Drowning In a Capsized Plane
May Have Been Easier Than Entering
At 27 Adele Anderson survived a plane crash.
That life and NDE experience, followed by the death of her husband, forever changed her perception of life, death and life after death: that choices and “SOUL”utions exists even in life’s most dire and painful circumstances.
She knows now that life always offers us more than we may see at first glance. Understanding that the choices we make every day can change how we cope, thrive and ultimately the trajectory of our life.
For over 30 years she has had holistic practice. Homeopathy for body health. Neuro-Linguistic Programming to regulate equilibrium for the mind; reprogramming, empowering mental process. Spiritual rituals and Akashic Records Reading that soothe the soul.
Up to this point, navigating the unknown waters of a plane crash was the most significant challenge in my life, until it wasn’t.
I felt my consciousness separate from my body and it was painless, beautiful in fact.
I recall this unfathomable feeling of unconditional love. It was pleasant in the space between this world and the next. I knew who I was, what my history had been and that I was somehow beyond the struggle that I was witnessing below: notably absent of fear with my physical body suspended upside down in that plane. I no longer fear my own death, but that did not bring comfort for the next most significant life experience.
That would be, the death of my spouse. And it was unimaginable to me. We had lost close friends and family and I thought I knew something about loss. But I was so very wrong. In fact, I understood nothing at all.
It was a hot August day, and Willis would be where he most often was, out in the yard, building something. This summer, he was building our dream home, and it was exciting to watch it go up!
Anyone who knew him, considered him a force of nature, at 71, he looked 50, fit, strong and living the life he dreamed of. And what was about to change, was everything…
When I think of him, I see him as both physically and emotionally strong, a picture of natural vitality that shone brightly in this world.
But in a mere 9 months, I witnessed his emotional strength expand while his physical body shrank into itself, eventually, becoming so weak he could barely carry his weight. And then….. he died….
The first thing I recall, at a soul level, is that forever, is a very long time. I don’t think I grasped reality because it felt so surreal. And that feeling would persist for several months. I would catch myself looking at his picture, shaking my head in disbelief.
The day before he died, he asked me if we were watching a movie. My reply was, sadly no, we were living a nightmare.
But in truth we had lived the most loving year of our 30-year relationship, and that was a gift; philosophically speaking; worth dying for.
When it became clear that he was going to die and long before, he made a choice. If he was going to die, he would do it with kindness for all those around him.
And he did. Never an irritable word even when he was experiencing continual pain. Where his illness was cruel, his mind and death were peaceful, at home exactly where he wanted to be. We had carefully set in motion controls to ensure his last wish was granted. It is during these times, that the smallest details become ever lasting.
What I had less control over, was how his body would be removed from our home. There was no grace.
Two people backed in with a black mini van; I guess hearses are a thing of the past. In black garb, I watched them try to wheel this gurney through the non-landscaped yard. When they reached the patio, our daughter and I took his upper body, and they took his woolen clad feet, and we literally dragged him unceremoniously across the room and with effort, heaved his limp carcass onto the gurney.
At one point, we dropped him. If it wasn’t so absolutely horrifying, it would have been comical.
And then got unceremoniously back in that mini-van and drove away, leaving a gaping hole in their wake. It would be a few more days before I could get an appointment at the funeral home. It was then it dawned on me that death is simply a business.
Finally… it was time. A dear friend offered to make the trip with me, and after waiting outside for a period, they opened the door allowing us to enter. As we walked down a long hollow sounding corridor, cold permeated the left side of my body, it became clear, that the man I loved was laying on a frozen slab on the other side of this wall.
We were ushered into a plain room where we sat across a plain desk, with a plainly dressed woman clothed in head to toe black. In a monotone voice she plainly explained what came next and asked what arrangements I would want to have.
Through my numbness, and with despair in my heart, I felt drawn to his presence, I so wanted to go there and hold him one more time.
And yet part of me resisted, and minutes later, I was back in the car, driving away from the person I loved the most, and had spent half my life with.
Days turned into weeks, now a few months later, it still feels surreal. I sometimes wonder if the jagged sobs that escape my lips will ever stop. And each time, it reinforced the deep realization that I could never have understood another’s grief until I had the experience myself.
So unique to each of us and yet universal.
This is widowhood.
The days following his death, I was in a bit of a daze. I wandered through our home, calling out for him to send me a sign. We had spent long hours philosophizing life after death. He said he would send me a sign, let me know he was OK, maybe offer some peace.
He said, he would come back as a red winged blackbird. It was his favorite bird as a child, and we have hundreds of them here, maybe it was a safe bet. But then I asked, how I would know which bird was him. And he told me; “I would simply know.”
The next two morning after his death, I went outside with my morning coffee, and I waited for that red winged blackbird to approach me. I felt so certain that I held out my hand and sat quietly, but none came.
I began to feel quite desperate. By the third morning I begged the heavens for a sign. My face and arms upturned to the heavens and pleading with him or God, to send me a sign.
It was then a ringing sound pierced the air. As I held the cool receiver to my ear, a stranger’s voice came through that said; “your chickens are here.”
And so, maybe it was a sign? Not in the form he had said, but for years he had wanted chickens and I had resisted. He had ordered them 18 months prior, and they never came, but here they were, three days after his passing.
It would be a couple months before I reached out for a spiritual reading.
The first thing out of her mouth? “I see feathers everywhere.” She seemed confused and asked me if I had been finding feathers, collecting feathers, she said there were so many feathers, and she also said, Willis wants you to know, the feathers are real, and he is too.” I cried.
And so, I received my sign along with many more that I will share. But for today, I spend time each day and pour my love into the most unlikely gift I never would have wished for, but now can’t imagine living without. “The girls” reward me everyday with his and their presence.
This is widowhood.
For weeks, I pulled two plates out for dinner, an automated routine that I had performed for decades. Looking at the table, surprised that I did it again.
There are too many leftovers and the grocery cart needs adjusting.
“We” still exist in conversations, and I notice, I often speak in present tense. No one corrects me… His toothbrush is in place, and I fear if I throw it out, I will lose something irreplaceable.
The same with duplicate pictures and his emoji that waves at me. Some days I send it to myself, just in case for a moment, I relent my reality.
I resist leaving home in case I miss him somehow. I feel guilty leaving him alone on the mantle. I speak to empty walls regularly and greet him every morning. Friends say hi to him too, upon entering the house. I often feel like I have forgotten something, or something is missing and I can’t quite grasp what that might be.
I watch the same Netflix movies again and again, a mental reminder that I am not ready for new experiences, and yet I force myself to engage.
And, I have regrets. I wish I had recorded his voice or taken more videos or asked him where the water shut off is for the house. The stuff he would know, those everyday things we take for granted, are now out of reach. There are so many decisions to make, and they seem more difficult than before. And so, I change my mind often, wondering what he would do.
This is widowhood.
Then, there are the dreaded “firsts”. They often result in uncontainable sobbing, normal although inconvenient. I wear his oversized shirts and speak to him regularly. And I think about sex! Yup, strange but true and verified by other widows. And NO, I’m not looking. Possibly it a biological process deep within our reptilian brain that yells out; “find a mate.”
This is widowhood.
Evenings are deathly quiet. No one calls out to close my computer, I can watch every “chick flick” known to man. I have complete autonomy to do anything as I wish, except hold his hand. But most of all, I seem to have more time, endless amounts of time. So, I take the time I need to heal. Because I must say yes, to my future.
So, every day I make the choice, to place my feet on the ground. And my day begins with mindful SOULutions. A spiritual ritual to strengthen and calm my inner world.
When required, I use NLP techniques; Neuro-Linguistics Programming; to release any anxiety. This puts me back into control and then I can talk about my loss without feeling devastated. Decisions about my future are restored. And, I stay in gratitude, so my focus is positive, and so I am tuned into my beautiful life again.
Mindful practices generate resilience. Persistent practice creates and sustains inner harmony.
I consciously choose to lean into joy. To thrive, not just survive my grief, and I hope that for you too.
If your heart feels under siege, I encourage you to begin the process of healing, with mindfulness.
Read: Out of Breath, Out of Time
The first part of Adele’s near death experience.