When it comes to After Death Communication, it's hard to beat Teo.
Cecilie Surasky and Carolyn Hunt are the parents of Teo Hunt Surasky, an exceptionally vibrant, compassionate, and loving young man who unexpectedly passed in July 2020 at 18 years old, a month after graduating from Berkeley High in California. Death did not stop their relationship or their communication.
In profound shock from the sudden loss, Carolyn and Cecilie reached out to their extended community at an impromptu Berkeley High vigil, including Teo's friends. Through regular Zoom-circles, outdoor gatherings during COVID lockdown, non-religious rituals, and storytelling, they began an ongoing community healing process that has spanned continents, cultures, and generations.
These circles have facilitated sharing dozens of Teo contact stories, including vivid dreams, visitations during meditations, signs, complex synchronicities, direct communication, and more experienced by close to 35+ friends and family who know and love Teo.
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Brian Smith 0:00
Close your eyes and imagine what are the things in life the causes the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we've been buried, but what if like a seed we've been planted and having been planted, who grow to become a mighty tree. Now, open your eyes, open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true, infinite, eternal nature. This is grief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith. Everybody this is Brian back with another episode of grief to growth and today I've got with me, my good friend Cecily Surowiecki and Carolyn hunt. They are both fellow shining light parents. I've known them for a while they've been actually clients of mine. And I want to start by thanking them for being here today to share something very, very tender and something very vulnerable. Their son to Hutzler ASCII was, is an exceptionally vibrant, compassionate and loving young man, who passed unexpectedly in July of 2020 at just the age of 18. It was a month after graduating from Berkeley high in California. Cecily and Caroline had been a profound and of shock for course from the sudden loss, and they reached out to their extended community, including Teo's friends at an impromptu Berkeley high vigil, and through regular zoom circles, outdoor gatherings, this was all during the COVID lockdown as you can imagine how terrible that must have been. Through non religious rituals and storytelling, they began an ongoing community healing process that is, literally spanned continents, cultures and generations. And these circles are facilitate the sharing of dozens of to context stories, vivid including visit dreams, visitations during the meditations, signs, complex, synchronicities, direct communication and more experienced by close to 35. Friends and family who know and love to they've had a really interesting and unique journey with to, as I said, they've developed some rituals that had been really interesting, and had incredible, incredible signs. So I want to thank you guys for being here today, to share with me about about your son to
Carolyn Hunt 2:27
thank you for having us.
Cecilie Surasky 2:28
Thank you, thank you, we've been in conversation with you, since you know when this happened, and you've been such a support for us in so many ways. So it's great to be here.
Brian Smith 2:39
I'm really, just I'm really grateful to have you guys here. I never met tail on life, but I feel like I kind of know to. And I want over the course of this next few minutes that we talk I want other people to know to to so I always like to start with, like, tell me about to.
Cecilie Surasky 3:01
I mean, one of the things I'll say about to is that he is a kid and was a kid here who was clearly loved, incredibly loved. In many gay and lesbian families and other families as well. We build our families of both origin and choice. And we have lots and lots of aunties and uncles and folks who loved him from the moment he was born, if not earlier, and this motley crew, I would say and nieces and nephews, all kinds of folks. This family that we built out really meant that he was constantly being cared for and loved. And as a young man, and we've heard this from so many of his friends, he had this very, very unusual quality of being centered in himself funny, hilarious, kind kid, who did not have the social concerns that so many of us often have. And so so many folks talked about him, you know, this kid lit up room he was, is an extremely handsome dude, almost six, three, tall blonde guy, and I used to say to him, you have to be kind to people, you have to be kind, you're kind of intimidating. He's a foot taller than I am in. And he said, i Mom, I'm always kind because I would want people to be kind to me, and I'd say that's one of the most important things for us as parents was was was that heart.
Carolyn Hunt 4:34
And, and I'll chime in and say, so one of the ways I describe to both in the, his physical life with us, his current life with us is that I've experienced the most sublime moments of my life, with this being with this child. And that goes all the way back to the beginning. So and by sub line is the only word I can think of. But he is a person and was a person in the physical who you could be with and not have to speak. There were just so many moments of tender connection and beingness with him, that added so much richness and substance to my life. And, and I think other people, his close friends talk about him that way as well. So just a very predator, natural and deep non ability to not judge. So and at the same time, you know, we're lesbian family and Berkeley, we have very strong political opinions and opinions about all kinds of things. And he came into our lives in large in part to, to balance this out a little bit he was he would challenge us and disagree with us, certainly. And usually, I would say it was a call to kindness and non judgment. And so that was a piece of the role that he served. And then the final thing I'll say is, when I wrote about this a little bit about our family values are I would say, kindness is number one. So I He embodied that very well. Humor is number two, and he, even now in spirit, I have images of him, making my guides crack up like so he's just always wanting to uplift and make jokes, and just provide that levity in that humor. And so that's who he was, who he is. And obviously, an enormous and profound and ongoing loss for so many people, but particularly for us not to have him here in the physical at this point.
Brian Smith 7:08
Yeah, I Well, I understand that loss of not having him here in the physical. But I'd also say to has been pretty profound in his impact, as he's transitioned into spirit. Going back to, you know, we talked about in the intro, he passed during COVID. So you guys had a challenge, even setting up the normal rituals we have when someone passes. So tell me how that process went?
Carolyn Hunt 7:40
Yeah, well, we Yeah, it was a it was a shock. It was an accident that the way he transitioned and so entirely and completely unexpected. And so So what for me, I can describe my experience. So first of all, to just honor and offer gratitude for the numerous spiritual supports, and humans, of course, that have been part of our journey, there's just absolutely no way that I could be breathing, walking and talking now without legions, I think legions of people holding me up and pushing me forward. And what I remember is, of course, being in shock, during those first two or three days, I'm not able to comprehend what was happening. And at the same time, there's, there was a part of me, a very coherent and clear part of me that took over I'm going to probably decide now that that was my soul, my larger self, who was able to come forward in certain ways, and, and speak to what was needed to some extent for what we were going through as a family and and then as a larger community and how that manifested or how I remember that was that maybe a day or two after this happened, and of course, the information and news went out on social media among friends and acquaintances at Berkeley high, which is a very large School, where he knew many, many people and had been obviously for four years had just graduated and so the our close, close friend, I think the details are a little fuzzy, but our close friend Diane, who's been an enormous part of this process, helped pull together an outdoor vigil because the kids we all needed something we needed something and, and because it was COVID it was very difficult to know what to do, but they pulled together an Outdoor vigil a few blocks from our house at the baseball field where Teo had played baseball for a couple years at Berkeley high. And so I just, I just remember something taking over me on the walk there. And all of these words came in, that were, I knew were important for me to say. And so I remember standing up and saying something to the effect of, we don't want your pity, but we need your prayers. You know, we don't want to be a cautionary tale. But we want everything possible to be learned from this experience. And if you love to, and you're impacted by this tragedy, we want you to come to our home. And so that is what I remember, needing like feeling a force behind me pushing me to say, we need you to come to our home and sit outside in our courtyard. And, you know, obviously with masks. So the quick answer to your question is, we, we did what we could to open our arms to these, I mean, I still remember have the image of looking out on this hill. And there were just hundreds of people at this vigil. And these children weeping, you know, these kids? And just, yeah, so it was there was something within me, as I recall, and that, that the impulse was to open our arms and know that there was no way to survive this alone, even if it was COVID in quarantine.
Brian Smith 11:44
And so what was your experience of going through that during this time and how your community came around you?
Cecilie Surasky 11:52
Um, I would, I would say, I want to talk about the neighbors, but it's so tender.
Um, you know, when we found to our neighbors who happened to be Egyptian and Muslim, when we were trying to figure out what's going on, and, and we're trying to get help, and our neighbor menar understood what had happened. She began wailing. And I was so grateful for that, to be accompanied. We live in a culture a lot of our culture depends on but certainly there's, we live in a dominant Christian country, whether you're religious or not, where there's a certain way we're expected to mourn. And the fact that she embodied this grief, and in that moment, was with us was an extraordinary gift I can't even imagine. And sort of a theme of people who are willing became a theme of people who were accompanying us in it, which is very different from standing outside red glass, looking at you, sort of feeling sorry for you, people going through their own own issues and wanting to stay away. So many people have been willing to be in it with us. The other thing that I would, which is a profound experience for everyone, when you go through something like this together, there's a stripping, they're emotionally, they're stripping down of all the stories that hold everything together. And if you can be in it, and trust in it, it can mark a remarkable expansion. But the the other thing I just want to say about the kids, and that moment for me, especially as we have these kids, kids, to as many, many friends becoming part of our world quite immediately, and Carolyn can talk about that. My, I felt like I was seeing them through to his eyes. The idea when something like this happens, all the stories that hold everything together get shattered immediately, and there's a desire to build new stories. And the stories have to have a protagonist and they have to have the bad guy. And they have you know, and even if we tell the stories, and we make ourselves the bad guy there, there are so many moments and this is such a profound inflection point for us, but also these teenagers and I knew a number of adults who were stories of adults who've been through experiences like this where they were not able to express their grief fully. They became a turning point, and often not always a good one. And so for me, I had this profound sense of, of every single kid, every single one of us, all of us, we have to hold all of us together, we have to express this unconditional love, full stop. And I think that was also really, really helpful. And I do think that was sort of seeing something maybe through Tiger's eyes, I'm not sure. But it was very, very clear, immediate. We're not going to there's no dividing into good people, bad people, no culprits here. This is much bigger, bigger thing than all of us. And we have to hold on to each other.
Brian Smith 15:52
I know you guys for a couple of years now. So I've met you not too long after after tears passing. And I've always been so impressed. And one of the reasons I wanted to have you on here is that sense of community that you had and you formed, you know, after Teo's passing and for for two moms of a teenager to You are always so concerned about the kids. And always so concerned like how do we how do we take care of the kids how we take care of each other. And that's first of all, I heard the story about your your neighbor wailing, but it reminded me, after Shayna passed, our next door neighbor came over and just wail with us, which is just so out of character for for this person. But for someone, as you said to be in it with you, and I think it's something's really needed with grief. I think we really need community. And I think that's one of the reasons why you guys have done as well as you have is because you do have a community and and that sense of we're all in this together and being concerned even about the kids that was going on at the time.
Carolyn Hunt 16:53
And yeah, and to add, I want to underscore something to Brian about community, I remember feeling so strongly, at the beginning, particularly how significant prayers were it was. So just to let people know, I mean, there were people were, throughout the process, especially those early months. What can we do for you? What can we do for you, and I would just routinely say, Pray, pray, because I mean, we people helped us with food, and all of those kinds of things. And that, of course, super grateful. But I just was like actually praying in any faith in any religion, in any words, is what we need. And I had an experience of, of receiving prayers as this fuel, and it turning it in, it turned into some kind of a food or nourishment that kept us going each day. And so I know that people write a lot about the impact of prayers, but I had a very physical, visceral, spiritual experience of house how prayers, people's prayers from around the country around the world, actually kept me going in those early days. So that was part of the community building as well.
Brian Smith 18:16
But that's a really interesting point, Caroline, I hope you don't mind me sharing this with you. But you're very intuitive. You're more than most of us, you're very well connected to the other side, you know, in terms of visions, and sensing the other side and stuff like that. But what you said reminded me of people that have had near death experiences that said that they felt prayers, or experienced prayers as physical things. So I think a lot of times people like myself who's very analytical, I'm like, Okay, I don't know how this works, doesn't really work. It's good to hear that reinforcement from somebody who could actually feel that that that our prayers do make a difference.
Cecilie Surasky 18:50
Yeah. And one of the things we ended up doing was the kids came over every single week for seven weeks. And then in our garden, again, this is during COVID, we would sit outside. And I would say, it was a very lateral relationship. In other words, we were all broken open together, we were all feeling this together, we were all crying together. So this is really unusual experience that we had with Tez friends, and just as you know, moms with teenagers. And so the healing was completely an is mutual. And we met every week for seven weeks. And we met every month for a year that we can, you know, we continue to meet they come over all the time. We spend a lot of time with, you know, young men and young women and and who are a huge part of our lives and so those circles that don't really require a circle doesn't require a leader right. It's a very different shape. And I learned a lot of this from from Carolyn and so and then the whole way that you sort of educated me me about what a ritual could be. I'm also, you know, Brian, I'm very, very analytical I come from a, like secular Jewish family, I had lots of quick questions about a lot of these things. And ritual to me, it was often a source of anxiety because it was a checklist of, you know, getting the words right in Hebrew and knowing, you know, and getting things out of order. And Carolyn, really introduced into my life, and I think the circle whole different way to think about ritual. And I now am so clear that this is one of these kind of spiritual technologies that that many of us in the modern, you know, modern age think that we don't need. And there's nothing like an experience like this to remind you how desperately important a ritual is, and simple rituals. So just to open that up for for you to share. And I'll,
Carolyn Hunt 21:04
I'll add that I'm so I am a ritualist. So that's a piece of my work professionally, and have been for probably 25 years. And so, but I, I focus on what's called participatory ritual. So they're nonideological and not formal. And, and I do things like officiate wedding ceremonies that are co created with the people who are be married. So again, I focus on participatory and CO created ritual, which may be just words to people. But it just it means hey, let's, let's feel into this particular moment, and do the things that are common to all really, I would argue all religious and spiritual traditions in including, specifically things like gratitude. Also, utilizing enactments like something that we do physical physically, that's going to represent a spiritual or an emotional experience. And then always closing with, with some kind of a Kudo or positive, positive comment about somebody else in the circle. And so those are the, that's the basic structure that we would use in these garden gatherings where, where we would try to focus, like as much sorrow and tragedy and pain as we were all in, try to focus a little bit on the gratitude and the beauty. And the thanks for each other, you know, somebody being available for a phone call in the middle of the night, or bringing, stopping by bringing food over, just to acknowledge those things. And then we do different kinds of enactments each week, and by that, I mean, we planted a tree one week and stood in a circle, and shared thoughts about 10 Simple things when we we buried like a box that had hopes and dreams that things that we all wanted to to be proud of us for having done in five years. So then in five years, we'll come back in and read those things and all of the enactments, what I call enactments, were generated by the young people themselves. So one of our young people, Capo is his name he, he brought over light light bulbs one day, and everybody wrote on the light bulbs a message to tell or maybe something that to had given them as a gift or contributed to their lives. And then we strung those lights and they still hanging in our courtyard. So um, I guess here I'm trying to break down a little bit for people. The simplicity of what we can do with ritual, which is a little gratitude, a little loving, loving appreciation for others in the group and then some kind of a physical piece that helps us express the inexpressible, you know, our, our emotional feelings or spiritual longings. And so, and then we allow to, we allow things to shift and become less formal when they needed to I think we went to monthly gatherings at some point. But I remember doing a lot of at a certain point, a lot of one on one, listening with young people. And so things shifted, obsessively said we had a structure for seven weeks the structure You're opened up and loosened up a little bit. But, but continued in the ways that were most appropriate to where people were.
Cecilie Surasky 25:12
And I would say just a couple things you don't tell friends, Teo was a rap music, sports loving kid, like, these are not kids that grew up necessarily at all, or you would think would participate in any of this. So the way that we held the space was was like medicine for for everybody. So if you're thinking, oh my gosh, I could never imagine doing anything like that. I could never imagine doing anything like that, as someone who grew up much more sort of neck up, you know, culture in that regard. The other thing and you talked about this the sign so the other thing that these circles allowed us to do? Oh, yeah, that was profound, was to share stories of tail contact. And tails a bit. Tail is I mean, a bit of a show off honestly, things that have been going on, since the very beginning. And it actually began before him, his uncle Franco, who's like, a brother to us, who was really like a father to to transition about seven years earlier. And when he was in a coma, you know, Franco's other dear friend, and I, you know, we're getting like text messages from Franco that we shouldn't have been able to get, I mean, really remarkable stuff. And I always say, for me, I, I need concrete evidence. I'm always reading science and like, how does this make sense. And so I needed to really have my head, you know, kind of, like hit over with. So when you get when you get text messages, that should not be possible, including no trace of it as having been sent from Franklin's phone at exactly the precise moment. I mean, many, many stories, I could do a whole slideshow between Franco and tail. Because I'd like to collect the evidence, because what we're all redoing is re shaping our whole cosmology, our whole worldview live, people talk about, well, do you believe in life after death, and like, I don't believe in it, I have empirical, factual evidence over and over again. And the fact that we have this reductive materialist model, that is pretty ideological that says, you know, you will talk to people who will say, just without any conversation absolutely doesn't exist. This is the fantasy of grieving parents. You guys are making up stuff. I call it I don't I call it idiot logical. That it actually is the evidence is overwhelming, and is you know, Brian, you're in the heart of this. And this is your experience, it turns out that, you know, as a whole, there's no group of people are more motivated, probably than parents like us to discover if we can communicate with our kids. And we are and we truly are. So we would tell stories around the circle. And not just this circle, but we have auntie, Uncle cousin circles, and do your friends, circles. And all of these were all rewriting our cosmology and understanding of of everything, and I would say probably recovering a lot of obvious understanding that has been lost in modernity. So that's obvious to indigenous groups, obvious in ancient traditional traditions, etc, all the things that you do. So yeah, we have a million things that have happened. And the list is probably close to 40 people, the signs and things and, and they range from there was a while where I think for people we knew would be writing something completely random trying to text somebody, but it would zip for different people. And it would just start texting to, to, to, to, or to do, and they're freaking out. They're like, they're trying to type something else. And all it will type is to, to to, or people who saw him. You know, one of Carolyn's friends of of longest duration said, Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. But tale brought me my mother who had passed and she had this incredible experience of a visitation
Carolyn Hunt 29:26
with to sitting sitting down on her bed with a bag of groceries. And then like bringing her mom in, to sit in the chair. I just like the bag of groceries. I still think about that, like that was hilarious for
Cecilie Surasky 29:40
me. Yeah. And the way this friend described it is the feeling of overwhelming love that she had never, you know, just and you know that that's one of the marks of an actual visitation is this different sense.
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Cecilie Surasky 30:56
We one of my my dearest to again is not a spiritual you know a lot of these people are not people who were accustomed to having any experience like this at all. I have a dear friend who saw him who literally is a college professor. She's like, No, I saw him. And he and it was a moment when she was having an intense moment with her son. There are similarities between her son and our son and they knew each other and she said to transform my parenting, like he was with me. I felt him. We had people who I had an experience where I actually wrote in my journal, essentially, I was very shy trying to figure out what is going on here and shy about I don't want to be a bother like, are you there? What's happening? I don't have interior experiences. But I have insane exterior material world experience. It's impossible coincidences. And one day I wrote in my journal deepen grief about 630 in the morning, I basically it was the first time I wrote him a note that was a directive and it was something in the tone of like, okay, to your mother, especially is really missing you. We haven't heard from you in a while. So I'm gonna give you like you could give us you could show us your round with music, electronics, your name on something, a visitation and then I threw in like lights, because I had known of parents who had crazy light shows and honestly, they were like, that'd be cool. Within a few hours, I felt that at 630 in the morning, and I was very specific. And that morning, three hours later, I'm listening to a playlist I've never listened to on Spotify. And my meeting starts so I hit pause and midway through the meeting I look at my phone because the pause song is the play the screen saver and the song is called belong in the sun by an artist named Teo Teo well who Who's ever heard of an artist thing to then we realized he was listening to us and we have this game which we learned from I think Suzanne Giesemann that Carolyn had been playing with Teo which is Hey tail are nice. Hanny's coming over tomorrow tell us something about her that we wouldn't know. Like her tell ya tell tell mommy or mama something about her day or about her her day that we wouldn't know. Next day, she comes over to dinner, same thing that ring the dinner bell, I hit pause on my Spotify come up and they're in the middle of a conversation. They're joking, where Hani says honey short for HANA and she says, Well, I'm gonna go by my stage name, Hani hunt, Carolyn's the last day, which is not her surname. And of course, I'm like, What's wrong with Swarovski? And we have this whole conversation where they have to explain it to me why she's going by Hani on same thing. Hani and I reach for my phone. I have paused it on a song. The title of the song is called Hannah hunt by a group called I'm with her because he had very much fun with Hani and by the end there are other things that happened but but but by the end of the week, about six days later, his aunties came to visit, one of whom is a doctor, which I say because she's super scientifically trained in that regard. They stay in his room and in the morning, I'm like, So how'd you sleep and she goes well, about three o'clock in the morning, this small red light. She doesn't know I've asked him by the way for this list laundry list of signs. She said, this light started flying around the room, and I'm pretty sure it was spelling a T and trying to spell his name. And she said I fought and it was flying around the room there As you know, they had the curtain closed. There's nothing behind that, that there's trees behind the window. And she said, I knew it was Teo. And after about 10 minutes, I was so tired. I said to please come and go to sleep now. And she said, I didn't want to wake up my wife because you know, if you wake someone up, it'll, it might stop. So she's telling me this story. And then her wife Gretchen calls from the other room she says, Oh, no, I woke up to I saw the whole thing. And I watched it circle around the flowers that you put
there are impossible coincidences that have happened that are just astounding. And later, I'll stop now. But there's some incredible hilarious things that have happened with Isabella Johnson, our medium that are just make it absolutely clear that he is in the room with us and a daily part of our lives, I do not have the same kind of direct communication, but Carolyn can share her experience, which has been pretty remarkable.
Brian Smith 36:04
Yeah, that's, it's, I've really appreciate you guys being here. Because, and it's very rare, I get to talk to a couple who have had a child transition, and really get to explore the way we experience it differently. Even though we're in a, we're in a relationship with that other person. And I know, Cecily, you talk about the size of nexternal stuff, and Carolyn, you get, you get internal stuff, you you actually communicate with tam
Carolyn Hunt 36:32
Yeah. So, um, so I want to preface by by saying, particularly for your audience, that our audience that I'm, you know, at base, I'm a grieving mother. Like, I'm always going to be a grieving mother. So the depth of pain and sadness has not escaped me, and I know it won't escape me. And that is true. So. So I am and have experienced all of the things mother's parents experience in this situation, the despair, the devastation, the I just want to go home now, you know, just the absolute inability to function on this physical plan without, you know, our son right next to me so. So I want I just, I feel it's important for me to put that out there. And at the same time, I'm very grateful and feel blessed that I have lots of experiences. Some of them I can point to and identify as experiences that other people have had kind of in the literature and, and testimonials and some that seem completely fresh and unique. And I guess that would be one point I would make is the fact that we're having in our family both kind of sets of experiences, my experience, underscores and helps me understand how enormously intimate our connection and communication is with spirit. And with the spirit realm. It's, we, it's, it's both. And this I'm going to credit Betty Kovacs, one of my favorite authors with writing, but she talks about this greater reality that we're a part of, and we're experiencing a little more directly than most people is both vast and comprehensively vast, of course, but also in comprehensively intimate. So, so my experiences have been in the beginning, I would be awakened at 3am 4am. And, and I would kind of I would struggle with that, because it felt like insomnia. And then one of my spiritual advisors said, Just why don't you just ask, what's the information that's trying to get there? And then I was like, Oh, yeah. And I would say that I would try to say, what is it that you need me to know? What is it that you want me to know? And I would experience what people talk about as downloads. So these would be pieces of information that would explain what we would call pieces of the mystery of existence. And, and I just had, I call it a toddler mind, I just would be like, Oh, okay. Okay, you know, it was enormously I just that was the only stance I could take. And so, so there were those experiences and then I've also had experiences of Teo. So Leslie mentioned, feeling toward his friends, the way he must feel And they've had a couple experiences where he, where it feels like he, he comes into my emotions, and I'm I'm seeing the world the way he did or could or would or does emotionally. And I would experience enormous love for his friends. And it would be an overwhelming sensation. And I knew I love all of these kids, like they're my own. Um, but this feeling was qualitatively different and, and I've had experiences and then using that extra that emotional, that emotional experience to interpret some kind of a message. So I would text one of his friends. Is this some kind of an anniversary for you and tie out today, like, he's telling me how much he loves you. And then it's your anniversary, and then I would get confirmation from this particular friend that, yeah, this was this was the day five years ago when I met Taya in freshman English class. And I was just looking at photos of that, and I was just thinking about that. So those kinds of things, but that the communication is, um, it's emotional. And then I also have experiences of, of seeing tears. In my mind's eye, you know, and it just want to tell one story, there's so many.
This was really cool story where and it did involve a little pyrotechnics, where, a few months after to transitioned, we actually had to sell our family home, an hour north of where we live. And we needed to go up there for a final day to clear everything out. And I didn't know how I was going to survive that the memories in that home of our, our children, tales, cousins, our beloved elders who passed, it's, it was, it was impossible. So I just prayed. And I said, please help me to experience this day the way you do in spirit. And I was on a call with my spiritual community, probably five of us total on a zoom call, because we were still deep in COVID. Quarantine. And I'm, like, we're in the call, someone starts a ritual. I think it was focused on helping me survive that day. And all of a sudden, all five of us on the Zoom call started hearing party chatter track a track like an audio track, that was just you couldn't make up the words, but it was just people laughing and having fun. And I was like, oh, that's what they're doing today. They're partying in spirit, because this is not a sad occasion for them. And then I got the message in my head telepathically. Nothing but good, like nothing but good has happened in this home. And there's nothing to do but to celebrate. And so that was pretty cool. Because that was again, confirmed by others note we could not we tried, of course, as you do, for 10 minutes to identify the source of this audio track, and we couldn't, it was just party chatter. Then we were, that bullied me able to move through the day able to have a ritual in the space and honor the space and be connected to, to all of our loved ones. And, okay, so that's, those are some examples but it but what it felt like the technology and the support I was getting was, let's like, it's almost like grab you, you're being your perception and awareness and consciousness, let's grab it, bring it up here to how we see and perceive things and feel things in the spiritual. And that's going to help help you understand how this works. And it's going to also help you generate and project the kind of love and care and attention that we feel for you here and and thereby help other people. So yeah,
Brian Smith 44:18
I love what you said nothing, nothing but good. Because as we've talked about together and the three of us fed several things together, everything's a matter of perspective. It's a matter of how we look at it and you know, when you were talking about going back to when you were talking about the rituals that you were doing with with the kids, what I love so much about that is it was you were all it was all forward looking. It's all like it's about the good things that we still have let's celebrate the connections that we still have to gather. What would tail want us to be doing in five years I love that that you know the writing on the light bulbs. Because typically when we get into grief we we go back, we go back to what we Used to have we and we weren't thinking about what we're missing. And these things you're talking about, it's lifting you out of that more into like, where am I now? What's, what's going on going forward. And as you guys talk about to just keep your mind give him reminded the woman channeling Eric, you know, Eric appears to people all over the world and stuff. Some of these kids, I think a lot of our kids, the people that transition early My belief is that they're special, they come in for a reason. They leave early and hurts us. You know, I know, this is my daughter behind me, for people that might be watched for the first time. I miss her every day, I really wish she was here. But I can see the impact that she's having. By not being here physically. And the reason one of the reasons I love talking to you guys so much is because Teo is a force, you know, this, this guy is making waves all over the place. And I appreciate you, you sharing and being so vulnerable. And here, and I especially appreciate you saying because even though you've gotten the signs and stuff, or the downloads, and especially all the things you guys have gotten, it's still not easy, and still not easy for any of us.
Cecilie Surasky 46:10
Yeah, I mean, I've spent, I had to go deep within, to sort of check in with myself, like Cecily, who whatever that is deep, deeply, and to see is that person broken in some way. And I know that I am changed, we are all changed by this and, and it, I had a really profound understanding that I really did check in and I was like God, like whatever that is that makes me me is actually untouched, completely untouched. The grief is still this, the grief is enormous. But mean it's the rest of our lives, we will all it will always be there in some some way our experience of it looks different over time. But it's you know, we wouldn't wish this on anyone. But it became very clear to me I really was this profound moment where I really did understand that grief was not my identity. Grief was not a new self. It can't it, I can't let it break me. Like I'm actually still in here. And even from the very beginning and you know this, from your own experience. It's not like we stopped laughing. You have moments of aliveness. I mean, we're in shock at the very beginning. But you always have these moments of aliveness, they are much further and far between when this happens at first, but they are there. I mean, I remember laughing You know, with our nieces pretty early on and being you know, just even to have even if it was only 30 seconds and have pure, unmitigated moments of joy in the middle of this, that's part of what happens is you don't it's not linear, it doesn't cut you off in those ways. I am working my way back, it will take a long time to have more and more of that in the same way. But it's, but it's been a deep part of our lives, this this whole time. So that to me feels like an important understanding of, of the grief, maybe the other. The other thing I just want to add is talk about the role of all in healing. And this experience, and again, I mean, we have even more we have way more sports, spectacular stories. I mean, there's just so many of them. But what it means and meant for all of us is a daily dose of awe and I think the technical definition of Oz, like novelty and vastness. So you have an experience that makes you rethink your entire sense of reality. And for some people, the obvious thing is standing at the Grand Canyon, but it can be the end and children experience it all the time and adults get very jaded. That the impact of on a person's life. When you are PTSD, when you have you know, is profound, it's it's it's one of the core needs that we have for good life and to heal and to have gives us a sense of humility and humbleness or smallness in the face of the vastness. Have what is. And in that sense, it brings you a kind of serenity and connection with each other. So all has been this enormous part of our experience that Teo so when you talk about, yeah, Teo's got skills, I mean, this kid has incredible skills. And that alone, to me, is so profound what it has brought to all of us.
Brian Smith 50:33
Yeah, I've never heard it put that way. And I love what you said about and as you said, I was thinking, My wife just took a work from home, and she took a break. And she looked outside and saw these two, two little tiny bunnies in her yard just playing. And she was just so you know, thrilled by it. And I think that sometimes when everything is taken away from us, it gives us a chance to, like, open up our eyes. And the things that other people take for granted, we start seeing everything was Einstein said, either everything's a miracle or nothing is a miracle. And I think what's what happens is, it starts to open us up to like, really, everything is a miracle, that we the fact that the we're even here that we that we exist, and, and who we are, and really, you know, being reminded of this, through a tragedy like we've like we've gone through, kind of, kind of, it's a reset, it's a chance to kind of reset. So I need to ask you, guys, your thoughts. Because whenever I talked to parents who have had children pass, and I have to ask about what do you think about like Soul planning? Do you think that's right? And now like what you think about it, but have you gotten any indication from talking to you talked about Isabella Johnson, the medium you work with? Or other mediums are Carolyn through your downloads? What are your thoughts about? Is this planned or what?
Carolyn Hunt 51:57
That is a tough one, in a way, because I mean, I just, it's like, developmentally, I'm working toward being bifocal. So obviously, I'm not leaving the physical anytime soon and likely, and so I'm trying to live, you know, by focally, having, having the physical experience, the human experience, but then having these experiences where my awareness is brought to a spiritual level, so that I can, I can, I'm given the opportunity to see how things maybe can be perceived from this different, this different setting. And, okay, this is just a slight digression, Brian, but I will answer your question. And because I want to, I want to just say to that, saying, I have had different grief experiences for various reasons. But one of the one of the experiences I've had is, in my, in my lowest lowest moments of feeling completely shattered, and that the center of my world has been taken from me and all of all of the things that made my life worth worth living have now just that evaporated, those kinds of emotional feelings that most of us parents have, to some extent or another, I would get an image of myself in a hospital, just completely bandaged from head to toe just broken and shattered. But I would say there's no hospital on this physical plane that's going to be able to help me can you please let me be in the hospital on the spiritual plane are the healing center. And so that was just sort of another technology I developed to help me in my grave is to say, hey, there's nothing here, I can't see anything here on this plane that can actually help me or touch this pain. Please serve me and he'll me there. And, and I would get images of, of being in some kind of a healing center or hospital. But and I said, But tail has to be next to me holding my hand. And I would see him and feel him holding my hand. And then there was a point where I was going through anger are always, like, aware of anger. And I said tail we need we need some family therapy, like I need some therapy with you. But there's nowhere here on this plane that can handle it. So let's go to therapy there. And then immediately I would get him sitting in a chair with this pink wall behind him I don't know why pink and there was just this Okay, we're gonna go to therapy together on the spiritual plane. So so i i adding all of that in response to kind of, you know, Cecily and I have had different different experiences with the grief and even though maybe we try to focus on the positive and the gratitude, I'm still having, you know, that depth of pain that we have, um, but um, in terms of the soul contract stuff, so that to the bye focal. So I guess I'm trying to explain what I mean by bifocal. And I think that it's hard to say because, yes, I think that we have a lot of information and evidence from, from a call just the general literature and and endears experiences and certainly medium, mediums, testimonials, and with lots of information that there's some kind of a soul contract, maybe we don't need to always use that word, maybe we'll find better language, eventually. But there's some kind of an agreement. And, and so I think it's just that Bifulco illness that like both are true, that, that from, from the human grieving mother perspective, nobody caused this, like Cecily was explaining, like, no one, no one is at fault. And no one is being punished like that. Those things are really important to try to receive and accept and, and feel into, from a human perspective, because everything ultimately flows toward forgiveness. So it's, you know, all of the different ways that we can torture ourselves as parents about what we did or didn't do what we did or didn't say, I know that those things aren't meaningful, I know that they're not real. And I know that they're super not helpful. At the same time, we have a lot of information that there's some kind of an agreement, conversation planning that is made, that brings in experiences in our human lifetimes.
for the sole purpose of growth and learning and helping consciousness expand. So I'm so yes, I, I believe in agreements I have had, I have gotten some direct information about about this, but but the but to be honest with you, Brian, the the information is in how we're going to be living our lives going forward. You know, it's, it's like, okay, what is the silver lining? What is the benefit of this tragedy and trauma that we're enduring? And it's it's learning it's growth, it's, it's focusing on connection. And ultimately, I've been told, the only language I've gotten is okay, you are, you are a Wayshower. And then there's images of like, it's just like, the whole point is just to bring the worlds together in a way that is true and real that that like Teo has said to me, Mom, we can delight in existence together, life is life. It's one life, it's one world, it's one life. And so that's how I see it. Yeah, I can now imagine two years out that there was a conversation that was agreement that that was like, Okay, we're going to do this thing. And it's our amazing media. And I'm going to plug Isabella Johnson, as well as plug our amazing grief Coach Brad Smith. She says, you know, I just think we're kind of, like, drunk. And, you know, we don't always necessarily, of course, understand the enormous implications of some of these agreements and choices. So, I'm not going to sit here and pretend that I understand all of this, and I certainly am not going to push any kind of view that says, We have brought this pain and suffering on ourselves or have caused this in some way. And but, but, you know, but there is you know, there is an unfolding of positive learning, growth, connection and expansion of love, that we can just witness here in the physical and in our human lives. That somehow supports an idea that you know, this was a decision that we all agreed to. Alright, I did my best with that answer. handed over
Brian Smith 59:11
I love asking that question because the answer right it's all a matter of what we perceive but but the the interesting thing, it's in the exploration, it's in the way you expanded on and you did it you did a beautiful job. Because what ultimately matters is how do we view our life going forward? Where do we what do we do with this thing has happened to us? You know, we can beat ourselves up and say I Why did I plan this? I shouldn't have planned it. I blame Shayna because I don't think I would have done this. But you know, we could do we could play all those games. But that doesn't change the experience that we're having now and i i get i really appreciate you guys being so open and honest with us because I think it's I know it's going to help a lot of people because we still struggle on it. And one of the first and the ease I remember hearing after saying that Pat As was Dr. Mary Neal, and she had had her MD and she had gotten to heaven and she had met Jesus. And she was told her son was going to pass away in 10 years. So she knew. And she knew that there was a plan, she knew that it was all going to be good. She knew all that stuff, but still want her son passed. She's still grieved. And so that that story that seven years later still inspires me to say, It's okay for us to grieve. And and I appreciate you guys again, sharing this because we can get so wrapped up in our heads, and we can do spiritual bypassing and say, Oh, I shouldn't feel bad, because this was all planned. And he's still here. And that no, that's great. That does help. But it's still we're still live in the real world.
Cecilie Surasky 1:00:45
Absolutely. And that's one of the things we learned. And you know, one of one of the groups that really held held us. We had folks on on Zoom calls, as Carolyn said, I mean, we're standing here today because of the all the people who have come forward to support us and love us. And in this group of women, one of the things I learned early on, that really stayed with me was grief itself is not going to kill you. Grief is not the issue. I mean, it is trying to stuff it trying to numb it, trying to pretend that I'm not having it. Those are the kinds of things that may actually kill you. But grief itself, and so we just we call that group, the river group, because we would sort of allow ourselves to be held, just to feel what we are feeling, and to feel the intensity. Grief to me is, is love. It is the most overwhelming experience of of love. And in that sense, you can't stop it and you can't. And and living in these worlds Carolyn uses the word she did for me I use the word buoyancy, I am striving for buoyancy, which is I am of the earth and in this world, and I live and operate it in it and I value it immensely is insane as it is in many ways. But I want to have a kind of buoyancy that also allows me to see from this broader, all inspiring perspective. And the truth is that certainly for someone like me who wasn't quite sure, and I do it, to me, it's a very iterative process or things will happen to me that I can't explain, then I have to read a lot of books, then something else happens and I read a lot more books and I'm constantly trying to put these things together in a way that is a coherent story. So Oh, I forgot where I was going to oh boy, but but but buoyancy, that is just the in losing tail in the form that we've lost him in, I also do know completely in my bones now that we have him forever in a way that I didn't, really wasn't sure of before. I, I really mean this, I have zero fear of what we call death, I don't even use the word really anymore. It's really clear to me, we're here, we're there. I don't understand all of it. I, I am a huge reader, and we have so many experiences. And I don't know that it's all understandable. But I know it's infinitely more interesting and complex and vast. Then the sort of sad, you know, reductionist materialism leads us to believe you know, I work at a university and I, I talked to a, we had a neuroscientist, and I kind of knew this, but I went after it was like, So what comes first? Because I know this is the debate, does the material do our brains create consciousness or door? Does consciousness create the material? And she's like, Oh, yes, that's it. That's a debate. Nobody know. You know, this, you're divided. The scientists think it's, it's an emergent property of the, you know, the neural pathways, but the spiritual people think that the mind comes first. That's not even true. I mean, even even the sciences suggest that so I, I just think that what I have gained from this experience, and many of us honestly, along with the harshest worst feelings of our lives ever, is also this completely profound sense of fearlessness about death that doesn't exist and, and, and knowledge that to and our loved ones are a deep and profound part of our lives. They're not little dots, they're not floating in the clouds. There they are, with their personalities and their humor. intact and laughter and love part of our lives. I mean, that is is life changing is as anything along with, you know, the worst pain of our lives. They both coexist.
Brian Smith 1:05:17
Well, we're out of time. That was a great way to wrap up. I want to thank you guys so much for being here today as well people know you're so generous to do this. And I know just this past weekend was to second year, Angel Versary, which some argue is the hardest one. And I know that there's there's a whole lot going on, you know this this time for you guys. I appreciate you doing this your community mindedness the things you've done for the kids, the way that to its touched the world. You guys are doing great work. So I appreciate you being here and being with me today. Any final thoughts you want to say before we wrap up.
Carolyn Hunt 1:05:57
So thanks so much, Brian, for holding us as account as a coach, but also in this, this really healing experience. Appreciate it. I want to just give another shout out. And thanks to all of the many young people, the friends, the family members in our lives too numerous to count who have risen to this moment, entered into it with us, SSE said accompanying us and allowed their heart their Shattered Hearts to just to break open with us. And in particular, I'm going to call out our good friend, Diane dodge, whose tales third mom, because even like when we're talking about the rituals that we did, in the beginning days, nothing of none of that could have happened without her. She is a spiritual force, an emotional force. And just handled so many logistics for us. So I just want to even I just want to call her out and name her. Awesome. And with and with gratitude. So love everyone
Cecilie Surasky 1:07:00
underscore all of that. And thank you, Brian. I mean, we're, we're all in this together in this experience and doing doing the work together. If you've helped created a container for a lot of profound healing and have for us, so thank you. And can we
Carolyn Hunt 1:07:19
just show you this? This? Isn't the Is this okay, so Well, yeah. Oh, okay. So these are stickers that our friend made from a painting that was commissioned of to, we're just going around Berkeley, putting them up at the places that he where he spent time libraries and baseball fields and as a way as a way to manage some of our grief.
Brian Smith 1:07:44
Yeah, I love what you guys are doing. Right? What enjoy the rest of your day.
Carolyn Hunt 1:07:48
All right, thank you.
Brian Smith 1:07:52
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