Interview with Donna Stoneham about her near-death expertise

  1. 1.How did your near-death expertise as an adolescent change how you considered loss of life?

My near-death expertise as a young person confirmed me that once we die, our soul lives on, so it taught me to not be afraid about what occurs after loss of life.  At fifteen, after I was dropping consciousness following a suicide try, I discovered myself transferring by way of a tunnel of vibrating, soothing white gentle. I arrived on the financial institution of a river, and my grandfather, whom I’d by no means met, was ready there to greet me.  I acknowledged him from footage we had in our lounge as he prolonged his hand to me. 

As I reached out to take my Granddaddy’s hand, an apparition appeared that appeared like the photographs I’d seen in Sunday College of Jesus. Firmly, Jesus pushed the palm of his hand in the direction of me in a halting gesture. “No,” he stated sternly, “it’s not your time to enter. It’s essential to return. You have got a lot work left to do.”  I by no means felt extra rejected than having Jesus ask me to depart, and I used to be overwhelmed with deep unhappiness I couldn’t stick with my grandfather, whose form eyes locked me of their gaze.  I didn’t wish to depart probably the most stunning, peaceable place I’d ever skilled to return to the overwhelming despair and darkness that had held me captive on earth.

That have as a young person enabled me to launch my concern of loss of life, as a result of I gained an embodied understanding that once we die, our beloveds who’ve handed earlier than us can be ready for us on the opposite aspect.  It additionally satisfied me that our life on earth is only a short-term passage, and after I miss the individuals I like who’ve died, this information comforts and sustains me.  Likewise, when my mom died, I felt my grandmother’s visceral presence take her hand as she breathed her final breath, so I do know that our beloveds will come to take us dwelling once we depart this world. 

My experiences with after loss of life communications from my mom over the previous 5 years have solely strengthened my perception that the veil between this earth and the subsequent is permeable, so long as we keep open to the thriller that permits transcendent love’s expression.  Via these communications with my lifeless mom, I’ve discovered that relationships we now have with the individuals we love don’t have to finish once they die, they only change kind, so loss of life isn’t one thing to concern.      

2. After your mom died, how did all of the indicators and indicators you obtained persuade you that she was sending you a message that she was nonetheless with you?  What have been among the most significant and why?  

What satisfied me that the various indicators and symbols I obtained have been from my mom after she died was the non-public nature of the messages.  I typically known as them “Mama’s hat tips” as a result of they have been precisely what I wanted on the time to appease my grieving coronary heart.

I’ve a whole bunch of incidents to select from, however one message I’ll always remember was a month after she died on a day after I felt fairly bereft.  As my cousin and I have been leaving the native canine park, I observed a pink semi-truck cab parked on a side-street with Mama’s favourite Bible verse from the e book of Philippians, “I can do all issues by way of Christ who strengthens me.”  That was the mantra she lived by.  What have been the chances, I requested my cousin, of discovering that truck in Richmond, CA with that verse in that place on that day?  It was Mama’s manner of reminding me that I might survive my grief, that I may summon the energy I wanted to get by way of this, and that in my occasions of biggest darkness, I used to be not alone.

About three weeks later, when my spouse Julie got here dwelling from work, I used to be sporting Mama’s gown and sobbing within the armoire in our guestroom embracing an armful of her garments, nonetheless aromatic along with her scent.  Julie pulled me away from the armoire, embracing me as I sobbed.  Concurrently, we each heard Mama laughing.  Startled, I shouted, “What the heck was that?  That’s Mama’s voice!” 

Looking excessive and low for the place the voice was coming from, I appeared down, noticed my iPhone in my pocket, and pulled it out.  My cellphone was taking part in a video of Mama’s footage and snippets of movies that my google picture app created.  I hadn’t made that video, and there it was, streaming in my pocket.  Why, in that second of such deep despair did it begin taking part in Mama’s voice? It was her manner of reminding me to loosen up and dry my tears as a result of she was by no means distant.   

3. One of many issues your mom instructed you after she died was that a part of your job now was to “assist create heaven on earth.”  What do you suppose she meant and the way would you intend to do this?

I’ve over two-hundred pages of after-death transmissions of recordings with my mom.  Just a few months after she died in certainly one of our chats, she instructed me that my work now was to assist create heaven on earth.”  After I requested her what she meant by that, she instructed me that our time on earth was designed to assist us discover ways to love extra deeply, to observe kindness, to change into “higher, not bitter” and to supply assist to these in want of care.  She shared with me how heaven was a spot of “immeasurable love” and that the extra we discovered the best way to specific love in our lives whereas nonetheless on earth, the better our transition can be once we arrived on the opposite aspect.  In different phrases, earth is our “observe floor” for what comes later.

“Simply concentrate on kindness on a regular basis” Mama instructed me, “in each encounter and in each interplay.  And the extra you’re in a position to do this, the extra you’ll expertise there what I expertise right here on a regular basis. That’s what creating heaven on earth means.  And the extra individuals who discover ways to concentrate on love, the extra your world will change.  So be love’s ambassador, darling,” she stated, “that’s an important work you’ll ever do.”  Every time I discover myself being impatient, which occurs greater than I wish to admit, I attempt to bear in mind her directions.

Mama additionally shared that in heaven there’s no such factor as egos or time as we all know it, so there’s nothing to distract you from love.  She shared that love is our true nature, however we diminish our capability to like full-heartedly as a result of our egos make us afraid. “Every day you’re nonetheless on earth” Mama stated, “it’s essential to make a alternative.  You’ll be able to select love, or you possibly can select concern, and what you see mirrored round you can be a manifestation of whichever alternative you make.  And the extra you select love,” she stated, “the extra you’ll expertise heaven on earth.”  After I’m capable of dwell my life in a spot of affection as an alternative of concern, every thing’s at all times simpler, and my voice is true and clear.   

One other factor Mama instructed me after I was on the lowest ebb in grieving her loss, was that it wasn’t my time to depart this earth.  She inspired me to maintain teaching, writing books, and sharing what I discovered in no matter methods I can that helps others heal and discover their strategy to love.

I try to make use of the challenges I face to make me a extra loving particular person, as I had the privilege of watching Mama do on the finish of her life. She by no means complained about being uprooted from her life in Texas or about having to depart her stunning dwelling for a tiny house.  She missed her church and life-long mates deeply, however she was by no means resentful. I solely hope I can settle for the modifications in my stage of freedom in my golden years with the benefit and charm my mom did.  I discovered quite a bit from her instance.  On the finish of her life, she started to show me what it meant to create heaven on earth, as love and gratitude turned her driving power. 

4. How did your goals and meditations earlier than and after your mom died show you how to navigate your grief?  What did they educate you?

All through my life, I’ve had prescient goals.  Six months earlier than my mom ‘s loss of life, I had a way {that a} life-altering occasion was quickly to happen, by way of a sequence of lucid goals the place I traveled by way of a darkish portal simply after falling asleep. Three months earlier than she died, I had a dream that foretold her loss of life.  I didn’t perceive what it meant till a lot later. Since Mama’s loss of life, I’ve had quite a few meditations wherein I’ve visited her on the opposite aspect. 

Within the dream that portended her loss of life, I used to be driving a automotive up a mountain on a switch-back highway to the summit.  Each time I steered left, some gravitational power took over and steered the automotive to the suitable.  I’d take the wheel and switch it as far to the left as I may muster till the power steered it again to the suitable.  This continued all the best way to virtually the highest of the mountain till I used to be fully exhausted attempting to take care of management of the automotive.

Immediately in entrance of me, I noticed a black wolf tethered to the entrance of the automotive on a rope. I noticed the wolf was wrestling for management of the automotive all the best way up the face of the mountain.  Then abruptly, as I steered the automotive to the left, the wolf jumped out in entrance of me and unintentionally, I hit it. Rapidly, I pulled the automotive over to see if I may put it aside, however there was blood pouring from its mouth. I noticed the black wolf was dying, and it doesn’t matter what I attempted to do to put it aside, it was time for her to die.  It was probably the most vivid, upsetting goals I’ve ever had. 

Three months later, my mom’s caregiver discovered her mendacity in a pool of blood on her bed room flooring.  Rushed to the ICU, the docs found a bleeding ulcer. The following night, as I used to be serving to her brush her hair earlier than she went to sleep, her eyes rolled to the again of her head, and she or he vomited blood all around the flooring because the repairs that they had finished to cease the bleeding failed.  Mama misplaced consciousness and died two days later. I’d by no means felt such helplessness as I watched her bleed out, figuring out there was nothing I may do to cease it, similar to the wolf in my dream. 

I later learn that within the native American custom, seeing a black wolf in your dream can portend a loss of life.  Wolves are nice academics and black wolves symbolize the necessity to do the internal work to heal and personal our energy.  I had been Mama’s instructing on this life, however she turned mine from the opposite aspect. Over time following her loss of life, I noticed that to completely specific my energy on this planet, I needed to emerge from her shadow the place I’d lived my total life.  To ensure that me to completely dwell, my mom needed to die, similar to the wolf in my dream.  

I had a number of extra goals after mama died that introduced me consolation.  Some got here with clear directions, others introduced readability that helped me to heal the grief I used to be experiencing.  Some supplied a possibility to hug her once more and bear in mind her heat embrace. Each was despatched by my mom to guarantee me I used to be by no means alone, that she was nonetheless current for me, and that now she had the capability to assist me in methods she couldn’t be there for me when she was alive.  Mama was my black wolf who helped me heal in order that I may change into complete.       

5. What do you suppose makes it potential to heal our pivotal relationships even after loss of life?  Why is that necessary?

Assuming, as my mom stated, that the entire level of being on this earth is to discover ways to love extra deeply, then I consider a part of motive we’re right here is to heal the fractures we might have skilled in our closest relationships.  Grieving the lack of the individuals we deeply love pries our hearts extensive open if we enable it to do its work, which creates more room for love.

If our purpose is to assist create heaven on earth, then we have to mend the fissures that maintain us from experiencing the immeasurable love Mama instructed me was potential. My mom and I had a difficult relationship for many of my life. I knew she cherished me, however she didn’t know the best way to specific it.  I didn’t really feel accepted.  She needed me to be somebody I wasn’t or may by no means change into. However within the closing years of her life, as her dementia robbed her of cognitive operate, she grew a lot much less vital and judgmental, and her coronary heart opened wider.  She began to change into the mom I’d at all times yearned for.  Then after she handed, her coronary heart opened wider as a result of she skilled firsthand what it was wish to be in a spot the place, as she instructed me, there was “no judgment, no egos, and no time.”

As I’ve continued to expertise Mama’s presence, I really feel her love extra deeply than I did even within the closing months she was alive.  As I’ve healed, she’s healed too.  The important thing has been our willingness to consider that simply because the type of our relationship modified, that the love we had for one another needed to finish.  Mama and I are nonetheless making reminiscences collectively, simply in a really totally different manner.  

6. What’s the neatest thing you are able to do for somebody you’re keen on or care about who’s grieving?  What did you discover most useful while you have been on the coronary heart of your deepest grief after you misplaced your mom?

The best reward you may give to somebody who’s grieving is to comply with their lead.  Some individuals wish to discuss their family members.  Others don’t.  Possibly they only need firm.  Maybe they want a heat meal or to have somebody spend a while with their children to allow them to relaxation.  Ask individuals what they want in case you don’t know what that’s and inform them you’re glad to provide them house, or convey them meals, or purchase them groceries.  Ship them a comforting e book, be a part of them for a stroll, or simply sit and say nothing and bear witness.  Simply allow them to name the photographs.

I’ve a good friend proper now who’s in anticipatory grief over the upcoming lack of her brother from Stage 4 most cancers. More often than not, she doesn’t wish to discuss it, so I textual content her each week or two and let her know I’m fascinated with her and her household and sending them and love and prayers.  We’ve made dinner for her household, and she or he is aware of that I’m at all times accessible to speak, or not discuss, relying on her choice at any given time.  And I’m not offended if she doesn’t reply or simply must be alone.

Individuals’s grief journeys are as totally different as our personalities, so my recommendation is to by no means assume you already know what’s finest for another person simply since you discovered it useful, or you possibly can truly find yourself unintentionally being extra dangerous than useful.  Being current with people who find themselves grieving requires that we do our personal work round grief and that we aren’t afraid of bearing witness or being within the midst of deep unhappiness or ache.  It’s studying the best way to be absolutely current with individuals wherever they’re on their journey, figuring out their wants can change at any second in time, and to be prepared to flex with no matter they want in every second.    

7. What regrets, if any, do you may have as you mirror in your relationship along with your mom and the way you associated to 1 one other, particularly in her closing years?

I’m grateful that I’ve no huge regrets about my relationship with my mom in her closing years.  We healed a lot collectively, particularly within the closing twenty-seven months of her life when she lived close by. The minor regrets I’ve are wishing I’d used the assistance of the caregiver we employed in another way. Reasonably than me being the one to do all of the purchasing and managing all the sensible particulars of Mama’s life, her caregiver was the one who took her to get her nails finished, who went along with her to jewellery class and different outings, so I might have switched these roles, and been the one to affix her within the actions she loved.

Secondly, I want I’d made the time to spend extra high quality time collectively. I sometimes noticed Mama three or 4 occasions every week and infrequently drove to her house late at evening to assist her discover her glasses or her cellphone, each of which she often misplaced.  However these have been often brief visits.  I’d drop off groceries, assist her repair her TV, convey her medication, or have a fast lunch along with her, relatively than the longer, high quality visits we sometimes had on Friday nights. My new 12 months’s decision in 2018 was to chop again on work and spend extra time along with her, however she died six weeks later.  So one remorse I’ve is just not beginning to do this earlier once we have been busy transferring and renovating a home.  After my mom died, even when I’d spent on daily basis along with her, it nonetheless wouldn’t have felt like we had sufficient time collectively, as a result of I wasn’t but prepared for her to depart.

I really feel peace that I took excellent care of her, and that I do know she felt my love and care.  Mama was at all times deeply appreciative of the time we spent collectively and was grateful for every thing I did.  She nervous that she was a burden, which I at all times assured her she wasn’t.  I’m pleased with the work we did to heal our relationship, of my dedication to maintain my coronary heart open, and that more often than not, I used to be capable of summon the persistence I wanted to take care of her fears, her slower tempo, and her anxieties. I actually wasn’t excellent, however I do know she skilled my love and assist. 

After she died, I needed we’d talked about loss of life and the way she felt about being outdated and dying. After I met her within the ambulance bay a day earlier than she misplaced consciousness, Mama took my hand, squeezed it tightly, and stated, “What would I’ve finished with out you?”  The following evening simply earlier than she misplaced consciousness, I instructed her that I needed life was such that we may have our mom’s till we died.  She responded, “Honey, I want that too as a result of being your mom has been one of many biggest joys of my life.” 

Simply earlier than she took her final breath, Mama opened her eyes and checked out me as soon as final time. I’ve deep peace that Mama knew how a lot I cherished her, so I’ve no regrets about that. If we hadn’t had that final twenty-seven months of her life to do the therapeutic work we did in our relationship, I’m certain that the regrets I’ve would have been a special story.

8. How do you take care of the naysayers who might imagine you’re a little bit on the market receiving messages out of your lifeless mom?

The brief reply is that I care a lot much less about others’ judgments than I did after I was youthful. I feel that could be a reward of age. I spent a lot of my life fearing rejection and abandonment.  What I noticed by way of my mom’s loss of life and the steerage and assist she’s continued to supply is she’ll by no means abandon me, nor will my creator, or the forged of actually good individuals and guides and angels that assist me right here on earth and from the opposite aspect.  What I’ve discovered is thru this expertise of such deep loss is you possibly can by no means be deserted by transcendent, unconditional love, as a result of that type of love is pure and everlasting.  

My story is my story.  It might resonate for some, and it received’t for others, and that’s okay.  If my phrases assist one particular person discover their footing once they’re grieving, then I’m grateful that I shared them. And after I’m feeling low and needing reassurance, I nonetheless return and browse the 2 hundred pages of after loss of life conversations I had with my mom, and her phrases at all times consolation me, regardless of how badly I really feel.  Maybe they’ll consolation others, and I’m glad to share them in the event that they do.

I consider some individuals have a present for having the ability to obtain messages from the opposite aspect and that I’m a type of individuals.  And that’s no totally different than somebody who has a present for enjoying the piano or using a horse.  It’s only a totally different type of reward. 

In certainly one of our chats, my mom instructed me that I used to be a medium and that I ought to nurture that reward, one thing she by no means would have stated when she was alive. I haven’t finished a lot to develop that reward thus far, however I’ve at all times been deeply delicate and intuitive, and I exploit that “channel” on daily basis in my teaching work as a result of I belief it. It by no means steers me improper. Since I used to be a little bit lady, and particularly since my near-death expertise at age fifteen, I’ve been capable of simply entry the non secular realm. I wouldn’t commerce that reward for something, regardless of what critics say.   

9. Is your mom nonetheless accessible to you to speak to 5 years after her loss of life and if that’s the case, how do you talk now?

Mama is at all times accessible anytime I attain out, and generally she pops in after I least count on it.  Two weeks in the past, as I drive to my resort for an occasion I used to be facilitating the subsequent day, I whipped out my recorder to speak to her because it had been some time since we’d chatted. I’d been sick for 2 months with lung points from COVID and was fairly behind on all of the issues I wanted to do to market my upcoming e book. Mama assured me that I didn’t want to fret, simply to do my finest after I was in a position, and to belief that it will land within the arms that wanted to learn it.  

At that second, I appeared over and in the suitable lane subsequent to me was a truck.  Etched on its aspect have been the phrases, “Shannon Transferring.”  Mama’s maiden identify was Shannon.  It was her manner of telling me, “I’ve obtained this.  Don’t you are concerned about something.  This e book will go the place it must go and I’m a part of your advertising staff.” I name these sorts of symbols “Mama’s hat tips,” and she or he by no means disappoints!    

Earlier this spring, my ten and eleven-year-old niece and nephew have been right here for spring break. As we left for our drive right down to Pismo Seaside, I instructed them to maintain their eyes open for an indication from Nana. “Generally,” I stated, “she leaves a logo that she’s current, and I’ve a sense she’ll wish to be with us since we’re going to have a lot enjoyable collectively, so maintain your eyes open.”  A few hours later, my niece pointed her finger at a inexperienced hillside to our proper and exclaimed, “Look guys!  There’s an enormous cross with hearts throughout it.  I’ll guess that’s an indication from Nana!” which might have been a becoming image she would ship to her grandchildren and me.  

Later that night, I used to be establishing the tv in our Airbnb and opened my prime account on my Amazon app to get a code. On the app was an advert for “Mary Ruth’s Nutritional vitamins for Ladies.”  “Look children,” I stated as I confirmed them my cellphone, “I instructed you Nana wouldn’t allow us to down!”

“Wow, that’s so bizarre,” my nephew stated, as a result of Mama’s identify was Mary Ruth.  She additionally had an amazing humorousness, and doubtless knew I may use a little bit further assist managing two energetic children on my own on this journey. That form of factor nonetheless occurs typically, particularly after I must be reminded her spirit remains to be with me.        


Biography of Donna Stoneham, PhD (

Donna is a poet, government coach, workshop facilitator, speaker, and former hospice chaplain who lives along with her spouse and rescue canine in Pt. Richmond, CA. The writer of the Catch Me After I Fall: Poems of Mom Loss and Therapeutic (SWP, Might 2023), The Thriver’s Edge: Seven Keys to Rework the Means You Stay, Love, and Lead (SWP, 2015), and a contributor to the anthology, Artwork within the Time of Insufferable Disaster: Ladies Author’s Reply to the Name (SWP, 2022).  Donna’s work has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, Girl’s Day, Buzz Feed, The Huffington Publish, and on TV, radio, and quite a few podcasts. When she’s not teaching or writing, you’ll discover her taking part in along with her pet, watching British tv, communing with spirit and nature in a kayak, or mountaineering by the shore. 

Supply hyperlink
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply