In the sixteen years that I have been in the field of healing arts I have experienced others with a great sense of hopelessness and purposelessness change their lives around. I have seen people that have been given a death sentence ‘regress it’ and I have seen those that have been shot, tortured and witnessed the murder of loved ones be full of compassion and empty of bitterness.

All of these different facets of the human spirit have been such a great inspiration and a privilege for me to have witnessed and so it was with great sadness that the news came from Jersey that my beautiful mother had been diagnosed with terminal Cancer.

Living thousands of miles apart, this meant not only a great journey emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically and time was of the essence. I swung into therapist mode and was sure that she would get through this and I would guide her to see how.

My mother was such a bright light, despite being brought up during the Blitz in London. She had witnessed the utter devastation of the bombs exploding and homes collapsing with her young playmates inside and I could not even imagine what this experience could do to a young orphaned soul. She had nowhere to go and was faced with a big choice of how her life could go - consciously she chose life and to be a light to others.

This would be the third time that cancer had intruded into her very full and giving life. I recalled her comforting me 25 years previous when she was first diagnosed with Cancer - she was in a convalescence home which was a beautifully restored castle in the south of England. She intuitively knew which patients would live and which ones would die, by their faith and their attitude to their life and to their sickness.

Would this time now her third be any different? Indeed it would and she greeted me with a bright smile, but I could also see she had grown tired and had a weary physical self. I sensed her soul ached to be free, but the rest of her was not so sure about departing as she had so much living to do and was not ready to leave yet.

I took her for drives in the small country lanes; she always noticed the blossoming flowers, the bright rainbows and all that is beautiful in the world – the things we sometimes do not see or appreciate. I began to realise that although we did not know it, we ‘the family’ were unwilling to let her go and this meant she was suffering not only with her illness, but with the weight of this knowledge as well.

It was really difficult to for me to say, but I knew that no one else had even mentioned death and I knew this was maybe something I could do to make her transition a little more bearable. I said quietly how much I loved her and would miss her and if she was ready to leave then not to stay for our sake and our fears. “Who will come for me,” she cried? This was difficult to answer, most of us have a loved once that has passed, my mother was an orphan and had only very traumatic memories of relatives that she could remember. The words came through me but not from me. “There is an angel called Ara, she came to you as a child when you were ill. You crawled to her, but were found and put back to bed, it was not time for you then”.

There was astonishment in her eyes, but a deep knowing and acknowledgement of this memory. Sometime later she spoke: “I will let you know that I am well, I will come back with a message to you” she said and then closed her eyes and drifted off into a peaceful sleep.

It was the last conversation that we had, within a few days my mother passed away. She passed on Easter Friday, a sacred day, and I awoke with a great sense of peace. No one else in my family felt this and I could understand their uneasiness at my lightness.

Two days passed and as I was walking up the steps of the family home I found a single white feather. I picked it up surprised that a white feather should land in the busy town street, curious I walked into the house and put it down.

The following night I had a dream exactly the same thing occurred, where I picked up the feather and walked into the house. Although, this time there was a card with a white feather hanging on the walk and these words were written.

Don't Quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit....
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar.
So, stick to the fight when you're hardest hit....
It's when things go wrong that you mustn’t quit.

I had until that day not seen this poem, but to my amazement I found it almost immediately when I looked for it. I told my father the story the following day, to my amazement he had also seen the poem the very same day! It was hanging on the wall of a friend’s house and caught his eye; in fact he was so taken by it he was getting it copied and framed…

Then came the white feathers - they kept appearing all over the place: in houses, on the pavement, at work – they were falling in front of my eyes everywhere I looked!

I met up with mum’s friends one last time before I left to return to New Zealand. I told them my story and one of them looked at me in utter amazement and mentioned that even though she lived in a block of flats and her doormat was inside - a white feather had been appearing there daily! She had made the connection but was angry that “That guardian angel took my friend away” and had promptly vacuumed up the feathers!

That is not the end of my story through this most painful time, and indeed although there were these gifts, there was also so much pain and grief. I supported my six-month stay in the Channel Islands doing a summer job and I met a beautiful man, who was so compassionate and loving despite my state.

We fell in love, and I knew I would soon be leaving and would also have to let him go. On one of my visits to his home I was amazed when his hallway was littered in white feathers! Not understanding where they had come from he looked a little embarrassed and swore that he didn’t own a cat (and I smiled to myself!)

I returned to New Zealand and was heartbroken; I aimlessly walked my local cliff tops and called to the heavens for help. As I descended one day, there was a grassy hill full of white feathers! “Thank you!” I cried, to the sky and the trees and to the ocean.

My partner and I were two souls in love thousands of miles and two different worlds apart and the next contact came from a cold and grey morning in Britain, when my lovely partner had been feeling melancholy and unsure of the future. By then I had told him about the white feathers and the significance of my experiences I had had with them - a few days on as he walked outside, to the windy pier a white feather gently fluttered down in front of his face and he picked it up…

Four months later he arrived in New Zealand, having given up his life to be with me. It has now been over two years and we have since married. Despite the great challenges we have faced to bring our lives together.

The white feathers still arrive though not as frequently, but as a reminder there is life after death. And there is a lot of living to do in between; I thank you Sylvia, mother, wife loyal friend and sunshine of light and the white feathers!

Author's Bio: 

Dellaina hails from a small island off the coast of France (Jersey) and has been in New Zealand since 1994. She grew up in a haunted house in St Helier, and this experience presented her with many questions at a young age. These questions motivated her search for the meaning of life, death and beyond.

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