After 43 years of practicing corporate and real estate law in San Diego, Casey is now retired. Casey’s father tragically died by suicide when Casey was 20 years old. And in 2008, Casey’s beloved 24-year-old son, Jimmy, who was a rising star and professional writer, was accidentally struck and killed by a car while he was walking home from a party.
In his spellbinding new book titled WHEN THE VEIL COMES DOWN, Casey shares a stunning revelation he has received, that there is coming a time when there will be no separation between us on this side of the veil and our loved ones on the other side, because when the veil comes down, that is where heaven will be. And the key to unlocking that door is to help others with their healing.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT THINGS LIKE:
- Casey’s father was a WWII hero who committed suicide when Casey was 20 years old.
- The miraculous way Casey was reconnected to his deceased father that led to Casey’s spiritual awakening.
- The healing journey Casey, his wife Hilary and his daughter Brittany went on after Jimmy passed, calling themselves “Team Healing.”
- Casey’s miraculous story called The Letter that was made into an award-winning film.
SOME QUESTIONS IRENE ASKS CASEY:
- What were the profound messages your father transmitted to you?
- What is the difference between mending grief and healing grief?
- What is a “Near Life” Experience and what is a “Partial Death” experience?
Listen to the podcast here
Casey Gauntt: Author, blogger, and companion to others in grief and healing
I am delighted to have this opportunity to interview the compelling author, blogger, and companion to others in grief and healing named Casey Gauntt, who will be speaking to us from Solana Beach, California, where he lives with his wife, Hilary. Casey earned degrees in business law and an MBA from the University of Southern California. After years of practicing corporate and real estate law in San Diego, he is now retired. In 1970, Casey’s father died by suicide when Casey was just twenty years old. In 2008, Casey’s 24-year-old son, Jimmy who was a rising star and professional rider, was accidentally struck and killed by a car while he was walking home from a party.
Casey and his deceased son Jimmy, published their first book in 2015, titled, Suffering Is the Only Honest Work. Jimmy contributed much of what is in the book, including its title, and more than earned posthumous credit as the book’s coauthor. In his new book titled, When the Veil Comes Down, Casey shares a stunning revelation he has received that there is coming a time when there will be no separation between us on this side of the veil and our loved ones on the other side because when the veil comes down, that is where heaven will be.
That time is closer than we might think, and the key to unlocking that door is to help others with their healing. This revelation in lumens, the mission of this show, which is to inspire healing and to present the many ways we each can heal. I have many questions for Casey about his remarkable book, When the Veil Comes Down, and much more.
Casey, a warm and heartfelt welcome to the show.
Thank you. It’s so great to be here with you.
It’s going to be a pleasure. We are going to have a lot of fun. I loved your book. I can’t recommend it more highly to everyone reading. Let’s begin with this question. Your father was a World War II hero and the strongest man you knew. Please tell us about your dad and your reaction to his suicide when you were just twenty years old.
My dad as you mentioned was a highly decorated soldier in the Army. Served two and a half years in the South Pacific during World War II. He achieved the rank of major when he was 24 years old. He was the youngest to achieve that rank in the Pacific Theater. He won a Legion of Merit, which is for meritorious service, two bronze stars. He became the battalion commander and was in charge of over 600 men, half of whom didn’t come home.
My dad at a very early age not only exhibited these very strong leadership qualities and ability to lead men but he also saw way too much as all those men that were fighting in World War II and the South Pacific. He came home with wounds we couldn’t see and he carried those with him like so many men did.
My dad was a voracious reader. He taught himself Spanish at the age of 40 because he went to work for my grandfather Vernon Case and his foundation company. They were opening offices in Panama, San Puerto Rico, and Brazil. My dad felt it would be helpful if he learned how to speak Spanish. He is taught himself. He loved music. He loved to play. He was intellectually curious. He was strict, a tough commandant in the home, and he traveled a lot. It seemed to me that he was gone more than he was home as I was growing up. During the last couple of years of his life, we all could see that he was declining a little bit. He was not himself. Yet he refused to get help as a lot of the men did that just as we are talking 1970.
In those days it wasn’t accepted.
That’s right. We were living in the Chicago area. I came home for Christmas 1970. I thought my dad was in Panama on a business trip. We got the word the next morning that he shot himself in his office the night I got home. It was devastating. My sister was 13 at the time, I have an older brother 2.5 years older, and a very strong mother. My mother was a lioness.
It was so shocking and unfathomable that this strong man would do something like that. That was the decision that was the only one left to be made. In addition to the shock, I became very angry. I was very upset with the fact that he did this to me, and my family. The way I dealt with it is I buried his memory. I did everything I could to forget about him. I wanted nothing to do with him. It was that way for many years.
We are going to talk about what broke that log jam a little later in this interview. I’m so sorry. That must have been so traumatic for you. You lost your son, Jimmy, because you told us, he was wonderful, he was gifted like you and your dad were. Would you like to tell us about him and share what your relationship with him was like before he transitioned?
I’d love to. From almost the moment he was born, I never thought of him as being a baby or young. He always seemed older to me. That told me later on, figured out he was just an old soul. He’d done a lot of laps here before. He was a kind kid. He was a driven kid. This kid taught himself to read when he was five years old because he wanted to be able to read the box scores in the baseball section of the newspaper. Also, read the baseball cards that he was collecting. He was lights-out smart. He was by far the smartest kid in every class he was in. He too learned Spanish because he went to a bilingual class in Solana Beach. By the sixth grade, he was fluent in Spanish and gave the commencement speech for the sixth-grade class. Half in English and half in Spanish.
By the time he was in high school, he was a superstar athlete he was on the football team as a star wide receiver. He was an elite high jump specialist in track. He was a voracious reader as well. He was reading books that nobody else was reading. He was the dream student in high school for his teachers, just because of his intellectual capabilities and curiosities, which he carried forward into college. He also went to USC and was a trustee scholar which is a very prestigious full-paid ride to USC.
He majored in Spanish and English. He spent a summer in Madrid after his freshman year. Learning and studying Spanish literature. He had spent his senior year in college in London, attending Queen’s College University where he studied English Literature and Theater. By this time, he had already written 3 plays, 2 of which had been produced by the USC Theater Department.
We were very close. I share in the book in the chapter If You Write It, They Will Come, the Father’s Day card he wrote to me in 2006. He wrote it when he was still in London. He thanked me for giving him permission to do whatever he wanted to do. He didn’t have to be like me that have to go to law school. He could pursue his passion, whatever his passion is I encouraged him to do that. He found writing, acting, and screenplay writing. He was very grateful for that. I was humbled that he also felt the same way that I wanted him to be successful at what he wanted to do. Not me, not what I did.
You were a good dad and he was an amazing son. How did that accident happen?
Just a freak accident. He had come home from Los Angeles where he was living and working. He was starting in his career. He had just finished ghostwriting, a screenplay for a major Hollywood director. He was still finishing his screenplay that he wanted to have made into a movie. He came home because he was going to be going out the next week to Vietnam on his kayaking trip with a bunch of friends.
He came home that night. I will never forget it. It was the opening day of the 2008 Olympics. We are watching it on TV and he’s making fun of the teens from some of these obscure countries. They are walking, they got two people and we are just having this great banter. He gets a call, he gets up, it’s like around 9:30 at night, and he said, “I’m going to go meet up with some friends that are in town. I may not make it home tonight because we are going to go hit some bars and have some beers, and if not, I will see you tomorrow morning. We will take a hike.” We kissed goodbye.
I love that you were kissing your 24-year-old son goodbye.
We always kissed. My dad and I kissed too. I learned that from him. Our daughter, Brittany, was with us watching the Olympics. Her husband of 1 year was fishing in Alaska with his father and 2 brothers. Jimmy leaves, but then he pops up and looks at Brittany and says, “I’m so glad you married Ryan.” He pops down. Those were the last words we heard from him.
Later that night, after many beers, he went home with a buddy of his and was going to spend the night. For some reason, he got up around 4:30 in the morning and decided he was going to try and walk home. It would be a 5-mile walk. Later, we found out this was something Jimmy did, on a routine basis. If he was out drinking he would like to get up early and walk, maybe walk it off, just get fresher or what have you, but he picked the wrong road to do that.
It was a very windy road, east of where we live. No sidewalks and no shoulders. A young man who was also 24, 23, was driving to work at a golf course. He had the early shift, that’s 5:30 in the morning, and his car came around the curve and Jimmy was right on the edge of the shoulder in the road and hit him. That was it. It was just a pure accident. Nobody’s fault in the wrong place at the wrong time for both Jimmy and this poor driver that that struck him.
I want to say that in your book, you talk about your journey with this young driver and what happened. People would want to read about that because there was so much grace that you came to, and compassion and helping to heal this young driver. It was a wonderful story. Three months after the accident, the repressed grief over your father’s suicide, in addition to your intense grief over Jimmy, took you to a very dark place. You were connected with both your father and your son in a truly miraculous way that led to your spiritual awakening. Please share both your miracle and your spiritual awakening with us.
The death of Jimmy brought forth the death of my dad. I never dealt with his death, as I mentioned. I started seeing a psychologist. I referred to him as Dr. A six weeks after Jimmy died. I needed help. I was in a bad place. He was wonderful. I’d see him every Tuesday, not Tuesday with Morri, but I had my Tuesday with Dr. A. First session, he said, “We are not even going to begin to start with Jimmy until we deal with your dad.” That’s what we worked on first.
It was November 3rd, 2008, 3 months after Jimmy died. I’m in my law office. I get a call or my secretary brings in a message. She said, “You just got a call from a woman named Emily Sue Buckberry. She says that you were together many years ago, in Coalwood, West Virginia, and you left something there. She wants to return it to you.” My secretary says, “Did you have a baby there?” I go, “No, I swear. I know that didn’t happen.” I remember Coalwood, but I don’t remember this Emily Sue at all.
Long story short, I spent the summer after I graduated from high school in Coalwood, West Virginia. If you have read the book by Homer Hickam, Rocket Boys, or ever saw the movie October Sky which was a film made in 1998 that’s where it takes place in Coalwood. I was there, my dad’s and grandfather’s construction company was installing a ventilation shaft for a new section of the coal mines there. My job was digging a very big hole. It was an amazing summer. I met Emily Sue there.
I was thinking, “Do I want to open this door? I don’t know. I don’t remember her. What is she doing reaching out to me at this point?” Anyway, I call her back. She says, “You may not remember me.” I said, “I barely do.” “When you left to go home, I heard you were leaving so I stopped by your room because I wanted to say goodbye.” We all stayed in this clubhouse hotel owned by the Coal Company.
She said, “I could see you were gone but I looked at a wastebasket outside your room, and there was a letter outside of an envelope. I reached down and picked it up, and I saw it was a letter from your father. I read a few lines and I go, ‘Wow, this is a beautiful letter. Why did Casey throw this away?’” It was marked personal and confidential on the envelope. She said, “I better keep this and try and get it back to Casey.” 38 years or 40 years later, she kept it. It was in boxes. She comes across it as she’s moving from one place to another. She goes, “Now we have Google. I can find Casey.”
Have you seen the letter? How did it find its way into the room?
I never got the letter. We have a conversation. She tells me that she kept this letter. She didn’t ask me about my dad on that call. She asked me the question, “Do you have kids?” She was a very gregarious woman just like you. She’s buoyant. I told her, “We have a daughter and our son died. I’m sorry to tell you this, our son died three months ago.” She just got stone cold, silent. Like, “What am I getting into here? Why am I reaching out to him now?” She sent me the letter, she said, “I’m going to put it in special UPS delivery right now. You should have it tomorrow.” I talked to her on a Monday. The letter doesn’t come the next day.
That Saturday, my daughter, her husband Ryan, my mother, and I went down to the beach because we were going to spread some of Jimmy’s ashes in the ocean. It’s a beautiful day. My mother got tired. I drove her home, and then I swung by her house, looked in the mailbox, and there was the letter in the envelope that Emily Sue had sent to me. I opened it up and I began to read the letter. I realized I had never seen this letter before. I would have remembered this letter because it’s a full two-page handwritten on both sides in my dad’s very neat handwriting.
He wrote it in June of 1968, 2 weeks after I arrived in Coalwood. Later that summer, I was told, “Do you know that during those first couple of weeks, you were there, people were going into your room and searching?” They couldn’t figure out what’s the boss’s kid doing in Coalwood. Are they here to spy on us? What’s this silver spoon in his mouth, a kid from Chicago doing in Coawood, West Virginia? That was a legitimate question to ask. I think somebody side-lined that letter. It never got into my hands. They didn’t know what to do with it.
I’m reading the letter and my dad is telling me all about his early life. He talks about a depression in his youth. He lost a younger sister to diphtheria when he was 14 and she was 9. His parents were Christian scientists. They didn’t take her to the hospital where she could have gotten the vaccine and the medicine to save her life. He never forgave his parents.
He talked about his time in the war. He talked about his insecurity. He wasn’t sure if he would be thought of as successful. He’s talking to me in this letter like he’s talking to me now, man to man. He starts writing these beautiful words about his love for me, his hopes for me, and that I have all the tools to become successful.
He closes the letter with this, “I will be around. Anytime you want me, I will be there because I care more than you will ever know, my son. All loved, Dad.” What I didn’t mention is that Saturday, November 8th, 2008 was our son’s 25th birthday. The letter arrived on his birthday because my dad many years earlier knew that that day was going to be the hardest day of my life. He was there with me as he promised he would.
That is incredible. The woman who found it and sent it to you after you told her about it, must have been knocked out.
She freaked out.
She played such a role in this spiritual awakening and was an awakening for her too.
When she found out about my dad and Jimmy, and it arrived on Jimmy’s birthday, she went stone silent. I couldn’t reach her. Do you know who she reached out to for guidance? Homer Hickam, the author of Coalwood’s famous boys. He told her, “Emily Sue, you get in there, you are part of this and you got to ride this with Casey. You just get in there and suck it up and it’s going to be okay.”
I’m sure it helped her with healing and the people around her also. This amazing story, this letter was made into an award-winning film. That’s mind-blowing. Fabulous. How did this experience begin, your second and most rewarding career as a writer and companion to others in grief? Please tell us about the film. That’s incredible.
In October of 2009, Hilary and I went to Coalwood, West Virginia. The town cell has what they call the October Sky Festival. It’s a celebration of the town’s fame because of Homer Hickam. We met Emily Sue and had some lovely conversations with her. I was able to thank her in person for what she had done. We met Homer Hickam and talked to him for a long time.
I was introduced to this guy named Steve Date, who’s from Minneapolis. He was also Coalwood because he had finished making a film, a documentary called Welcome to Coalwood that he had been working on for years. This person said, “You have got to meet Steve. He’s going to want to hear your story.” We meet and I begin to tell him the story, and he goes, “Do you mind if I film this?” He filmed me telling this story.
Six months later, he came to visit us in San Diego because he wanted to get some additional shots of me reading from the letter and some other things. We bonded quite closely with him. His film, The Letter was beautiful and ten minutes. He entered it in several film contests in the Midwest and East Coast. It won several prizes. It won the best film in West Virginia of its genre. I was as happy for Steve as I was for ourselves. He created this beautiful thing for us. Steve and I remain very close. He’s made other films for us.
When that story unveiled that experience, I wrote that story down. I shared it with family and friends. I knew when this happened and this letter arrived on the day that it did, was not just for me and my family. This was something that needed to be shared. This was for everybody. I felt that. That began my venture into writing. Jimmy was the writer. I wrote complex contracts. Jimmy put his pen in my hand and directed me without question. I felt that.
A lot of other things began to happen. We go to Belgium and Paris on our first trip away, and Hilary and my sister see Jimmy cross the street across from a restaurant that we were having lunch at in Paris. Hilary has another experience on a barge. These incredible synchronicities begin to unfold that Jimmy is behind completely and he’s touching friends of his. These aren’t just coming to us. They are hitting his friends. I start writing these down. I figured, “I will be your scribe.” That’s what I did.
Your first experience was with a medium that connected you with your dad, and there were profound messages your dad transmitted to you. Would you like to tell us about that?
I would like to tell you about it. We saw a medium a month after the letter arrived from my dad. That was a different medium. That was Tara from Sedona. Hilary and I went to that reading, and we had several subsequent readings with her. I write a little bit about our first reading with Tara in the book and then I write about the reading I had with a wonderful lady in medium, Chris Lynn in Colorado in February of 2020. This was the first reading I had ever done without Brittany and Hilary. I did this one myself, and it was a birthday gift from my daughter. That’s what we do. We give each other reading.
You are right in my alley. I’m the same way.
That’s the best gift you can get.
I often give people a healing session. That’s the best thing I can do.
Priceless. During that reading, Jimmy came through first. He always does. In his way, he said, “You have got to get involved more with Helping Parents Heal. You need to be speaking to them and their group. You have been sharing stories with them on their website, but you need to get a microphone in your hand.” My dad came through, and it was the first time my father had ever come through in a reading, and I suspect he’s always been deferential to Jimmy. He said, “I’m so grateful to you because you helped me heal here. You gave me my heart back and now I am able to help others.”
I was blown away. The medium was blown away. She’s saying, “We can help them? I thought they had all the help they needed over there.” This is something that I’d already felt internally that I was helping my dad by writing the story and writing about him. I wrote a very long story about him and it’s on our website. I included him in our first book. I was sharing and bragging about him. My family and I were finally beginning to talk together about him. We got him out of the darkness where we had locked him up for so long, and my extended family is talking about him. My dad acknowledged that and said, “You helped me heal.” That was an epiphany for me. That’s the reason I wrote the second book.
Before I ask you your next question, there’s so much about your story and my story that’s like a ditto because I had a similar experience. I had an abusive father and a troubled childhood. After my husband died, I spoke to mediums and all. I never desired to speak to my father. I cannot tell you how many times my father has come through unbidden asking me to not stop what I’m doing. As I help others to heal and as I heal myself, he is healing on the other side. I am helping him. We are so in sync with this. You are validating my truth and I’m validating yours. It’s amazing.
After Jimmy died, your wife Hilary and your daughter Brittany, I love that you called yourselves team healing. I am trying to encourage people with this show to get healing. Tell us about the many forms of healing the three of you utilized, and when did you know that you’d healed enough to be able to begin to help others?
Team healing. As I mentioned, one of the things I will never forget is the day after Jimmy died. Hilary, Brittany, and I took a walk in a lagoon very near our house. Beautiful hiking trails. It was on that walk that Hilary stopped and we were looking out over the lagoon and the Pacific Ocean. She said, “We are not going to let this take us down because that would make Jimmy so unhappy, and we will not make Jimmy unhappy.” She laid the law down. We made a choice right there that we weren’t going to tank and we were going to do it for Jimmy.
As I mentioned, a month after the letter arrived, we had our first reading together with Tara. It was fabulous. Just a phenomenal reading. Jimmy was all over it and blowing our minds with the messages and all the signs that he had been giving us, and then a few months later, we had a healing session with a shaman Jade Wah’oo.
What was that about? I have interviewed quite a few shamans on the show. What did that shaman specifically do for you?
We had what they call a Soul Retrieval Ceremony because in our first reading with Tara, she looked at Hilary and she said, “When Jimmy died, a part of you split and went with Jimmy.” She looked at Brittany and me, and she said, “The same thing probably happened to you two as well, but it’s strong with Mom here.” Jimmy would like to come to visit her, and he does come to visit her in her dreams. Hilary wants to be with him so much that he can’t get that close to Hilary because he wants her to stay with you guys. It scared the hell out of us. Tara said, “You need to go meet with Jade and have him do a Soul Retrieval Ceremony and try and get some of your pieces back.” We did that on my 59th birthday. That was my birthday present.
I had a very powerful reaction during that ceremony. Hilary and Brittany, less so. I felt like something heavy came out of me and I just dissolved into tears. We all heard the scurrying around in the room while we had our eyes closed. Jade’s pounding the drum and we are going into the different realms. We asked Jade when we were towards the end of the ceremony, I said, “Do you have a dog?” He goes, “No.” “What was that scurrying we heard?” It was like somebody was shuffling around. He goes, “That was Jimmy. He wouldn’t miss this.”
We did other readings together. We did a very powerful workshop in November of 2009 in Sedona with Tara and other people who had suffered the loss of a loved one. It was during that session that Brittany was three months pregnant. I wrote a lot about this in the first book and we called it Doing the Work. It was during that workshop that Tara was able to, through a play-acting session, get Brittany to admit that she was carrying this weight where she felt now it was her responsibility to make Hilary and me happy. That was her job. By now, we are all in tears. We are hugging and we are saying, “No, it’s not. That’s not your job. Making us happy is not your job. We all have to get to where we need to be. You have got to do what you need to do to get yourself in a good place.” That was an epiphany for us.
We did other workshops and readings, and we just talked a lot. We shared everything. If somebody would have a dream we’d share it. If somebody had an experience, a sign, or a message, we’d share it. It was just that constant interaction and check-in of how are you doing. Nobody grieves the same. Nobody is on the same page. You all are going at a different pace and a different road.
To answer your question when did I feel like I turned a corner? As I said, I was writing a lot of stories, and sharing these things with others. I was still hiding behind my pen. By this time, we had started the website Write Me Something Beautiful in 2011. It was 2013, 5 years later after Jimmy’s death. I was at the gym, and a buddy of mine that I work out with asked me, “A good friend of mine just lost their son to an accidental drug overdose. When did you feel that you started to heal?”
The answer just popped right into my head. I said, “It was at the point where I felt I could begin to help others and I could sit down one-on-one with others and be a companion to them. Not only listen to them but also share some of the things that we have learned and experienced. That was five years. It was a five-year slog for me to get to that point.”
You make a differentiation in the book between mending grief and healing grief. What do you see as the difference there?
There’s a chapter called Heal. What does that even mean? What does that even mean was a quote from a friend of mine, a dad whose daughter was a twin to her brother. She died of a tragic disease when she was ten years old. In one of our conversations, the word heal came up. That’s when he said, “What does that even mean?” For a lot of people, when they hear the word heal, it means to be made whole and to be restored to the way you were before. Instinctively, I know and others know who have lost someone that deeply loved, that’s not going to happen. You are never going to be the person you were before. You have changed.
That definition turns a lot of people off. There’s another definition that says, “Heal also means to mend, to overcome an obstacle, and to move forward.” I like that term. I like mending as far as healing goes because that is what we go through. We have changed. People around us have changed because they don’t know how to interact with us and many don’t. They don’t know what to say they don’t want to do it. We write a lot about that in the book and try to offer some helpful guidance as far as how to be a better friend and a better colleague. It’s okay to talk about it and bring it up. They want to hear it. We learn how to wear our loss. We learn how to carry it.
I write in that chapter, “A lot of times I’m wearing a mask.” I’m not walking around saying, “Look at me. Poor Casey lost his dad to suicide and Jimmy is dead.” I’m laughing and sharing stories but I have also learned how to take off my mask and I’m comfortable doing that with people I just meet. One thing that I have learned from this is so important.
This happened with the dental hygienist whom I just met for the first time, and she’s babbling on. She’s trying to make a friendly conversation like you all do when you meet somebody. “Do you have kids?” I could have said, “Yeah, we have a daughter and two grandsons.” Yet, I took my mask off and said, “We have a son and he was killed in a car accident.” She immediately launches into her story about her sister who almost died of cancer. She did die, and then she’s coming through in dreams and giving her advice on how to raise her high school daughter. What I learned is when we share our truth and our bad things, we open the door and give others permission to share theirs. Without exception, people jump through. That’s how you deeply connect with somebody.
You help people to heal. You validate their reality and then you can sometimes give them help and direction if they take it. You have got some great stories in your book about proof of survival to the other side. Could you tell us about the gifts Conrad Leslie received from his twenty-year-old son who died in France? Briefly tell us the story about your friend Chris, his dad, and Chris’s deceased ten-year-old son. I love those stories.
Conrad and Paola Leslie who are now dear friends of ours, that’s another story in and of itself, how we connected. They lived nearby in Del Mar, and we were connected with them about eight months after their son and their only child, Nicholas, was killed in the terrorist attack on Bastille Day in 2016 that claimed the lives of 84 people.
They were beyond devastated. Nicholas was their life. They had built their life around him. He was also a phenomenal young man. Super smart and a tremendous athlete. Kite surfer, scuba diver, and adventurer. He was just everything. Fortunately for the Leslies, shortly after Nicholas died, they began to receive messages. They subsequently moved to Hawaii, but they were in their house in Del Mar. A friend of theirs who was also an intuitive healer was talking to them and trying to help Paola.
Paola is asking this woman, “Where is Nick? Where is my son?” This woman is saying, “Nick is in the light.” Paola says, “There’s a flashlight shining on him. What does that mean?” At the same time this is going on, Conrad is looking at this huge blowup photo of Nick, of him coming out of the water after a kite surfing session in Del Mar. Conrad took the photo, but he’s looking at it and it’s a photo that they blew up and used for one of Nicholas’s memorial gatherings.
Conrad says, “I wish I had done a better job with that photo because the light is dark over Nick. The sun was behind him, and you can’t see his features.” At the same time, this is going on, Paola is yelling at this intuitive like, “What do you mean he’s in the light?” At that moment, it was a foggy day in Del Mar, as it often is. We get this June gloom and the sky breaks open, a beam of light comes through their skylight and hits this photograph, and Nicholas’s face is just lit up. They both start crying and they get it. Nicholas is in the light. He is showing us he’s in the light. He’s in a good place. That was their first of many signs.
Let me briefly tell you the story of Chris. Chris was a colleague of mine at a company I work for in San Diego. He did too. His 10-year-old son in 2011 passed away from a very rare blood disease. He was ten years old, and his name was Christian. In 2016, so we are now 4 or 5 years later Chris’s father suffered a massive stroke and was placed in the intensive care unit in a hospital in San Diego. He’s on a ventilator, on life support. He is conscious. His mind is functioning, but the only thing he can do is blink his eyes.
The doctors worked out a way to communicate with him. If they’d asked him a question and he blinked once, that was no. If he held his eyes closed for five seconds that was a yes. The day comes and his father asks him, “Do you want to stay on the machines?” “No.” They make an appointment for the next day to remove him from the machines and he will pass over. The family shows up at the hospital the next day for this. One of the nurses is giving Chris’s dad a sponge bath. Chris said, “We are all here and ready to proceed with whatever they are going to do.” The nurse looks at him and she goes, “Is Christian going to join us?”
Chris goes, “Christian? I’m Chris. I’m here.” She goes, “No, there was a young man that was here earlier this morning before you all arrived. I saw him standing by the door to your dad’s room. I looked up and asked him, ‘I said can I help you?’ He goes, ‘Yeah, my name is Christian. If you don’t mind, I’d like to say a few words to my grandfather.’” She goes, “Sure.” He comes in, and she watches Christian kiss his grandfather, start whispering in his ear, and she leaves the room.
Chris is talking to the nurse saying, “Who is this Christian?” She describes him as a young man around fifteen years old. She’s getting flustered when Chris tells her Christian died five years earlier. She’s freaking out. She goes, “I must have made a mistake. We do have these cameras that capture anybody who comes in and out of the ICU unit, not specific rooms, but the unit.” They went and took a look at the camera feed and the only people they saw go in and out of the ICU during the relevant period were doctors, nurses, and other family members. There was no Christian.
Right before they are going to take the dad off life support, Chris, my friend, bends over and whispers in his dad’s ear. He asked him, “Did Christian come visit you this morning?” His dad did not blink. Tears strolled down his cheek. You can’t make this up. You have got a nurse who witnessed this. You have got the grandfather. Christian was there to help his grandfather over. This was one of the first big signs and messages that my friend Chris got from his son. The floodgates opened. Now he was open to it.
I love how authentic you are and I can relate. Please define what you call a near-life experience, a partial-death experience, and what’s the meaning of the phrase eternal love?
As a lot of these things were happening, the letter from my dad and these synchronicities and messages. Things that not only we were getting, but other parents were getting, like the Leslies, my friend Chris, and others. I began to think about near-death experiences. Those are well documented and people speak to those. I know you have had Dr. Eben Alexander and Dr. Mary Newell on your show, and they have had some phenomenal near-death experiences that you go over. You have gone into some death state and you get a peek over into the other side where our loved ones are hanging out, and you may even get a chance to talk to them.
It occurred to me that it should work both ways. If we can go be with them on the other side then they can come through and be with us. I don’t know if it’s my term, but I called those near-life experiences. Our loved ones, our kids, Saul your husband, they are near us here in life where we call life because we are in body. They are with us and they demonstrate and show us this in so many different ways. As I got thinking deeper about this and looking broader about what’s happening here? What is all this?
I harken back to what Tara told Hilary and us during that first reading, “A part of you split and went with Jimmy.” I very much felt that when I first got the news that Jimmy was killed. I felt a part of me was ripped out and was no longer part of me. I felt at the time that was a bad thing. As we were talking, I will never be who I was before. I will never heal because a part of me is gone. What I didn’t appreciate then, but what I then learned over the years is that a part of me is with Jimmy and with my dad. That is the bridge that keeps us connected. In the book, there’s a chapter called Priests, Mediums, and Quantum Theory. There are other chapters in the book that involve rabbis.
Just to make sure you are an equal opportunity.
Also Buddhists. We have Buddhists too. One of the priests talked to me about quantum theory and the theory of entanglement, which says that if two objects are initially connected and bonded, but then split, no matter what the distance between those two objects that were previously entangled, if you affect one of them, the other one is immediately affected and impacted at the same time.
What I was able to put together in my head is that we are forever entangled with our loved ones. Why wouldn’t we be? We have shared the same DNA, these memories, and this love. Part of us did go with them and are with them and are seeing things that they are seeing, and they are doing the same for us here. We are entangled and forever joined with them. We are forever in love. That is eternal love.
It never dies. Tell me about your website because a few people reading this show will want to write you something beautiful. Tell us about that.
The title of the website came and was inspired by the last conversation Jimmy had with one of his very good friends, Eric. They were at a Mexican restaurant in Solana Beach. This is probably a month before Jimmy died. Eric was a budding writer but was struggling with how to approach what he wanted to do. Eric tells his story, not only to us, but he told it at Jimmy’s memorial service where there were a thousand people. Jimmy told Eric, “Write me something beautiful and send it to me, and we will go from there.” Eric bemoaned the fact that he didn’t send Jimmy something before he died, but what he wrote and said at Jimmy’s memorial service was phenomenal. He wrote something beautiful.
That’s where the name for the site comes from, WriteMeSomethingBeautiful.com. We started it in 2011. Up until that time, I was just writing and sharing with family and friends, all of these things and stories that were coming our way. It was just getting out of control. I couldn’t keep track of what I was sending. I figured it was time to start a website and that would be the platform for sharing stories not only our own but stories from others. It would be a nice way to have people be able to look at it, interact with it, and send things to us.
You have done another wonderful thing for people. You have brought together a group of fathers in San Diego, you called them The Fraternity. Would you like to tell us about that? Is that just limited to San Diego?
Our group is, but the day after Jimmy died, a colleague of mine, was another attorney in San Diego, and we knew each other. I wouldn’t say we were close friends. His son had been tragically killed. He was a passenger in a car wreck in 2001. Richard calls me and says, “I’m so sorry for your loss. You have no idea how hard it’s going to be, but I do. You have just joined the worst fraternity there is, but I’m going to be checking in on you every 2 or 3 months and see how you are doing.” He did.
Richard, as I write in the book is his name. His way of helping people is when he reads about a father who has suffered the loss of a child in San Diego. He cold calls them and says, “I have suffered the same loss. How can I help you?” He did that with another dad whose daughter was killed in a horrible car crash on August 9th, 2010, 2 years to the day after Jimmy died. I thought I should reach out to this guy, but I didn’t. I wasn’t there yet. Richard called him and they got together for coffee.
I write in the book how I then Richard and this other dad named Greg, how we finally connected in 2013. The three of us dads were the founders of The Fraternity that God forbid anybody ever has to join. We brought in other dads that we knew and we are up to about 25 and meet every couple of months. Unfortunately, with COVID, our meetings have been stunted, but we stay in touch and we will get that going again.
It’s good for people to know when they get your contact information if they want to be a part of that. You of all people in the universe, what is your message about the importance of healing? Why should they heal now or soon to share with our readers?
Ram Dass, speaking of Buddhists, said it best that we are here on this life to learn and we are going to make several trips back through this life when we are in body and we are in ego. If we are not using this time wisely to learn and grow spiritually and consciously, then we will keep coming back until we do. One of the things that we can do here in this life in the body is to do our best to put our ego aside and use our time to be of service to others.
It’s not just helping others who have suffered loss, but it’s being of service during the pandemic and being of service to the homeless, to those who are food deprived. There are lots of ways to be of service and to form these deep connections with people. That’s fundamentally what helping others is all about. It’s creating and opening the door to these deep connections and helping people learn how they can do the same with their friends, and colleagues at work. You are passing it forward.
What I found as others have, as you have that there is no greater joy than when you can help others overcome an obstacle and get over an obstacle. When you can watch their rebirth from someone who has been knocked flat on their back with a horrific loss or any loss, and to watch them get up and reemerge as this new person that like the Leslies that are just helping so many other people and telling their story. The Leslies are compassionate listeners for Helping Parents Heal. I know you have interviewed Elizabeth Boisson.
Just for people to know, there are quite a few interviews about Helping Parents Heal on the show. It’s this amazing and inspiring organization that helps parents who have lost children.
To witness that, for me, it’s like watching my grandchildren when they are born. We were blessed with the birth of our first granddaughter and looking at her innocent face, that’s pure joy. I see that same joy in others and parents who have achieved that level of progression in their healing when they are now able to help others. I see the light and the joy in their faces.
I’m experiencing it and so are you. It makes a tremendous difference. You get to shine from the depths of your being in spite of the pain that you have suffered. Jimmy, tell us all the ways everyone can connect with you. They all want to get on, get your book, get on your podcast, and your website. If you have a special offer for the members of our readers, bravo also.
First of all, our website, WriteMeSomethingBeautiful.com. Remember Eric and what Jimmy told Eric, and you will remember that. That’s an easy way to remember the website. We also have SufferingIsTheOnlyHonestWork.com, which will provide you with a link to our first book and what that’s about. We have www.CaseyGauntt.com. That will provide you with a link to our new book When the Veil Comes Down. You have to go to Hilary’s website, my wife, is a phenomenal cook. She has a food blog called HeronEarth.com. If you need a fantastic recipe, go to that website. It will blow your socks off. She posts weekly. There are never any old recipes. There’s always something fresh and new.
We have readers who are going to want to access that. I am sure.
If you want to contact me, you can contact me through WriteMeSomethingBeautiful.com or my email address is Casey.Gauntt1@gmail.com. For your patience and for spending the time that you have read our story, I want to offer you access to get for free the Kindle version of When the Veil Comes Down. When you read this episode, that opportunity will be available for you.
I cannot tell you all how great a book it is. You would enjoy reading this book and learn so much from it. Casey Gauntt, what is your tip for finding joy in life?
Be open to all of the help that is coming your way from not only people who are on the other side who have already transitioned but all the people here. Be open to it, accept it, and acknowledge it. All of the beautiful and amazing things that you experience, share it with others and brighten their day. Let them know that this is real. Embolden them to share their stories because so many of them are hesitant to do that. They feel alone. “People are going to think I’m crazy, or I’m making it up.” Open the conversation.
As I said, if you can begin to help others, not only here, but others on the other side if there was a relationship that you felt was broken when your loved one transitioned or it could be stronger, you can still help them. You can strengthen that relationship and you can rebuild that relationship. As my dad confirmed, by helping them over there, you are helping them proceed with their journey and their spiritual evolution. If we all are doing that, just think how close we become on this side of the veil and the other side of the veil until there is no veil.
I always say and I’m sure you will agree with me, that wounded people, wound other people. If we can all heal, then there’s so much that we can fix in our interactions with others on this planet. The primary message in your book, When the Veil Comes Down, bears repeating. There is coming a time when there will be no veil. There will be no separation between us on this side of the veil and our loved ones on the other side. When the veil comes down, that is where heaven will be, and that time is closer than we think. The key to unlocking that door is helping others with their healing.
You, your book, and this show are truly in sync. I have no doubt that many of our readers are now inspired to read your compelling and healing book When the Veil Comes Down and begin their healing journeys in earnest. Casey, thank you from my heart for this very special and very enlightening interview. Make sure to follow us and like us on social at @IreneSWeinberg on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. As I like to say, to be continued. Many blessings and bye for now.
- Casey Gauntt’s website
- Casey Gauntt’s book: Suffering Is the Only Honest Work
- Casey Gauntt’s book: When the Veil Comes Down
- Homer Hickam’s Rocket Boys referenced in this episode
- Helping Parents Heal website
- Write Me Something Beautiful website
- The Fraternity website
- Suffering Is The Only Honest Work website
- Hilary Gauntt’s website
- Casey Gauntt’s email address
- @IreneSWeinberg on Instagram
- Irene Weinberg on Facebook
- Irene Weinberg Twitter
- Irene Weinberg – Grief, Rebirth + Healing Podcast on YouTube
- Past episode: Dr. Eben Alexander and Dr. Mary Newell
- Past episode: Elizabeth Boisson