In this episode:
Grief and Writing with Roland Comtois
Today Abby and Mel talk to Roland Comtois: medium, nurse, and author of the books And Then There Was Heaven, Sixteen Minutes and the upcoming The Purple Papers and the Stories Behind Them. Roland describes his mission with his medium work as guiding people through grief, through loss, regret and disappointment by helping them hear the messages from their loved ones who have passed on.
Roland's first book is a memoir detailing his experiences as a medium, and his second surrounds grief and his mothers death. His third is a compilation of experiences, written with others, about his medium work and how it has affected those here on Earth.
Roland, like many authors, was surprised by the realization as he reached the end of his first memoir that it was as much about his experience as what he was writing for others. Writing is a journey as much for the author as it is for the readers who will experience the finished book, and memoir writers in particular put themselves center stage, totally submersing themselves in their work, and according to Roland, come out of it stronger, better, more alive and transformed than when they first sat down to write their book. Many authors we've talked to, and this is something we've realized about ourselves as well, is that our stories are as much about ourselves and what we're trying to work through and discover as they are about plot and character.
Nursing has been Roland's longtime profession, and he cites experiences in patient care as affecting both his writing and his work as a medium. He's sat with hundreds of patients as they took their lasts breaths and cites that as one of the greatest honors and blessings of his life.
Roland, Abby and Melanie discuss Roland's medium work and the Purple Papers, which is the way Roland expresses the messages he receives from those who've passed on. He describes his process as similar to automatic writing, encompassing several senses (sight, hearing, etc). These "letters from heaven" or the universe connect to someone on earth, bringing them messages of hope, peace, and sometimes of closure with those loved ones who've passed on. Roland' events center on reading or talking about these Purple Papers in hopes of connecting to someone in the audience. More often than not, they do, and the recipient is allowed to read and keep the message from their loved one.
The messages Roland receives have now become his latest book entitled The Purple Papers and the Stories Behind Them, a compilation of 50 stories and the loved ones that received these messages of hope and meaning, and how these helped them in their journey through grief.