Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What the Psychic Says

I love my grief counselor. She is helpful, compassionate and wise. I don’t know how I could have survived these past nine months without her. But because I can’t live with my grief counselor 24/7, I supplement my counseling sessions with my own forms of therapy – hiking in the forest with my dogs (see photo below), writing in my journal, yoga, massage, reading, and of course, pie baking. And even all that sometimes isn’t enough, especially on the occasions when life’s questions – like why did Marcus die, where is he, what will become of me -- become too much to bear. Even my sweet grief counselor cannot come up with answers. It is during these despairing times I talk to a psychic.

(PHOTO: The best therapy of all is a hike in the forest with Team Terrier.)

Now where better to find a psychic than in LA! They’re as abundant as 7-Eleven stores. Lucky for me I was just in La-la land. So before I returned to Portland I made an appointment with a woman recommended by a friend of mine. I drove – and drove and drove and drove – to the outskirts of LA’s metropolis arriving at a suburban ranch house that smelled (and looked) like a dirty cat litter box. We're not in Beverly Hills anymore!

The psychic, Linda -- who, like Patricia Arquette on Medium, works with police to help solve murder cases -- greeted me at her door. Funny, she didn’t look anything like Patricia Arquette. She looked more like Kathy Bates in “Misery.”

"Hello, Vicky," she said. Groan. Minus points for getting my name wrong. She poured me a cup of weak coffee and we sat down at a table littered with old newspapers on top and an aging yellow lab lying underneath. I copped an attitude, kept my arms folded across my chest, and tried not to breathe in too deeply lest I contract leptospirosis from the cat fumes.

"What's your subject?" Linda began. Without hesitation I answered, "Marcus."

"Marcus loves you," she said. "But you're not going to get married."

Groan again. Not a good start. I had to explain, "Oh, but we were married. For six years. Marcus died nine months ago."

This took her aback. In fact, shocked is the word I would use to describe her response. “I’m so sorry. I had no idea.” And I’m paying how much for this??? I hugged my arms tighter around my chest. She paused for a few moments. Was she trying to channel Marcus? Eventually she settled back into her black leather swivel chair, wiped a few tears from her eyes (bonus points for having a soft heart) and began our hour-long appointment.

Here's the thing about psychics: you never know what you're going to get from them. Most often they're wrong. (See above.) But what keeps me going back is that they almost always tell you what you need to hear, positive things, things that may simply affirm what you already know but just need to be reminded of. Even if it's just some basic reassurance that in spite of your best efforts to sabotage your life -- or someone you love dies and you think you can't keep living -- everything is going to be okay. In other words, life goes on.

Reassurance, though, costs money. At $125 for a session, this alone is a reason why I don’t make a regular practice of seeing psychics. But sometimes when you’re desperate a few extra bucks can be justified. That’s one tank of gas for the RV. And if I don’t buy that dress I had my eye on…
(PHOTO: The psychic was right. The wet ground is communicating with me – right through the hole in the bottom of my left rain boot!)

As I had hoped, Linda had some affirming things to say. But she also shared insights I didn't agree with. Therefore, I felt compelled to do a Yes-No tally of her comments to see if my "reading" was worth the time and expense. Or if it was going to be like my haircut and color -- a total waste of precious funds! Here we go.

1. Marcus loves you. -- YES

2. Marcus is sorry that his death is making you so sad. -- If he really could communicate through this woman that sounds like something he would say. They do it on the Ghost Whisperer all the time. -- YES
3. Marcus is with you all the time and is determined to stay with you until you feel better. -- Hmmm, well, I would like it if this were true. Might as well give that one a yes. -- YES
4. Your definition of death needs to change. -- No one knows what death is, so how can one ever define it?! -- NO
5. In your writing you will teach people about death. -- If she means I will write about how much it sucks to lose someone you love and then experience the long, painful, nearly-suicidal grieving process then yes. -- YES
6. You need to eat onions, they're good for you. -- No, well, maybe...okay, they're full of vitamin C, but still, what a random and odd thing to say. -- YES
7. You will write a bestselling book. -- How cliché for a psychic to make such a grandiose claim! It may be too good to be true, but why not think big?! -- YES
8. Your TV show will be very, very successful. -- She said "very" twice. Better start preparing my Emmy speech. Yeah, right. Still, better think positive if this thing is going to sell at all! -- YES
9. There's something wrong with where you live. -- Duh! It's the endless rain! -- YES
10. You will move out of your apartment, but you will stay in Oregon. -- Did you not just hear me say I need to live in a SUNNY place?!?!! -- NO
11. You gain strength from the earth, the ground. -- This one's a no-brainer. I've always been a nature girl and love camping. -- YES
12. And wet ground communicates with us better than dry ground. -- Huh??? Look, lady, I was blissfully happy living in the Chihuahua Desert of Texas last year and the earth was communicating with me just fine. I only came to Oregon to work through my grief. I'm not meant to live in this moldy climate long-term. -- NO
13. You and Marcus were together in previous lifetimes and you will be together again. -- I don't believe in reincarnation (ahem! See #4) but I spend a lot of time thinking about how and when I might be with Marcus again. The thought of never, EVER being with him again is too much to bear, creating despair of the darkest kind. It's a stretch to say this, and I only say it because I want it to be true, but…yes. -- YES

Final tally: 10 YES, 3 NO.
Was it worth it? Yes and no… I don’t know. The truth is it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that my life is moving forward -- even if I don’t know where it’s going. Isn’t that the beauty of life anyway? The mystery. The surprise. The organic unfolding of events whether good, bad, exciting, boring. And no matter what a grief counselor, a yoga teacher, a psychic or anyone else has to say, the right answers to our questions are always right inside of us -- for free!

6 comments:

Jude said...

I also lost someone very close to me recently (my dad). One of the first things I stumbled on was your grief "do's and dont's" post - both funny & reassuring. Thanks for sharing (I'm not quite ready to delve into my grief on my blog, so it's admirable you're doing so!!)

Pie Girl said...

Thanks for your commment, Jude. I never know who reads my blog, but it is VERY nice to know I can help others by sharing my stories and deepest (and sometimes disturbing) thoughts. I do know that writing so honestly has been a BIG part of my healing process, so I encourage you to write also -- even if you don't share your writing with the general public! One thing you will never see on my blog is the letters I STILL write to Marcus. I hope you'll write letters to your dad too. I find that most comforting. Please keep in touch and feel free to email me directly -- beth AT theworldneedsmorepie DOT com.

Jude said...

That's wonderful advice. And yes, you sort of hit the nail on the head - am still finding a balance between what to share publicly (eg, via the blog - which was meant mainly for family/friends) versus privately. I love your letter-writing idea: it's nice to think one can still continue a relationship with someone who is gone. Thanks again for sharing. While I'm not a regular poster, I've really enjoyed your blog (pies & all)!

Pie Girl said...

Hi again, Jude. Your feedback inspired me to write more about the things that have helped me in my grief. Turned out to be a VERY lengthy post, but hope it can provide some further inspiration.

http://theworldneedsmorepie.blogspot.com/2010/06/12-tips-for-my-fellow-grievers.html

Warmest regards,
Beth

Jude said...

Hi Beth, thank you for writing such an honest & true post (not too long at all!) I commented on the post itself, but wanted to round-out this thread & say how great it's been to discover your blog! I don't post regularly, but you're one of my go-to sites. Sending lots of good vibes as you continue this courageous journey & look forward to lovely, future posts.

cristie said...

i'm laying on an air mattress ... the sun is going to be gone in 30 minutes. there is lovely blue above and wispy white overhead. i am so sad for your loss, but you are right...Marcus lives and you can be together again. it's true. xox