She describes her ongoing relationship with her son’s spirit as an unfolding understanding that transpired over the last seven to nine years.
“The first stage is validation. You ask, ‘Is that really my child?’ When you can’t protect your kids anymore, the first thing is to validate that they are OK, that their spirit is OK,” she said.
Hopkinson said she discovered through repeated contacts with friends who are mediums that her son was happy and that his growth and learning were continuing. She stressed that none of her advisers was paid, so they had no advantage in sharing information.
“The second phase is conversational,” she said. “I was trying to improve my own skills so I could almost have a conversation with him. ... I realized that he could get through to me. He is a very driven, persistent kid. He hasn’t changed a bit.”
Hopkinson said that the final letting go occurred when she understood that her grief was tethering her son.
“Bereaved parents feel guilty if they are not always sad,” she said. “I believe that we can help our children because I believe we can have a continued relationship. I still have a relationship with my older son. He finally got through to me, ‘Hey, Mom, you are tethering me with your grief,’ he said. Children do not want their parents to suffer. And they don’t want to be their parents’ caretakers. They still have growth and goals.“The third stage is understanding,” she said. “This is the healing phase.”
Hopkinson is beginning a new career as a spiritual grief counselor for bereaved families with her paperback, hardcover and audiobook launch this weekend. Her approach is unique in that it will offer the possibility of exploring the afterlife for bereaved parents and will also be an online service for counseling and networking.