Sheridan, Clare – He was saying, ‘I am with you-I am here-‘ And it seemed so clearly futile to mourn his loss, for he was with me
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
My Crowded Sanctuary – Clare Sheridan
I HAVE recorded in my diary a strange clairvoyant experience which happened on the night of February 7th, 1942. I will not attempt to reconstruct it, but simply reproduce the hurried scrawl just as I wrote it at midnight, when I was very tired and my mind not completely readjusted.
I had been deeply absorbed in a book full of beautiful pictures of places on the Mediterranean coast. Spain interested me - France (Riviera) both attracted and repelled me - Italy enchanted me - Greece enthralled me - Constantinople saddened me; but, then, North Africa, the coast and ports of Algeria-all the places associated with Dick- Constantine. I could not look at - turned over the leaves hastily-then Cherchel-Tenes, &c. caused me such pain, if one can analyse pain. It wasn't tears – I didn't cry; it seemed deeper than tears; it was as I imagine a stab with a knife. It was certainly pain. I closed the book suddenly, realized I was giving forth des gemissements out loud. Dickie was with me at once-so vivid, almost I heard his voice. I remember he kept telling me not to look back-not to look at the book again, and, above all, never to go back to Biskra. He seemed so emphatic:
"Don't ever go back-you mustn't go back; stay here where you're loved and where I love to find you-in the place I love." Words to that effect.
'I was sitting on the end of his couch opposite the fire, with my elbows on my knees and my head in my hands. He was saying, "I am with you-I am here-" And it seemed so clearly futile to mourn his loss, for he was with me.
'Then, I don't know how it happened-oh yes, my hands were pressing somehow on my temples, and things began to move before my eyes: scenes, fragments of landscapes, flashes of sunlight, all rather kaleidoscopic. I was fascinated. I found myself trying to hold on to some part of it; then I realized that these fragments were memories [perceptions], and I wondered if I might not see the farm I lived in when I was a Roman peasant-I knew it was somewhere in the wooded hills outside Rome. Something of that life I do know-too long to go into now (it's already half after midnight).
The next thing that happened was a nebulous vision of something Greek, and I so to speak pushed it away saying "No, not that"; then something unrecognizable that might have been Egyptian.
I said, "No, I don't want that"-or that-" when a monastic building or church began to form into a picture. Then it came- that Roman farm ! I mustn't lose it, mustn't let it slip away. . . .
A clairvoyant experience of this kind leaves one utterly exhausted. It was as though I had ceased to be myself. Although my body was beside the fire, I was conscious only of my real self, the deathless I, who, with all the senses of hearing, seeing, and feeling, was living something else-was, in fact, somewhere else; not here at all: Not only was the experience emotionally devastating, but the readjustment required very considerable effort. With difficulty I roused myself to go to bed. I tottered across the room as if I had not complete control of my legs, and yet in a physical sense I was not tired. To have succeeded in writing about it so l immediately is a triumph.