Nashville mother writes novel based on her experiences after her daughter’s suicide
NASHVILLE – How do you find peace after the death of a child? When Elizabeth Moore discovered that her teenage daughter chose death by suicide, she dug deep within herself to reconnect with her daughter and come to terms with an unthinkable tragedy. As part of the healing process, she began journaling her experiences, searching for the “why” in all of it. The novel that came from those writing sessions, The Dreaming Road, follows her on her journey of spiritual discovery, love and forgiveness.
Perfect for readers of inspirational fiction, those interested in reconnecting with loved ones after death, and people who have lived through the tragic effects suicide and depression, The Dreaming Road will take you by the hand and wrap you in a mother’s love for her daughter as she sets out to find understanding amid confusion and pain.
About the Book
On a spring morning in early May, Diane wakes up to find her beautiful 16-year-old daughter, Callie, lying dead on the floor of her bedroom. The police find a suicide note in Callie’s jewelry chest, and Diane’s whole world, as she had previously known it, falls apart.
In the afterlife, Callie meets her great grandma, Ellie, who tells her that she’s in a part of heaven called Summer Wind and can never return home again. She wrestles with her abrupt and impulsive decision to take her own life and witnesses the impact that this event has on all who love her.
Diane begins a desperate search for answers by tearing apart Callie’s bedroom looking for anything that might tell her what drove her daughter to suicide. She visits Joy, a spiritual healer, who tells her that she must learn to seek the gift in her experiences rather than remaining addicted to her guilt and pain. Diane struggles with letting-go of the daughter she once knew and all her hopes and dreams for the future.
Desperate to reassure her mother that she’s okay, Callie attempts to communicate with her from beyond the veil. They both begin a heart-wrenching journey to find one another once again.
About the Author
Elizabeth Moore is an associate professor of nursing and an internationally recognized author in her field. The early death of her own daughter inspired a personal journey to find a continued connection between them and led to the writing of her first novel. She lives near Nashville, TN. with her three dogs: Beau, Buttons, and Bramble. Visit her at www.thedreamingroad.com
An Interview with Elizabeth Moore
How did you begin writing The Dreaming Road, and how did you decide to publish it as a novel?
The Dreaming Road was conceived in the beginning as a diary. On the day of my daughter’s funeral, a very kind soul suggested that I start a diary to record my thoughts and emotions after her sudden death. My friend implied that if I remained steadfast in my recording, I could look back over the years and see how far I had progressed in my journey through what we, on this side of the veil, call grief and loss. And so, several days later I began to write, and I found that the writing was healing for me.
After a while, I started to hear a very insistent voice inside my head telling me in no uncertain terms that I was just writing half of the story. I tried to ignore the voice, thinking it was just a fragment of my overwrought imagination. But the voice was extremely persistent, and every time I sat down to work on my memoir, I became utterly distracted by this voice in my head. So late one night I just gave it all up and asked the voice what it would like to tell me. And the words just kept flooding in faster than I could write them down. I lost all track of time, and I really didn’t know what I was writing until I read it over the next morning and was completely blown away. It was my daughter describing her encounter with an angel in a life review wherein she was guided to confront all the emotions that led to her suicide. In the months that followed, she provided more information about her adventures in the afterlife.
After receiving a number of these communications, I started to realize that there might be a larger purpose to our collaboration than the writing of a memoir based on a true story. The book was taking on a life of its own with two related but separate journeys. The first was my recovery from the sudden death of my precious daughter who meant the world to me, and the second was her experiences on the other side of the veil as she came to terms with what she’d done and its effect on everyone who loved her, as well as her growing understanding of her soul’s intention in choosing such an abrupt and traumatic exit.
This is the reason why my book has ultimately become an inspirational novel and why I have decided to share my story with more than family and friends. For those of you searching for a lighthouse during a raging storm, it is my way of helping you navigate your own journey. It is my hope that readers can get a glimpse of the enduring connections that exist between us and our loved ones who have passed on. The ties that bind us remain unbroken even in death, and when we understand the soul purpose of our journeys here on earth, we are set free.
How do you communicate with your daughter Cassie (Callie in the novel)?
I believe that all of us have an innate ability to communicate with our loved ones who have passed on. But it has been repressed by cultural conditioning that tells us that when people die, they’re gone, and if we’re lucky, maybe we’ll see them again when our time on Earth is over. In the meantime, we must move on and let go of the past. But I believe that our connections with our departed loved ones can be ongoing and continuous and that this communion is part of the healing process.
I find that communicating with Cassie is easy but difficult at the same time. It’s easy because the love connection between us is still very strong. But it’s also difficult because I must let go of the need to have Cassie with me in the physical realm and focus instead on establishing this new form of communication.
When I want to communicate with Cassie, I place one of my favorite photos of her next to me, light a candle, and say a prayer. Then I quiet my mind by using a meditative practice, pick up a pen or pencil and pad of paper, and ask her a question. I deliberately place my energy in my heart space because it’s the strength of the heart connection that allows communication to begin. If the heaviness of my grief weighs me down, I try to think of a happy memory of us together. This process helps lift my spirit and makes communication easier. I try not to worry about whether what I receive is real or imaginary. I just write down what I hear in my mind. I try to suspend any disbelief and just have faith that this type of communication is possible. I find that Cassie’s answers are always very honest because, now that she’s crossed over, she has nothing to hide; although, sometimes there are things she won’t reveal to me because I’m meant to understand them through a process of self-discovery.
For others going through the loss of a child through suicide, what would you say to them based on your experiences?
It’s not your fault. You may feel that you contributed, in some way, to your child’s suicide, but to survive this you must forgive yourself and anyone else involved. This is the most important and yet the hardest lesson I learned. Life can become overwhelming, and children sometimes just don’t have the internal resources to cope.
You may be angry with your child, with God, or with life itself, and that’s okay. Express these emotions no matter how awful they feel; don’t bury them inside you. Share your experience of grief with a member of the clergy, a counselor, or a trusted friend. Try not to isolate yourself. Your friends care and want to help. Tell people what they can do to help you. They may want to but just not know how. Take care of yourself: sleep, remember to eat (even if you don’t feel like it), and exercise. Movement will help you release your emotions, as well.
Stay close to your child’s friends. They are hurting too and need your support. Your child’s siblings also need your help. Let them know how much you love them; they need to feel like they still matter. If you become so immersed in your grief that you can’t help them, they will lose both a sibling and a parent.
Everyone’s experience of grief and loss is different, and there are no time frames. Take the time you need to grieve but also know that at some point you just have to pull yourself together and get on with life. You will know when you are ready. Also remember that men and women may express grief differently, so it’s important to allow your partner to grieve in his or her own way.
Try to find a way to give your child’s life meaning. For me, it was writing The Dreaming Road. You might become involved in suicide prevention activities in your community, establish a memorial scholarship in your child’s name, or coach a youth sports team. There are many ways to contribute when you are ready.
Seek the meaning in your experience and strive to make the world a better place because you are still in it. This is what your child would want you to do. And remember, in the end, you will be together again. The loss, no matter how painful, is temporary and our children are not gone forever. They’ve just crossed over into another dimension of reality. Establish a connection with their eternal souls because they are anxious to communicate, to help alleviate some of the pain they’ve caused. I do believe that they become our guardian angels and watch over us until we join them once again.
Where would you direct people looking for resources on connecting with people after they’ve passed?
I know of three websites that provide helpful information for people who are looking for resources regarding after-death communication. The first is the website for the ADC project developed by Bill and Judy Guggenheim. Their web address is www.after-death.com. Their classic book on after-death communication, Hello from Heaven, was the first book on this topic that I read after Cassie died. They also have many resources listed on near-death experiences, bereavement and loss, end of life care, and spiritual growth.
The second website is the After-Death Communication Research Foundation (www.adcrf.org). This site explores the phenomenon of ADCs through experiences that people have contributed to their website. They also provide an analysis of the scientific validity of near-death experiences in Jeffery Long’s and Paul Perry’s book, Evidence of the Afterlife.
The third is the Afterlife Research and Education Institute Inc. (www.afterlifeinstitute.org). This institute is focused on developing methods to enhance afterlife communication and ease the transition from Earth to the other side of the veil. They provide a list of modalities to communicate with departed loved ones at https://afterlifeinstitute.org/connect-loved-one-spirit.
Another great resource for near-death experiences is the International Association for Near Death Studies (https://iands.org). A recently published book by IANDS, The Self Does Not Die, written by Titus Rivas, Anny Dirven, and Rudolf H. Smit, reviews many NDEs and provides evidence regarding the hypothesis that our human consciousness is independent of brain function by examining instances of non-physical awareness, such as a patient observing and being able to report the details their resuscitation procedures after a cardiac arrest.
From a mother’s perspective, what would you say to teenagers dealing with suicidal thoughts or depression?
Find a trusted friend, family member, teacher, or counselor and let them know how you’re feeling. Reach out for help now; people often don’t realize how much you’re hurting unless you tell them. Sharing your pain will make it less intense. Keeping it buried inside you will only make it grow. You’re not going to be a burden to them. Your true friends will be glad that you trusted them enough to tell them how you’re really feeling.
You are very much loved even though you might not believe this is true right now. My daughter, Cassie, realized just how much she was loved when she watched her funeral from the other side of the veil, but by then it was too late, and there was no turning back.
There is hope, and life will get better in time. You came here to experience all that this life has to offer; its joy and pain, love and loss, hope and despair. For how can we know what one is without experiencing the other? Make a list of the small things that bring you joy – a beloved pet who’s always there for you, for example, and focus on them when you feel sad.
Suicide is not the ultimate escape. You take your eternal self and your emotions with you when you cross the veil; you only leave your physical body behind. You have a gift for this world and a destiny to fulfill. If you end your life on Earth now, you may regret that you were unable to accomplish your divine life purpose. You are important, and the lives of your family and friends would never ever be the same without you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help: you and your life matter.