Lessons I’ve learned as I’ve grieved the passing of my Aunt

I’ve lost many people in my lifetime, but the passing of my Aunt earlier this year was the hardest I’ve encountered as a medium. She was the first person I had lost since *really* stepping into my role as a Spiritual Medium. She was the first person I had lost in which I openly talked to her about mediumship, connecting with spirit, the afterlife and the pain of losing our loved ones. She’d always call asking me “how the spooky stuff” was going. She was the one I’d talked to on my late night drives home and the first one I’d call when I got a sign from my Uncle (her husband). What I’ve come to realize in these few short months since her passing is we all grieve differently. I’m sharing my insights into grief as a medium both from the perspective of losing a loved one and the perspective of connecting with humans who have lost their loved ones.

Jenny Shanks Spiritual Medium
Grief isn’t just emotional.

In the wee hours of the morning, I find my grief creeping up on me. It seems that 3am is the wake up call from my Aunt to chat. In the first few weeks, I loved it. I felt at peace with her coming through. She left us unexpectedly and I know she knew how much we were all grieving. She’d always come through with messages. After this continued and I failed my number one rule as a medium – boundaries – I started to feel a physical impact on my body from the lack of sleep and the overwhelming number of days I felt like I was just moving through the motions. After booking my own spiritual healing session, I told my Aunt I loved her but it was time for me to get rest. This was hard for me because I feared “letting her go” but she continues to let me know she will never leave me or my family. My advice – honor your spiritual, physical and emotional bodies all while grieving. 

There’s no right or wrong way to grief.

In the weeks after her passing, a lot was going on. We had family in town which kept my mind off things. They left in phases, and each phase was emotional for me. But it wasn’t until about two months after her passing, I had a meltdown. My heart longed for her. I KNOW she’s around, I KNOW she knows what’s happening but to hear her laugh again or pick up the phone to call her and tell her about the spooky stuff — I was deeply grieving. As the dust settles in the weeks to follow, everyone *thinks* it all goes back to normal. For me, nothing is normal at this point. However, I take this time to honor my feelings and in turn remind myself it’s okay to feel the way I do. My advice – stop judging yourself and stop judging others for how they are grieving.

When the “dust” settles, often we are just beginning our grief. This can be weeks, months and even years.

I shared insight to this above. The biggest lesson I have learned in this is to slow down to actually grieve. I’ve seen many clients ignore their feelings and the emotions that come with it. They jump right back into life, work, responsibilities and never take the time to grieve. This doesn’t heal a broken heart, it simple puts a bandaid over it until the bandaid won’t hold anymore. My advice – don’t do this. These feelings won’t go away. They will just come back again. Honor how you feel. 

What I’ve discovered as a medium is even with my deep connection to the other side, I still grieve my Aunt’s passing and that doesn’t make it any less painful than someone else's grief.

Remove your “title” and stop judging how you should or shouldn’t be when it comes to grief. I’ve had many clients sitting in front of me trying their hardest to hold back tears. And if they do cry, they apologize over and over for their reaction. I have had many people come up to me and tell me how sorry they are my Aunt passed but it must be different for me since I can talk to her. I often remind them I’m still human…. and so are you.  My advice – stop denying yourself. You deserve to heal through this grief and all the emotions that come with it.  

I’m learning to move through grief by honoring my Aunt verse mourning her.

The day my Aunt passed I started talking to her immediately. I told her I needed a sign to know she’s okay and she’s with my Uncle again. My Uncle and I speak to each other with dimes. This was a connection my Aunt and I shared for years. I have many funny stories about the places I have found dimes over the years (that’s for another time). The next morning I was cleaning our house and doing laundry preparing for my family to arrive when I moved clothes from the washer to the dryer. All the sudden, a dime fell out of the clothes. I just stood there and immediately thought NOPE that’s not you. That’s my Uncle and I told you I needed a sign from you. As I moved the final load of clothes into the dryer, a penny. I fell to the ground and started crying. That penny was a sign. It was the PLUS ONE to my Uncle in spirit. It was my Uncle saying I have her. It was her saying, I’m here with him. I was shocked, overwhelmed and overcome with grief and happiness. Two emotions that we often identify as opposite – I was feeling both of them. This moment, I started to shift my grief to honoring my Aunt vs. mourning her. *Since her passing she’s sent many coins to other family members including a dime + a penny together (twice). My heart fills with so much love when my family reaches out to tell me. My advice – find the gratitude in all the memories you had with your loved one versus all the memories you think you’ll miss without them. They are actually right there with you. 

My grief is unique and I cannot compare it to others.

Someone recently said to me, she was just your Aunt. Yup you are 100% she was my Aunt. And my AUNT is AMAZING. She loved everyone in our family with deep unconditional love. She became an extension of my mom, when my parents moved out of state. She ended every single call with I love you, and her texts with xoxoxo. My definition of my Aunt was pure angelic love. I don’t know what the future holds when it comes to grieving her but I do know my grief is unique. I also know we should NEVER judge the grief someone else is going through in relation to the connection of the one who passed. My advice – don’t let others make you feel less about how you are handling grief.

I’m finding brighter days and moments and that’s okay too!

In the first week of my Aunt’s passing, my family was in town and we were all sitting around the table laughing. For a moment, I paused and thought, should we be laughing and then I fell right back into the rhythm with everyone else laughing again. The morning my cousins were leaving, I was sharing a moment with one of them and we stood there looking at my sacred space that is filled with memories and connections to my Aunt and Uncle. In that moment, my cousin hugged me and said “we couldn’t have gotten through this week without you all.” All the stories and all the laughs. In that moment, I realized it was okay to have these brighter moments. Each day is a little different but shifting to the frequency of light and brighter moments is okay. My advice – make sure even through your moments of sadness you find a little light and a little laughter. 

My sweet Aunt and I seven months before her passing. We were celebrating the marriage of her first granddaughter in Key West. I will cherish the time we got to spend with her -- more than I'll ever be able to put into words.

My Aunt’s passing shook me to my core. But it also opened the space for a lot of memories to happen. While I often become sad thinking I can’t call her to tell her about these memories, I have to remind myself she already knows. Memories of our loved ones are often signs they are around us. It’s their new language when communicating with us. While grief is a weird thing, and often exhausting and uncomfortable it’s part of our journey here in the earthly world. Grief can consume us if we don’t honor it. Learning to trust your own intuition will support you in being open to spirit communication. Here I’ve shared a blog on ways to build your intuition

I trust this insight as a medium will help and support you in your own journey with grief. Please don’t ever feel that this journey has to be alone. There’s many different ways to reach out for help. Always know you are NOT alone on this journey.