Anne Geraghty - Death, The last God
Interview by Iain McNay
Iain McNay: Hello and welcome once more to Conscious TV. My name is lain McNay, and today my guest is Anne Geraghty. Hi Anne.
Anne Geraghty: Hello Iain.
Iain McNay: And today we are going to talk about death.
Now death, I know, can sound a very depressing and negative subject, but it is also something that is very important in life, and Anne had an experience some years ago when her son died suddenly, and that completely changed life for her. Not only the grieving and the loss, but also herself, how she saw herself, how she understood herself. So we are going to talk about her journey, what she has learned so far, She is actually writing a book which should be out next year, which is entitled Death; the Last God. A Modern Book of the Dead. Actually Anne was interviewed on Conscious TV about five years ago, when we first started, and then she had written her autobiography which is called In the Dark and Still Moving, and that book is still available. So Anne….
Anne Geraghty: Yes
Iain McNay: It all started, you had a knock on the door at half past five one morning…
Anne Geraghty: Yes, and in a moment my life changed completely. Tim was 34, was healthy, had recently got married and was planning a family; suddenly he was dead. The shock waves went through my whole life, my being, and of course not just me, his wife, our families, everyone who knew him. For me this was something I never ever imagined would happen…. and it happened.
Iain McNay: So your first reaction, obviously as you said, was incredible grief and shock, and just not believing. That this could happen to you.
Anne Geraghty: Devastation. I think... I mean I can still hear the knock on the door. I can remember vividly every single thing that happened for the next hour or so. I knew immediately, actually, that my life as I knew it was over, and that what was going to unfold was going to be completely new territory for me. I have always been someone who has been committed to life, as you know, I worked as a therapist, helping people come to life. I was involved in so many things, and suddenly I had a tsunami hit me that was death. In a way I felt I had no choice. I stopped everything. I stopped my work, I stopped socialising, I stopped shopping, I stopped so many things, and went on a journey deep into death.
Iain McNay: Let’s just go through it slowly stage by stage, because in the draft of your book, which I have seen, the next day after his death you felt he was in the room with you, didn’t you?
Anne Geraghty: Well the truth is that I had not thought a lot about death prior to this. It wasn’t something I ever thought about much. It was going to happen one day, vaguely in the future, when I was very old. I hadn’t had a lot of deaths close to me, and so I wasn’t familiar with it. My mother had died seven years ago, but that wasn’t so dramatic. She had been ill, and I wasn’t that close to her. It was a real death, but apart from that I had no experience of anyone close to me dying. I was sitting on that first day of his death – we were about to go to London the following day – and in desperation, I was meditating because I couldn’t think of anything else to do. I had called everyone up and told them of his death and while meditating suddenly I felt Tim in the room and very puzzled. I remember thinking he was saying.. he wasn’t saying, but it was a kind of confusion.. Was he in a nightmare?
Iain McNay: So how did you feel him?
Anne Geraghty: Well I had my eyes closed, so I didn’t see him, it was more a sense, a sort of feeling of a movement around the room which had a quality of Timness, and with a lot of puzzlement and confusion. It was as if he was asking me, though I didn’t hear words, but this was the experience “What’s happening? Am I in a nightmare? Am I seriously ill? Is this a drug trip gone wrong? What’s happening? I felt this overwhelming urge to say aloud, “Yesterday you were alive and in the night you died.” Very simple yet I felt compelled to keep saying it. I think I said it seven times in all. It was as if I was communicating to a child , who was very alive, paradoxically, but whose mind was not working very well. After I had spoken there was a sudden silence and calm, and I felt that Tim had heard me and now knew he was dead. Later on I was speaking to some friends about it, because I was puzzled. I had never spoken to dead people, I had never been to a spiritualist church, I had never been to a medium to contact dead people, so this was all new territory, yet I heard from other people that it was actually very common. A friend told me about someone in the air force in WW2, Air Field Marshall Dowding Every time his squadrons went out on bombing missions, and obviously always a portion of them never came back, he would sit very silently outside because, he said, the souls of the dead airmen would come and ask him what had happened, and he would have to tell them they were dead. He said this was because they did not know what had happened and did not know they were dead.
SIain McNay: o it seems – I don’t want to go into speculation, but it seems from your experience that when Tim died it had been a shock for him.
Anne Geraghty: He didn’t know what was happening. He didn’t know he was dead. I can only say my experience rather than facts of what was actually happening. Some of this will have to be metaphor because it is energy and I am translating it into words, but yes, it was as though he was experiencing events that he could not explain.
Iain McNay: Did he respond to that when you spoke?
Anne Geraghty: Yes, it was as if he heard me. I did say it aloud. I felt compelled to say it aloud. I remember Martin, my husband and Tim’s step father, was there and he…
Iain McNay: What was his response?
Anne Geraghty: Martin’s or Tim’s?
Iain McNay: Tim’s.
Anne Geraghty: It was as though he heard it and he then knew he was dead. And in that moment the silence came on us both. We were both in a way dead. Obviously I wasn’t dead, but I felt as if I had died as well Tim. Everything was totally silent.. Completely. I felt as if I was never going to laugh again, was never going to enjoy life again, that I was dead and Tim was dead. And it was for me at that point, the worst thing that could possibly have happened. Just as I felt it was for Tim.
Iain McNay: And this communication with him went on for a time, didn’t it?
Anne Geraghty: Well I didn’t realise at the time but this was the beginning of a year of the most extraordinary things happening. Mostly very potent dreams that were extremely vivid. They were not like my normal dreaming; they were visceral and very colourful. I can remember every detail in them all still. I did write them down, but I can remember them anyway. And I had a sense very often of Tim being with me, and we were having a conversation, a dialogue that was an energetic dialogue. But because I use words a lot this easily transcribed itself into words, though really it was more an energetic process.
Iain McNay: A feeling
Anne Geraghty: It was a feeling, a experience of interconnection. It was very very sharp, very dramatic, very clear.
Iain McNay: And was that helpful for you?
Anne Geraghty: Yes, yes, it definitely was. Not only because of my own confusion, upset, profound loss, grief, shock - because he and I went on a journey together. We had always had many long deep conversations about the meaning of life, you know the kind of thing - Who are we? What is this thing we call life? What does it mean to be alive? And those conversations continued in these dreams, but they were about death.
Iain McNay: Yes
Anne Geraghty: Not only were these conversations helpful, they totally and completely changed my understanding of what is death. For example, in one of the first dreams I had after the funeral, I was in a basement, there was a loud knock on the door and a demon burst in and grabbed me by the throat. It stared at me and became the most evil demon I could possibly imagine. I was absolutely terrified of it. It was flinging me around, and I thought I was going it die. I was in absolute terror. Suddenly I realised that this demon had no actual power. The only power it had was to instil fear into me, and that was its power. Suddenly I was not afraid. And the demon dissolved. Later on I realised that the demon was Tim’s death. It arrived in my life with a knock on the door and had looked to me like absolutely the worst possible unimaginable, unspeakable thing that could have happened. My son’s death. What could be worse? Even my own death would not be so bad. And part of what happened was a deep sea change in that I was no longer, I am no longer, afraid of death. I am not afraid of death. That is a huge thing, isn’t it?
Iain McNay: So what does that mean, not to be afraid of death? Practically.
Anne Geraghty: Well firstly I think I am much more relaxed. That doesn’t sound a great thing, but you know, I have been driven in my life.
Iain McNay: It’s a huge thing actually.
Anne Geraghty: I have been driven to achieve, to succeed, to make this happen, to control my life so that this unfolds, or whatever, which meant I’d been engaged in a driven way with life. Not pathologically so, but the difference now is that I can genuinely allow things to unfold. I can observe possibilities, without being so invested in a particular outcome or exhaust myself trying to make it happen. So that’s a big thing for me. And I think there is something else, which is that I feel more at ease with experiences, phenomena, possibilities that are beyond my own comprehension. I am more relaxed with the fact that I don’t know, whereas previously I always wanted to know, had to know. Now I can allow that not-knowing to speak to me and I feel I have connected with dimensions that are beyond my mind. Which wasn’t easy for me. I've got a strong mind Iain - and so have you I think!
Iain McNay: I realise that.
Anne Geraghty: And as a result this was a liberation for me.
Iain McNay: I know that um from what you told me before, that a month after Tom died you went to a spiritualist meeting
Anne Geraghty: Oh yes! No it was a bit longer than that about four months.
Iain McNay: OK but there was a message that came through from the guy holding the meeting, Cyril, which was quite significant for you, wasn’t it? Though at the time it didn’t seem to be.
Anne Geraghty: Well I had begun an investigation into death. So many things were happening, psychic phenomena, these dreams, experiences of Tim being here, and I was trying to understand what was going on. There was one period for example when he came and sat on a bench next to me every night, and I knew he was going to be there, and he was there. There was some absolute sense he was there. And I would go out with glass of wine in the evening and just be with him.
Iain McNay: It sounds very sweet when you say that.
Anne Geraghty: It was very sweet. Everything happened, there were many very very sweet things, and also tremendous pain and remorse and guilt. For example all the mistakes I had ever made as a mother were thrown right back into sharp relief and stabbed me. I was looking everywhere, trying everywhere to make sense of what was happening. So one time in my exploration, I went to a spiritualist meeting run by Cyril, who was well known to be very good. And he was. We sat in a room and he had messages for everybody there. And they were lovely messages. He said to one woman, “Were you hoovering today?” And she said, “Yes”. He said “And did the Hoover break?” She said “yes, it did.” He said, “And did you swear?” She giggled and Cyril told her “Your auntie Rose wants you to know that it is OK to swear when the hoover breaks.” This woman’s face lit up, because she had been missing her aunt Rose who had died. He was obviously a gifted man and he went around the room giving messages from the dead to everyone. I was waiting for my message but it didn’t come. I thought, ‘Oh well, OK, maybe its not my thing.’ But then at the end he said to me “Would you stay behind? I have a message for you in private.” He came over to me and said “I have a different kind of message for you.” He talked about my family and my mother and then said, “There is a young man here, but you can communicate with him far better than me. You don’t need me; you are in direct communication. This is very rare to have both of you able to communicate with each other. And it is very important.” Then he said, “You have a silver box with rough diamonds in it and I am told to tell you these are very important and you must polish them.” I thought “This is rubbish! I haven’t got a silver box and I don’t have any rough diamonds.” But I left it at that, because he was clearly a lovely man and very good. But many months later I realised he might be referring to my silver laptop, because I had been writing down everything that happened, even though I never imagined I would ever write about it. So on my laptop was a record of the dreams and the experiences and my journey thorough my grief, together with my journey into understanding dimensions of death and I thought, “Oh, maybe that is what he means. Maybe I should start polishing these and write a book.” So I did.
Iain McNay: And you also went to Peru to see a shaman too.
Anne Geraghty: Two years on, I was still having times when I was completely pole axed by grief and loss. And feeling dreadfully responsible for Tim’s death because of how he had died. Tim was a London lad who loved to party hard with drugs and alcohol. He had come off everything and hadn’t had any drugs or alcohol because he and his wife were going to start a family. So for six months he hadn’t touched a thing yet he went out one night and wrecked himself. But his tolerance had completely gone. He went to bed and never woke up. What he would once have been able to survive, probably with a terrible hangover, this time he didn’t. He stopped breathing.
One of the recurring anguishes for me was that I felt he abandoned himself with drink and drugs because it mirrored a degree of abandonment that I had given him as a child , seeking enlightenment, freedom, liberation. Of course I always took him with me and took care of him, but at the same time I was not there on a daily basis with a routine. So often I would look back at my life, filled with regret and remorse, wishing that I had stayed at home, baked apple pie, held down a steady job and absolutely not tried to explore the far reaches of human consciousness - or anything like that. All this was so painful, even two years on, that I felt it was like a thorn in my heart and I couldn’t pull it out.
I met a friend whose son had also died from an accidental drug overdose ten years previously and she said to me that she also couldn’t get rid of this terrible anguish but somehow, her son’s death, she was implicated in it and of course that is a terrible feeling, but she said “But then I went and I did an Ayahuasca ceremony with a shaman.” And I said, “Well did it help? I was very keen to know. And she said “Yes. It really helped.” So I did, and it was utterly and completely amazing. And it truly did help. A profound anguish, agony and bitter regret left me. But not only that. It was also a deep affirmation of what I was discovering anyway in the dreams.
I went on a very very profound journey with the Ayahuasca Spirit into death realms where I saw so many things that are hard to describe. I mean when you do these ceremonies you are encountering a profound medicine, a soul medicine, that obviously has to be done in the right context. The shaman is someone who has trained and knows how to use the soul medicine for healing. What happened for me was beyond description really. It was like being taken on a journey by an intelligence that was not human, because Ayahuasca is a plant, a vine, and the spirit of the Ayahuasca vine is often called the death vine. The spirit of this vine is a presence, a being, who comes and takes you on a journey into wherever you need for your healing. Part of the healing for me was very specific, about Tim and about my family and a liberation from the woundings and unresolved conflicts there. Yet I also saw the hidden meaning of events which are very hard to see when you are in a body living this life. I was shown what was behind the happenings that were unfolding in my life, the things I was regretting, wishing hadn’t happened. I was shown the context in which these had meaning on a profound and sacred level. She took me, because it was a she, but not human, a plant intelligence, she took me on a journey and showed me things about death, and revealed to me things about the spirit world. She took me into some dark places too. I was given a kind of amazing tour of the spirit world really. I mean we could spend the whole interview on that, but I don’t think you’d want to.
Iain McNay: So when you say a tour of the spirit world, just give a brief example.
Anne Geraghty: OK. There was one time she said “I am going to take you down to meet your fellow shamans. I didn’t know it but she told me that Tim’s death had opened me in such a way to the spirit world that this meant, I was now a shaman. This is using words to describe energy and so more metaphor than fact but she said I could now travel into the death realms because I had crossed over, because Tim’s death was worse for me that my own death would be. And so I no longer had the same relationship with death. In a way I had died. As you know, he was my only son. And we had a very deep relationship..
Iain McNay: Part of you had died and part of your identification had died, how you see yourself had died.
Anne Geraghty: A very big part. When Tim died I would far rather have died myself – as his mother, also perhaps because of our history. So she said she was now going to show me the realms I could now travel in, if I wished to. I did four such journeys, each a whole night and all very different. One of the journeys was two weeks after my brother had died. I now seem able to attune to the dead and when I tuned in to my brother I felt he was in trouble. So I said to the Ayahuasca Spirit, “I want to help my brother.” She said OK and took me down through an ocean, through the Earth, down into a very dark realm. This wasn’t dark in a horrid sense, it was dark because it was the realm of death.
As we arrived, the Lords and Ladies of Death came out to greet me. I felt very connected with them because I am – how to describe it? - someone who has had familiarity with the death realm, so it was a very good meeting as if with old comrades. I was thinking what can I do, I know my brother needs some help, but how can I help him. The spirit of the Ayahuasca said, “You know exactly what to do.” And suddenly I knew exactly what to do. I flew off, through the universe, looking for my brother. I knew I would find him because I loved him and I knew that love always finds finds it subject. There’s nothing more powerful than love. Which of course in relation to death is very key - but we can go back to that later.
Eventually I found my brother but he was stuck. He was a very unusual man, very gifted, very creative, a special man, an Aikido Master, and loved by many. Hundreds came to his funeral because he was such a marvellous, spiritual, deep , complex and creative man. He was also hard, judgmental, not interested in feelings at all; they were indulgent, and therapy was absolutely irrelevant. He could be cruel and unforgiving and had a very dark side to him. When I came across him, these two parts of him were locked in opposition and stuck. The light, wise, enlightened side of him wasn’t free to simply go and dissolve into the cosmos and the garden of souls, and the compacted angry, unresolved dark side couldn’t get free to resolve itself by coming back to Earth or do what it needed to do in the spirit world. The two energies within him were stuck because they were equal and opposite.
I stood in front of him and said, “I love you I have come to help you.” But the dark side just didn’t trust me. It was writhing in rage. I kept on telling him that I was there to help him and showed him how I had loved him as a child. I was the older sister who had helped him tie his shoe laces, teach him drawing, so many things. I went through his life showing him my love until eventually a tear came out of the eye that was on the enlightened side. He had two eyes, one was screwed up and dark, the other was looking at me. The tear came from that eye and I knew this was the opening I had been looking for. I opened up and took into my heart all of his anger, rage, fury, all the unresolved bitterness, confusion and fear. I took this into my heart so that it could resolve within me. When this process finished, he was complete, gave me a smiling salute and flew off.
Iain McNay: So what
Anne Geraghty: I can’t explain it. Yes, go on.
Iain McNay: So how does that effect how you see death from a personal person being alive sitting here now. It must shift how you see death.
Anne Geraghty: It does, because first of all I began to understand, and its very relevant to that story, is that when we die, the physical body dies, clearly, and the ego dies. By the ego I mean the defended ‘I’, the programmes, the cognitive processes, the defence mechanisms, the protection systems that we have developed. The persona, the personality, who we can easily think is who we are, is actually just the surface container of many energies, and this dies, this dissolves. But the energies of who and what we are, like all energies, do not die, they are transformed. In this universe anyway energy can be neither created nor destroyed, and my experience is that the energies of who and what we are, once freed from the control of the ego, become free to find their next fulfilment, destiny, movement. And there is purity about that energy because it does not have the restriction of the conditioning, the ego. On death, there is no ego. So in this case, when I was with my brother, his rage and unresolved fury was energetically there, but it wasn’t in any particular shape like when he was alive. It was simply what it was. He was not controlling or judging me as he would have been in life.
Iain McNay: People talk about a souls journey, so somehow it was restricting his souls journey?
Anne Geraghty: Well as I understood it what we call the soul may itself be a multi dimensional entity with different energies. Some aspects of may need to resolve themselves in the bodies and lives of people who loved you. Some parts may have to find fulfillment in ome other realm. Some parts may dissove back into union with the cosmos beyond all duality. Some parts may remain in the energy field of the existence in a way that we can’t necessarily comprehend. There’s a lot of work about energy fields and their capacity to shape living reality – maybe the dead contribute to these energy fields.
Iain McNay: The thing is we don’t know, but also the practicality is that it had an effect on you and it was helpful to you
Anne Geraghty: It was.
Iain McNay: And was your understanding of yourself and also about death to a degree?
Anne Geraghty: Well there’s two things. One, as I already said, I am no longer afraid of death at all. Not the slightest bit afraid.. It’s like the fulfilment of your life. On the other hand, it makes what we do in our life even more significant because we are laying down the template for eternity, and the energies that we nurture in life are our legacy to existence when we die. The ‘I’ that is Anne, in this body, will die. Aspects of my energy, Anne-ness or is–ness, consciousness, love, my commitment to freedom, or whatever, will live on in a multitude of forms, dimensions. Exactly how they live on I won’t know until I die.
Iain McNay: We can’t understand that.
Anne Geraghty: Yes, it’s an unfolding, an is-ness that we can’t comprehend because we are here, in a body, still committed to life - and rightly so, we are alive. This is life. But as I understand it, life really is a massive river. It is the Tao, or the dharma. It’s a river in which we are temporarily in this particular body, this shape. I give it the name Anne, or Iain, but on death that entity dissolves, and the energies we have cooked up continue in a mysterious way we can’t define or analyse. But they live on, in life, in a multitude of ways.
Iain McNay: Yes, one of the other things you talk about in your new book is that without death life would have no meaning somehow. That’s hard to understand somehow. Oh yes, we just live and live and live and live. But somehow because there is a finality, though we don’t always believe it and we know we are going to die, we may not believe it, but we know it, somehow that makes life much more precious, much more finite and much more alive, doesn’t it?
Anne Geraghty: Yes absolutely. The fact of death is absolutely essential. I mean if we didn’t die everything would lose its meaning, would be banal and empty. Any meeting with anyone would have no significance because it could be repeated in an infinite loop, whereas death makes every moment significant, unique, important. And another thing, which is a great paradox and what I think is an essential key, is that death makes life so precious that we as human beings become willing to die so that those we love can live. This great paradox is at the heart of true spirituality as far as I am concerned. Which is that there are dimensions of reality that are more important than survival, and love really does matter more than mere survival. As I see it, when you start living, in whatever unique way each one of us is drawn to, with a depth of real engagement that makes you willing to die for what you love, then that to me is a spiritual life. Whatever form that takes. Because you are creating dimension of eternity in that profound commitment to something other than your own survival. The Ego is committed to survival. It is a very important machine tool. We need it, the Ego. But it isn’t where the spirit of humanity is.
Iain McNay: One of the things I found very touching was that what Cyril said did come to be something very important, very precious to you in that your silver box, your computer, you started to create a symphony which was based around Tim. You have never actually composed any music before.
Anne Geraghty: Well that was extraordinary. I had a feeling that so much was happening with Tim and between us... I mean when someone we love dies our love doesn’t die. It has to find new ways to express itself. So without realising quite why, a thought kept coming to me to write a symphony. Well I am not a musician. I played the cello a bit when I was younger, not particularly well, and I had no idea why this thought kept coming. Actually I had a pile of books by my bed and periodically in desperation before going to bed I would open them to hopefully get some sort of guidance in the labyrinth of my grief, which I did get on many occasions. I was talking to Martin about this, and I was saying “I can’t write a symphony, I don’t know what to do.” And he said “ Well open one of your books.” So I opened one, and actually it happened to be by Osho, and it said that a truly creative person will continually find new ways to express their love. A psychologist might write music and a scientist might write poetry. And it felt like this telling me to go ahead.
Iain McNay: A psychologist might write music!
Anne Geraghty: Yes! I looked at Martin and he said “ Well you can’t get a much clearer message than that!” So then I… yes.. I could feel Tim with me.
Iain McNay: You were saying in the book that he almost wrote the symphony with you
Anne Geraghty: es that is how it felt. For a start, I don’t know anything about dance music, but dance beats would insist on coming in. You know, I would be having all these strings and woodwind and more classical instruments playing, and a bass dance beat would insist on coming in and start to arrive. It would just be there. I would hear it and hear Tim laugh and so of course I would have to bring that in.
Iain McNay: How was that whole process for you with the music coming through you?
Anne Geraghty: I felt very close to Tim. I mean that was the most wonderful thing, because he loved music. The last thing he had published before he died was a piece in the Observer Music Monthly, and they dedicated that issue to him. He loved music and I felt very close to him while writing the symphony. Also I had really to learn Logic, the music software for my Mac, and that forced my mind to concentrate. Especially as I don’t have that good a mind for IT stuff, my IT consultant was always Tim. So I felt he helped me not only with the music but helped me learn. After all, how could I learn to do all that, while being devastated with grief, reaching for the tissues and weeping continually as well?
Iain McNay: We haven’t gone into it in detail but we have to just to make the point that you didn’t actually want to do any of the old things you were doing before to earn money, spend your day, so this was something that came out of the blue if you like..
Anne Geraghty: Absolutely. It was as if another part of my brain came into play and my right brain took over, which is to do with music, non-doing, allowing, rather than my left-brain, which is much more logical, analytical. It felt like this just couldn’t cope.
Iain McNay: We will put a couple of tracks of the music at the end for people to watch on the Internet so that they can hear it at the end of the interview.
Something else I wanted to cover was that I know your relationship with Tim was very special in many ways. There was a real openness, so very briefly just so that people understand the background, was that you had lived in a commune. Tim – was he born in the commune?
Anne Geraghty: He wasn’t born in the commune, but he spent a lot of time in the commune.
And in some ways that was very difficult for him.
Iain McNay: Obviously it had its pluses as well
Anne Geraghty: Yes.
Iain McNay: And he wrote a book which has actually sold very well, called “My life in Orange” and that was his take on the story of his early years, and although he didn’t directly criticise you as such, the reviewers in the papers very much homed in on you and criticised you. They said you were a bad mother, and that was one of the reasons that you wrote your own response, wasn’t it? But apart from that, it was so touching that you wrote in another book it was so important to you when you left the commune that you were able to talk as a family. So you and Martin who is Tim’s stepfather…
Anne Geraghty: He has been with him since he was three..
Iain McNay: And you would meet as a family every Thursday and you would talk through everything until you were all clear.
Anne Geraghty: Yes, but not just talk because we would act out scenes, we would do psychodrama, all sorts of explorations; and many things happened. In that journey we found each other again and we healed so much that had been hurt, it is true, by that journey. Because that journey into the sannyasin commune had taken the one person he wanted – me – away from him. I had imagined that he would love having a commune to run around and play, because as a child I had too much restriction. So I was giving him in a way what I longed for and I didn’t read the signs that he would much have preferred a lot more time with me. So you can imagine all my regrets about that came back when he died. Though he said himself that when he wrote that book he was still angry with the commune. Of course with hindsight we would have done things differently and there were ways in which the children did not have enough time with their parents. We were all responsible for that, and I am not blaming anyone, because inevitably when you experiment, you make mistakes. But when his book came out, the papers had pictures of me and were saying ‘One of the world’s worst mothers’, ‘a ghastly mother,’ and so on. And when your son dies of an accidental drug overdose, perhaps it was inevitable, all that came back. Which is where the Ayahuasca saved me. It showed everything in its rightful context, and that was a great healing for me.
Iain McNay: So those meetings you had every Thursday
Anne Geraghty: Yes for two years they were every Thursday.
Iain McNay: I think there is great value in that for people who really want to look at their relationship with their family… the willingness you had, and you sat down the three of you and you didn’t move till you were all happy, till that session was complete.
Anne Geraghty: Yes we had to agree, all of us, that we had finished. And it would be obvious, because we would be laughing, or one of us would be crying and want a cup of cocoa or something. It was a natural process and all we had to do really was sit down and be honest. This proves what can happen where there is love, and you let the love do the work, it all unfolds into healing and more love.And there was love between us. I mean I am taking that for granted. And when there is love you just have to be honest, and we were. Martin and I talked about things and explained things and Tim also shared himself. There was one time when I was acting being a therapist, too busy to speak to him when he wanted me and he was acting trying to get my attention. He had started by saying, “This is stupid I am not going to do this!” But he ended up suddenly incredibly angry which was a great release for him. He was able to get angry with me and for me to understand. Of course he was angry. He had not got what he needed in certain ways, but he was getting it. And in the end he did get it.
Iain McNay: So your relationship with him when he died had healed to a very large extent.
Anne Geraghty: Absolutely. Thank God, actually, thank God.
Iain McNay: It’s so important, isn’t it?
Anne Geraghty: I do thank God, or the Mystery, or something, because when he died it was such a traumatic journey anyway that had we not had the deep interconnectedness we reached I don’t know how I would have survived, to be honest. I am so grateful for that.
Iain McNay: Something else you talk about in the book is that although you found the death process so hard in a way that things fell into place. If you needed something it would appear.
Anne Geraghty: It was like… after Tim died I was living in a magical world where everything I needed would arrive just when I needed it. Yes, it was extraordinary, because I am not someone who trusts very easily. I am someone who on the whole has, or had I should say, to organise things, in order that it happens to the best of what I think, not just for me for everybody. And there was a controlling dimension to all this. I don’t trust very easily that I am going to get what I need so, you know, I’d better I do it. Yet here was something different. For example, one time I was sitting down and I said to Martin ‘I wish I could find a medium, but a really intelligent one. I don’t want Aunt Mary telling me my cold will soon recover, I want someone who is intelligent, grounded, someone who really understands the psychodynamics of a person.’ I didn’t know if there were such mediums or how to find one but the next day I got an email from a very good friend who is a psychotherapist, in which she said, “You probably don’t know this Anne, but ten years ago I used to do readings as a medium.’ I didn’t know this, but she had been very successful in America with her readings and she told me that Tim has been coming to her and talking to her. Suddenly I had a friend who was also a medium, exactly what I’d needed. But again she was very clear - Tim didn’t want to talk to her. She said that usually when she tunes in on people who are dead they rush to speak to her, desperate to talk to their relatives, but Tim was relaxed, take it or leave it. He was saying to her, ‘I’m fine – me and my Mum, we are in communication. We don’t need you, she just thinks she does.’ And of course at that time I was hungry for anything and yes, I had had a sense of him, but I wanted proof. I wanted the medium to tell me that, to give me messages. But again, it was back to me, that is how it was. Back to the love between us.
Iain McNay: So even when times are hard there is an element of trust that things are unfolding on our own journeys.
Anne Geraghty: Well looking back now I realise that I have had enormous help from so many dimensions. Tim had been dead a couple of weeks and I went for a long walk on the beach, weeping, weeping, and a cormorant came and probably only about ten feet from me and just flew next to me the whole way, for about four miles. And I felt just a bit of solace, not that it was Tim, but that it was a gift.
Iain McNay: A little support?
Anne Geraghty: Yes a support. Why would a cormorant fly next to me for so long? You know, and just wait sometimes until I caught up. Hundreds of things happened that were inexplicable really. One time I was walking on the cliff tops, crying and listening to my symphony for Tim that I had just finished. It was a year since he had died, and on the day was the anniversary of his death. I went onto the cliff tops listening to the symphony for Tim and the last track came on. First there is the serenity of heaven, then there are the drum beats of Earth, and then they combine. And heaven and Earth together create something greater than either separately. It was a really cloudy day, thick clouds, dark clouds, and I stood a bit off the path of the cliff looking out to sea as the last track came on. I lifted my arms in the air and a hole appeared in the clouds through which the sun shone down on me. It was utterly glorious. Then the track came to an end and the clouds returned. It was bizarre. Things like that which I can’t explain.
Iain McNay: I should just mention that the symphony is available on itunes, isn’t it?
Anne Geraghty: Yes, Symphony for Tim by Anne Geraghty
Iain McNay: I think that another thing that comes across in the book is that death affects everyone but it is different for each person isn’t it?
Anne Geraghty: I think that every death is different and every grieving process is different. A death has many dimensions to it just as a grieving process also has many dimensions to it. We are complex people in our Western world. We are no longer simplistic people who live in their caste or their tradition, we now live many lives in one lifetime and have many different parts to who and what we are. And each part of me will die differently. Each part of me will grieve differently. And uniquely so for each person. I have had four people who I was close to die, and each death was completely different and unique. And it makes sense - everyone’s life is unique. If I ask you what is the meaning of life, neither of us will be able to say what it is, but you will be able to say what it is for you, and I will be able to say something about what it is for me. And I think it is the same with death. My death will be mine and as unique as my life And your death will be yours.
Iain McNay: It’s as if we all have a unique take on life and we all have a unique take on death.
Anne Geraghty: Yes, and the actual experience of death is different. I don’t think we can rely any longer on the mediaeval maps of death or Tibetan maps of what happens when you die, going through the Bardos. They may hold truths, aspects of the truth, but for us I think death is a very complex process, as are our lives. And different parts of me will die differently. Some parts may just dissolve into the cosmos, some parts may stay very connected with people I have loved. Some parts, who knows, may be reincarnated. Some parts may enter into some kind of dynamic in the spirit world. Some parts, like I said, may become parts of an energy field that shapes reality - who knows?
Iain McNay: We have about five minutes left and what I am interested in, if its OK to do this, is… if someone were in your situation, not necessarily with their son, but if someone very close to them has died, so that they were absolutely devastated on one level, what advice would you give them? Not so much that you are giving them advice, but what was the most helpful thing for you in terms of your situation?
Anne Geraghty: Well one thing I would say is love. Connect to your love for that person. When I saw Tim’s body I did say “You are now a spirit and we who loved you, we are your body in the world.” Love does not die. The connection with love continues, and if you have someone you love die, you will be distraught, but the love connection I now know remains. And that is a source of connection, communication, nourishment, so I would keep tuning in on the fact that you love them. That is probably the number one thing. And the other thing is – trust these tiny little feelings that you get sometimes. Because I did not always trust it, that it was Tim communicating with me, but whatever it was, and however a scientist might analyse it, there is meaning even in small experiences that you have. There is a meaning in them. Don’t brush them aside. And if you feel your loved one sit next to you, that experience has a meaning. You don’t have to have a scientific proof of it, but there is a meaning if you feel them sitting next to you. Trust it. And you can go on a journey with that person who has died. You can have a journey in life. You are their body in the world. They are still connected with you.
Iain McNay: I imagine you can also complete things, to complete..
Anne Geraghty: I think sometimes we resolve things for the dead, yes. I did with my brother and Tim. I think some of the things we think the dead need we can still provide for them. It is a beautiful thing to be able to help people you love into their death, by honouring them in whatever way feels right.
Iain McNay: And when at times you were completely engulfed by the grieving process, what were the things that helped you there?
Anne Geraghty: I think there were certain moments when nothing could help me, because I had lost my only son. And there were times when I was utterly overcome and I just had to know, just like when you give birth, that the contractions come but they will pass. At the time it can be overwhelming, and you just have to know that it will pass. And the very grief for your loss is a form of love too. But death is not annihilation. That I know now. Not annihilation.
Iain McNay: But it does annihilate part of you.
Anne Geraghty: Absolutely.
Iain McNay: And in a way that is something quite fascinating to look at. From the expanded point of view.
Anne Geraghty: Because it is a death. Death is real.
Iain McNay: Because we are so identified with our memories and our relationships with people. So when that goes a part of you goes. It has to, doesn’t it?
Anne Geraghty: Absolutely, otherwise death does not exist. The mind dies, the memory dies, the personality dies, Anne dies. Anne-ness, however, does not die. But Anne, she will die.
Iain McNay: That’s a great way to put it.
OK We need to finish now.
Thank you Iain.
Iain McNay: I think we should say that although this book here, ”In the Dark and Still Moving” is Anne’s autobiography, it doesn’t include Tim’s death but includes her life up to about five years ago.
Anne Geraghty: Yes, I would have written parts of it very differently now!
Iain McNay: And if you want to explore Tim’s book My Life in Orange which is his take on his early years with his mother and his life, and also Symphony for Tim
Anne Geraghty: On iTunes and Amazon for download.
Iain McNay: Its fascinating music
Anne Geraghty: From someone who didn’t know anything….!
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