Mysteries around life and death are worth exploring

November 20, 2013 

Last fall, in the space of one week, two significant people in my life passed away. The first was my 64-year-old friend, Mike. Exactly a week later, my mother died. She was 93.

There was something truly profound about losing these two people so close together. There seemed to be a special meaning to it, and during the past year, as I have grieved, I’ve searched for ways to make sense of it.

For several years, I had shared with Mike those things that were troubling me about my mother’s decline. Mike was always ready with insightful suggestions and encouraged me to act on my instincts. He never steered me wrong.

When he passed, my mother was near death herself. Even though I was distraught over losing him, I told myself he was “going ahead,” to help my mom to make that transition.

That comforted me when her time came.

A few weeks later, when the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings happened, I pictured Mike and Mom helping all those little souls make the transition to the other side.

It helped me cope with the horror of that tragedy.

Since those thoughts came to me and soothed me, I must believe in an afterlife. I do believe, most of the time, but I haven’t a clear sense of what that afterlife is like. The universe is far too vast and mysterious for me, or for any of us, to fully grasp. But maybe we can grasp part of it.

Last spring, I ran into an old colleague, Rochelle Wright, a kind, soft-spoken, unassuming woman with whom I had worked when we were counselors at an agency in Tacoma many years ago.

I no longer work in the counseling field, but Rochelle told me about the special work she is doing with her clients to address trauma, grief and loss issues. She has a master’s degree in interdisciplinary psychology, is state licensed and has 24 years of experience.

We met for lunch a few weeks later and, during our visit, she described her use of therapeutic techniques to achieve unique results.

In 2009, she learned of a method a specialist is using in the Midwest that helped people to “hear” from loved ones who had passed. She took the training and has since developed her own style for helping people who seek that connection.

The approach doesn’t require that people have any particular religious beliefs, only a willingness to entertain the notion that there is an afterlife, and that those who have died can communicate from that realm.

Rochelle gave me her book, titled “Guided Afterlife Connections.” In it, she tells stories of numerous clients who have made connections with her guidance. She explains her clients’ levels of emotional pain lessen significantly after the encounters.

According to the book, those on “the other side” indicate they are OK and give comforting and encouraging messages to those who are listening. That enables the listener to get unstuck and live their life more fully. That’s a good thing.

Rochelle is not a medium, someone who channels the messages from the other side. She’s a person who facilitates communication between the client and the loved one.

Also, people who have worked with Rochelle, and she, herself, have learned to pay attention to the signs that the deceased may be sending, be it through dreams, a familiar piece of music or other means.

Perhaps it is a sign from Mike and Mom that I ran into Rochelle, found out about her work, read her book and was comforted in the process.

Rochelle’s informative website is

A Time to Talk columnist Mary Magee can be reached by email at

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