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My Mother the Psychic
SELF Magazine
By Samantha Altea

Picture yourself back when you were 11 or 12 years old, pushing the limits of what you were told to do versus what you wanted to do. Although I was not a rebel-in fact, I consider myself to have been very close to angel status - I was human. Being human meant mischief and the occasional little white lie. Unfortunately for me, though, while I was growing up in this "normal" world of human imperfections. my life was very far from normal, and some would say further still from human. You see, my mum talks to dead people.

As a spiritual medium, she makes contact with loved ones who have passed on, and relays messages from them to those who find it impossible to see or hear them anymore. She chats one-on-one with the dead, telling us what they say -a sort of radio receiver for the spirit world. Can you imagine growing up with a mother before whom you were unable to tell the merest untruth? Faced with the all - too familiar question "Bedtime, darling. Did you wash your face?", I would stare up at my mum with my practiced angelic look and reply, "Yes" Her eyes would glaze as she looked over my shoulder. "Mmm," she would say. "Your grandpa says you haven't." My grandfather had been dead for five years, and since he passed on, he'd turned into a hit of a snitch. Knowing that it was senseless to argue with your mother and your dead grandfather, I would dutifully go and wash my face. I was a very clean child.

It was sometimes hard being my mother's daughter as a teenager. Imagine that youre young and in love and your boyfriend, who lives three hours away ends up in the intensive care unit. My mother did not want me to drive there to be by his side; she thought that something terrible would happen if I went. I had learned to listen to my mum because, quite simply, she was always right. In this case, however, my heart took over and I jumped into Buttercup, my bright yellow, slightly unreliable first car. Three hours later, I had to call my frantic mother to explain that while I was okay, I had crashed Buttercup into a ditch. My mother was right again.

Picture yourself in your early twenties; you are confident and independent. Now imagine yourself in a compromising position with a young man - one you really should not be in for reasons we won't go into right now. The phone rings. You're feeling a little jumpy, and this is an excuse to extract yourself from this complicated situation. You run to the phone, only to hear your mum tell you that she has a "strange" feeling about you and ask if everything is okay. You reassure her, putting down the phone to find your suitor looking at you oddly, perturbed that your psychic mother may have the hotline to his intentions. Determined not to let my mum interfere with my life, I assured the young man it was merely a coincidence that she had called at such an inopportune moment. At age 23 I still hadn't learned. Half an hour later, just as animal instincts overtook my young man's apprehensions, the phone rang again. Try as we did to ignore such an intrusion, it just wouldn't go away - the phone continued to ring. He told me that if it was my mum, that was it, he was leaving. Of course it was, and he did. "Are you sure everything is okay?" my mum asked. "Because I really do have a strange feeling." Is it any wonder that the type of man I go for has to be persistent?

I know it appears that my childhood was bizarre. Quite frankly, it was. I cannot imagine, however, growing up with "normal" parents. I cannot imagine not being able to talk to the passersby who chat with my mum from "the other side." I cannot imagine not being able to turn for guidance to our extended family residing in the spiritual world. I cannot imagine not being able to ask advice of my mum and not being able to trust it.

My mum believes we learn by making mistakes, and she has the courage to let me do that. I blunder around in the dark, searching for answers. I wonder if I'll live happily ever after. I get frustrated that my mum very often knows but won't say. When my mum tells me that I'll be successful and that I need to write - she has been told by those in the spirit world that I have a golden pen - I have to take notice. What do you think? Is she right?

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