When I was happy, I never really bothered about the fundamental questions – whether our spirits survive, whether there is a God, how and why the universe came into existence. The questions are profound, and I was intellectually curious, but only within the limits of an orthodox scientific materialism: I was a lawyer, for goodness’ sake, and a land lawyer at that. It wasn’t so much my professional training, however, as the fact that I had a wonderfully loving marriage which meant that I didn’t feel the need to question fate or worry about my purpose. I accepted life as it was and I enjoyed it.
And then that all changed. The sudden and unexpected cancer diagnosis and then the death of my husband Patrick three months later left me totally devastated. Suddenly I needed to know why we exist and what our purpose is, but above all else, I wanted to know if there is life after death. We had talked about the possibility before Patrick died, when we knew that his death was imminent. He said that he didn’t fear death, because it was either nothing at all, and so nothing to fear or, if existence did continue, that would be all right because he had led a good enough life. He felt that nothingness was the most likely scenario, and so did I. We did not close our minds completely to the thought of a surviving spirit, but we considered it unlikely.
After his death, I continued to think it unlikely, but I still consulted mediums in a desperate bid to make some sort of contact with Patrick. I wanted to know that he was okay. Actually, I wanted to know that he was happy and I wanted to send him all my love and gratitude. I wanted him to know just how much I loved him. In a classic case of cognitive dissonance, I both didn’t believe in an afterlife and yet worried about him being lonely or sad.
The first medium I consulted didn’t help me at all. She didn’t say anything that resonated, and indeed she became rather shirty with me when I kept on saying no, no, no. I could have given up there, but luckily I didn’t. I went onto the internet and found another medium whom I rang. She blew me away. I just told her that my name was Louise and that my husband had died in February – nothing else. This was about April. She responded by saying that it might be a little early to start making contact, but then she said, “Oh, he died in the middle of February, didn’t he.” I agreed. She carried on, “Oh, he died on the 16th of February.” “No,” I said, “he lost consciousness on the 16th but he died on the 18th.” “Well,” she said, “he’s telling me that he died on the 16th, and so that’s what I am going to write down.” This was extraordinary. She couldn’t have received the date by telepathy (though that is amazing anyway) because in my mind, Patrick had died on the 18th, but I could quite understand why he felt he had died on the 16th. When I went to see her the following week she said many more things that were true and that she could not have made up. I really felt that Patrick was communicating through her and I was truly comforted.
I was comforted, but not totally convinced. While I was visiting mediums, I was also apparently receiving signs from Patrick. To start with, it had been my friends who were getting signs. The first one occurred just five days after his death. A friend who was psychic sent me a photograph of an unusual, tall thin flame coming from her neighbour’s garden. She explained that she had asked Patrick for a sign that morning – and she had specified a flame, but not a candle or in a fireplace. She had then gone about her daily business, and had rather forgotten her request until she went to draw her sitting room curtains that evening – and had seen this flame. She rushed to take a photograph of it, which she managed to do before it suddenly disappeared. She was sure that it was a sign from Patrick, but I was not so certain. I thought it could have been a coincidence.
Other friends also contacted me about signs they had asked for and received, but I continued to be sceptical. When I asked for a feather on a train, and the next day I found a feather on the vacant seat next to me in the train carriage, I was still not entirely convinced. Looking back on it now, I am very grateful to Patrick’s spirit for his determination to get through to me because I was a hard nut to crack. Even the first WhatsApps, which I detail in my book, were not enough to make me feel sure. It was not until the sixth of August that I finally realised that yes, our spirits survive.
On that day I had been walking my dog on Tooting Common with my phone in my pocket. When I got back to my son’s house, where I was staying, I pulled out the phone and the screen said that I had created two WhatsApp groups at 11.06am. One was called Hamlin Family and the other, Hamlins. One consisted of Patrick and me, the other of Patrick, his daughter and me. I stared at the phone. I absolutely knew for sure that the phone had been in my pocket at 11.06am and that I had not created the groups. To be frank, I didn’t even know how to create a WhatsApp group. I stared and stared at the phone, and I realised that the only possible explanation was that Patrick had created the groups. He had already shown that he could manipulate WhatsApp and send messages, and here was the final proof. It was an earth-shattering moment for me – I now knew for sure that our spirits survive death. There was no other explanation. This was the pivotal moment when I abandoned my old scepticism and understood life in a fundamentally different way.
Since that extraordinary day, I have understood that our bodily life is just a short interlude in our spiritual existence. I have read and I continue to read about life after death, quantum physics, reincarnation, other people’s spiritual lives and insights. The understanding that this bodily life is not everything is immensely consoling – our loved ones are not lost to us, and if we make wrong choices or grave mistakes in this life, it isn’t the end of the world because we will have second and more chances in the future. I now understand how everything is connected, and how amazing and magical the universe really is. I read about quantum physics because I try to understand how it all works, and of course I fail. But things like quantum entanglement show me that seemingly impossible things are real, albeit inexplicable. I love how our cutting edge scientists are now beginning to grope towards an understanding that our spiritual leaders have had for generations. Energy – or spirit – is the foundation of all life and everything is connected. Yes, those WhatsApp groups were my spiritual wake-up call.
As I detail in my book, many more signs and messages followed and I now know that one day I will be fully reunited with my love, and also able to look down on the material world I have left. I no longer believe in coincidences, and I feel confident that even the smallest act of kindness has repercussions well beyond one’s imagination. I think that this is what the spiritual leaders have been trying to tell us for generations, but strangely, it was a new technology that managed to convince me – that and a determined husband who managed to manipulate it so as to make contact with his grieving wife! Thank you Patrick.