Carol Bowman's book, Return from Heaven, is listed as one of my top five books of all time that have had an impact on my life. I was reading Chapter 5, called "Mother Switching,” when I had an epiphany of enormous dimensions about my own situation.
My beautiful but tormented mother, Mary, died when I was 16 years old. I was married at 19 and gave birth to my only child by birth, Lauren, right after I turned 22. When my daughter was only a few years old she was already an artist, as my mother had been all her life. She also had very dark hair and very white skin, as had my mother.
My daughter began having nightmares around 3 years of age that never made any sense to my family: In her nightmares she would scream that she was being flushed down a black toilet. These nightmares would wake her up with bloodcurdling screams. I would run to comfort her. One night, when she was about four years old, as I was tucking her in, she looked up at me and said, "This time you get to be the mommy." Her words ran right through me. I called my sister to tell her.
In Return From Heaven, I read the cases of “mother switching,” in which a mother dies and is reborn to her own daughter. As I read these stories, I realized that if a person dies traumatically, when they reincarnate they bring back memories of their former life, and sometimes may have nightmares about their former death. Finally, my daughter’s nightmares made sense. My mother died when she fell through ice in a pond and became trapped under the ice. It would be very dark in a pond under the ice, and I sensed that my daughter could relate to this to “water in a black toilet.”
There were other things about their lives, too, which suddenly made sense. My mother married a man who wore glasses named John, who was an English teacher. My daughter married a man who wears glasses named Jon, who was an English major and writes reviews and wants to be a teacher one day.
When my mother died, I cried so desperately for her, because she died a death that was as sad as the rest of her life. She had so many responsibilities. She was the oldest girl in her family, and was responsible for the care of her six siblings. By the age of 26, she was the mother of five children. There was never enough money to buy art supplies for her to nourish her love of art.
I always wanted to fix her life and do a do-over so badly. I never realized how we can manifest things on an unseen level. But now I see how this played out with my daughter. Lauren has no siblings to take care of. She was always supported by us in her artistic endeavors, and graduated from a prestigious art school. Now, at the age of 30, she just married and she is free to pursue her art.
I think I can bless and release now. Thanks to Carol for writing the book that made it all make sense. Even now, years after this epiphany, piecing all of this together still amazes me.
There is more to Tricia’s story:
I asked her how knowing that her mother was reborn as her daughter affected her emotionally. Here’s her reply:
At 16, my mother’s death left me number, with a sense of anger with God for how unfair her life was for a woman who was named Mary, born on Christmas Day. My mother was tortured by mental illness that greatly affected her life. Then, for a beautiful woman who never intentionally did a wrong thing, who loved others, but died in such horrible circumstances, made no sense. I stopped going to Church. I stopped crying. For over five years, I was numb. Then, my daughter was born and I got very emotional and started crying again.
One night, when my daughter was less than a year old, I was thinking about my mother. I was thinking how my Catholic teachings said that those who committed suicide did not go to heaven. My mother was in a mental hospital at the time of her death. They ruled her death a suicide. I did not believe that was the case, since there was no letter and no intention—she did not believe in suicide, and she never liked water and could not swim. She had a prior history of escaping from hospitals; it happened multiple times. She died on the grounds of the hospital, in a pond that was between the hospital and the road to escape. I believe the hospital ruled it a suicide to lessen their liability in the circumstances of her death.
At the age of 22, one night I was sitting alone on my sofa, wracked with crying and tears. I was thinking about my mother, contemplating whether her soul was saved, if she was still in pain, or worse. I needed to know that she was okay and that this world had some sense of fairness. Suddenly, my steel bolted door blew open and a rush of calming wind went through my body. I stopped crying, went to the door and looked out, and there was no wind blowing. I washed my face and knew she was okay. I knew, in that moment, that even for all those who commit suicide, a loving God would never condemn those who are afflicted with illness and cannot make good decisions. The wind that blew through me that night was very special, indeed. It gave me a sense of peace about her soul. We are not alone here.
But, even after that, I still felt that her life had been unfair. It was when I read the story in Return From Heaven, and recognized my mother as my daughter, that I had a sense of peace about everyone’s life. Because I realized that our souls are able to come back again and experience new and different things.