By Vicky Thompson
Suzane Northrop sees dead people. And what is their message from beyond the grave? Love each other. Stop fighting. Support each other. It’s that simple.
Northrop has been an internationally acclaimed medium and expert in psychic phenomena for more than 30 years. Through her Emmy-nominated TV series, The Afterlife (which continues to rerun in the U.S. and Canada), and the Suzane Northrop Radio Show on Blog Talk Radio, she has helped thousands of people worldwide to heal from the loss of loved ones.
What do you need to know about death? Love never dies, and Northrop knows that firsthand.
Q. You had an interesting experience with your grandmother when she passed. Was that one of the first known memories you had when you knew you could speak with the departed?
A. That’s my first known memory with people who have gone through the physical death process. I have had contact with the spirit world since I was 5, but yes, when my paternal grandmother passed, I was 13. She was this dynamo, bigger-than-life type of woman.
So when she got ill — she had colon cancer — she went from what I would guess was about 180 pounds down to like 80 pounds. That was pretty intense, and that was the last physical time when I actually saw her in the hospital.
Days after her death, I had the Hollywood experience. She came and stood at the bottom of my bed, saying, “I want you to keep up with your piano lessons. I am going to give you one of my houses. I can’t visit you very often, but I want you to know I am always going to be there.”
And at that point she was big and fat again, and to me, Grandma looked all well. That has always remained so strong for me because if everyone had that experience where they saw somebody who was very ill die, and then they saw them well afterward [as a spirit], they would view what we call physical death very differently.
The next day my mother said, “We need to go to the parlor.” When we went to the parlor there was this box with this woman dressed in my grandmother’s clothes who looked absolutely nothing like my grandmother. I was actually appalled because when I had seen her the night before, she was vibrant and lively. I didn’t understand and make the connection because to me she was more alive than I had seen her the night before than this person who looked like her in this box.
So I must have been speaking to her out loud, and my mother came running up to me and said, “You better go sit in the car, or you are going to get your father upset.” I went and sat in the car — it was my grandmother’s car — and of course my grandmother came and sat with me.
I am often asked if I was ever afraid [of connecting with the departed], and always I say I have never been afraid of dead people. Don’t ask me about living people, but I have never been afraid of dead people.
Q. Many people are afraid of death. What happens when we die?
A. Our consciousness, our soul or our spirit (it doesn’t really matter what you call it because it’s really all the same), is the essence of who we are — our spark. If you have ever seen anybody in a coffin, you can’t tell me that they are there. What’s left is the body of where they were. But their spirit, their essence, you can see that is gone — that is the spark that keeps us all alive. So that continues after what we call physical death and that continuance of that consciousness (I call it God consciousness) exists with the body and without a body, so that continues to go on.
Q. You’ve worked with so many people suffering from grief. What are some of the things that you’ve learned in connecting with the departed that can help people move through the grieving process?
A. The number one thing — there is no magic wand. Everybody’s grief and process is individual, so it’s not like we can push a button and move past it. You’ve got to go through whatever your process is with that loss. Physical death is the biggie for most of us, but we have death throughout all our lives — divorce, loss of this and loss of that, but the physical seems to be final one. With that finality, if people know without question that the person who has physically left their body will contact them to let them know that they are OK, it really helps the process a lot.
If you can open your mind and your heart to know that they are around you, and that in their own way they will connect with you, I think it helps.
Q. You’ve been an expert consultant with the police on investigations. What is the afterlife mindset like for someone who’s experienced a violent death?
A. I could say to you, “Do you remember 10 years ago when your friend had that really bad car accident and died?” And you would say, “Yes.” Then I would say, “Do they remember that car accident?” And they remember that car accident, but they don’t remember the pain of that accident because it is only a memory.
It is very important to know that the people who have passed over are not carrying the physical pain that happened at the time of their passing. There is no memory — it doesn’t exist within the soul process because that is a physical thing of the body. I really urge people to understand that they are not in that place mentally, emotionally or physically.
Q. You’re a medium and you’re a healer of the grieving. How has that made a difference in your own life?
A. I have had the honor and privilege to connect people. I have the grief that goes through me, but the joy of the connection also goes through me. It always hits me how these people love us and continue to love us — it is so important, and yet we live our lives focusing on things that are so damn unimportant.
The last thing that they want you to do is fight in the family, or to not connect or not be in love, or to not be supportive of each other through this process. A tragedy is when you lose your only son, or you lose your best friend, or when you lose you twin sister — it creates a different perspective of what is most important in our lives.