Grief 2 Growth Podcast- Dolores Cruz- Look Around

Dolores Cruz grew up in Los Angeles where she attended USC as a Theatre Arts major.

While working full time as an elementary school teacher, and part-time as a dance teacher at a local dance studio, she and Joey raised their 4 children – Nicholas, Jessica, Vanessa, and Eric. Dolores never hesitates to mention that Eric came as a total surprise, against the odds, and brought even more joy to their family than they already had as they continued to live a very busy, full life as a family of 6.

On May 12 of 2017, tragedy struck when Eric was killed in a car accident on his way home late one night after being out with some co-workers. In deep grief and despair from the reality that now her beautiful life as a mother of 4 was shattered, Dolores began a search for answers as to how this could happen. Dolores is a fellow Shining Light Parent in Helping Parents Heal.

Dolores is the author of Look Around; A Mother’s Journey from Grief and Despair to Healing and Hope. Her book not only tells the story of her spiritual journey, but also tells about Eric, who he was, how he touched all those around him, and how she now understands that he was meant to come to this world for a short time so that his family could continue to learn and grow and pass on his legacy of love. Dolores continues to honor Eric by sharing healing and hope with other parents whose children have transitioned as an Affiliate Leader and Caring Listener with Helping Parents Heal.

Dolores is a retired school teacher who now teaches tap dance through the local community college. She takes yoga classes and acting classes, and enjoys spending as much time as possible outdoors enjoying nature. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband and their two boxer dogs.

You can reach Dolores at:



Brian Smith 0:00
Close your eyes and imagine what if the things in life that 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, to 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 Smith back with another episode of grief to growth and today I’ve got with me a federal shining light parent and her name is Dolores Cruz. Dolores group grew up in Los Angeles where she attended USC as a theater arts major. A few years after she received her Bachelor of Arts she met her husband Joey and while taking classes or she met Joey while taking classes at a theater in Hollywood. She put her acting aspirations aside when they married in 1985. And she immediately started her family. While she was working full time as elementary school teacher and part time as a dance teacher local dance duty studio she and Jade Joey raised their four children, Nicholas, Jessica, Vanessa, and Eric, Delores never hesitate to mention that Aaron came as a total surprise. And we’ll probably talk about that as we get into the interview. I guess the odds of you brought even more joy to their family than they already had, as they continue to live a very busy life full life as a family of six. Then on May 12, of 2017 tragedy struck when Eric was killed in a car accident on his way home late one night. We’ll talk about that. And what I don’t want to spoil the whole thing by bringing the entire bias. So what we’ll talk about that as we get into it, but Dolores is the author of the book, look around a mother’s journey from grief and despair, to healing and hope. And her book tells not only the story of her spiritual journey, but also tells about Eric, who he was and how he touched all those around them. And now she understands what was that he was meant to come to this world for a short time, so that his family could continue to learn and grow and pass on his legacy of love. And Doris continues to honor Eric by sharing healing hope with her with other parents whose children have transitioned as an affiliate leader and caring listener with helping parents heal. So I want to welcome you to grief to growth, divorce.

Dolores 2:26
Thanks so much, Brian. I’m really happy to be here. I appreciate it.

Brian Smith 2:30
Yeah, it’s great to meet you face to face. I know we’re fellow helping parents heal parents, and which I mentioned in the introduction, that your son Eric transition, so I do want to talk about that. And you’re in your life leading up to that. So I read your book, it’s a fantastic book, it takes us on on their life journey. So we won’t be able to cover all that today. So I want to say people that are interested, you know, go ahead and get the book. But tell me about your story and how Eric came into your life.

Dolores 2:58
Sure, you know, so the usual life that we all hope to have, right? You know, I went to college, I met my husband had our family, our four kids more than we expected. And I don’t know if that’s what you want to mention, but we really thought we were going to have three. And I like I said against the odds, read despite precautions, Eric showed up and which surprised us. And we just were a little scared because we didn’t have a huge amount of money and the life was you know, we work really hard. But we just thought well, okay, you know, I guess he’s meant to be here. Yeah, obviously, he really was just Joy’s you know, raising our kids, all of them and very busy and all of that. And so I was still working as a elementary school teacher, I’m now retired. And my husband’s working. And he was out of town actually, when this occurred. So Eric had, he was well, what I love to always bring up about Eric is he was a drummer. MUSIC I’m come from a musical family. My mother was a violinist, my older brother, who also by the way, passed away at age 26, because he had a congenital heart condition. He was a musician and composer. So I grew up just hearing that. And then of course, he also had his rock band. And I was just surrounded by the classical music and the rock music and just it was beautiful. And then my other brother mark is a drummer as well. So I mean, it was just surrounded. And so Eric had that desire to become a drummer. He was about 10 or 11, when he probably about 10. When he mentioned it, we were like, save your money if you want that drum kit, and he did. And my brother who’s a drummer, who’s his godfather, took him to get his drum kit and it was really, you know, exciting. And there it was, and honestly, every day since he was by the time he was 11 when he got it every day he would practice and it never ever bothered me. I just knew I don’t No, I guess I just somehow knew inside that that was his soul coming forth. That’s what he was bringing to us. So, never had an issue with noise or anything like that. And he loved it, you know, went to high school to four years of music orchestra drumline. He was such the drummer and then went to college where he met his bandmates Finally, and they formed their band called jubilo Drive. And they began to play and they wrote their own music, and it was just joyous it was, you know, such a light in our lives, to be able to go and watch him perform. And as I know, also, most of us say about our children. There was just that kindness and compassion. And people just were drawn to him. As I know that, you know, I’m sure you can say about Shana as well. And many of us I’ve heard other parents say the same thing. And there just seemed to be that something there. Anyway, he had finally gotten after graduating college and all that a couple years later, he had finally gotten this job that was just going to make him real money, he would have a real salary. And it was, it was something it was in recruiting, which is honestly something I’m not totally clear about. But it was just, it was a good spot was good spot to start. He had literally been on his ninth day of work, and said he would come home while he was going to stay out with to hang out with his new, you know, friends at work. And so I thought, well, that’s great, that’s typical of him, and said, Okay, great. And he was still living at home along with his sister, Vanessa, and I have my other two children were already living out of the house. And they were extremely close, extremely close, having gone to all the same schools. They had many of the same friends spent a lot of time together. Anyway, so he, you know, it was I go to bed early, because I have to get up, I would have to get up at like 5am. So I tried to get to bed by 930, whatever. 10 o’clock. And he wasn’t home yet, which I thought was unusual, because he was totally responsible. He really was a very responsible, and he was already had been gone a bit earlier than usual getting up early to go to work. And he wasn’t home. And so you know, we were doing the usual texting. I was and his sister. And as I found out later, his other siblings eventually, were texting, you know, where are you? And he initially said, Oh, I’ll just you know, we’re just having a good time. I’ll be home. Don’t worry about me. And

I went to bed. Yeah, got up the next morning about 515. And right away, looked in his room and he wasn’t there. And so went into my daughter’s room because my husband was like I said, traveling. He was in Toronto, on business. And I went to my daughter, and I said, Do you know have you heard from Eric and as soon as I said that there was this horribly loud knock at the door. And I just knew what that was. And she got out of bed. We ran downstairs and you know, it was the sheriff and coroner standing here saying that, you know, does Eric Cruz live here? Yes. Well, he was killed in a car, or they said specifically he has passed away from now he was in a car accident. And as you know, you get the news. And it’s just, you know, your everything falls apart. And you’re on the ground and yeah. Anyway, we the worst thing ever was having to call my husband well, and my other kids as well, but to who he immediately got on a plane to come back. And we never know, we don’t know exactly what happened like that hour or so before because the texting ended about an hour before his accident, which was at 12:30am. So

Unknown Speaker 9:02

Dolores 9:04
you know, again, why was he out too late? Not sure. Was he not feeling well? Did he drink too much? I don’t you know, maybe maybe he was I don’t know, and we just don’t know for sure. So the but you know, he It was a horrific accident. Luckily, it was just him it wasn’t it didn’t involve anyone else. And so we had to figure out what to do. You know, moment by moment. You don’t know what to do. Yeah. You know, you don’t know what you’re supposed to how do you do this? We were not able to see him because his accident was so bad and he the car had burst into flames. It was just horrific. So it was just felt like more pain. The thing is, I felt like I was in a deep dark hole. And you know what that is? Yeah, it No, I didn’t see any light. I felt totally pulled under and I didn’t know how I could ever ever feel joy again. I didn’t worry about it. I just I didn’t say it was impossible. I just had no idea how that could happen. Yeah, to get there so little by little, you know, just someone sent me a book called on grief and grieving by David Kessler and Elisabeth Kubler Ross, which got me to know who he was. And I was able to connect with him. And we started just reading all these books, I don’t know, you may have done the same thing. I just read book after book and people would give me books and they were the right books, which is interesting. And then the one Mary Neal’s seven minutes, seven lessons from heaven. And that just oh my gosh, near death experiences. Oh, that’s amazing. So then I’d read up on those. And, you know, I was raised Catholic. I went to Catholic schools, even our kids went to Catholic schools, and with all my siblings, I was the only one to send my kids to Catholic schools, that was just my choice and their choice, and that was all good. And I was good with it. It was okay with me, I could find all the goodness that was in there. But when this happened, that did not convert anymore. I had no doubt, you know, about I believed in God, and in an afterlife, but I just didn’t know. Yeah, I wanted to know where Eric was,

Brian Smith 11:32

Dolores 11:33
These books helped me to get an understanding of where he was, and they covered me. So you know, the near death experiences, and then went on to just, I don’t know, I have a list in my book. But the mediums that people send me I mean, with things George Anderson, or I read, there are just other books, you know, I should have the list right here. To mention in case anybody else wants to know, but john edwards, somebody gave me crossing over it. So anyway, I just opened up this, this more this bigger picture. And I like to say that so this was my beliefs right here before and it was fine. You know, you had to find there was bad in the good, but you know, I could pull out the good. But once that I started learning, it just exploded. This was my belief system. Now I in it was so much better. So much more so much deeper. And it just helped me so much. And I do want to mention that their way I got an another interesting way that I became connected with helping parents heal was out of the blue, the following about seven months later, after Eric’s accident. I get it. A friend requests a request from someone I didn’t know that and then I get a message saying, Hi, you know, your cousin Susie, who’s really my second cousin Susie? Well, I’m her cousin on the other side. And she told me about, you know, Eric, and my son passed away recently, and I just want you to know about helping parents heal. And I said, Oh, great. And that’s how I got connected by this. You know, how strange is I don’t know to cut Tell me. So it was all meant to be that way. But yeah. Again, just so much, I get so much through helping parents heal. I can’t even begin to explain it. And I went to the first conference in 2018. I know you were there. And it was just amazing. So I found after a few months that, you know, I could I think I can do this as much as of course, we all just want to be with our child. As much as we say, you know, if I die right now, that’s fine. You know, I’m not gonna do anything about it. But hey, if something happens to me, oh, well, you know, at least that’s where I want to be. But I found that, you know, there’s a reason why I’m here. And I have a purpose. I, you know, I can’t describe it in detail, but I know that there is and sometimes I’m feeling you know, the guidance, lead. And that’s all that that’s what really matters. Yeah. And I’m connected to Eric still. Yeah. Sweat really matters. Yeah.

Brian Smith 14:37
So how long would you say that it took you to to find that there was still some purpose in being here. So I you kind of talked about like it was right after it happens. You want to be with your with your child and I think it’s a very, very common thing. So what what was it that what was it that led you to feel like you did have have a purpose to be here?

Dolores 15:03
Wow. Yeah, I’m trying to think specifically, I know that it started, I started to realize, realize that we’re probably within that the end of the first year, I’m just thinking that I started to feel like there, I do need to be here. I think probably not until around the time I got involved with helping parents heal, and all the that I learned, especially, you know, from Suzanne giesemann, and just so many others about, it’s the bigger picture, when I was finally able to look at my life, and people around me and just see that there was so much more, and that maybe there was a plan. And maybe if he was meant to, to live only that meant, you know, that long and that many years here. Yeah. And he had a purpose. And maybe his purpose was, you know, complete. You know, so I started saying maybe because that’s how it came in. It was like, Well, okay, maybe that is like I was I was open to to what ever would resonate. And if and else like I think this makes sense. And I think this is right, then then that became the truth for me. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, I think it was, again, I have to give credit mainly to helping parents heal for opening that helping me to open up that belief system. That then I thought, Okay, then I in, in honoring Eric, I, maybe I’m here, maybe the one reason he’s gone is for me to propel me propelled forward to do more of what I’m here to do. It just started to come to me that way. Yeah, yeah. And so I can honor Eric, and honor. who I am and why I’m here as well. To stay. And, and, hopefully, love, as Eric did be as compassionate as Eric was, be as kind and, and all of that. And so that’s what I want to that’s what I want to do.

Brian Smith 17:20
Yeah, you know, it’s interesting, when I when I was reading your book, he talked about Eric, and how you seem to attract people. And that’s, and I’m just gonna ask you this question. Do you think that’s part of like him being the baby of the family? Because you know, that there’s, there’s that, you know, he was he was the baby. But there’s also something that no matter what the birth order, it seems like our kids transition early, when I talk to other parents, there’s something about them the way they impact people while they’re here. And then even when they’re God.

Dolores 17:50
I do agree. It does. I mean, I know, I admit, I’m focusing on Eric as instead of my other children, because he’s not here. I mean, it had been one of them. But then again, maybe there would have been that special Spark, that I do see an Eric. And yeah, I think it became more evident to me what you’re saying, right after, of course, and, you know, as people surrounded us, which was so beautiful, filled, the house surrounded us. And we had them writing in in little these little notebooks that we’ve saved. And what things that they had to say about him that I didn’t even know, and that I didn’t realize and how they said, I remember the time when they that there was this act of kindness, and or they would say, you know, I only met him once or twice, but he immediately made me feel like I mattered. And he took interest in who I was. And I know that’s, you know, not all early 20. Kind of, you know, or teenagers aren’t going to necessarily do that. Right? He did do that. So I heard so much of that, that it does make me feel like there. There was this other act of kindness that I saw that I wrote about that was just a few months before he transitioned. right on the corner. It’s a little bit busy street when you go down to the corner, and there was an accident, and no one was hurt. But there was these two cars were stopped in the street. So my daughter and I walked down there and it had just started getting dark. And we’re you know, people are gathering and we’re looking and and there was like this truck with these for older people more, a little bit more elderly people. And then there was a car over there with these younger people. Well, after a few minutes, I see Eric come out of the house. He’s holding a bottle of water. And he he’s very pensive and quiet. And he goes over and he’s just standing like this, you know, look watching where the younger people aren’t. And I know he was just thinking. He was just feeling that compassion and thinking, I wonder. I wonder how they feel and I feel bad for them. And I you know, and I could just tell I was blocked. him and then after whatever few minutes, he walks over to where the older people are. And there was an older man sitting on the curb, kind of leaning against the light post, you know, they were shaken up, they were not hurt, but they were definitely shaken up. And he goes over and he stands there in front of the manager and watching it, like I could see it again, like a movie. And he just leans over and handsome about the bottle of water, which I assume was a new bottle of water. And the man takes it and he drinks from it. And they just say whatever. And I just went, Oh, my gosh, beautiful act of kindness. And it really touched me. And it’s just stuck in my head. So that’s again, I think that’s a awesome example of just who he was.

Brian Smith 20:43

Unknown Speaker 20:44
Just kind of odd that.

Brian Smith 20:46
Yeah, I want to talk to you about, you mentioned earlier that your beliefs were Catholic, that you were you were raised Catholic, you send your kids to Catholic school. So did when you started discovering this other stuff. Did that come to that conflict with your existing beliefs? Did you feel guilt coming out of that? Did you feel like your beliefs weren’t enough? What what caused you to open up to this other these other things?

Dolores 21:10
That’s a great question. Because as a matter of fact, yes, it it. It took me a while to stop feeling guilty about not just leaving, because really, to be honest, I was already separated from the church, I was not attending regular services anymore. That had stopped already after a couple of years. But I still felt connected. And I still identified, you know, to some degree, I might still do that. But of course, let’s face it, you start talking about mediums and all of that. And then I’m like, Oh, you know, I know, according to what I hear, you know, from the church, or what everybody says, you know, this is not a good thing. Right? I just needed to move forward with finding out more. And, and I prayed about it. I did I mean, I still prayed. And when I say prayed, it became then learning to you know, to meditate, and then to listen, and to ask the questions and see what comes in and help me to know the truth. And I, what I found not only just in this instance, let’s say with mediums, but as I’m learning about other cultures, and you know, Buddhism and shamanism, and just, everything was so beautiful. I thought, of course, there’s not one way, of course, there’s so many ways to to be took no God, I like to I like the word God, you know, I know, it’s, you know, the divine source and all of that as well, the creator. Of course, there are so many ways. So just because I step away from here, doesn’t mean I don’t like it, it just means that I like the bigger picture that I have found. And I think it’s also beautiful, and in my connections with Mother Nature now, which I can’t even describe. I mean, it’s I think, God, you know, for all of, for my awareness, I guess, is what I want to say about the beauty in nature and the sun in the moon. I mean, just all of that, you know, I feel very kind of Native American as well, that indigenous beliefs, all of it is just fantastic. So, as time went on, no, I, I came to understand that much of what I was taught is a false belief about restrictions and judgments and everything you can do wrong, and that it’s really not that that really, if you look in another light, it’s, it’s there’s so much good in all of this.

Brian Smith 23:51
Yeah. And that that is a hard thing. I guess for a lot of us because the church and I don’t, I don’t want to bash religion or Christianity or Catholicism or anything, but there is this built in fear and limitation. And I liked the way you put it. When you set my beliefs were like this. Now my beliefs are like this. And I’ve had people ask me, about, you know, losing your faith or losing your religion or whatever. And in fact, it’s funny, I was talking with someone the other day, a business person, and they work with Christian stuff. And they said, Are you are you a boy, I see you’re a believer, because I looked at my blog. And I said, on my website, I said, depends on a defined believer. What I tell people is I have more faith or belief now than I ever had when I was just confined to that little box that they put me in, right, because as you said, we get outside and we see Wow, this the same thing is taught and Buddhism and in Hinduism and and native beliefs and, and all the all these other faiths that have come to the same conclusions, minus the fear part that we were taught.

Dolores 24:56
That’s a wonderful way to put it. I totally agree with that. But you Yes, it’s interesting, I was just speaking with someone who’s who has a relative who’s elderly now and going to most likely be passing away soon. And, and she was describing that despite being such a Catholic, and such a good Catholic and doing all the right things, that he’s got such a fear of dying. And I, to me, I can only think that that’s again, the fear because of the fear that was instilled, as opposed to the love. Yeah. As opposed to focusing on the love. There is a focus on the fear. So yeah, I agree with you on that, for sure.

Brian Smith 25:38
Yeah, I think it’s really important. And I’m glad that we’re that you discuss that we’re talking about this, because I’ve seen a lot of people we go along with, I call it Sunday school religion. It’s like we’re taught this this this version of God and stuff in Sunday school, and it’s, it’s good enough, it’s good enough, until something really blows up your life. And then suddenly, I’ve seen people totally lose their, their their faith and belief in anything that become totally materialists become total atheist. And then for some of us, though, it seems to open us up. So that leads back to what are your thoughts about when I’d like to know how you react when you first heard he says about soul planning? Or that maybe this was planned for Erica lever? Or how did that strike you?

Dolores 26:22
Yeah. In the beginning, that within those first couple of days, when everyone is over, and they’re all coming up to you, someone’s a few people probably said that I know, what a couple of people. Well, it was his time to go. And I was like, No, it wasn’t, it wasn’t, He should be here. He had so much more to do. And all of that just made me angry. But over time, and with all the reading I did, little by little, I began to see that, yes, you bring up soul planning. I always say that I just, if it resonates in my heart, then I do believe it to be true. And it starts it does feel right. That we Some people say it’s God’s plan, I like to say we did it together. That it’s our plan. And depends how you want to see that then again, some people say, Well, you know, we are God. So we’re, you know, so anyway, however you want to get it, you know, that’s our words cannot fully express the true meaning.

Unknown Speaker 27:27
Right? But

Dolores 27:29
yeah, I, I absolutely. Now believe and I’ve heard so many speakers on helping parents heal or mediums or just explain that. Some souls choose to be here for a shorter amount of time, that they’re that they’ll choose their exit point. And, you know, maybe they’ll skip that exit point. And I feel like he had another exit point that I can’t clearly recall. He probably, yeah, he had this crazy ski thing go on when he was studying abroad, and they were in the endora. And he did one of those things where, because he didn’t know he was new, but he was doing a huge Hill after a couple days thinking he could do it. All right, and he’s down and trying to curve and did one of those things where he’s flipped over and spun all the way down the side of the hill where all these trees were. And he didn’t hit anything. And he was fine. Yeah. I just thought, well, there would have been a perfect exit if if he had chosen.

Brian Smith 28:27

Dolores 28:28
thankfully, you know, I’m glad we had some more years with him. So yeah, I think that’s, that is what I believe I, I, I now believe that it was the time and there was a reason for that.

Brian Smith 28:44
Yeah. You know, it’s interesting when you said that the people come and well, many people say all kinds of things in the early days, and people say things, but when people say things like, you know, it was his time, or even worse, it’s God’s plan. You know, like, like, God snatch them away. And, and I’m with you that the whole idea of, of a separate outside entity saying, Okay, that’s it, you’re, you know, you’re only going to get 24 years, or 15 years. In the case of my daughter, I don’t believe that. I believe it’s a, as you said, it could be you could consider it a joint plan with God and our guides or whatever. But I believe that we’re involved in that plan as well.

Dolores 29:26
Yeah, totally agree. And that’s another false belief that people are brought up with in not only religion, but probably just in society in general, is that we don’t have that inner power. I’m not talking about the power of the egotistical power or the earthly powers. I mean, that we have inner spiritual power and strength that we are in charge of our lives in a much deeper way than anyone really talks about.

Brian Smith 29:57
Yeah, that’s a that’s a really interesting concept. Isn’t it? You know, we’re part of the same organization. So we hear a lot of the same people speak. And it’s an understanding that I’ve come to as well. And it’s a again, it’s a little bit complicated because we would say, Well, no, if I were in charge, then Eric would live to be an old man and I would be rich. And you know, and this is not the way things have worked, you know, worked out. But that’s, that’s our, as you said, that’s kind of the ego part of it. That’s the smaller part of us, our higher self, wants to have these adventures. We want to have these experiences. And, and you know, and we can start to see and as you, as you said, you know, when Eric transitioned, it caused you to reevaluate your faith and your belief and just totally expanded, you

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Dolores 31:43
Right? Yeah, absolutely. Definitely expanded. I’m definitely happy to be where I am is in this growth. You know, there’s always that part that says, I just wish he was right here. Of course, we miss them. We just and but I I don’t feel any I never I mean, I can’t say I never I did in the beginning feel very. The automatic response was what the heck is going on? God, You know what? Why did you? Why did you do this? What’s going on? What’s the point I was a good person, right? Because we connected with gotta be good. And then you’re going to get this and that’s really not yet I have learned it. It’s not about you know, a god standing there saying Well, okay, I think you did well enough. I’m gonna make sure you get these blessings. And it’s interesting when people when something good happens to someone and they go, Oh, God is good. And I’m like, Yeah, but what if that didn’t happen? Would he still be good? Yeah.

Brian Smith 32:48

Dolores 32:49
So I don’t look at it that way. I mean, yeah, I look around me at the this amazing earth. And I’m reminding myself that I am here to enjoy it. And that it is fat. You know, it is so beautiful. But yeah, I just, I don’t think that I, you know, I was angry at first, but now I it’s not God who does things to us. It’s just this plan that again, is still a bit of a mystery to us. And that’s okay. That’s okay. But I do feel it.

Brian Smith 33:27
Yeah. Yeah, that that belief that if we do good things, and good things will happen to us works up and right up until something bad happens. And then it just totally falls apart. And I’ve never met anybody in my life and nothing bad has ever happened to you know, and people that say, you know, even the power of positive thinking and the law of attraction, all that stuff. Again, that works to a certain point, because that’s not the point. I don’t think that’s the purpose of being an Earth is deliver a carefree pain free life. We come I think for for these experiences, which can, you know, and you’re a great example of can actually help us to grow that can help make us, you know, into something that we wouldn’t be otherwise. I want to ask you about, you know, again, about faith. I think this is another important point that, at least for me, I, we were taught in Sunday school, we’re starting church, that we’re all eternal beings, we’re all going to be in heaven again, Sunday. But when people die, they’re basically their God. They’re there. They’re in heaven. You know, some some religious teach, they’re asleep. I just heard this the other day. They’re like, with a dead sleep and then they don’t they don’t return raising or until Jesus comes back or something. But there’s just this thing that I believe that they’re still with us. And I know you’ve got that feeling about Eric as well.

Dolores 34:47
Yes, absolutely. I didn’t realize just how close our loved ones are. And you know, you’re it’s interesting stories every so often someone will talk about Oh, You know, and then this happened and I felt like they were right there. But again until it happens to you, you luck. It’s just an interesting story. But Wow, it even before reading any books, the very first thing that happened that just really I haven’t It was fun. It was wonderful. But it surprised me is that I had, of course, during those first few days been telling Eric, where are you? I need you here. I want a hug from you. And I was saying that often I was talking to him from the beginning. I don’t know why I just did. I just, I just knew he must be there. I just something I automatically did anyway, about a week or 10 days later, I had gone to Whole Foods. And there was a couple people, young people out in front along with these tables. Because it was for what’s called the dare program. And it had they had they were an organization that taught young people in school about drug resistance. And it was drug and drug and alcohol resistance education, I believe. Hopefully I didn’t get that wrong. And anyway, so they were there. And I noticed them as I went in, I thought oh, yeah, they used to come to our school. I wonder where they’ve been. Anyway, as I came out, I thought, well, I’m gonna make a donation. So I go up. And of course, the young man I speak to is like Eric’s height. Eric’s build, probably his same age, more or less his complexion and everything. So I’m talking to him, and Oh, where are you guys? Ben? He goes, Oh, well, you know, they cut funding. And so now we have to come try to get funding elsewhere. Oh, well, sure. I’m gonna write him a check. And he writes a receipt. And just as he’s handing me the receipt, he says, How about a hug? And I, you know, it took me by surprise. And I just said, Yeah, I’ll always take a hug. And I gave him a quick hug. And it was just like, it just I didn’t know what to think, to thank you very much. And then walked away. And I just went, Oh, my gosh, was that you, Eric?

Brian Smith 37:02

Dolores 37:03
I do. I, I believe it. It was. I mean, I think then I was the beginning. without even having, like I said, read any books or spoken to anyone about any of this? I thought, well, he is around. He is with us. So that was the first of many. Yeah, Heinz.

Brian Smith 37:21
Yeah. Tell me about some of the other sides you’ve gotten.

Dolores 37:25
Yeah, so some of the most interest? obvious, maybe the biggest, I’ll just say, and then I can talk about the subtle ones as well. But yeah, but three months later, I was. We our family was attending the party of a very good friend’s little girl who was she was gonna be five years old. And it was kind of a family thing. So we all went. And as we’re walking in, I, I felt the sadness of Eric not being with us. I know he would have been. But then I immediately said, you know, he’s here. So I just, you know, went in with that. And we’re standing around, we were outside around a table standing holding plates and talking. And all of a sudden, right here in my peripheral vision, he was standing there, and he was totally clear in my peripheral. He was in color. I know, he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt. He had his facial hair. And he was looking towards the center. Like he was just standing around with us. Hmm. And I just slowly turned my head to look and of course, he dissolved away. But I knew that he was just saying, I’m here. Yeah, way of letting me know. And it was, and I told my family about it. And they loved it.

Brian Smith 38:41
Yeah, yeah.

Dolores 38:43
So yeah. And then another time as far as seeing him, and these were the only times well, kind of was just two years later, which was couple years ago. And I was we my husband and I were with some friends in Europe, we were at Prague Castle. And in at the, when they say, castle, it’s this large area with many buildings. And so there’s this extremely old church, I don’t know it’s from the 13 or 1400s or something. And so we were climbing up those, the spiral staircase that’s all cement and you’ve got walls, you can touch to each side here. And there’s like 280 steps or something silver walking up to go to the top and, you know, we’re older. So we’re huffing and puffing and laughing. And I’m at the front. And so I look back in there’s the spiral, to look at my friend and I saw Eric stare there for just a moment just kind of even not solid, but just kind of ethereal. I don’t know how else to describe it. But I saw what he was wearing. And it was between my husband and my friend. My name is Linda and I just again, it was like Oh, it was just for a few seconds. Yeah. And I told them all I said, well, Eric’s with us because I saw him. Wow. Yeah, it was. And that was really that more obvious. So I did have him, tell him speak to me once, where I was about six months later, and I was in bed at night. And I would always go to bed a little bit ahead of my husband, because I had to get up so early. And he was just more of a night owl, and I would just get tired. But he and I would always, you know, when I go to bed, you need just kind of lay there with me, we talk for five or 10 minutes. And then he kissed me goodnight. And then he closed the door and go out. And whenever you go out, I just cry. Because I don’t know, that was just my time. And I cry. And I talked to Eric and I had taught myself to do a self guided meditation, which Dr. Mark Pitts stick was one of the people that had I’ve had that opportunity. And I’ve heard a couple of others. Anyway, I taught myself that at night, I would just guide myself and go to this beautiful place to be with Eric. And that night, I was extra tired. And I said, Eric, I’m instead of doing the full five minute intro to get there. I just did Eric, let’s just let’s just meet. So I did the, the imagining of being there and seeing him coming. And all of a sudden right here, I heard it just kind of on the inside of my ear. I heard I’m right here, mom. And it was it was again, it’s it’s a little surprising. It’s also beautiful, and it was peaceful. And I just who was just covered with peace, and I just went to sleep. Yeah. And again, just such beautiful gifts that, you know, we don’t get them all the time. And that’s okay. Because once is enough, just to let you know, really, you know, if you believe it, then it’s with you always, because they’re always with us. Yeah.

Brian Smith 41:57
Well, I really appreciate you sharing that because I think a lot of us have had similar experiences, and people will chalk it up to Well, I’m just hallucinating is wishful thinking, because people don’t typically don’t talk about it a lot. And as I’ve as I’ve been on this journey, and I’ve talked to people who are actually opening up, you know, I’m finding out this is not as uncommon as we think and and our loved ones show up to us in many ways. So I do want to say though, that those things are unusual. actually seeing someone or hearing someone is very unusual, they typically come to us in more mundane ways. Yeah.

Dolores 42:35
So a couple of those cool ways, which are always give me a lot of joy, as well. One thing for example, my husband travels for work. And he does a an annual trip to New York in June. So this was not the first June but I think the next one. And I always join him at the at the end of his work time so that we can spend a few days go see a Broadway show, man, we have some friends there and we visit. So I met him in the lobby and I joined him, we go up to the room. And just as we get to the door, I just went Oh my God, look at the room number and it was 2311. And his birthday is the 23rd of November. I mean, I saw it right away. And then my husband who I hadn’t noticed all this time he looks at it goes oh my god. And it was just beautiful. And I said well, you know, see, he’s been right here with you. And so it’s that kind of thing. And also there was in his room, and these are still there now there was a package of glow sticks. And the four glow sticks. So this was actually just a year ago. And I love that as the time goes by I can still get these are some signs it’s no, but it so my son was supposed to get married last May 7, obviously that didn’t happen because of the shutdown. So it was me. I was so I on a Friday, May 8, I went in his room and I saw one of the sticks glowing. So of course I’m like Whoa, I wonder why it’s glowing. And I asked my family members no one had really been around because of shutdown but of the head my two daughters and my husband had been there. So I asked him Did anyone go in Did anyone touch it do anything? They said no? Yeah, I’m thinking right away. Okay. Is this Eric and I look at the package and it says that that like 60 hours or something for glowing? I thought oh, that’s really cool. I told my husband he said you know, I noticed that yesterday. Well the day before had been may 7 the day that my son should have gotten married. So that was special. So it started on May 7, may 8, ninth Sunday was Mother’s Day, and by then it should have the glow should have probably been on its way out and it was still glowing. brightly. Yeah. Two days later was May 12, the anniversary of Eric’s transition, and it was still glowing. Wow. And I just, and it continued for even yet a couple more days. So it went on for at least a week. Before, you know, it finally died down. We don’t know how it started. Except it happened to touch three very important significant days. So I again, think that was just a lovely sign. Yeah,

Brian Smith 45:27
yeah. And signs like that are really wild. And it’s, you know, it’s also encouraging to hear that your mind is open to those things, because I’ve talked to people and so I haven’t gotten any signs. And then as we start to talk, then they’ll say, Well, except for this or this, and that I’m like, those,

Dolores 45:42
those are the signs that you said you haven’t gotten, right. It’s everything, it’s it’s just the little things like for I know recently, I want to say that, let me just double check that that what, for example, I had these two birds, these two crows, that when I went out, when I go out my front door, my car, it’s just a few steps down. And then that’s the driveway. So my car is like right there. So I can be there. And but then above, there’s some cable lines, right? And it’s not far up. So one day I had gone out when I was still working, and to go to work in the morning, and I look up and these these two crows right there. And by then I was already talking to nature. So I just go Hello. And so I get in the car. And as I get in the car, they fly together to the tree right next door, bushy tree. So I get in the car and I’m backing out to go down and just as I get to about the sidewalk, crows together, come back to where they were they fly together at the front at the other end of the driveway, they come all the way together and go right over my car. Whom and when they went I just felt that energy. And I just want that had to be Eric and then I was like man who’s with you. I just goes my brother with you. Because you know my brothers over there too. And it was such a an amazing feeling. And you know, anyone could have said all these two birds flew by I guess but it to me it was so obvious because it was kind of unusual, that kind of behavior. It’s never happened before. Yeah, yeah. So things like like that. Yeah. And, and license plates. And I’ll tell you about the probably the coolest license plate. I get a lot of like, oh look that says mom there. Oh, look, there’s one over there that says mom Oh, look, you know, so you get those. But cool. coolest one was the one that said EC lives are his initials. lv for love. And then MLM EC mom? And it’s like, wow. Yeah.

Brian Smith 47:55

Dolores 47:56
So. And literally, I’ve got two journals loaded with all I read them all down. And still, I mean, just yesterday, I was writing them down, and they’re all around.

Brian Smith 48:11
Yeah. Yeah. So you’re coming up on four year anniversary of Eric’s passing, right. So um, what do you what do you what would you say to someone who’s early in this journey? Who says, okay, there’s no way I’m ever going to heal, you know, she, she might be able to do this, but I can’t do it?

Dolores 48:30
Well, I would say that, if you have an intention to heal, that you will, that if you it’s all of it, you have the power and you, you may not feel like you have a choice, because we don’t feel it was our choice for this to happen. But I do believe we have a choice as to what we’re going to do now. And as much as I didn’t see how it was possible to get to a place of joy. I believe that the reason I did is because I set out on a journey to figure it all out to find me Not that I’ve got it all figured out. But to understand have a better understanding. And to find that joy again and to find Eric, that was just my, what I intended to do. I did not choose to just sit and shut myself off and, and mourn for the rest of my life. I you know, in that way I was not. That was not what I intended to do. So I just think it’s your power of intention. Yeah. And looking like you said, looking for the signs, not discounting just just believing what, you know, you can believe it or not. So why not believe it? Yeah. If it brings you joy and happiness, yeah.

Brian Smith 49:54
Yeah, I think what I found is a lot of times it’s something I’ve found in comics. I’ve talked to so many people. Is this just being open? And do your own research? Do you know to really understand and know what’s going on? Because the I guess the first thing is that you said setting that intention. But sometimes we can’t even get there. Because we’re just like, I just, I just want to be stuck for a while. So it’s the first thing is believing it’s possible, you know, and and talking to someone like yourself, who’s coming up on four years out and seeing that is inspiration for other people.

Dolores 50:32
Yeah, I mean, yes, you’re right, it doesn’t seem possible at all. And you do have to grieve? Yeah, it is. You know, I know, some people go what, but I’ve heard it put that it is a gift. It is part of the human experience. It is something that we can’t avoid. And we have to allow to move through us. And we have to, you know, as we’ve heard the just flow on that river. And sometimes it’s like this, and then other times, it might be peaceful, and just add to allow it and not fight it. And at some point, cloud if you start to feel good, rather than say, Oh, I’m not supposed to feel this way.

Unknown Speaker 51:19

Dolores 51:20
let it let any let that happen. Because that’s the other part of the gift as well, is that? Yeah, I remember. I think it was only about six weeks, not even maybe a month or six weeks after your transitions. And of course, I was still like this. having lunch with my sister and another mutual friend. It was more of my sister’s friend, but I knew her. And we were sitting eating, and she said, so what are you gonna do this summer? And I said, grave? Yeah. And my sister was like, my sister is totally in tune with me. And she’s like, Oh, yeah. And she totally respected that, because I wasn’t gonna ignore it. Right. I was lucky that as a teacher, I had the summer to have that kind of time. I know, not everybody has. But I had to go through it and allow myself and then at the same time be totally open to whatever was next.

Brian Smith 52:17
Yeah, yeah, I think that’s really important to wait, you know, because while we’re doing all this spiritual, you know, stuff, we also have to not knowledge, the fact that we’re human, and that we miss that physical aspect of and so when people ask me, you know, is it possible to heal? And it was a question I was gonna ask you, and obviously, you You’re doing great, or at least, appears to be doing great. I was hesitate when I say that to people. But there is still, you know, my, my other daughter graduated with her master’s just past Friday. And so when those big events come, I still miss Shayna, you know, I still miss her a lot. And a picture will come up, you know, with her Facebook member just came back a couple days ago. And I so I don’t want to give people the impression that it’s like, oh, yeah, at some point, you just get over it and everything’s fine. No.

Dolores 53:07
The way I see it is the grief is, is here. In the beginning, the grief is here. Yeah. And as we move forward with our child or loved one, and we start to continue to build our life, then our life starts to build around. And then the grief kind of goes just kind of over here, you know, and it’s just so it’s not always in your way, but it might you know, then you become more aware of it on some days, and not on others. So I think and I think that’s totally okay. Yes, I absolutely still have my tearful days. I still, of course, miss my son, and I always will. We do have a wedding. My other son is getting married in a month. And it’s so exciting. And we wish Eric could be with us physically. We know he’ll be here, but they’re spiritually we know that. Right? We’re gonna have the picture on the chair. You know, of course, we’ll talk about So yeah, that’s, that is painful. Or if I, you know, I’ve attended other weddings, and I just cry when I see the mother coming down with with the groom thinking, well, I can’t do that with Eric. Right. So yeah, that really is painful to think about. So that comes up. And I can still have joy. I can still feel that have joy from a connection. I do have with Eric. Right. And so it’s just it. Yeah, it’s it’s such a I don’t have to say it, but they weave together.

Brian Smith 54:43
Yeah. I love the way you put that as we move forward with our loved one because one of the phrases that used to just trigger me was when people say moving on. Yeah, just to move on. I’m like, I will never move on. Right. And that that to me, just I get an image Like Shane has here in the past, you know, 2015 when she passed away, and I’m moving on through time, and like, that’s not gonna happen, she’s coming with me, which is why people watching on YouTube, she’s always over my shoulder, because I still have that relationship with her. And that’s very important to me. It was funny, as you were talking, I was thinking, you start off saying how music is so important in your life. And music helps me a lot. I was listening to a song this morning called, it’s just a ride by an artist named Gemma. And I love this song. Because every time I listened to it, it’s like, it’s the bigger picture you talked about when we sit when you say, this is a gift people go, you’re crazy. How could it possibly be a gift, you’re never gonna see your son again, it’s not a gift. But if you look at it, life is just a ride. This is just a temporary experience that we’re having. And Eric is okay. And Eric is still with you. And we’ll see him again. And then we can start to see, you know, the beauty even even in the pain.

Dolores 55:59
Yeah, and I know how strange that sounds. But there is I have found that to be true, or there is beauty in all of it, including the pain. Yeah. And that’s, I guess why? It can be a gift as well. Because Yeah, because if we’re here to feel all of it to have the full experience, then that is part of why we’re here. We can feel it in other ways besides our child transitioning, but I think it’s just sort of like, like I said before, it’s kind of a mystery how it works, but you just kind of know it. This there’s something that is to this is as it is to be, and it’s all good.

Brian Smith 56:45
Yeah. So it sounds I was gonna ask you how your family or how you’re honoring Eric’s legacy. Today, we’ve touched on several these things. I like what you said about your son, I can’t remember your what’s your older son’s name?

Unknown Speaker 56:57

Brian Smith 56:57
Nick. Okay. So yeah, you said Nick’s getting married, you’re gonna have a picture of Eric at the at the wedding. I think that’s I think that’s really cool. When people do that. I think that’s a great thing to do. And what other ways is your family keep Eric around?

Dolores 57:12
Well, we, he created his own music has been created music. And of course, we still listen to that. And they haven’t the band hasn’t been able to play live. They did, of course, have to move on. And you know, get a new drummer and all that. But boy, when they did play and when they do again in the future, and we show up and we’re there because he’s up because of course Eric’s there. Why wouldn’t Eric be with the band as they’re playing? So that’s a way to honor. But the other thing is that, aside from the fact that I did write a book in his honor, yeah. As that also, I was looking for a music school, because I wanted to do that scholarship thing. And it was funny how I tried one music school and it just didn’t work. No, they just weren’t getting back to me. And then I tried this other music school, same thing. And I just thought that’s weird. I’m offering, you know, to, you know, the scholarship. And so I ended up at this old music school. That’s like 100 years old. They’ve been around in LA in Los Angeles. And as it turns out, that’s when when my mother was 15, she moved from Milwaukee to LA, and she was a violinist. And that’s what she took violin, and it never occurred to me. Wow. And I thought, and maybe my mom has done to make sure that I go, you know, I feel my mom had a hand in that. And yes, so I’ve been I was able to explain what I wanted to do. And so yes, there’s a drum student that I paid for a year of lessons to start, and then it can continue after that, but we started first year. And he’s, I don’t know, I think he’s 12 or 13. And it’s just beautiful. And he’s a beginner. And, you know, I know Eric would love or does love that, you know that he and we are helping this student? Yeah. Have lessons. That’s awesome. Yeah. So that’s just feels so good.

Brian Smith 59:09
Yeah, it also is, you know, it’s another reminder of how things seem to work out the way they’re supposed to. Sometimes we get frustrated because things aren’t working out the way that you know, we feel like they should and then something even better, works out. So you know, I tell people I’m my banker. I’m, I’m an engineer, so I’m a very analytical, analytical person. But the more I’ve gotten into this and more relights This world is like magical. There’s all kinds of magical things that happen. events that happen to us people that come into our lives, like you said, you know, the synchronicities someone gives you a book someone, a cousin of a cousin calls you up and tells you about, you know, helping parents heal, which is changed so many people’s lives, including my life. And someone randomly on Facebook said you need to reach out to this guy Mark Ireland because he’s his son had passed away Margaret and a couple of books and that led me to help him parents see Oh, I’ve been Know what to buy up and parents So ever since then, yeah,

Dolores 1:00:03
yeah, the connections that well we are all connected is amazing. And that is why all those things happen because because we are all connected and, and it is a miracle. Yeah. Who was it was it? Was it? I know if I forget who I’m going to call it the wrong person, but you can look at life as if nothing is a miracle or is it everything as a miracle?

Unknown Speaker 1:00:26
Was Einstein said?

Dolores 1:00:29
I want to say it was it. Yeah. And when you really look at it, everything is so miraculous. And, and we are all connected.

Brian Smith 1:00:39
Yeah, absolutely. What’s yours? It’s been really great getting to know you and and talk about Eric and talk about your book. So tell people where they can reach out to you to find out more.

Dolores 1:00:49
Great. So I have a website which is Delores look around one word. And then I have a blog. Delors look. Okay. Yeah. So and I, and most of that has to do with either spirituality or, you know, the other side of the veil or my son or so there’s just some stuff going on there. It’s kind of new. So I but I’ve got that’s what it’s about. And yeah, and then the book is on Amazon called look around.

Brian Smith 1:01:28
Yeah. Well, it’s a look around and mother’s journey from grief and despair to healing and hope. And, yeah, I did get a chance to read it before we did the interview. It’s a great book, I think it’s thick, it can be really helpful to people to kind of, especially if you’re early in grief to kind of know, you know, kind of what to expect. I think that’s can be a very helpful thing and to offer, you know, hope. It’s really, it’s great that you’re doing this for people. So any any last words you want to say before we before we wrap up for today?

Dolores 1:01:59
Oh, well, no, I think I really got across the main messages of of that we can heal and that we are connected and there is a bigger picture. And I just am so grateful to you. Thank you so much, Brian, for having me on your wonderful podcast.

Brian Smith 1:02:16
Well, thanks for being here. Have a great rest of your day.

Dolores 1:02:19
Thanks. Okay, you too.

Brian Smith 1:02:22
That’s it for another episode of grief to growth. I sure hope you got something out of it. Please stay in contact with me by reaching out at www dot grief to growth calm. That’s grief the number two growth com or you can text the word growth to 31996 at simply text growth, gr o w t h 231996. So if you’re watching this on YouTube, please make sure you’re subscribed. So hit the subscribe button. And then hit the little bell here and it’ll notify you when I have new content. Always please share the information if you enjoy it. That helps me to get more views and to get the message out to more people. Thanks a lot and have a wonderful day.

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