Finding JOeY The first book...
We are legion.
We are warriors.
We are bereaved parents.
I never wanted to be a warrior. Not like this. Having survived widowhood, twice, I did not think
of myself as a warrior. I was a survivor, somehow, of being widowed at the age of 36, and then again
in my early 50's. I knew what to do, the second time I was widowed... I learned how to grieve and I
discovered there was a
light at the end of a long tunnel, and I would be able to laugh again someday. This is my story of
me, my husbands, and especially , my son Joey. This is about me finding the spirit of my son Joey
Brown, and having found him, I
found the true spirit of myself..
Yes, I was an uneducated 36 year old widow. The first time, "DEATH".. my husband of thirteen
years, a man
gifted me with three small sons...well, I was not ready for that one. 36 year olds are still dreaming
of growing old with their partners. You know the dream?....picket fence, husband to grow old with,
watching your children grow up, grandchildren on your knee....I fell for that script, like a mad drunk,
believed in it, had dinner on the table every night for our perfect little family.
None of my children, who were 11, 9, and 6 years old at the time, nor me, were ready for it.
Shot out of the blue, I call those moments. Daddy was killed in a chemical plant explosion.
Like all dates on the calendar, I mark September 12, 1989, like an etching in the core of my
being, as the day I started to wake up. To have to face 'death' , look her right in the eye, and lose
any illusion of control I thought I had. Yeah, that day was the beginning of me finally growing up.
Sure I was angry. I was furious. This was not the script I wrote in my young mind... My husband
was only 36, he was
supposed to age right along with me, be a grandfather, be a steady rock who could hold my hand
throughout the difficult days ahead of me.
No one is 'prepared' for this moment. The morning you have to wake up your sleeping children and
hold them and tell them that their Daddy had died. I used the word die, at that time, I did not know
then, what death really was. I was dumbfounded, a blithering, crying fool. Death had knocked down
the whole house of cards, and I watched my sons weeping, crying, holding onto me, not
understanding what happened to Daddy. I suppose I told them he was in heaven. What else could
I say at the time? I watched as people came and went, I was in a steady fog as I sat at the large oak
table in the dining room.
I had been called to the hospital in the middle of the night , around 2 am, with the dire news ..and
I could not even go into the room where my husband's body lay, a victim now of the gases that had
seared his lungs. My big, strong, handsome husband did not stand a chance when the chemical
plant exploded. He was standing right over the zero point, the tank that threw his body 300 feet
through the air. His last words, he told one of the firefighters holding his hand, were "tell Marianne
and the kids I love them". I found that out 3 years later by reading the court transcripts of the
Funny, people told me his body died instantly, to save me from the thought he might have suffered.
I will never understand that, even though they meant well. Yes, he hung on long enough to leave
those words to me and his children. To carry them in our hearts.
My husband will always be 36, and as I grow old, as I turn 65, 66, 67 , I see a young man, younger
than my own sons now, who was the love of my life, smiling in pictures and dreams at me.
I lost weight, I cried uncontrollably, I saw my sons watch me with sadness, what had happened to
Mommy? Where was Daddy? I railed at God...why would you put Death into the pockets of my
small children?? Why??
I looked deeply into the mirror that morning when my husband 'died', and my first realization
occurred that "Marianne,
you are not in control of death, or anything else...." I had learned my first, and most valuable
lesson, the hard way.
It did not take long, however, for me to learn a few more. It's an odd thing, this Mystery, this
what you call God, this underlying fountain that ripples beneath the surface of all of this, and
constantly sends one on missions , forging you like a sword, to cut through the forest of insanity,
emotions, and all that Death brings with it. It is the myth of Cinderella, the myth of Persephone,
the many myths one lives out where one has to enter the idea of Hell to get to Heaven. The kiss
of a compassionate 'god' was required to begin bringing me back to life.
Within weeks, I was brought to my knees as I fumbled through new widowhood and caring for
3 small boys...3 small boys who happened to also be my challenge to survive. I fumbled, but
I was also receiving gifts to cope with the massive overhaul of existence, that would recreate itself
again, and again,
and again as the years passed by.
A worker, a laborer, who had worked alongside my husband, called me that month, and asked
me to visit him at his home. He had been badly burned, he was in a wheelchair, he had been
near the center of the explosion and was covered in bandages when I arrived at his home.
"I have something to tell you, Mrs. Brown.." he smiled, and looked quite peacefilled..
He explained that night to me, how he had been in the explosion and saw himself on fire...
how he ran from the epicenter of the fire and tried to put the flames out that were ravaging his
clothing...he told me he screamed at 'God' and said "God!! Please do not let me die like this!!"..
and then, for the first time in my life, I learned that there is more to all this than just bodies...
Indeed, he told me that he felt himself leave his body, and float ever so gently above it, and
he said there was no pain, as he watched his body from on high, as it ran, trying to put out the flames,
he said he watched it from above himself...
"Mrs. Brown, all I can tell you, is...God was there."
I was starving for this gift, and I see, in retrospection, that whatever God was, was just beginning to
prepare me for the days and years to come, and I had a lot of homework to do when it came to
the ideas and notions I had of "god."
My sons were angry, though. They did not understand why Daddy was the only one who had to
'die'. They did not understand why Mommy was crying all the time.
I did not know it, at the time, that all of the gifts from that deep Source, a river called God and
Good, were all preparing me for not only another widowhood, but, ultimately, the greatest and most
crashing death I would ever try to survive....the death of my son, Joey, and the ability to walk through
the darkest and deepest tunnel of my short 'life' in this arena. For all of the husbands that leave their
bodies in my existence here, none of them, none of them come close to the utter devastation of self ,
mind and matter, all things that be and not be, all manner of existence at it's most horrific blow, the
death of my youngest son's body was and still is the TKO, the knockout punch, the nuclear bomb
that 'comes out of the blue' and annihilates your very be-ing, and smashes you into the ground.
I had no idea, at the time, I was being prepped , for that.
Funny thing, as you 'age', how quickly the years pass by, and before you can catch your breath,
you find your body has become old. All the years that followed my husband's bodily death were
filling up with me, and my windmill tilting quest, to understand Death. Death , the boogeyman
word no one dares utter, was sitting in my lap, demanding I seek it out, wrestle with it, and learn
it's meaning and secrets. I could have lay in a pool of tears, and sometimes I did, but I could also
tackle Death and tie it onto my toolbelt, and learn everything about that Mystery.
I had been raised Catholic, and my first duties were to redefine every complicated story I had
ever heard about Death. I had to dig, hard, into every book I could find..to demolish the closed
circuit of religiosity and it's vague interpretations of Death....You know..the ones about sin, and Hell
and Heaven, and suffering, and all the human ideas built into me. Guilt, Desire, longing...Pining
away for someone's body to still be intact. Unimaginable constant grief, how to dive into that and
understand, thanks to people like Joseph Campbell, that I was on a journey that was as old as the
human race, that I was living a myth, that I was being dragged to the Underworld, within, and
erasing years of conditioning , and replacing my ideas about Death with new ones, that I was
Persephone, that I was swirling deeper and deeper into the world of truth and the lies which were
falling off of me like scales. I was an onion being peeled to the core, as I dumped each belief
system I had been taught, and as I stood at the very roots of the Hel goddess, the deepest part of
Marianne's soul, and was washed naked..to start over, to start climbing back into the sun, to let
spring arise again after a years years years of winter....
Perhaps that is why, after I married my second husband, who I was with for 8 yrs, and he, too
decided to die in a car crash...perhaps that is why my spirit was more capable of seeing him, of
telling him to move on as I whispered to his broken body in the hospital that day. I knew he was not
dead, I knew his body was. But I knew he would go on, to greet his brother in spirit, to leave this
place that Rumi calls a dream. I could not do that with my first husband. I had not learned there is
no death. It took many years of cleansing to eradicate all I had learned from my parochial school
concepts of shame, blame, guilt, and victimhood. Suffering was there, but by then, I knew I had the
option to dive into the suffering and turn it into a lesson. By diving into that dark dark place, I
had also learned that someone always throws you a rope, and you can call that *someone* god, or
your higher power, or whatever you wish to call it, but you sit in that solitude of suffering, as this
world insanely swirls around you, and wait. The magic always comes, and grabs you by the hand..
and helps you climb out of that darkness, until you see light, yet again, and keep. on. going.
By now, I was not only a cracked egg, but a scrambled one. The energy I had so boastfully thought
I had at 36 yrs old was waning. I had to, yet again, grieve, and yet this time I KNEW it was my own
mythology, my story, my warrior crashing again through the new brambles and thorns to get back to
the rose that lay in the middle of it all. I knew I would be kissed by god, and I would fight to survive
it. I read even more, every Holy and Sacred Book I could read. I dove into Quantum Physics, I
visited Dr. Raymond Moody at his home, after reading his book Life After Life, groundbreaking stuff
for me, and I watched myself from afar, in a sense, as I was handed people I needed at the time to
carry me through.
Strange, isn't it, when you finally break through so many limitations and concepts, when you have
shed your skin like a snake, when you believe "Finally I have learned I will not die"....
Out of the blue...............
Why. That's the first question I always asked. Why? Why learn, yet again, with another
husband, why learn about this thing called Death yet again? I see now, why, the why being
that I had learned many lessons since my first husband...the why being that I knew I would
survive the grief . The giant WHY being I would go on faithfully living out the myth , the
story I believed, finally , that I had written for myself before I was born into this place. I
would suffer, again, but this time I knew I would run that gamut, no matter how difficult, and
I would be graced by a living spirit that resided within and without me.
Yet, I still lived in fear. For as many times as "I" died, something that Buddhists
tell you is necessary to do if you want to really live out this story here, this Maya, this
illusion, I still lived in fear.
When my youngest son, Joey, was 19 years old, he started experiencing spinal problems.
The pain he was in was acute, and he writhed on the floor one day trying to persuade it to leave
his body. Nothing worked, not massage or pills or anything in this world, so I took him to the
spine center in Grand Rapids, Mi, where he was told, via an MRI, that his spinal column was
collapsing. Detrimental. "Your spine is that of a 50 year old man." The doctor was aghast, and
demanded Joey allow him to perform surgery on him..."we have to put steel rods in your back to keep
your spine in place"...that was the decision the doctor gave him, a 19 yr old whose life was just
beginning, whose dreams were to be an adventurer that sailed the seven seas.
Attempting to force Joey to go into surgery was like trying to put shoes on a snake. He was not
going to do that. He would take the pills for pain the doctor gave him and be done with it.
He refused surgery, he refused my advice, he refused to believe he needed it. He was 19, almost 20,
and by god he was stubborn . He would rather be addicted to the pills and that false sense
of security they gave him from those pills that his spine was just fine and he was going to
go about the business of being a young man with adventures on his mind.
So one day he called me and let me know he was going to Bali. I was astounded, worried,
but he went. And he relished in it. He jumped off cliffs and swam, he met girls, he prayed at temples
and he had the time of his life. He did more in 3 weeks in Bali then most people do in a lifetime.
He obtained his pilot's liscense and moved to Hawaii with his older brother. He was a daredevil,
flying loops over the mountains of Maui, no fear, no holding back.
He was taking huge bites out of this earth place, and the pills kept him free of pain.
The day the doctors ended the pills, Joey found out how to obtain them without a
prescription. That is when my Hell began.
I was certainly aware that addiction genetics played a huge part in my first husband's family,
and some in my own. Joey became an addict, and his behaviour became increasingly erratic.
My own experiences with his behaviour were horrific..I did not know the man my son had
become. I was learning, however, about the drug my son chose, and how, paradoxically, how it
affected his behaviour. Oxycontin, drug of choice. Drug of no physical pain.
My son, who I knew was truly sweet and kind beneath it all, was exhibiting the making of
a monster, an angry, screaming man who could not control himself. He broke windows, stole
money from me, screamed at me, and as the oxycontin he was illegally obtaining would wear off,
he was just in constant pain.
I realize now, by this time, he was lost to me. I had to cut him off, out of my life, to obtain sanity,
or try to survive. My worst fears were arising...my son could die, or go to jail, and for the umpteenth
time in my life, I was learning the rotten yet valuable lesson..I could not control him or what he chose
He would continue writing poetry, fall in love with a girl online, and I tried desperately to force
him into rehab, which he went to for awhile, and then he fell off the wagon one night. I remember
the insanity of this angry young man, and I threw my clothes in my car, along with my dog, and
I fled. I still picture him screaming "MOM!! come back!!" and a river of guilt still washes over me
from that day, but I had to leave....Shrinks call it Flight, Freeze, or Fight. I had no fight left in me, so I
fled. I drove my car all the way to California from Michigan, for no reason whatsoever except
to gather my thoughts and gain back some insight.
When I came back I discovered that Joey was living in an apartment in Kalamazoo, and was now
officially an addict. His wild behaviour was beyond my help. I did enable him, I will admit it now,
by occasionally bringing groceries to him. I could not bear the thought of him starving. No mother
Nonetheless, I did not let him know where I lived . I had moved to a different home, and
I was terrified of his behaviour when he was high. I knew I needed a safe place.
There was no way out. I felt him slipping away from me as the abominable drug became his
everyday mistress. He was 22 now, and I could not save him. Nonetheless, I refused to believe his
body would die.
I do remember telling him once, "taking drugs that are off the street? Death or Jail will be
your only options."
Knowing full well he was in dire pain, and yet too stubborn to get surgery, I lived as best as
I could muster. I was already grieving his presence, and felt as though his addiction was removing
him farther and farther away from me and the family.
I had always been overtly protective of my sons when they were children..even more so after
their father passed over.
I truly believe Joey, who was close to his father, lost his backbone when his father passed..the
spiritual sickness manifested in his body as he became a man, but his grief over his father had taken
a toll. His dad was his strength, his backbone. I truly believe his spine collapsed because it was his
body's way of dealing with losing his dad at the age of 6. I believe Joey never stopped being a little
boy of 6 years old, grieving his father.
I have 3 very stubborn sons. Joey was completely stubborn about what was to be done concerning
his spinal column. He was 19, going on 20, and had his whole life ahead of him. He refused to
get surgery on his back, despite my protestations, despite the pain he was in. He had a life to live
, on his own terms, and he chose to live with his back as it was. I could not talk him into surgery
of any kind. He would hear none of it.
After he turned 20, he called me and told me he was planning on going to Bali. Another out of
the blue decision he had made, his adventurer in him was to go see this world and take a huge
bite out of it. My worries and concerns were ignored, and he went.
He had the time of his young life. Jumping off cliffs into iridescent pools of water, visiting
temples, walking the magical land of Bali, and letting me know how much fun he was having.
In retrospect, I realize he somehow knew that he did not have much more time in this
three dimensional world we call home, and he was going to live life here as fully as possible
before he collapsed.
He moved to Hawaii and obtained his pilot's lisence, and flew over mountainous terrain, some
times stalling the engine into freefall, all the while laughing, a daredevil. His back was slowly
disintegrating, but he took pain pills by the handful, pills he obtained not only from doctors but from
other more insidious sources.
I had no control over his comings and goings. I knew it was out of my hands now. I could not
help him except to love him, no matter what he did.
In a sense, I think Joey KNEW without a doubt his spine would eventually collapse and he
wanted to do as much as he could until it did. His demeanor, however, began to change...
The days of oxycontin, Vicodin, and anything else to ease his back pain, were now becoming,
increasingly, a burden. A monkey on his shoulder, he was changing into someone I did not know.
His body reacted erratically to the drugs he was consuming, and he began stealing from me,
at first small amounts, then larger.
This was not the child I raised , this was a junkie. Someone plagued by pain, whose scruples
had been lost when the pain overtook him. His response to the pills was paradoxical. Most people
fall asleep on them, but not Joey. No junkie nods for him. He was like a madman, he broke windows
in my home, hid from me, screamed irrationally at me when I tried to make sense to him.
It was as if a monster had taken over my beloved child. I could hardly bear it. My energy was
destroyed, I had nothing to offer him except to keep repeating to him..."Jail or Death" ...is where
drug use like this would end up.
I was a shell of a woman. I could not stop my son from this disease, that which made drugs
his only mistress, everything else was secondary.
The sweet, loving, little boy I had raised had become a wild man, a large child with no
inner control, no rhyme nor reason, no checks or balances.
I had to initiate tough love.
I had grown up, myself, in a family where I had watched my own parents enable my alcoholic
brother, and I saw the toll it took on them.
I sought out counseling, so that I would make the right decisions regarding Joey's increasingly
terrifying addiction, and was told to cut him out of my life altogether as long as he chose drugs,
legal or illegal, to consume as a prop for the pain in his spine.
All those years, from 2002 to 2006, were a blur of watching him waste away as his back
increasingly collapsed, as he begged, borrowed, and stole to feed his habit.
I tried rehab, he went but did not follow up. That would come later, after his back finally
tore into his spinal cord. He was fine, in his own mind, as long as he had the pills.
He had a 200 dollar a week allowance from his trust fund, which came from his father's
death. This fed his habit. I could not end this money from coming in, and I knew he was selling
even his furniture to buy drugs.
The hardest thing was to cut him off from me. I did it to save myself from watching my
beautiful child turn into a raving lunatic. I was barely able to breathe during all of those years,
and in 2004, my second husband decided to exit this earth bound place by crashing his car
into a tree. He had been suffering deep depression since his own son had been sent to Iraq, and his
brother had passed away from alcoholism at aged 40. No amount of verbiage or advice from me
could stop my 2nd husband from beginning to drink heavily. I threatened divorce, and he, too, was
also watching Joey from afar, sinking more and more deeply into the hellish world of drug
I received the call from my oldest son, that my second husband was found with his car
wrapped around a tree. His blood alcohol level had been high and the medics had to use the jaws
of life to remove him.
THIS time I ran to the hospital, not afraid to face that thing called "death" anymore, but to
look it right in the eye this time. My husband's body lay in the ER, no brain function, no way he
would survive except as a vegetable. I knew he would want me to pull the plug, and as they did,
I whispered into his ear..."Time to go, go home now to your brother.." I knew, deep down, he
had already left.
I did not have much time to grieve my second husband's death , however, as my son was becoming
increasingly distraught and out of hand. He was literally kicked out of the apartment complex he had
been living in, and I had to help him find a new place. I was enabling, I know that now, but I
could not bear the thought of him living in the streets.
Deep down, you see, they are still our children, our babies, our most beloved ones. I could
not save the child, lord, I could not save that child.
I found him an apartment in the town I was living in. I still did not let him know where I lived,
but I knew I was not able to cope with a constant barrage of craziness every day as he sank deeper
and deeper into drugs. I hardly recall the emotional pain of it all, it was as though I were living in
a fog, and I see now, that underlying that fog was my fear that my son would die.
I ended up in the emergency room with panic attacks, and was informed by the resident shrink
that I could not control whether my son lived or died.
He was always on my mind. Always. I tried to work jobs, but he would show up at them
asking me for handouts. I had to have him removed from the store. I would find him standing by my
car at midnight in the parking lot, asking for money. It was as though I was no longer his mother
to him, but a place where he could begin to obtain drugs and keep that ''high" going, keep that back
pain away, and the thought of surgery was , in his mind, a thing of the past. He would not even
However, one night, in the midst of the chaos, my heart torn apart so many times I could
barely get through the days, I received a call from Joey's older brother, Bobby....he told me "Ma...
Joey's spine has collapsed, his vertebrae are about to cut his spinal cord, and he's been rushed
to Bronson Hospital for emergency surgery...."
I drove 100 mph to Kalamazoo, Mi, where I ran to my son's side. For all of those years of pills
and inaction, and poor ungodly choices on his part, he finally HAD to have surgery...or he would be
paralyzed for life.
I put my arms around him and told him I would never leave him again, MOM was here, and I
would not leave his side.
And I didn't. The doctors removed the splintered vertebrae, and he recovered in the hospital, as
I lay in a chair sleeping that first night right next to him. He was still belligerent, still, pumped up
now with morphine, the doctors all debating whether his spinal cord had been seriously injured.
I told him, as did a wonderful nurse at the time, that spinal cords heal. He was terrified that he
might never be able to urinate on his own again, or have children. He was afraid he would not walk
again. I kept assuring him he would.
His addiction was not gone, I knew that, but he had at least had the surgery that I truly hoped
would be the beginning of his healing.
Joey chose to return home to my house with me. A house I had kept him from, now he was
occupying my spare bedroom and in recuperation. I devoted my entire time to taking care of him,
he was fitted with a catheter and had to be watched on a daily basis. I became Mom again, and nurse,
and he was delighted when he realized that his spinal cord was healing, the catheter eventually
was removed, and he was able to walk and function normally again.
And his back pain was gone.
But, he was still a junkie. That does NOT go away. All those years of Oxycontin and Vicodin had
taken it's toll and kept gnawing at him.
We both had a long road ahead of us.
Joey was still an addict. He recuperated at my home, but I saw he was not over his physical
addiction to pain pills. As his health returned after spinal surgery, he became more of his real
self again, even recognizing how much pain and anguish he had caused the whole family. His
itch, however, to still obtain drugs off the street, was there.
I followed him, once, when he took a walk to try and obtain drugs..and I chased off the guys
who were trying to sell to him.
He knew. He saw me come home, a carton of cigarettes in my hand, and I told him "Unless you
are willing to go to the best rehabilitation center in Detroit, and get off of drugs completely, I am
going into my room and smoke all day and night until I die an early death. I am going to make myself
die first, buddy, unless you are willing to withdraw and stop using drugs."
So I did. I locked my door and smoked cigarettes and cried. I was underweight, terrified, and
my last resort was a pretty dramatic attempt at slow suicide right in his face as I smoked carton
The old Joey, the one I had raised, finally gave in. He wanted his old life back. He wanted to play
his drums, his guitar, start new, with no back pain, and no drugs. He was remorseful and subdued.
He finally agreed to go to the most expensive rehabilitation center in Michigan. A place where they
forced one's body to withdraw in a non painful manner.
Joey sat next to me and put his head down. "Mom, sometimes I am still 6 years old."
I knew that little boy who missed his father was still in there.
He asked me again.."Mom.....how can I live with myself if you pass away? I have hurt you
so much...where can I find you if you pass away?"
I told him I loved him unconditionally. And that all was forgiven. I told him to look for me
"everywhere...I will be in everything, Joey..."..
Little did I know at that time, those words would come back and choke me into remembering where
to look for my son.
Joey willingly went through the rehab program and I hired a male nurse to help him withdraw
at the center. It was still painful, but he made it. I drove him home, clean, his body clear of drugs and
I could only hope that whatever god there was would keep him balanced and secure enough not to
wish for drugs again. The doctor at the rehab center had inserted a small capsule of Narcan in Joey's
abdomen to offset any 'high' he might try to achieve. I.E., Joey could not get high. Not with that
capsule in him.
Joey suddenly started blooming again. He felt as though he had been given a second chance at
living again. I saw him become his old self, happy, wanting to play his music, somewhat lonely,
as he had lost many friends.
He talked of having a wife, kids.
Things were looking up. I was not out of the woods, yet, but even I was starting to 'hope.'
One afternoon, Joey came out of the spare bedroom and asked me to go to the library.
An odd, very odd request from him. Joey only read books pertaining to rock and roll,
musicians, or piloting airplanes.
"Mom, you HAVE to get a book and bring it to me today"..he was adamant. I asked him ,
which book? I was already perplexed by the question.
"It is called House of Spirits and it is a book by Isabelle Allende" .
I was floored. Of all the books I could imagine Joey NEVER reading, it was that one.
Nonetheless, I went to the library and picked up the book. It was a bit worn, and Isabelle
Allende's photo was on the back cover.
I handed the book to Joey when I arrived home, and he took it into his room.
Two days later he handed it back to me. "Ma, here. I am done with this book."
I was surprised...and asked him "Did you read it?"
No, he told me, he had not. "But I did sketch the woman on the back cover, she looks
like an angel...."
Again, my mind reeled at the thought of Joey sketching anything. He just did not sketch
drawings at all, so when he handed me a beautiful drawing of Isabelle Allende, I was
flabbergasted. "Wow"...I told him "This is beautiful."
At the time, I had NO idea why this sketch or this moment occurred. I would discover, later
on, after my son Joey had crossed over, why I had this sketch. And I would also discover that
even before he passed over and left his body, he was prepping me for what he must have known
I was the motherbear , this time, watching Joey's every movement, not sure, or comforted
quite yet as to his healing process. Sure, his body had healed somewhat, and he was my son
again. No wild rides, no roller coaster of emotions, no drugs. He seemed to be content sitting
on his computer during the day, or visiting with his musician friend Andru. I found out from
Andru, later on, that Joey would listen to "Ode to Joy", in his house, over and over again.
Joey would occasionally wake me up with visions he was having, of an 'otherworldly' REAL
place, glowing , iridescent, magnificent like a million diamonds sparkling, and he was
so excited about these visions, this place was so real to him. I realize, now, he was being prepped
also. "Everything is energy, mom!" he would shout to me "Energy never dies!"
I did not, at this point in time, believe that any of my sons would die before me. That is, leave
their bodies before I did. I refused to consider it, and if I did, I was thrown into a panic that was
unimaginable and I was seeing a counselor about the worst fears of my life in this place...
But it was almost Thanksgiving , that year, 2006, and I was going to cook the dinner for my
3 sons. I was baking, also, hundreds of cookies for Christmas, and storing them. Joey was sneaking
the cookies, much like his dad used to do . I did not mind. I was just happy to create again, and
watch my youngest son heal.
That Thanksgiving fell on Nov 24th...My other 2 sons showed up and all was well...except
for Joey...he seemed horrifically depressed and chose to stay in his spare bedroom. I attempted
gaiety with all of them, renting funny movies for them to watch, hoping beyond hope that
my life, and theirs, would return to normal.. My oldest son was married and my middle son was
working. I was so caught up in wanting everything to be happy and consistent, that I shrugged off
Joey's depression and assumed he was just tired.
I know, I know..I have repeated the stories of these times, these moments, these events over and
over in this draft of words..I realize that....It is something we do, bereaved parents, we repeat..maybe
just because we want to understand what the hell happened, why, what's going on, and maybe
someone empathic enough to understand will help us in this journey.
Having said that, I will go forward with my story, and I will find it difficult , but necessary, to
After Thanksgiving dinner, my sons filled with all of the food and laughter, Joey asked me to
drive him to his small apartment in town. He wanted some alone time, I guess, and he could pick
up better wifi there. The apartment was only a few blocks away, and I drove him there that
evening. It was getting dark, and as he exited my Jeep, he turned to me and said "Love you, mom!"
something he always said when leaving me. I told him I loved him and hoped to hear from him
the next day.
Little did I know I would never see my animated, still attached to a body, son, ever again in this
three dimensional world. That was the last night I saw him as he walked into his apartment building.
I did hear from him the next day..he called and recited a poem to me he had written. He also
complained to me about the Narcan capsule in his abdomen.. he wanted it removed. "I think it's
infected" he told me. I told him to go to the ER, and NOT to try to remove it. It was just under his
skin. I do not know , to this day, whether he removed it or not. What I do know, is that even if he did,
the Narcan was still in his system.
I did not hear from him after that. I waited, and waited, just for a phone call. Nothing. I left
him messages, but he did not answer. I was beginning to worry, and asked his friends if they had
seen him. Nope. They told me not to worry, that Joey would be fine, that he needed time out and was
probably out with friends.
On November 28th, I was not going to wait any longer.
I had an extra key to Joey's apartment, and I saw that the notes I had left under his door
were still there. I assumed he was out somewhere, but I needed to know if he was okay.
I turned the key in his lock, and opened the door. The apartment was dark, only one light was
on in his bedroom. I walked quietly into his living area, where he would sit on the maroon couch
I gave him, and chat online with friends. I looked to my right, and saw him , his head tilted back in
a pose of peaceful sleep, his mouth slightly open, and sitting on his lap was a computer, where he
had been happily chatting with a friend.
"Oh, he is asleep" my mind raced.. I walked over to my young son, who seemed quiet, peaceful..
and I saw. I saw what no mother I know can bear. I saw that, the little baby, the child I had so
lovingly brought into this reality, I saw he was not asleep, and his body had died. I saw him and for
some, strange, one second of a moment, I put my hand on his face, gently brushing it, and said to him
"Mommy is not mad at you."
I do not know why I needed to say that to this day. Perhaps because I knew he felt so guilty about
his past behaviours.
My countenance lasted a second. A second later I was screaming.
There is no scream that compares to the scream that rises up from the blackened heart of be-ing
that is as painfilled, horrific, deep abiding death force of a scream that is not only silent but also
deafening as a mother screams for her child. It is like a hand has grasped your heart and torn
it from it's foundations, a strike, a blow so huge you crumble, you fall, you crawl on your knees to
a small corner and just. fucking. SCREAM.
It kills you. immediately. You are now DEAD, and yet you are still wearing a body.
That's the cruelest part. You are still wearing a body and DEATH is pummeling you as you stare
in shock at the baby, the child, the son, who is no longer using his body...but has left you behind.
You are the crystal glass , and someone used a hammer on you. Pieces are everywhere.
There is no no no no no Pain like THIS Pain.
My son's body was draped with a bath towel. It was obvious he had taken a shower. He
seemed content, as tho his last breath in this world had been easy. His body stopped working
as he slept.
This brought me no comfort at the time..I was now screaming madly as neighbours in nearby
apartments rushed to me..I had hit the floor, hard, and was shivering in the corner of the
hallway as people rushed to call the police, as I was handed cigarettes to smoke, as I could not
even remember the phone numbers of my other sons...
I could not walk but was lifted by complete strangers who walked me outside where I paced
back and forth screaming at god...."I CANNOT DO THIS!" I yelled "I CAN GET THROUGH
HUSBANDS BUT I CANNOT DO THIS!!!"...
The police came, they cordoned off the building, and brought the coroner's vehicle. I was
not noticing any of it.
I knew that , at that moment, I would have to fight to live again on this earth, and I had been
handed DEATH yet again, and my worst fear had been realized. I would never be 'okay' again,
and I was soon handed over to the people who took me back to my house, insane, my eyes
dilated with the thousand yard stare, the impossible tears and screaming non stop, the horror of
horrors digging my own grave and anger swelling up in me as people began arriving at my home.
I was told by someone to take a shower. They told me it would be some time before I took
another one. I could barely do this. People came in droves, Joey's friends, women I knew,
all to somehow surround me with some sort of barrier to the truth. Nothing could comfort me,
except for me to begin throwing pots of flowers and dishes off of my back deck. I could only
scream Fuck You, God!! as I threw items and smashed them into trees, my friends somehow
perplexed at all this anger.
Finally, though, my 2 other sons came to the house. We all 3 collapsed in each other's arms.
Our family had been struck the deepest blow of all. And there was nothing I could do about it.
Nothing. I just. wanted. to. take. every. pill. in. my house. and. die.
I can barely remember that day. I had been struck by lightning, and my life was over. I only
remember the fog that surrounded me as people came and went, cried and left, came again
and told me to eat. A part of me, perhaps a survivor of the incident, merely said "Buy some Ensure,
then I can obtain calories.." To this day, I realize one tiny part of me knew what to do.
But I, too, was no longer a body. I was a thing that had been pummeled to death itself, and
I was moving on fumes.
Strange as it seems, this is the moment when Spirit enters, and takes over.
I knew immediately that Joey's body had to be cremated. I told my oldest son to make sure
that happened. I wanted my son's body to be taken to the grave where his father's ashes were
interred, to a small cemetery in Illinois.
The hospital and morgue allowed me to see Joey one more time, his body, and I asked them
to please tuck his childhood blankie under his arm to be cremated with. He kept that blankie
all his life, and never let it go. They allowed that, and again, it was my spirit speaking, not my
body. I knew. I knew what had to be done. Symbolically, Joey had to be buried with his father.
I sat through the funeral services, in the days that came, in another fog, with disbelief that
I could cry so much and not have a fucking heart attack from it all. I cried til doomsday, and then
cried even more. The ladies who ran the church aftermath, the swirls of post funereal dining, were
wondering what to serve.
Again, my spirit spoke..."There are hundreds of cookies I baked in my freezer..they were for
Christmas, but you can use them to feed people after the funeral"..
I had baked all those cookies for a day full of joy, and they ended up being eaten by people
at my son's funeral after service. I swore that day I would never bake a cookie again. Ever.
I have kept my word to myself.
I immediately informed my other children that there would be no Christmas that year. I
pulled down the lights outside, the tree, the presents, all was lost and forgotten. No Holidays.
I demanded, after the funeral, that we take Joey's ashes to the cemetery in Ill. We did, and I
KNEW that had to be done. My spirit was yelling now....I was insane but I knew what had to
My oldest son, married, and with a grandchild on the way, took me to see a psychiatrist
in Grand Rapids. The shrink took one look at me and demanded I be put into the hospital.
Again, my spirit arose and I defied his orders. "NO, I will go to my oldest son's home and
that will be it." I was now surrounded with not only a misty foggy barely functioning body, but
I was given heavy doses of Seroquel to allow me to function at the most minimal levels.
I slept. and slept. and slept. at my son's home, on a mattress on the floor. My son was worried,
but I slept. I barely got up. It was too much to even pretend to be alive. My body was my curse.
Nonetheless, my tenderness for my oldest son surfaced. I could see that he had not yet begun
to grieve his little brother, and it was time to leave his home, and go back to mine.
I dreaded the thought of it. I knew I would lay for years on my couch, years, crying. This
was not a husband, or a parent. This was my heart of hearts, my child. This was, I believed
at the time, impossible to do..impossible to survive.
The spirit, what can I say about the spirit? She, whomever SHE is, takes over. She moves
the body from point A to point B. She covered me in blankets when I returned to my home, when
all of the friends and family had left, when the days were long and I clumsily fed the pets or did
laundry, the Spirit ran my show, not my mind, my mind was destroyed. It fumbled through old files
, files filled with guilt and horror that I did not save my son from death, could not save my child,
old files I thought I had deleted were amassing in my head screaming that I was a terrible
mother, and my crying was endless, endless, endless.
Spirit took it upon herself to take over. I had lost my mind. Only Spirit, that unexplainable
phenomenon , could animate me into the Mystery again, this time, the most painfilled scenario,
infinitely harder than any other 'death' I had experienced.
Spirit started throwing things at me. Go to the Art store. Buy 3 huge canvases. Now, paint the
Universe. Spirit screamed at me, paint the stars.
My oldest son was kind enough to drive me to the Art supply store, where I purchased 3 huge
canvases and immediately began to paint.
Art had been my only outlet since I was a child, and now I was intent on painting the impossible.
I would paint the Universe, and find my son.
Go find your son, Spirit screamed at me. Go find your son.
I was angry. I told god, whatever god was to me at the time, that I would NOT lose my son
in some vast unexplainable void of Infinity. No, sir, I would NOT. I will paint your huge Universe,
I will fixate on every star, I will find him and you will not get to keep him from me.
I sat for days, point after point after point of light, brush tip after brush tip, each star it seemed
was my son, I would find him in there somewhere...
The canvases were huge, and I did not stop. I would achieve the impossible by challenging
the god who took my son by painting it's Universe. I would find my son.
Funny thing is, my words came back to haunt me . "Look for me in everything, I will be in
everything" I had told Joey, referring to my own bodily demise. Now I had to look for Joey.
People often mention "The Veil", the imaginary cover that separates this reality from Infinity, that
narrows us down to the five senses of the body, that keeps us from the All, the One, the Love that we
all are. I thought I had been prepped to understand Death in all it's forms, but I was as ignorant as a
newborn child when it came to my son's physical demise. "Death" . I had to start all over.
At first, I reached out to grab the veil by it's handle and yank it. I banged on the gates and screamed.
I would sit for hours, pen in hand, the quiet CD playing soft Tibetian bell music in my ears, my eyes
closed and I would wait for my son to write to me.
Little did I know that he would.
I had never tried automatic writing. I knew, as an artist, that when I painted somehow 'spirit'
would take over the brush, and I was painting in a timeless place, where hours seemed like minutes.
I thought...if you can paint like that, you can let Spirit take your hand and ask your son to come
through and write to you.
I had nothing more to lose. I felt I had lost it all. Time, Spirit says, to dive in and Find Joey.
The first mornings I spent , weeks actually, were spent sitting with paper in hand, allowing
myself to be hypnotized by the Tibetian bells, and allowing my right hand to grow limp on
the paper sitting on my lap. I was unsure of what I was doing, I was still skeptical, a huge skeptic,
about my own abilities to find my son.
But I could feel myself, eyes closed, beginning to write, and in my mind the writing seemed like
it was monstrously huge. Large words like "GOD! GOD!GOD! LOVE!LOVE ! LOVE! INFINITY!
INFINITY!" felt as tho they were slipping through my arm, my hand, and onto the paper. In my
mind's eye, I felt the letters, the words, the voice of excitement and awe that came to me...as though
Joey were screaming with delight at his newfound Home...I cried as I heard it, was it real? Was Joey
screaming at me that he was in the Light of Home, was he creating these infinity symbols, what was
I doing? I looked down at the paper and saw that the writing on the paper was small. How could the
writing in my mind look so large? I asked him over, and over, are you happy?? over and over, I asked,
and then, one day, out of the blue, the words came "I 'M WITH DAD!!"
I was amazed at this...such small words on paper, but such huge words in my mind. Perhaps 3
dimensional paper could not explain itself as easily as the writing in my own mind, where one goes
to diminish the veil and allow for the download from the Source of All That Is.
I was fumbling, trying to tear open the very Cosmos, when one day I found the sketch that
Joey had drawn of Isabelle Allende, when he was recuperating at my home. I pondered, and
wondered...why did he sketch this? I know that Joey knew I would certainly look into this
odd phenomenon, so I went online and found Isabelle Allende's website. I thought, what the hell,
I am going to send her an email and ask her why...why would my son sketch her picture, what
reason was there behind this? I sent the email to her, and explained everything to her in detail.
I expected nothing back.
But, the next day, Isabelle Allende wrote back to me, and asked me about Joey. She wanted
the details of his sketch, and I sent the picture to her. She informed me that her own daughter,
Paula, had just recently passed on , a 23 year old, the same age as Joey, and she told me she had
written a book called "Paula" to describe the 'letting go' of her daughter, who was on life support
for over a year, and the shared 'death' experience her daughter took her on, into the world of heaven,
where Ms Allende needed to visit, to let her daughter go.
I knew at that moment, that Joey's spirit, even when in his body, was preparing me for my
conversations with Ms Allende, to help me let go..to know I was not alone in this journey,
to receive the book "Paula" from Isabelle Allende, who gratefully sent it to help me to heal.
Joey's spirit was working overtime. Even before he left his body.
I was, at this point, called by one of my friends in California, also. A woman I had known for
decades, herself a shaman, if that is the right word to describe someone who can see beyond
the veil since the day she was born. She and I had experienced magical things together, and many
visions when we travelled together in the 90s. She called me, out of the blue, from Santa Barbara.
"Marianne, for gods sake get your butt out here to Santa Barbara, your son is here and he wants
me to help you.."
I had not yet told her that Joey had passed over.
I bought the first plane ticket I could and ran to Santa Barbara.
It was during this time of painting canvases full of stars, receiving messages from Isabelle Allende,
putting two and two together, that I was finally beginning to believe that the "veil" was thinning most
graciously, as I looked for my son.
I was greeted in CA by my friend who insisted I was a mess, a veritable mess, and wanted me to
"get grounded". Her solution was to have 3 shamans ground me, as they told me my spirit was all
over the Universe searching for my son. I took her up on it..again, I trusted her insight and besides,
Joey had asked her to help me.
Mind you, my friend was always able to 'hear' the 'other side', even see them, since childhood,
so she was very careful, she said, to be mindful not to allow some spirits to 'come inside' her. It
was one of her fears, to channel anyone, and yet...when she saw me, and heard Joey consistently
speaking to her about helping me cope, she decided, for the first time in her life, to allow Joey to
channel through her.
I was amazed she even did that. Talk about a good friend. facing her own fears of this, she allowed
herself to be swept into a trance. I watched her, this usually quiet and sane woman, who did not curse
or swear, suddenly change before my very eyes.
"Mom!" she yelled from within her trance "MOM! fuck! Mom!! Im fine!!!! Im so fucking fine!! Quit
worrying about me!!! Stop painting so many stars!! MOM!! I AM IN EVERY STAR!!"..... Joey was
literally screaming through her body telling me to lighten up, live life, he was fine, dont take
this life on earth seriously. It was NOT my quiet friend Suzan talking. I know Joey when I hear him.
After Suzan came out of her trance she seemed amazed at his energy. "Oh my god, Marianne, your
son cusses a lot!! But let me tell you this..he is the Party of the Universe!!"...she was amazed at him,
the energy, the demands made of me that I lighten up and LIVE and LOVE.
And to this day, I cannot thank her enough for overcoming her fear of channeling him. She
did me a solid, as they say.
Now that I was beginning to realize that Joey was more alive then ever, even though I was still
grieving him as I knew him in body, I was being hit from all sides with gifts. I traveled to Joshua
Tree National Park and sat for days in the desert. Just sat and smoked cigarettes.
I came home with a new appreciation that perhaps,,,,just perhaps....I could find other ways to
communicate with my son and find him.
While in California, I had a vision of my new grandson who was merely a fetus at the time, but
I saw him as an 8 yr old, wearing a striped blue checkered shirt, with beige pants, and his mother was
wearing a white dress, his father,. (my oldest son) wearing a tie and the 3 of them were laughing and
holding hands as they danced up some brilliant white stairs..
"Had a vision of your grandson?" my friend asked. I had, indeed. And later on, 8 yrs later, my oldest
son posted a picture of exactly what I saw.
I find it to be no coincidence that my grandson was to be born right after his Uncle Joey had
crossed over into the light. I had to stay 'here' for him. He was the gift to the family to keep on
By now I was addicted to reading the pages of near death experiencers. I needed to read their
stories, and what had happened to them. I met Anita Moorjani on www.nderf.org, where I asked her
about my son.
"He is closer to you now then ever when he was using his body" she explained to me. This was
before she became beloved by many with her book, Dying to Be Me.
I gained much insight into the process of Death, now my constant companion in every aspect
of be-ing, by reading hundreds of accounts of people who died, and came back to speak of it.
My own son, my oldest, a skeptic himself, was visited by Joey in a "dream that was realer than
reality"..as he explained it. Joey came and described to him, in detail, how he 'died'. He had invited
an acquaintance over, who just happened to have methadone and alcohol with him. This person
and Joey ingested it, thinking it would be safe. Joey, whose body was clean, stopped breathing
after he fell asleep from it. He told his brother he just fell asleep, and then woke up 'in a quiet
dark, and peaceful place....."I thought I would wake up on my couch, with my computer on my lap,
and I had just taken a shower...I was surprised to feel myself rushing like I was in a wind tunnel, and
then I stopped.." he spoke to his brother, who was angry at Joey, to calm his anger.."I wasn't sure
where I was, but then...I saw Dad..and he reached his hand out to me and said ' Come on, son'. "
Joey told Bobby there was NO. WAY. he was coming back. "It's wayyyyyyy better here!!" and altho
it might hurt the family, he was staying with his dad.
Bobby said Joey 'looked like he was covered in pixie dust.'..and Bobby, his older brother, described
in detail what only I saw, which I never mentioned to Bobby, when I found Joey's body.
Joey knew I wanted details. I got details. Bobby had no idea Joey had just showered, or was on
his computer at the time. I did. I found him.
Around this time Joey was also visiting his brother Mike, a diehard skeptic to this day. Nonetheless,
he informed Mike that he should not be afraid of 'Death'..."That's when the FUN begins.."
Joey was living up to his moniker "Party of the Universe".
I was not receiving these dreams. Joey was and is wise enough to know he can go to others, with
details, and I will then find them credible.
My next huge leap came when I decided I needed to not only READ about near death experiences,
but I needed to MEET these people......as many as I could..I remembered the man who 'left
his body' when my husband 'died'. I needed to KNOW these people, hold their hands, visit with them,
SEE and FEEL with them.
In 2011 I attended the International Association of Near Death Studies conference. I had to meet
them, I had to know the LOVE my son was in. Despite Joey's insistence to my brother, his brothers,
and other people that he was okay, I was not yet certain of it.
At first, within the first 2 years after Joey crossed into the light, I researched faithfully
until I found a medium that I could trust. I chose George Anderson, who I felt was a humble
and honest man. My hunch paid off when I had him call me, and the skeptic in me used a false
name and phone number. I was not taking any chances. I wanted truth.
Joey, of course, came through to Mr. Anderson like gangbusters, including his name. He
described the hellish experiences of his drug addiction, the horror I experienced and how it sucked
my energy dry trying to save him, his assurance to me that he was with his father and not to worry
about him. Mr. Anderson went on and on. All I had to answer was yes. or no. I gave him no
information. Mr Anderson read for me twice, and I knew I had chosen the right medium for those
early years, as I sobbed on the phone listening to Joey's reassurances, via Mr Anderson, that my
son was in the throes of Love and Bliss.
Nonetheless, I needed more. I needed to talk to these everyday people who actually died, or their
bodies died, and came back.
So I left, in 2011, to speak with them for a week at their conference. I went in with no expectations,'
but I came back with complete and utter KNOWING that my son was HOME. I was realizing it was
ME who had not awakened. Joey was awake. I was still sleeping in this dream.
I was still riding the roller coaster of emotions well into the first few years after Joey left his
his body behind, and my anger was overtaking me daily, my patience with "god", or the "Source"
as I now call it, was gone.
I stood in my living room and screamed at this god thing. "Why!!?? Where is my son!!
Who is my son now!!? Where is he!!"
Suddenly a voice, inside, came to me and spoke, and was benevolent and reassuring. It merely
said "Find out who YOU really are, and you will know your son."
This was, then, again the challenge I had dealt with ..those long years after widowhood, my
diving into books and lectures and sacred texts...my need to redefine god, redefine who and what
"I" was. But this time it had a sense of tremendous urgency, a calling that I had to destroy my
"self" even more, a choice, finally, to discover that "Spirit" that ran my show, that picked
up the pieces of "me" and was Infinite. I had to find her , and let GO. And put her back in charge.
I had to surrender to her.
The International Association of Near Death Experiencers was a conference, held every year, where
people of every stripe came to meet and discuss their own experiences, having actually had their
bodies die, and having been released from their bodies, they realized they ARE truly infinite spirit...
I arrived at the hotel in VA one day early, and was immediately aware that synchronicity was
in play. The first person I met on the elevator was PMH Atwater, herself a near death experiencer,
many time over, and a powerhouse of energy as I felt her standing next to me. The grin on her
face was wide, and loving, and she asked me why I was attending the conference. I told her about
my son and she immediately slam dunked "OH! Dont't worry about him!! He's In Joy!"
Her instant remark was refreshing..I was elated. I had read her books and thanked her for them.
The rest of the week at the conference slipped by , and I was high on the vibration of the people
who attended. A whirlwind of people, all centered on the same truths....that there is no death..
That there is no death. I felt like dancing.
I was a bit aggressive when I would encounter people who had died and come back to their
bodies. I would sit in the front of the hotel lobby and seek them out. Oddly enough, and
surprisingly enough, they were delighted to tell me their stories. People held my hands, and
cried with tears of Joy streaming down their faces as they told me their stories..stories of going
to a magnificent light after their hearts had stopped, after their cars had crashed, after their bodies
had died. A light so bright that nothing in three dimensions can compare to it. It infused them, and
they themselves realized that the light WAS LOVE. A love, indescribable, a love that permeated
the universe, a LOVE that was underlying all things, Infinite, benevolent, kind. I soaked up their
stories like a sponge. I wanted them to be specific. I was a mother, still, and had to know how my
son was. I was never disappointed. Even the speakers at the conference, many of them medical
personnel, doctors, theoretical quantum physicists, and everyday people who had experienced
what we call "The Extraordinary", were one by one feeding my spirit, raising it higher and higher
as I realized that my son , Joey, was still not only ALIVE but that , if I wanted to, I could
communicate with him anytime. "He is just vibrating at a higher frequency than you are, Marianne"
And yet, with all of these wonderful people surrounding me, I felt 'Marianne' had lifted and the veil
of 'separation' from my son was indeed, very thin.
Within that week I met a woman who had left her body during a car crash..she was exactly who
I needed to meet, a 'down to earth' woman whose story was an eye opener. I asked her, as simply
as I could, "Were you STILL you when you popped out of your body?"
She answered with a laugh. "Why YES, I was still me!! I was a MAGNIFICENT VERSION
She even told me that when she re-entered her body, it was like "trying to shove an elephant
into a Coke can".....the visual concept of that resonated with me. Were we that magnificent?? Was
I that magnificent??? My childhood upbringing had told me I was a sinner, a wretch, a non divine
bit of flotsam and jetsam only saved by the death of a guy on a cross.
Yet here I was, not only discovering the immense beauty that my son was now in, but also
discovering I myself was a divine being, first, merely living out a short movie in three dimensions,
merely a body that had just forgotten , an amnesiac who was finally waking up to her own personal
Ultra Awesome Gigantic REAL spirit that she was.
My friend laughed at my questions. She gently explained to me that this dimension, this 3D
place, was not real. It was a thick dimension, where space and time collaborated to slow..down...
the frequency of 'things', that materialistic viewpoint so embedded in so many people who were
still sleeping in the idea that this was reality...No, she insisted, this was not the real reality....This
was a dream state, and your spirit is dreaming it up.
"You wrote the script before you were born into this body called 'Marianne..."
And when that body leaves the stage, we all meet together at the party. Home. Love.
The REAL place . A place I was told, by many of the near death experiencers, was where we
originated, and will return to. Our bodies were nothing more then caricatures, costumes, props.
The real me, is beyond description. What little was described to me was that I was a Magnanimous
SOUL attached to every other SOUL and we were nothing more than individual aspects of
No worries about your son, they hastened to tell me. Their stories were told to me, face on,
as I held their hands at the conference and felt their love. These people were real as real could
be in this world. They had traveled, some of them , thousands of miles to be in this room with
me, none of us strangers, as we all sought or had found an absolute truth.
There is no such thing as death.
I remembered the man who , when my husband passed over, who told me about himself
leaving his body. I thought of how far I had come from that day, as I was now sitting with
hundreds of people, like him, who had left their bodies, only to return with stories of love.
I was finally dropping my skeptical demeanor. I was finally surrendering to the realization
that my son Joey was more alive than ever. I, however, was still asleep.
I wanted to wake up.
I was still painting. My huge canvases of stars were finished, and when I look back at the
tremendous pain of those first years I see a woman , as I also painted self portraits, who was in
agony. She was not alive, her pain had destroyed any smile or joy that may have remained in her.
As an ex catholic, it was not hard to paint myself as a Madonna, only she was truly Our Lady of
Sorrows, a woman caught up in her own crown of thorns, or lying in a fetal position for days on end.
She lay in a womb, in those paintings, wishing she could somehow arise from that place. I
have since packed those paintings in a closet, too painful to bear now, and I use them to remind
myself , how far I have come.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- However, as Joey told me at the beginning....Mom, I am in every star!!! So slowly but strangely,
I saw myself now painting flowers. Flowers, flowers, and more flowers. I was caught up in some
bloom, some opening of my own heart's breath, some gigantic leap had occurred that was painting
flowers....why ? why flowers?? Was I blossoming in some strange way, now that I had HOPE, finally,
that my son was alive and was I learning, finally, that I could live again, even with this heavy body,
was I learning to open to even a minisecond of the LOVE I finally KNEW my son was in?
How odd, I realized. I have had these marvelous gifts...all along...I have Synesthesia, have had it
my entire life, have always seen colours in numbers, letters, and when I paint , I have always been able
to "feel" three dimensions on a two dimensional surface.
I had been able to contact Joey through a medium, through automatic writing, at the beginning..
Why could I not believe enough in myself, as a Massive Spirit, already imbibed with gifts of the Soul?
I had been drawing since I was a small child, and it was my saviour throughout my entire existence, why
had I not noticed before that if I could channel my own soul, why in the world could I not channel my
son? Who told me I could not? My egoic conditioning, my catholic upbringing, my doubts, all had to
be scrubbed clean, as I saw my paintings begin to morph, and realized, everything, everything I had
ever painted was merely a self portrait of my own soul.
During this time, I received many phone calls or emails from friends...that Joey had come to them in
dreams, that he looked wonderful, that he was having a blast. It made sense now, he truly was the "Party
of the Universe" as my friend in Santa Barbara called him.
I have always been a rebel. Tell me I cannot contact my son in spirit and BY GOD I will contact him.
and I did.
(All this time, Joey had been coming to other people and telling them "TELL MY MOM TO STOP
WORRYING ABOUT ME!")
But there was no stopping me now.
The Monroe Institute
I had used Tibetian Bells at the beginning of my quest, my search for my son. It did not take him long
to get through, altho my skepticism didn't believe myself when he kept screaming in Joy that he was with
GOD! INFINITY! LOVE!!......oh, I wanted to believe myself.
And I had heard of the Monroe Institute from a friend..a lovely woman I met at the conference..she told
me of course I could meditate..
Anyone can. We are just a radio, really. The Source is constantly downloading information to us, but
we are only on one channel. The brain filters out the other channels. I needed to change the channel. I
know that now, I just did not know HOW to do it.
There is something to be said for tenacity on my part. I was going to the Monroe Institute, and by GOD
I was going to find my son.
My son had told George Anderson, the medium, that "My mom is trying to break down the gates
of heaven". He was quite jovial about it, as though I was pounding my fists trying to tear away the
Maya of Illusion that , at the time, I thought separated us .
Well, I told my son in my own mind, you are damned right about that!! I will tear down the gates
and I will find you.
You are my heart, buddy.
There are times, when I am alone, and I can feel the benevolent spirits around me, like gentle
parents, who shake their heads with a smile, while they watch me fumble through this movie I am
in, when they see me throw tantrums like a small child..and they are ever loving, ever there, always
waiting for me to lighten up.
Joey's words to me one morning as I awoke were to "Lighten UP Ma!! You take that place too
seriously!!" he came to his brother Mike and told him the same thing.
This movie I am in, called "Marianne", must be so miniscule to spirit. so TIny, so short.
I have to keep reminding myself of that. It is the Muddy dimension, as one of my NDE friends called
Leaving my Body.
I signed up for the Gateway Voyage at the Monroe Institute, an ashram, in a sense, indeed, and they
even have ashtrays. Of course, I was the only participant who smoked, but I appreciated the place
the minute I arrived there. It was not new agey, indeed, it was a lightness of being to walk into the
place, where I was told I would be housed in a cubicle bed, with earphones, in a room where I could..
I had researched Bob Monroe...I knew he had discovered the immense power of binaural beats..
That is, 4 beats per second, and how it transfixed and changed the way the brain processes
consciousness. Okay then! I needed to change my channel! I jumped in with both feet, not looking
I went there, of course, with NO expectations. I expected only a glass of water.
Instead, I got a firehose.
I was not sure what to 'expect' when I laid down in my darkened cubicle at the Monroe
Institute. My ideas of 'meditation' had changed, I certainly did not only think of meditation as
some bevy of Buddhist monks in trances anymore, and I knew that prayer beads, rosaries,
painting, crocheting, all were focus points where time lost it's meaning, and one could bypass
time and center in the moment. I did NOT know how powerful binaural beats were. I found
out pretty quickly.
I was intent , within my dark cubicle, my earphones on, to adjust my body into a position
of bodily death. I lay there, quite serious about it all, and folded my arms across my chest
as though I were laid out in a casket. Bring it on, I thought. Bring it on.
One thing I have learned, not only from my NDE friends, but from Joey himself, is that
the Universe, the Source, that which HoTi represents as a symbol, is that , well, whatever
'god' is has a great sense of humour. My one NDE friend told me "The closest you can GET
to 'god' in three dimensions is inexhaustible laughter, like a child.."
So, there I am, seriously arranging my body into a coffin like appearance, and the minute the
binaural beats begin in my ears, I suddenly see someone's hand (my eyes are closed..dead), lay
a LILY on my chest....laughingly, making fun of my serious attempt to be a corpse...
Yes, someone laid a spiritual LILY on my chest and I suddenly realized they thought my
"corpse pose" was funny. 'They' being whatever spirits were with me at the time. I could feel
It did not take long at all, as the binaural beats grew and grew, for me to pop right out...zip, zang
pop. I was floating in a sea of stars. I was like a spinning planet and the whole of the Universe with
every star around me was ..well...smiling...I could see Joey's face to the left of it all, he was
laughing with glee...Oh My God..I kept myself still....was this really happening...It was the first time
I had been in the cubicle and I am handed the most beautiful stars, I am floating in them like a
dream and my son is here...I had NO idea this would happen..
I quickly asked Joey..."Oh my god, sweetie!! Oh my god, please please show me who I really
am, not that Marianne person but please show me who I REALLY am...."
Joey laughed and showed me a mirror. I saw Marianne, in her body. He laughed. I said "No!
No!! you are jesting with me!! Show me who I really am!!"
And, indeed, he was playing with me, but he finally said "I will show you a small aspect of
yourself, there's a lot of them, but I will show you one..."
I then saw the most beautiful, flitting, flying dark creature, a spirit dancing, in the stars..she was
lighter than air, and flitted like a song on the wind, and then...I saw her stop...and through the top
of her head a blue, blue bright light appeared, and it slammed itself through her head and went down
her spine and I could see this brilliant light , lighting up every filament of her being..I saw it, and
it was an aspect of me!! I thanked Joey and told him I loved him so much, and as I floated for what
seemed like hours,but was only 30 minutes, I could not wait to return to my dark, quiet, cubicle every
day. I would consistently pop out of myself and float. In stars. Every day. One time I decided to
try opening my eyes of my thick body.....
Flabbergasted, I discovered I was STILL floating in a sea of stars. I asked the facilitator at the
Institute, later, if they used trick lighting in the cubicle..
He laughed. "No" he told me "You were and are floating in that sea of stars..."
I had no idea I was capable of any of this..and I realized....yes, Marianne, you were and are
able to not only meditate, but that little screen in the middle of your forehead can travel anywhere.
And I had found, as far as I was concerned, the Holy Grail.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------For a week I learned, thanks to those binaural beats, that I could meditate. I would share my
"cubicle adventures" with other participants in the program, one of whom became a grand
friend. Everyone meets a friend like that, someone who you just KNOW that you have known
forever, at every level of being, and he shared his meditation moments with me, also. His face,
when I first met him and told him my son had crossed over, was stricken, and tears welled
up in his eyes. His empathy was kind, and I knew Joey had sent him , Spirit had sent him, as
a gift , someone who Joey would visit any number of times later on in my short 'life' here.
So many visits from Joey, and all of them, as I sank down into Theta waves and floated
out to greet the multiverse. Joey's consistent remarks were that I not take the world I think
I am in seriously , at all. He was finer than fine, happier than happy, and he had chosen to
stay with his Dad.
There is something to be said about the verse "Where two or more of you are gathered, I
will be there.."...and , indeed, the whole experience at the Monroe Institute was a gathering
of many people, all diving head first into their own personal oceans , all not afraid of running
into their true selves, or, as in my case, even a small aspect of my 'self'.
As a child, I used to have dreams of flying, dreams that showed up in my forehead, where
a small screen would arise, and I recall quite vividly a night dream where I flew into a mirror,
passed through the mirror, and discovered an infinite number of bedrooms, resting places, all
coloured in different hues and decorated with comfort.
It hit me, at the Monroe Institute, that this gift I had received from them, this ability to fly
into the infinity of stars, was something I had known I could do all along. My childhood
had known it, but my religion had constrained it, shackled it, held me back. I was re-
discovering what I had known as a child.
Perhaps that is why there is the other verse ..You must be a child to enter the kingdom of
heaven that is within you....
I was on cloud nine....quite literally, the whole time at the Monroe meditation centre.
Filled with this , now, knowing I could leave "Marianne" behind , in her lily covered coffin,
I came back to my home and would not even remove the earphones I wore, listening to the
meditation CD's of Bob Monroe, and singing the praises of the experiences to friends who
were a bit taken aback by my statements. I wanted EVERYONE to know they could LEAVE
this world behind, and travel to the stars.
Anger, Guilt, Joey.
Grief is still and always will be, a ride....I call it riding the tiger... You hold on to the tiger's
neck and just hope you don't fall off. I rode a massively huge tiger, who would pause and
allow me to drink some water, or take a nap along the way.
Despite all of my, our, visits from Joey, despite his statements to me to lighten up, I was still
angry, remorseful, and guilty.
My first anger, initially, was at god, whomever that is, (I know it's something very very good),
and also at the young man who brought those drugs to my son that night when he crossed over.
I was sitting on my couch, blankets wrapped around my fetal self, kleenex on the ready at
all times for tears, and I held my hand to my heart. I could 'feel' Joey telling me, do not be angry
at this man. Anger will overtake you, and where I am, MOM, there is no anger.
I realized the angrier I was, the less chance I had to be close to my son. That was my thought
process at the time.
So, I forgave the young man. I put my hand over my heart and told him, it's okay. And I had to
Let Go of it. Let Go of the Blame.
Blaming and Shaming were so deeply embedded into me from early on, just downloads from
a religion that relished in suffering , blaming, shaming, and sin.
I knew I had to remove, as best I could, those ideas from my thoughts, and replace them with
acceptance, even....yeah...surrender. Surrender has been my BIG lesson. You would think
I had reached it by now. I can tell you, straight up, that on this day I write this , I am still
struggling and wrestling with surrender and acceptance.
But, indeed, I had to let go of my anger at the young man who brought my son drugs
and alcohol that night.
And, as synchronicity would arrive that very week, my brother John called me and
told me that Joey had come to him and verbally chastised him about HIS anger. My
brother John was ready to drive up to my home and go seek out this young man who had
been with my son that night, and was intent on strangling him, to put it mildly.
But, as John told me, with a feeling of absolute AWE in his voice, Joey had come
to him in a dream and said "DROP IT! drop the anger. Now. Just drop it."
John was , as was I, at the time, amazed and perplexed. Joey looked quite frisky,
happy, 'as though he had just come from a bout of surfing waves' , my brother told
But of course, I imagined. Joey can now create his own realities with a flip of
a switch, just a thought, and wham, he was there.
So, he IS still sailing the seven seas, I discovered. Only this time, it was the Seas
of Infinite Possibilities.
Sure, he was still Joey....but he was that Magnificent Joey now. No pain, no anger,
no blame, no shame, just pure laughter and love. His truest self.
My guilt carried on, however. Even after my meditation center, after meeting with near
death experiencers, after all of it, after mediums, and holy books and massive realizations,
my guilt was still attacking me with what if...should have....would have....
I could see this guilt was an old byproduct of my catholic upbringing, and I had no
idea how to destroy it. I kept telling myself...Marianne, you did the best you could, at
the time, with what information you had. I had to constantly remind myself of this, until
one day , I ran across a near death experience online that finally laid my guilt to rest.
A young woman wrote about her own experience of dying, and waking her own body
up in the morgue.
I read that twice.
She WOKE HER OWN BODY UP, AND RETURNED TO IT IN THE MORGUE.
That is when it hit me, like a thunderbolt.
Joey, now in all his Glorious Self, could have stayed. He was, and is, that Spirit so Great
that his CHOICE, as he told his brother Bobby, early on, was that he CHOSE to stay with his
Chagrined, I realized , finally, that Joey's spiritual journey and CHOICE , were none of my
business. That HE had made the choice to stay. And no matter what I had said or not said, done
or not done, Joey chose his own path. It was arrogance for me to think I had any choice in HIS
journey. I did not.
With that newfound realization that we are SO powerful that we can actually reactivate our body,
even in the morgue, I let go of the guilt that had eaten away at me for all those years.
The huge lesson, of course, is that I have to get OUT of the way of the spiritual journey of
everyone I love, and let them make their choices, as painful as I may see them, even my other
two sons who still inhabit bodies, I have NO control over their outcomes in their lives here.
Still learning this lesson, to this day.
Joey's visits come out of the blue, of course, and their timing is always perfect. He does not
come to me in dreams as much as he does to others. A year or so ago, he visited my meditation
friend from the Monroe Institute. My friend wrote to me and was amazed by Joey's visit to him.
"Yes" he told me "Your son came to me. I was at the theater, about to watch a movie, and decided
to close my eyes and meditate for a minute or so before the movie started..."
My friend lives in Rio , and has never met Joey in his body. He describes him quite well,
however. Joey laughing, always.
"Your son came to me , Marianne, and told me to LOOK for a word in the movie I was
about to see....and I asked your son....what do you mean? There are thousands of words in
a movie...but your son Joey insisted I look for that word..and then, Marianne, your son did
the oddest thing...he showed me a whole page filled with spaceships...hundreds of them..and he
laughed, and his last words to me were 'Tell my mom not to worry about me'..."
I was again, amazed, as I always am, when Joey comes to people and provides me with
a TREASURE trove of information, Joey knowing Full Well that I would run with it and discover
what he meant.
The 'word', my friend discovered in the movie he watched , was "Excelsior." he wrote to me
and described how that 'word' kept popping up in the movie. "As for the hundreds of space
ships? " my friend , perplexed at Joey's visit "I have NO idea what that means!!"
Of course, Joey knew me, KNOWS me well enough that I would seek out what this
meant, and I immediately turned to Google, of all places, typing "Excelsior" into my
search engine, only I knew, deep inside, he was talking about himself..."I am traveling
at warp speed, Mom!" upwards and onwards, as it felt more and more the 'word'
describing itself to me. But what about those spaceships? That made no sense to either
me, or my friend. Then it hit me. Type 'Excelsior' into Google and press 'images'.
WHAM! There is was. A whole page full of images of spaceships. I hurriedly told
my friend. "Oh my , " he said "You found the spaceships Joey showed me in the visit."
Joey knew I would find them. I could feel him laughing as mom solved yet another
one of his puzzles he was sending to people.
My brother John calls me, on occasion, to let me know that "Joey has been teaching
me to fly.." My brother is disabled, and cannot move around very well. Nonetheless, Joey
has been helping John leave his body, and John describes it as a gentle waving journey, 'not
like Superman flying',, but more like a soft surge where one is carried on the wind. "But you
should see the places he takes me!" says my disabled brother.
And Joey is not done with him. "Joey always looks so healthy...and happy..with that
sideways grin he always had!" At this point my brother is just one of the many many people
that Joey has helped.
Recently, my other brother, Andy, called me and told me that his wife was experiencing
deep pain in her lower back. We were all concerned, and we loved his wife dearly, a truly
kind and gentle woman, who is much younger than I am. I asked my friend in Rio, to whom
Joey so easily visits, if he could go into meditation state and ask Joey about my sister in law
and her health.
"Of course I will", my friend stated.
A few days later, my friend wrote to me. "I contacted Joey..or, well, he did come to me and
he told me to let you all know that your sister in law MUST look at her neck..he kept going on
and on about her pain in her neck..I have no idea what he means..he just urgently kept talking
about her neck..."
I took my friend's words from Joey and called my brother Andy, and told him "Check your
wife's neck. Joey says so."
My brother was surprised..."But she has no neck pain."
I insisted. "Check her neck." After all, Joey was and is in the Source, the Knowing, the Place
where Truth is and always has been.
My brother took his wife in to get an MRI..not only on her lower back, but also her neck.
Her neck was found to be covered with cancerous tumours, so many, in fact, they had to
perform surgery as soon as possible before the tumours cut off her spinal nerve at C4, where
she would have stopped breathing.
I always 'know' that Joey knows the truth. I get angry, to this day, that he comes so easily
to my brother John, or , just recently , to children.
A year or so ago, I was watching my 9 yr old grandson at my home. We always have
delightful visits, and he knows about his Uncle Joey who, I told him, watches over him like
an angel every minute of the day. My grandson woke up one morning and nonchalantly sat down
to watch early morning cartoons. As I fixed breakfast for him, he stated to me, ever so easily,
"Gramma...I had a dream.." I smiled, assuming his dream was silly, filled with cartoons and
video creatures...but, no....he then, (again, nonchalantly), stated that "Uncle Joey came to me."
I stopped in my tracks and went straight to him, and sat down.
"Uncle Joey came to you?"
"yes, Gramma. he came and told me he would make sure I had the best life EVER."
My grandson was born a few months after my son Joey had crossed over. My grandson was
like a Golden Child to me, a reason to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Then, I simply asked my grandson..."What did Uncle Joey look like?"
I assumed, at the time, he would describe his Uncle Joey as many others had that
Joey had visited, or from pictures he had seen of his Uncle Joey.
But, instead, (as Joey would have it) , my grandson said quite simply..
"Well, Gramma....he looked like a white shining light..like a reaaallly white shining light.."
I was shocked. NO one had ever used this terminology around my grandson.
I then asked him "How did you know it was Uncle Joey?"
He smiled at me and said "Oh I just KNEW it was him. Can I have my breakfast now?"
Out of the mouth of babes.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------References to Joey's visits to people and my utter amazement when they tell me, as I am ALWAYS
amazed at him, brings me back to a story of one of my friends, a lady whose son had crossed over in
a car accident. I met her through another lady, who I used to have breakfast with, and I was glad
to finally meet someone in my small town who had also had a son cross over, and I hoped I could
share with her many of the visits I had from my son.
Well, huge mistake on my part. The minute I brought up the subject, she shut down. She
was a local librarian, and a skeptic, and would have nothing to do with such ridiculous
stuff, indeed, she would not speak of her son nor consider the notion of him visiting anyone.
OK. I still met with these women for breakfast, for a year or so, but one week my new friend
was not there.
I was informed that she was in hospital, as she was receiving a heavy round of blood tests,
but she was in no danger, merely a routine round of tests, and I thought nothing of it..
Until one day when I received a phone call from another friend who was out of breath...
"Marianne!!! Guess what!! Her son came to visit her in the hospital!!"
Well,well. My skeptical librarian friend evidently had had her son show up to her.
It didn't take me long to call her that day.
She was quite civil about it all. Yes, she told me, her son stood at the foot of her bed, and
told her "everything is going to be allright, Mom. No worries."
I was confused...I asked her what her son LOOKED like when he appeared to her.
"Oh" she told me quite frankly, "He was as solid as you and me. He was wearing a brown
shirt and blue jeans."
I was still confused, yet excited for her, but what I did not understand was why he would
show up, in such deep material form, and tell her not to worry..about blood tests?
A week later, however, my friend's daughter found her mother's body. She had crossed
over peacefully, at home, from an aneuryism.
"OH!" I realized..."THAT is why her son came to her........."
I stood in my kitchen that day and railed at Joey..."Why don't you show up to me like that?"
I yelled a bit, but then felt the soft pat of laughter surround me, as Joey said, very openly to me
in my mind's heart, "Mom, when I come to you like THAT it will mean it is YOUR time to
GO!"....he laughed and laughed and, indeed, I still can FEEL them , all of them around me,
like a group hug, laughing at my tantrums and angry utterances.
My husband Bob, who was my first husband, was there to take Joey 'across', and, as Joey
told his brother, "Dad put out his hand and said 'Come on, son'..", had come to his sister right after
he passed on, and she told me this story only a year ago, that my husband , her brother, had come
to her as a ball of light, swirling beautifully, "and I knew it was BOB", she told me, as he asked her
to forgive him for some of his behaviours he had exhibited to her when they were children. She knew
it was him, but it was only after he came to visit her that night, that she received the call that he had
passed on. I don't know why she waited til last year to tell me, but all timing is perfect, and so I
believed that I needed to hear that story at the time when I needed it.
Bob came to me,once, in a dream after he had crossed. He was wearing a backpack, and a huge pond
of water lay between us.
"I have to go." he told me.
"I want to come with you!" I yelled.
He just quietly picked up his backpack and smiled. "You can't", he said.
"If you need me, " he spoke to me as he walked away "Think of the sun coming up over
a mountain, and I will be there..."
and that. was that.
Bob has come to his son Bobby, my oldest, and Bobby says his father always is..smiling, but,
his arms crossed, leaning back on a pillar of strength, as the rush of the world moves around
him, he stays still, his energy one of "all is well", as Bobby explained it.
I remember quite well how I lay in my heap of ashes in early grief, saying over and over to
my husband in spirit..."You take our son, now, he is yours..YOU take him and take care of him
now..." I handed Joey over.
I could write, now, about how Joey just recently came to one of his childhood friends, and he showed
up to her as a small child, and she said she ran through the woods with him, both of them laughing..
and then he stopped, and put his hands on her shoulders, and quietly told her "Tell my mother not
to worry about me.."
She JUST told me this story, 3 weeks ago, altho he had visited her back in 2006, and she had NO idea
he had passed on during his visit to her. Why was I hearing this now? She also told me Joey visited
her 9 year old son, who informed his mother one day that he was going to grow up, have three boys,
and name them Bobby, Mike and Joey. She had never mentioned my sons' names to her small son,
but, he knew those names. She showed him a picture of Joey, and he smiled and told her "Yes, he
comes to me all the time in my dreams.."
I am a bereaved parent.
I will not bullshit anyone when I say that every waking moment, every second of my existence
in this place is all about Joey and my quest to KNOW him AS HE IS and learn not to long
and desire him in a 'body' anymore. I have forged a new relationship with him, and I realize
that I had to forge (and am still working on) a new relationship with my real self. It sure as
hell isn't this body I am dragging around.
I am tethered to it, however , and even though I am told by theoretical physicists that I am
99.9 percent empty space when we start searching out quarks and fractals, I still 'feel' the
heaviness of carrying it around, knowing full well my one son is free of his body, and can
fly and create with no strings attached. WHY I am still dragging this body around , I have
Near death experience people tell me "Your work is not done." Joey has come and told
me "Your work is to just be kind to people. It is the little gestures that mean everything, a smile,
opening a door for someone, making someone laugh. You don't have to paint the Sistine
Chapel or discover anything important..all you have to do is be kind."
Is it really that simple, since I still question why I am imagining my body, that my only
reason for be-ing in this state is to be kind. "Start with yourself" 'they' (all of them with
Joey) have told me.
I have 'felt' them, around me, I feel them now as I write. The infinite numbers of family,
parents, husbands, everyone, and Joey right there, in the Party, all of them circling
around me , nudging me on, making me STAY here in this place, be a grandmother, that's
one of the roles YOU chose, and be the best grandmother you can be.
I am still a mess, I will not lie to any mother or father out there that I have shared my
own personal journey with. Yes, I know without a doubt that my son Joey is alive, well,
and Home with his dad and many others are with him.
Yes, he has blasted through the ethers, ripped down the separation, torn down the veil
that I thought separated us when he crossed over...and I dove into the deepest part of the
Infinity Ocean to meet him halfway.
But, to this day, I still fear, I do not yet completely surrender to my story, my myth. I know
I have two other sons in this place, and I still live in fear that another one might leave me
behind. I still see a counselor to help me with panic attacks that rise out of nowhere if I
believe for one second that my other sons might be in danger. I am still, with all that
I know, a control freak who lets her egoic belief she can somehow protect her other children
from whatever outcomes their own spiritual journeys take them on.
I STILL find Marianne stomping her feet, demanding that this experience bring her no
more pain, demanding, even, that my body dies, soon, so I can beat my other 2 sons to the
When I lay down and ask that Source, that God , that Force behind it all, to let me die,
let me leave this body for good...well, they laugh at me. Not a mean laugh, but a gentle eyeroll
as they watch me trying to control my own exit from this place.
How many of us, bereaved parents, are still terrified of going through that pain again? Oh ,
hell, we all are, it seems.
The ONE son I KNOW not to worry about is Joey...which is odd, since I used to worry about
him at the beginning of this all the time. He has since convinced me with determination that HE is
It is my other sons I now watch, and pray, will NOT exit before I do. Maybe I need to pick
up my physics books again and remind myself that there IS NO TIME.
IN MY HEAD , I know that all existence, all manifestations, are occurring at the same moment..
That Marianne is being born at this very moment in 1951, that I have already passed over , that this
really is only me as a light wave on a field of infinite possibilities..
I sometimes joke to friends, who think I am insane, how many 'mariannes' are there?
If she is inhabiting every multiverse overlapping each other, what is she doing
in the other ones??
The star we see in the sky has long since died but we see it's light now. I am that star also,
and who sees my light flickering on from some otherworld, even after it has been turned off.
Joey says I think too much. Yes, perhaps I do. I am never NOT amazed by him when he comes
to people who he KNOWS I will believe, with no doubts. People say "You should know by now
he is okay!"
I remember someone once, when my children were little, someone asked me "what gift can you give
your children to make their lives easier..."
Oddly enough, my answer to them, was..."To die well. To show them it is easy to die."
Joey has become my teacher. I have zero fear of my own bodily demise. Joey showed
me I will die well, and be reborn to a Home I have forgotten. Joey is more a mother to me now,
not a son. He is my wise teacher, who comes right when I need him.
I know he will be the first one to take my hand and say "Come on, Mom" when I finally
let go of that very last breath.
"You will just surf to your son" a woman who had an NDE told me. "You will just surf
to him and you will wake up."
This is not the end of the story, though. It is only a beginning, as I wake up and realize that
there is no ending, and no beginning, and I am with my son, always, and he continues to help me
find the Beautiful Spirit that runs my show, the spirit that stands even now, next to Joey and all
of 'them', and observes this little Marianne until her short movie here is finished.
I had to find my son, and I found so much more. My journey here did ride the tiger, sometimes
I still ride it, holding on for dear life, lest I end up in a pit of fear. I envy those whose fear has
left them, completely. I stood toe to toe with all the goddesses and gods and demanded they open
the doors to where my son was laughingly residing. I found out I could. I discovered laughter, again,
something I had lost for 5 long years after my son crossed. I discovered laughter one day while
watching a video someone had made, and when the laugh came out of me, I hurriedly put my hand
over my mouth, as though I were disrespecting my son. Quite the contrary..I realize now my son
IS pure laughter, and to laugh is to be closer to his and my own true spirit.
Sorrow, as I was taught , was necessary. I know now that sorrow comes from the foundation
of believing that I am only a material body, in a material world. I know that I did NOT know, at
the beginning of my grief over Joey, that the material world is merely a playful white light,
a hologram, an imaginary dream that I was taught , as a child, was reality. I had to suffer to
suffer to suffer until I was sick of suffering. I had to long for my child as he was for a long
time before I would search for who he really IS. To this day, I do not wish to fall into that dark
hole again, where I longed and desired him in his body. I will not look at his pictures, or the many
movies I taped of him as a child or as a man. I will not go there again. The only time I will
reminisce on these films and pictures, will be on my own deathbed. Then, and only then, will
I watch them. I will know him as he is NOW. now.
I have not stopped painting. Joey still surprises me as he takes over my whole body and helps me
paint the Universe, huge, impossibly intricate beauty that he sees, and I know these paintings are
pale versions of his world. I can feel him using my hand in every brushstroke.
I also found myself able to return to comedy, and made youtube videos that make people
laugh. At the beginning of my grief over Joey, I thought I would never laugh again. But, years
later, I found myself creating laughter, laughing at myself, and, in some way, hearing applause
from Joey and all the spirit that surrounds me, that I could still laugh and help others to do so.
My grandson came, as per the usual way Divinity works, right when I needed a baby to hold
and care for. Only a few months after Joey had crossed over, I was watching a small baby, 4 days a
week, as his parents both worked at their jobs. What an odd combination of deep grief, and also
absolute love and delight, as I rocked my grandson and played with him. As I sang the same songs
to him that I had sung to my own children.
I do not doubt that as my grandson was coming to this 'world' here, Joey whispered into his
ear, "That lady is going to really need you now." My grandson and I have a deep relationship, and
to this day I make puppet videos for him to make him laugh.
I recall, a couple of years ago, how furious I was with this three dimensional existence.
Complaining, online, yet again. I always take quantum leaps forward, and then wham, I feel
myself falling into despair.
The phone rang and I answered it. It was one of the near death experiencers I had met. She
saw my whining angry cries about having to continue living in this world, and she flattened me
with some truths.
"Yeah, okay, Marianne..so YOU KNOW it is a hologram, a not real place, but if it is, YOU
created it, YOU have to look for the miracles in it, because it is just as much a part of spirit as
where I went, and where your son is...YOU have to find that in everything around you.."
And my words to Joey "Look for me in everything" came back to slap me into changing
I have spoken with so many grieving parents. I have heard their stories, and understand the anger,
sadness, sorrows, rage, horror, guilt, remorse, and everything that accompanies one during their
long prison sentence they are pretty sure will never end.
I only tell my story because I got tired of suffering. I knew I had to reach out from my broken
idea of my 'self' and go look for my son. I knew, deep down, he was with me the whole time.
I am not out of the woods, yet, I have much much more to say. I still sit on bended knee sometimes
wishing for someone to call me and tell me that Joey has come to them, and for a while, I am
dancing with the angels. I can still sink like a rock, too, and to this day I cannot drive down the
street where he passed over in his apartment.
Go figure. Nonetheless, I write this whole story , Finding JOeY, to help other parents who
are out there, if indeed my own personal journey can help them put. one. foot. in front of the
other, each day, and look for the miracles our children send us.
I EXPECT miracles now. I want them to be the NORM. I am still learning, always will be
learning, to surrender to whatever comes, and TRY not to judge it, but just allow it to come,
discomforting sometimes, but remembering it is happening for the greater good. That all of the
experiences are happening for the greater good, and, that in the end of it all, and in the middle of
it all, and throughout it all, as Joey says................all is well.
Added to my story:
As I was writing this, my brother John was driving his car back from Louisiana to Indiana, and
the traffic was a bit difficult for him to maneuver through. He asked Joey, hey, help me with this.
That very second, he looked up, and saw a street sign. On the sign was the word "Excelsior." He
smiled and wrote to me later of his experience. As I said before, in my perhaps rambling,
discombobulated paragraphs and streams of consciousness, Joey does not stop giving us signs..in
this case, an Actual SIGN on a road..
It really is just a matter of perception. I could keep this story going for ages, for all the years I
seem to have in front of me, or I could stop here. But I intend to call this Part One, of Finding JOeY,
because I know, deep inside, that more is forthcoming with my quest to understand where and who
my son is.
For those bereaved parents on their own quest..I can only say..take heart....you will find your
child. They are in everything, and it is just a matter of time before they come to you in dreams, or
come to others, as Joey does, in dreams and visits. Do not let anyone sway you from these visits.
You will have naysayers and people whose fear of your newly opened, freshly wounded, but
also freshly insightful mind who will dismiss your child who visits. There are people in this world
who cannot fathom that which is 'otherworldly' to them. YOU will KNOW in your heart when the
signs come, when the dreams manifest, when the synchronicity begins to overtake you. It took me
years to even begin to believe , with absolute credibility, that Joey was alive in spirit. I was my own
worst enemy, my most skeptical critic. I had to find solace within myself to say YES, my son IS,
and always WILL BE. The initial stages of grief of a child , I do not ever think I could possibly
envision doing that again. I know how it feels. Nonetheless, each of us are on our OWN journeys,
with our child, with our children. Be. Gentle. With. Yourself. You may feel like you are in a hole
or on the edge of a cliff, and you cannot climb out, or you want to jump.
But I can promise you that if you listen, quietly, you will be able to step off that cliff and you
will NOT die, you will fly. You may be in the darkest hole, where not a thread of light enters, but
if you wait, and listen, and KNOW, someone will throw you a rope. It will be small, or large, but this
is YOUR personal journey, and I can only hope my words of my own personal journey in this world
can BE that rope you need to pull yourself, even an inch, out of that dark place you are in.
Believe in the Signs.
Follow Your Heart
Joey tells me not to stop writing, he will have more to say. This small book is just the beginning
of the rest of the journey I am on.
Much Peace to You, my fellow parents.
I have a p.s. for you now. The other day I was walking down a 2 mile stretch of beach, filled with
thousands of rocks of every shape, size,and colour. I was at the beach with my oldest son and
grandson. My oldest son is named Bobby.
We had been there for about an hour, and I had searched high and low among the many rocks on
the beach, looking for beach glass.
I noticed a rock shaped like a heart and something drew me to it. I picked it up, and turned it over.
The words "Hi Bobby" were written on it, and I knew right then it was sent by Joey and all the
angels for me to find.
I immediately showed the heart shaped rock to my son Bobby. He was,to say the least,
flabbergasted. He could hardly believe his own eyes.
"Mom!" he said..."Of all the rocks on this beach, the odds are astronomical that you would
pick up THAT rock...wow....they really know how to get through.."
Yes, my son, they come through right when you need them. Thank you, Joey and all of
those spirits who once again showed us a miracle in real time.