at all. I haven’t felt this way since each of their deaths. I believe Anastassia really transferred messages to me, as well as to the others in the room. I’m not a gee-whiz, isn’t this amazing gullible type. I’m not particularly religious or even spiritual and don’t think much about these things on a day to day basis. But I felt something real in Anastassia’s messages, something genuine. She understood too much for this to be a fake.
Here are some opportunities I missed because I was nervous and didn’t read Anastassia’s signals correctly. She asked if there were a “Susan” in my life, and I immediately figured she was referring to a recent relationship with a woman of a similar name. “I don’t want to talk about it,” I said, because I didn’t want to get into the fact that I was gay in this setting. Now, I realize she was more likely making a reference to my friend, Susan, who lives in Plymouth, who lost her mother when she was fourteen, one of two neighborhood moms who died in their early forties back in the 1970s. Both deaths affected me. I know, too, Susan still misses her mother. Had I read the signal correctly, I might have been able to get a message to Susan from her mom.
She asked if Fran had died of breast cancer that spread through her body, and I said no, she had died of a rare cancer called “bile duct cancer” that affects the liver. After I got home, I realized she may have been connecting with the mother next door (Robin and Ken’s, Chris’s and Jonathan’s) who did get breast cancer which spread, and from which she died in the 1970s. Their mother, too, filled in gaps for me growing up and I was affected by her death. Maybe I missed an opportunity to bring a message to her grown children.
I may need to call Anastassia for a private reading. I feel there is so much more to learn. I am coming to believe, as Anastassia said, “There is more than all of this,” as she pointed around the room to a world that we see and touch each day. There is more than all of this, much more. She nearly has me convinced, this unassuming young woman with the loving hands. Perhaps she is right that there is nothing to fear.