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Chapter One: The Sound of a Breaking Heart
… And then after that, another being came and this one was very bright, very light, and this was an Angelic Being. They asked me “Are you ready to go now?” – Tim, from Spirit realms
Tim had been very unsettled for a few days, especially last evening. He’d told me he couldn’t stop thinking about two young friends, Floyd and Jess. They had both taken their lives within a few weeks of each other, just three months earlier. He’d begun to cry and told me they were constantly on his mind as though they were calling him, and that he hadn’t slept for several nights and felt very edgy. I’d made a snugly bed of plump cushions and soft rugs on the sofa for him and he’d allowed me to fuss over him, bringing a damp flannel to cool his forehead, making hot drinks and stroking his head. He’d even submitted to listening to soothing classical music which he eventually surrendered to and dozed off. An hour or so later he sat up and sketched a coloured pencil scene of a surfer riding a perfect wave, no doubt the one he was always searching for at Sumner Beach, Christchurch. He was much calmer and felt he would be able to sleep so ambled off to his bed after giving me a lopsided smile and a bear hug. You know the ones that seventeen year old boys give you; when they are still learning the difference between a squeeze and a squash.
The next morning Tim awoke with a chesty cough and decided to take the day off and to see his doctor. I had a strong desire to stay home with Tim but he insisted he was feeling fine. Although I wasn’t convinced, with the thought of a looming garage bill in my head, I allowed myself to be persuaded and pushed the over ride button to silence my intuition. Hearing the hum of a colleague’s Volkswagen arriving to collect me I headed out the door and promised to ring at lunch-time, then swung into my role. I was the ever cheerful, independent, resilient single parent who taught reading to children with dyslexia.
With no visible trace of the misgivings that lay beneath my breezy manner my teaching duties commanded my full attention until lunch break when I called Tim to see how he was feeling, around 1pm. I was greatly relieved to hear him sounding perky as he told me he’d been prescribed antibiotics for a chest infection, had cleaned up his room and was now going to visit his dad in Sumner. I joked that he must have been feeling really unwell to clean up his room! It was quite normal for his carpet to disappear for weeks at a time under a sea of clothes, musical instruments and skateboards. On a more serious note I added, “Take it easy today; a chest infection means the body needs rest.”
“Don’t worry Mum, I’m fine. Love you!” was his jaunty reply.
“Love you too,” I echoed, before heading back to the classroom. I was feeling much happier now that there was a logical reason for his unsettled behaviour. I had good reason to be concerned about the disturbing previous night because Tim had spent the past nine months recovering from a drug-induced psychotic episode. There were many days when he lapsed back into serious unwellness and for awhile I lived with the possibility that he might take his own life. But now, with his cheerful voice in my ears, I happily rationalised he was just a little run-down and heaved a big sigh of relief, completely oblivious that this was to be my last conversation with him.
Arriving back home at the end of the day I was surprised to find Tim wasn’t there, and had barely thrown my teaching folders onto a chair when the phone rang. Elaine, a friend who had just purchased and moved into what had been our family home, was anxious to get hold of me. Two detectives had been at her house looking for me as our old address was still on record. We had only moved out two weeks ago. She sounded worried and told me they wanted me to phone the Lyttelton police station which I did straight away. With enormous effort to keep my mind from jumping to a multitude of scenarios, I calmly called the local station, and was told two detectives were on their way to see me. I imagined one of my two children had done something serious to draw the attention of detectives and wondered what this was all about. I had dealt with many police officers over the past two years and stayed calm as I met the two detectives at the door. With a friendly greeting I invited them in and asked them to be seated but they remained standing, two tall strangers in my living room. They introduced themselves and after ascertaining I was indeed Tim’s mother, warned me they were the bearers of very bad news. They advised me to sit down to hear this news but I also chose to stand, it felt braver somehow.
“How bad?” I asked, my heart beginning to speed up.
“Your son has been in a car accident,” they said. “He’s been very badly hurt”.
“How bad?” I again asked, feeling the blood drain from my face.
“The worst,” they said. Then silence, as they allowed me time to prepare my mind for the words that no parent ever wants to hear.
“Do you mean… (more silence)… he’s dead?” I quietly asked.
“Yes. We are terribly sorry to bring you this news,” they said.
I slumped into a chair, all traces of bravery gone as salty, hot tears spilled down my cheeks. For some time I sat hunched over with my head in hands, fingers covering my face, sobbing loudly and openly. My chest hurt with emotional pain, my heart seemed to be sobbing too. I remembered the two men were still standing there and managed to say, “What an awful job you have.” I felt genuinely sorrow for their difficult task, and asked “What happened?”
“Your son was travelling along Sumner Road, between Lyttelton and Sumner. It had rained hard, leaching minerals to the road surface. Plus, there was a trail of oil leakage on the road today. We are endeavoring to find the driver of the oil tanker responsible for this. Tim was travelling a little too fast so braked at a tight corner but his car spun around on the slippery road. It seems his car slid into the cliff face hitting an overhanging rock. We believe he died instantly, at around 1.30 pm.”
With professional kindness that excludes hugs they asked if they could phone a friend as I sat sobbing, desperately needing a strong pair of arms around me. I gave them the number of Lyttelton friends, Lea and Pav, who came straight away, shocked and sorry for me. But my thoughts were focused on my daughter Laura, Tim’s sixteen year old sister. My stomach was a bunch of tangled knots as I fretted about how I could possibly bring this news to her. How could I bring to her the thing which would totally devastate her? Nearly a year earlier I had faced the most heartbreaking moment in my life when I dragged myself away from Tim who had just been admitted into a mental hospital, feeling utterly gutted. But even that paled in comparison to what was being asked of me now. I felt the weight of great heaviness as I relieved the detectives of the burden they had carried for me over the past few hours, somberly accepting and taking ownership of lives irrevocably changed.
I was now to be the bearer of bad news. My car was in the garage being repaired so I rang Johnny, Tim’s foreman at the Lyttelton Marina where Tim worked. Because I had confided in Johnny the nature of Tim’s unwellness and he kept a genuine look out for Tim at the marina we had become friends. He was shocked at this news and didn’t hesitate when I asked him to drive me the two hours to Hammer Springs to collect Laura who was helping at a school camp there. White faced, Johnny arrived and we next collected a close friend, April, to support me during the journey, leaving Lea and Pav to make some phone calls. I don’t remember much about the drive now, not much talking, crying at times but mostly focused on holding myself together for Laura. April recalls it differently, saying I was strong from the beginning andinsisted we stop at Woodend Dairy for tissues for her because she was crying so much. I was comforting her, not the other way round! It was very difficult for her too as she had known my children from primary school days and her son Jimmy started working at the Lyttelton Marina on the same day as Tim. When one parent loses a child, every parent loses a child; such is the collective consciousness of all parents. But I do recall questioning how it was possible I could be so disconnected from my beloved son, that I could be teaching a bunch of teenagers, while blithely unaware that at the same time my own teenager was being cut from his car wreckage by firemen. I deeply regretted not staying home that day.
My hunched body hurt with the tension of holding myself together during that ride through the night, full of dread not for myself, but for Laura. Tim and Laura were devoted, only twenty-two months apart in age, they idolised each other. Survivors of my two failed marriages they had supported each other through unhappy times as well as enjoying many crazy, joyful times. Laura looked up to her brother with admiration and adoration, managed his hair and wardrobe, shared his secrets, and carefully screened all his girlfriends. Laura had made the famous, isolated village of Mount Cook her home for the past year with her ‘temporary parents’ Brian and Bu. Bu was the principal/teacher at the tiny but remarkable Mount Cook School and Laura had volunteered to accompany her and the school children on the annual camping trip at Hamner Springs. Living at Mount Cook was the first time Laura and Tim had been separated for any length of time and we later realised this was to prepare her for living her life without him. When we were about ten minutes from Hamner Springs I asked Johnny to stop the car. I stumbled out with legs of jelly and paced around in circles, feeling sick in my stomach, trying to breathe normally, trying to find the strength and courage, the right words. There were no right words, how could there possibly be any rights words? It was impossible to sweeten this bitter news.
I had purposefully waited until we were just a short distance from Hamner Springs before phoning Bu to let her know we were coming with bad news, so as to spare Laura an anxious longer wait. Bu, naturally worried by my call told Laura I was on my way and to prepare for bad news. It was about 9 pm when we arrived. The children and parent helpers were sitting in the camp kitchen with mugs of hot drinks, happily tired out from a day of adventure in this magnificent alpine and thermal region. Laura looked worried and pale. Her long blonde hair was held back by a blue paisley bandanna, her large dark brown eyes wide with adrenaline and filled with worry. Bu took her arm and brought her out into the crisp dark night, leaving the concerned, cocoa-smeared faces of the children who adored her in the warm glow of the kitchen. I tried in vain to muster strength and courage but I couldn’t speak, couldn’t breathe. I was paralysed with the fear of what my words would do to her. April stepped forwards to offer support in this dreadful moment, but I shook my head knowing I was the only one who could deliver this cruel message.
As I faltered again, Bu took charge in true principal style and commanded “Out with it!!”
It seemed as if someone else’s voice said the words that I was so reluctant to utter but I heard myself say
“It’s Tim, there’s been an accident”.
Laura froze, horror stole over her beautiful face as she instinctively realised the nature of this news.
“No, she said, he’s not..?”
“Yes,” was all I could manage.
I stood helpless as I heard Laura’s primitive screams shatter the peaceful alpine air. Powerless, I watched her heart splinter into tiny, sharp shards of pain. Screaming “No!!!” to Tim, to me, to the darkness, to the Universe she fought against the strong arms that tried to hold her as she thrashed about in dreadful disbelief. I still don’t have words to describe the anguish that took up residence within me as she screamed out her pain and fury. I registered a second death as I saw a part of her die in that moment. Frozen fingers seemed to tear at my womb as I watched my daughter writhe in agony, desperately trying to block out what she had heard. We wrapped her in blankets and bundled her into the car, unable to sob anymore as utter exhaustion from the shock swept her close to near physical collapse. There is nothing comparable that makes a parent feel so inadequate, than to see your child in pain and know you can’t do anything to erase it. Much later, Laura told me she had ‘known’ this news the minute Bu had said I was on my way to her. She had had a sudden urge to talk to him and had actually rung home, but nobody had answered because I was on my way to her. She said she would have kept him home in bed; he was sick.
Laura finally fell into a deep sleep in the car while I fell into deep silence that remained with me until we arrived back at the house. I wasn’t contemplative or re-running the events in my head, but was dimly aware that ‘something else’ had taken over. Something that allowed calm and quiet at a time that should have commanded panic and despair. My mind wasn’t capable of analysing this curious state of grace; I simply observed it in a detached way.
Desperately tired, we slept in Tim’s new double bed, wanting to be in his sheets that still smelled of his aftershave and hair products. The Tim smell. We wondered where he was, fretted over whether he had suffered at his death, was he alright wherever he was? Numb with exhaustion we cried ourselves to sleep. Laura cried for her brother while I cried for both my children.
Eleven years later we were to hear exactly what had happened to Tim before and after his accident. It came as a conversation I had with Tim in April 2011, via a channelled session with Ascended Master Almora, whom you shall meet later, but I share this message with you now.
Annette: “What memory do you have of the death?”
Tim: “It all happened very fast and I remember thinking before…My life is coming to an end. I don’t know when. I feel this, I think this. I am starting to remember all the different things that happened in my life with my father, my mother, my siblings, my friends, my teachers. I saw a fast screening of my life, my family and friends, my struggles and issues I had been dealing with”
Annette: “Was this as you were driving down the windy road?” (The hilly road that winds between Lyttelton and Sumner)
Tim: “Yes, yes, yes, and then, of course there was an impact and there was confusion and shock. And then for a while I didn’t know where I was. I was in a place of between, looking at my car, seeing myself, thinking I was in a dream, trying to get back, not able to get back.” (Back into his body)
Annette: “You were on your own at that point?”
Annette: “Were you frightened?”
Tim: “Very frightened. That was a lonely time. I couldn’t get back into my body and I didn’t know if I wanted to and I didn’t know where I was. And it was awhile before I started to see a light. And then a light came and we sat for awhile by the car.”
Annette: “Who were you with then?”
Tim: “It was a beautiful Maori woman and she said she was ‘Moana’. She came from this part of the land and was a Guardian Spirit of the land. She said she had watched me and seen me and that she was now here just to sit with me for awhile.”
Annette: “Blessings to you, Moana!”
Tim: “Indeed, until someone else would come. But did I know where I was and what had happened? At first I thought I was in a dream and I didn’t know who she said she was, or what she was. But she was dressed in old clothes that I haven’t seen before.”
Annette: “And especially when your time before your departure was of such confusion and you weren’t sure what was real anyway, no wonder you were still not sure.”
Tim: “So I asked for someone I knew and so some of my friends who had departed came.”
Annette: “Who was that Tim?”
Tim: “It was the friends that had departed a few months before, but they didn’t look the same, and they had different names.”
Annette: “Was it Floyd and Jess?”
Tim: “Yes, yes! But they were so different because they were so happy and they were light, and it was hard to believe it was them!”
Annette: “Ah! That is good to know!”
Tim: “Yes, yes! And then afterthat another being came and this one was very bright, very light and this wasan Angelic Being. And they asked if I was ready to go now?”
Readers Comments :
“I have just completed your book; I ‘stretched it out’ as much as I could. For me it had all the information I have been yearning to understanding for a long time… like I have had the knowings within myself but no words to explain. Thank you Annette, for having the courage, strength, LOVE to do this; I await the next book. I am grateful to beautiful Tim.” Carol W.
“It is a heart-warming book that shows great discovery, learning and emotions where many mothers would have been left badly scarred. The book was read to me as a bed-time story, and it would never be left at home if I was going on a trip! I loved the pictures, and I also remember how wonderful and descriptive many of Annette’s dreams were.” Phoebe Grace P. (age 12)
“I was quite transfixed by your book and absorbed it in a kind of hunger to learn about your journey and the messages you wrote and brought through. I wept, I laughed, I paused to digest often, and I was thrilled with your connections with Tim and all that he could bring to you/us in this life. Now on re-reading it I am picking up even more understanding of your ‘Corky’ period of life, of how you came to understand messages sent to you – like the bird landing on the mast and the gecko in the teapot!” Cathy H.
Please read this beautifully expressed account of how ‘Dry Your Tears’ affected 19 years old Issi, who openly shares her experiences of former despair,in the hope of encouraging other young people to find a purpose for living.
“Within the second page of the introduction of ‘Dry Your Tears’, Little Grace had summed up how I had felt throughout my teenage life; ‘that I was merely here by default for others that I loved. That my life had no intrinsic value and I would rather not be here.’ Fortunately, by the time I had finished the book, this long-held view had taken a short turn and while I have a lot to discover, for the first time I’m excited about the rest of my life.
‘Dry Your Tears’ is so much more than the story of a mother who journeyed from grief to love. I was struck by the insight into teenage life, especially the drug and alcohol culture that has become the norm for so many young people. Tim’s mature insight into the dangers, especially how sensitively he sums up the effect of marijuana as ‘it shot bullets through the wall of my Soul’ is something young people need to hear from others like them. So they may grow in a culture that values openness and honesty, not labels and stigmatism.
This fresh look at youth culture follows through to the ‘psychotic episode’ experienced by Tim, and the suicides that occurred just before his death, which again have become part of many people’s teenage years. Appearing mad, and the treatment of the deemed mentally ill causes so many people, both young and old to fear speaking out about they feel, many turning to drugs and alcohol as an escape. The honesty in which Little Grace speaks about her guilt and new found perspectives on the treatment for people deemed mentally ill, gave me hope of change.
There are many areas of guilt throughout the book, and when Little Grace questions if she ‘had turned into a self-centred creature’ for leaving loved ones behind to sail around the world echoed my own feelings of guilt for leaving my life and charity work back home. As I plan for more than a year’s travelling the guilt and doubt of where I fit into people’s lives intensifies. However I am now learning that finding my own happiness and helping others are not mutually exclusive as I previously thought. Little Grace helped me see that they are entwined and being happy will in turn lead me to help others.
The Chapter ‘My life was Not Cut Short’ left me feeling the most uplifted. Following the death of a friend, also seventeen, five years ago and subsequent effects on a whole group of young people who then found their own lives put on hold at an age where you constantly struggle to define yourself; they found themselves defined by grief. Again I experienced firsthand the destructive nature of this talk after a number of attempted suicides by my sister. Knowing now that neither Tony, nor Tim have lost out on life but gained so much allows me to find comfort and share this with my own community so that hopefully in the years to come their lives can slowly rebuild.
On a day, out of nowhere, I was given a new perspective on life, myself, and human nature. This book echoes so many of my fears and pains while giving me an insight into a future that I had given up believing was possible. Issi (age 19)
To order a copy of “Dry Your Tears” email firstname.lastname@example.org