How does one describe herself to the world at large from a spiritual perspective? Who am I and what is my purpose in this world? It seems when I stop to really consider what I have to say that it is simple to me. Yet, to many people, possibly unbelievable. Everything I am going to tell you is true. I have pictures and my life is an open book and the manifestations of the visions that are divinely given to me continually unfold in a very public way. I am a scribe, a healer, and a conduit. These spiritual gifts of mine are simple and are the same gifts to many people. Let me explain.
My first memory as a small child is a conversation I had with God. I was mad at him for being punished by my parents for trying to roll myself down the basement stairs as a 4 year old. I wasn’t trying to kill myself; it just looked like fun. But what I do know is at that moment I don’t remember my faith in God being instilled in me by my parents. I just knew my Creator was with me and I was holding him accountable. Children are born with open hearts and minds and can readily accept spiritual relationships because they are not far removed from where they came from and they have not been conditioned to believe something different. Ask any child with an “imaginary friend or a deceased relative who sits and talks with them on swings in the sunlight.” It’s real.
Flash forward to 2007. In my early 30’s, my husband was diagnosed with a very serious cancer. My whole world was built around my family. In the midst of his surgeries, scans, and cancer treatments I took one day away from caregiving to give back to myself. I had a stressful corporate pharmaceutical sales job, a big home to take care of, a beautiful 5 year old boy, and a very sick husband at home. I needed a day for me. Just one. I went to a wonderful retreat for a spa day in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, my home. I chose a massage for my treatment that day. When I came into the room, it was beautiful and peaceful and the lady asked me to get up onto the table facing up after she washed my feet. It was very unusual for these things to be done. As soon as I was on the table she touched my head. A bright, circular, luminescent, living Light appeared in my vision field. My heart opened. My life flashed before me.
I saw myself writing. I saw myself hugging all my family and loved ones. I saw a vision of me writing. Writing letters. The love was the most beautiful, powerful love I have ever experienced in my life. I will never forget it. I went back every year for eight years to try and have that experience again but it was never to be. I learned through this experience the power of Enough. Once is enough and there is abundance in Enough. I slowly put the experience I had seeing Heaven and feeling the love over the years to the back of my mind. My husband told me if I spoke about it people would think I was crazy. I didn’t write letters but the urge to write never left me. Until, 2014.
In March 2014 my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer and he only lived 6 more weeks. During this time the urge to write became almost automatic. I had to write. The pain and the grief was setting in and I needed an outlet. I couldn’t listen to words I was having to say to myself, to my son, to my husband, family, and friends so writing was my way of expressing my profound grief. So I began a page for my husband’s updates on a website called www.CaringBridge.org. We shared our short journey from his diagnosis till his death. His page is Jordon Adam Barker. We lived out our thoughts and fears and prayers to the world, to our community, and loved ones. He died in a hospice on May 9th, 2014. One and a half hours later while I was still by his side my phone pinged very loudly in the room. I picked up the phone and it was an email from Tut, an inspirational organization that sends out daily messages to followers. It was 3:30 am. Jordon died at 2:00.
The message was simple. It said:
Write it down.
Write it down, Holly.
Write it down.
The need to write began to be so powerful it would stop me in my tracks, wake me up, and it was all I could do to find my computer and start typing. By then I had started a blog. www.hollycbarker.com. I wrote out the visions I was seeing. The messages I was being given. The sadness and grief and hope and understandings that were wide open to me were written out to the best of my abilities. That first year of writing about grief saved me. It resonated with others as well and by the end of the year I had 70,000 visits to my blog.
I am a writer on grief but it has become so much more in the five years since I took up God’s purpose for me in this lifetime. I simply followed the people, places, and events that have been placed before me and used them for His plan.
In the fall of 2014 I took a spiritual healing journey to Telluride, Colorado with a dear friend. It was there that I had expressed to him that I couldn’t find a good grief support group nor anything beneficial to help me in my grieving process. He recommended that we attend an Alcoholics Anonymous open meeting to see if I could get some ideas from the program. He himself was a recovering alcoholic and had been transformed by the program. I went to a tiny stone church and attended the meeting with him. It changed everything. The healing, the sharing, and the power of transformation was amazing. I knew the grieving world needed this program. It was there with so many spiritual messages I received high up in the beautiful mountains, close to God that I knew his purpose for me. One year later I founded Grief Anonymous. I went looking for a local location to start the meetings and I created an online grief support group online with Facebook with the help of other grieving people who wanted to help me and believed in what I was trying to create. These beautiful souls are still with me today do this work. The online groups exploded in July 2016 when I founded the online groups and within 6 months we were adding hundreds of new members every day. Three years later we now have over 100,000 members and followers on our public page and in our groups. During this time I built out two websites, www.griefanonymous.com and www.griefresourcenetwork.com, an online resource portal for our Grief Anonymous membership which is slow to start simply because of the enormous costs and manpower it’s taken to get it off the ground. God’s plan for it is soon coming. Everything has divine timing and all the groundwork has been laid.
How does my story end for you today? I met and fell in love with a man who lost his wife to cancer at the young age of 46. I moved to Chicago with my son to be with him and his two boys who lost their mother. We are a blended family of grieving people. We get each other.
Tully Garrett is his name. My new love. He took me for a date one fall afternoon down historic Route 66 in Illinois to go antiquing in 2017. We came across the most amazing yet dilapidated, old, run down restaurant called The Launching Pad with a huge 28 foot spaceman statue in the parking lot named the Gemini Giant. To my utter amazement, the location was for sale. To me, I saw my life. To Tully, I believe he saw the same: Something that was once magnificent that had then become shut down and had fallen.
Such was our lives. Destroyed by cancer. We wanted to save it. I saw my location I had been looking for for my first Chapter of Grief Anonymous in the back room of the restaurant. Tully is a car guy and a memorabilia collector. A second room could be a museum for his collection. I saw a kitchen for a little restaurant I always had a vision and dream of owning. The vortex was set. My mind was made up. We had to save it and so it became. God’s plan found us. We found us. On so many levels of this life of mine has been shaped by simple, easy messages from a loving God. All we have to do is notice and believe the signs He sends our way.
Today, April 23, 2019 we have our restaurant and tourist destination open for business. My local Grief Anonymous group is going strong. Our online groups are powerful healing tools for tens of thousand of members and we have millions of people seeing our work online every year. The visions God is showing me for the future include a real American Renaissance about to take place with Route 66 being at the heart of it all reminding us of who we are as Americans and as a human race. Grief Anonymous will continue to grow and be an active force for grieving people worldwide. And hopefully I will continue to live out my purpose he has for me in my new normal on a personal level. I have learned to live in the abundance of enough.
I have learned to live in today. And I am eternally grateful for a Living God who I know exists. I know where I am going at the end of this life. I do not fear. I know where we are all going. It is beautiful beyond comprehension. Yet, do not wish for this day. Live out your life. You are here to enrich your soul with experience and knowledge to which grief will give you the glimpse of the farthest ends of each side of the emotional spectrum of life. The bandwidth of your emotional body is wider that you know. You’ll be all the wiser from it despite the scars and the pain. Everyone experiences grief unless you are the first to go. Just know we are all together here, and then connected again in Heaven. Amen.
Holly C. Barker is the founder and president at Grief Resource Network, LLC and Grief Anonymous, an international online grief support organization and owner of the Launching Pad Drive-in and the iconic Gemini Giant on Route 66.