JC, hope, and the holiday spirit

This time of year has me craving the simple things. Baking sweet treats to share with those I love. A simple string of Christmas lights in a quiet, dark room. Playing games around the table and nights driving around looking at all the neighborhoods lit up. 

I know this is an incredibly difficult time of year for so many. A friend texted me the other day, who has both of her children in heaven, and said, “I’m ignoring the holidays that is the only way I can cope.” I completely understand the need to pretend the holidays do not exist when your heart is so completely overwhelmed with grief. And I encouraged her to keep pretending to survive this time of year.  Each path through grief is unique and you have to have find your best way through.

My best friend’s dad passed away, unexpectedly just a few short weeks ago. Why right now? Why this way? It has to be excruciating to keep the holidays going for your kids and family when your heart is aching. 

Tears fall more frequently for me this time of year because of how much my clients hurt. I can empathize with their losses and tend to carry much of their grief with me from the end of October through New Years. Not that I am not carrying it other times, it just feels heavier when there is supposed to be hope and you feel like you don’t have any left.

A few weeks before Thanksgiving a mother and daughter came to see me for a session. With their permission I am introducing you to their loved one, JC, today.  If hope had a mascot, JC would be a number one candidate to fill that role. If the holiday spirit is an actual spirit, JC would embody it.

For most of us in terms of years, JC didn’t have a full life because he was in his early fifties, but JC didn’t just tower over people with his size, he covered you with his love. Known for his fierce and incredible bear hugs, JC always had time for his loved ones. Family was and is his number one priority. He loves being a dad, a sibling, a son. Simply put, his greatest joy is being part of a family. JC lived a big, full physical life in just the way he wanted. And now he covers his loved ones with his beautiful, spiritual light.

JC with his siblings

JC was and is absolutely, utterly, happy. Happy was and is a choice JC makes every day. Working in a grocery store gave him ample opportunity to show off his super power – talking to people. JC could and would talk to anyone about anything. Completely present in his conversations, he remembers everything about each person he meets – who their kids are, where they work, if they have health issues, or if they won an award. He always remembers to ask about it the next time he sees them. The warmth that radiates from his smile and his ease with every day topics of conversation enable him to be a friend to everyone. 

His funeral service overflowed with mourners, people his family had never even known JC’s life had touched. But that is who JC is, he is happy with the simple every day activities of life and loves people with an open heart. Always willing to give people his time, attention, and help. This still serves him well in heaven. JC relayed to his mom and sister, he has made many friends in heaven. He also loves that he doesn’t have to shave in heaven and he has a full head of hair again. With a great, big, wide smile he told me, he thinks he is his most handsome self in heaven.

JC’s physical death was completely unexpected. He woke feeling nauseous and made it to the bathroom where his heart seized and he left our world for the heavenly realm. This left a wake of questions for his loved ones and a huge gaping hole where his large physical life and light used to reside. 

The first time I met JC wasn’t in my office. Often spirits show up at my home when I am sleeping. They come to see if they can talk to me. People here aren’t the only skeptical ones. Spirit sometimes needs to see for themselves that I am a seer. JC woke me up for several nights in a row, simply dissipating before I could open my eyes, but I could feel him staring at me. One night I could feel eyes watching me, and before I opened mine, I asked the spirit to show themselves. When I opened my eyes, a man was crouching next to my bed staring right at me. He had a bald head, round cheeks, and I could tell he had, had dark hair. He simply said, “Okay, this will work.” And dissipated before my eyes. 

When I told his family I had seen him before and relayed this story, his sister shared with me that she had prayed over a photo of JC asking him to make sure he would be able to communicate with me when they came to visit. And sure enough when she flipped the photo around it was exactly the same face I had seen that night.  

The photo of JC his sister prayed over

During the visit with his family at my office, JC communicated he didn’t want his family to worry. He lived and loved the best he knew how and was always all in. He loved his life and loved everyone in it. One of his most important messages was that he believes people are way more important than things. In fact, he hardly had anything to leave behind. He showed me taking his shoes and splitting up the pair because he had so little. JC told his mom and sister, “Just give one shoe to someone and the other shoe to someone else.” JC’s sister told me that was exactly what they had done after he passed.

Why did he have so little? He simply did not need things. He just needed people. People are still what make his soul happiest. And he is okay with not having many physical belongings to give to others after he passed because he loved so well in human form. JC shared with me that he literally gave a piece of his soul to the people he loved most. He projected the image of his own soul into my mind and shared how he would reach inside himself and take some of the light of his soul, his symbol for love, and place it in the hearts of his dearest family and friends. He truly believes this flame still exists inside them and because of this he cannot die. He lives on in them.

JC and his siblings

There were a few things he wanted his family to know. One, he loves his grave. He likes when people come to visit him, but wanted them to know where he is when they are talking to him. JC conveyed that because everyone always looks down when they talk to him, he literally lays on top of his grave when loved ones visit. He said otherwise, it feels weird standing up and looking at them while they look down at the ground. This way he can lay there while they look at him. JC says, “It’s so relaxing to lay there and listen. It feels like basking in warm sunshine. I am so peaceful and completely content.” His sister doesn’t visit him there often, she said. This was his way of inviting her to come see him. 

He also loves food and Thanksgiving. He asked his family to make sure they put a plate out for him for the holidays. He insisted that his brother not get more food than him. He wanted a FULL plate and a seat at the table. (While this may seem odd, dear reader, it is something souls in heaven ask for often. They can enjoy food through the smell of it here. I think it is why so many myths and religions do leave offerings for their loved ones. Spirits enjoy what we eat and can partake through offerings. It makes them so happy and they feel so included and honored.) So JC’s family did make him a plate for Thanksgiving. Below is a photo his sister shared with me.

The plate JC’s family made for him at Thanksgiving this year

JC reminded me it isn’t what we have in life, it is what we do with it. Our time and love is our most precious gift to everyone who comes into our lives. Simply put, JC reminded me we are a gift and so is everyone else we come in contact with. We are supposed to live life together and be present. 

JC and his mom

This holiday season, wether you have to pretend the holidays do not exist, or you are doing your best to try and keep it together, or you are overjoyed and celebrate, show up as yourself, as you know how, offer a kind word to the person behind you in line, ask a friend how they are doing, send a text to someone who matters in your life, make a phone call, just find a way to be present and offer yourself to the world. We will all be better for it. And I truly hope reading about JC helps you find hope and just a little holiday spirit.

Wishing you and yours the best always,

2 thoughts on “JC, hope, and the holiday spirit

  1. Hello Michelle, this article that gives light to those struggling with grief of a lost loved one couldn’t be better timed. Your lovely words capture JC perfectly. We were lucky enough to have JC in our lives long enough to know what his laughter, funny comments, big bear hugs (not to mention his appetite), and the love for his children and family meant to us. There are so many wonderful memories to help us with broken hearts as we try to navigate our lives without him in our physical world. I’m grateful to you for sharing your experience with JC’s mom and sister. Knowing that JC uses his goodness to communicate his comforting senses to us is huge. Thank you for being the messenger and sharing your beautiful experience with such detail. Grateful for your story, Denise Ceballos, JCs Stepmom wife of dad John Ceballos

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your reaction. I am so very grateful you found it comforting. JC is truly a wonderful, warm, fun and charming soul. I am so grateful I was fortunate enough to meet him in spirit.

Leave a Reply