GAR 248 | The Heaven Phone

 

Have you ever wished for a reassuring and easy way to talk to young children about death? Sydnei Kaplan, who is a mom, a part-time preschool teacher, and a writer, has written a truly lovely children’s picture book titled The Heaven Phone, which helps parents of young children navigate the heavy and challenging concept of death and reassures them that we all remain connected forever.

 

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT THINGS LIKE:

  • The smiling woman in Sydnei’s childhood bedroom who was surrounded in shining light.
  • Syndei’s childhood spiritual experiences with her grandmother and aunt after each had transitioned.
  • How Reiki can help a person to heal both emotional and physical issues.
  • The dream visit Sydnei had with her mom that confirmed that her dream was, in fact, a visit from her mom. 
  • The Heaven Phone is a valuable resource for young children, older children, adults dealing with loss, and caregivers who need to discuss grief with a child.

 

SOME QUESTIONS IRENE ASKS SYDNEI:

  • What was the sign you received the day of your father’s funeral?
  • How did your mom’s passing spark the creation of The Heaven Phone, and how did the term “the heaven phone,” come to be?
  • What are the differing ways we can learn that our souls never die?
  • What would you like our Grief and Rebirth Podcast audience to know about The Heaven Phone, and how can it help a grieving child to heal?

 

Join Irene and Sydnie as they discuss the different ways we can learn that our souls never die and we remain connected forever, her journey of spiritual discovery, and the story behind her lovely children’s picture book titled The Heaven Phone. Tune in now!

Watch the episode here

 

Listen to the podcast here

 

Sydnei Kaplan: Have You Ever Wished for a Reassuring and Easy Way to Talk to Young Children about Death?

 

 

 

 

 

I am delighted to have this opportunity to interview Sydnei Kaplan who will be speaking to us from Riverwoods, Illinois. Have you ever wished for an appropriate and easy way to talk to children about death? Sydnei who was a mom, a part-time preschool teacher, and a writer has written a truly lovely children’s picture book titled The Heaven Phone, which helps parents of young children navigate the heavy and challenging concept of death and reassures them that we all remain connected forever.

In her young adult years, Sydnei received two degrees from the University of Michigan including a Master of Business Administration, and she worked in marketing for several years. After having her first child, she found great comfort and connected with other parents on early 2000s-era blogs and message boards. Once her youngest started college, she started a blog called Mom in the Moment to combine her passions for writing, parenting, and helping moms in all seasons of motherhood.

After her mom’s transition, Sydnei developed a new passion for spirituality and energy healing and became Certified in Reiki. I’m looking forward to talking with Sydnei about the different ways we can learn that our souls never die and we remain connected forever, her journey of spiritual discovery after her mom transitioned, and the story behind her truly lovely children’s picture book titled The Heaven Phone for what is surely going to be a delightful interview. Sydnei, a heartfelt welcome to the show.

A big hug.

I’m saying right back to you. Let’s dive right in. You were trying to get feelings for spirituality when you were very young. Your first experience happened when you were ten years old. You woke up and noticed a woman in your bedroom stranded in shining light. Do you want to tell us about that experience?

 

GAR 248 | The Heaven Phone

 

Yes. I woke up and looked over. Oftentimes, my mom or my dad would come and check on me. I noticed it was a woman, all in white and there was shining light around her. My first thought was Mom, but as I looked, all of a sudden, I got a little bit scared because it was not my mom. I wasn’t sure who it was. Although I had thought that maybe it was an angel or someone good, it was still very scary because it wasn’t something that you’d be expecting. I called out to my mom a little louder and she came upstairs. As I looked towards the door to see her coming in and then glanced back, the woman in the light was gone.

How was she dressed? Do you remember?

It was almost like white and long robes and she was smiling. There was just glowing light around her.

Our souls never die. We remain connected forever. Share on X

It feels like an angelic presence, honestly. What a blessing. You also had childhood spiritual experiences with your grandmother and your aunt after they had transitioned. Do you want to tell us a little about that, Sydnei?

That was more in my young adult life in my twenties. My grandma on my dad’s side passed.

The angel warmed up for this one.

Through that time, too, my dad and I backed up. We were very interested in near-death experiences. That was starting to be talked about. Anytime there’d be an article or a new book coming out, he would tell me a little bit about that and I would ask lots of questions because I was very interested. For whatever reason, even then, I knew there was much more than where we were. I was always excited when he would bring something like that up. In my twenties, my aunt passed away first then my grandma passed away after her. The first experience I had was a dream visit. I’ve come to know the difference between a dream visit when it’s somebody who’s visiting us from heaven or the other side versus just a dream. It was with my grandma.

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How do you know that? For those saying, “How do you know that, Sydnei?” how can they differentiate when they’re getting a heavenly visitation during a dream and it’s normal?

A lot of it is based on feeling and it’s a knowing. I know that’s very vague. Probably, there will be a lot of people who will still not quite be able to differentiate once you explain that it is something that you know or feel inside. There’s a lot of emotion. It’s not typical. When you’re dreaming, it’s almost like you’re watching a story or a movie and sometimes it makes sense and sometimes it doesn’t.

The dream visits at least for me have all felt outside of time. It’s full of emotion, vibrant, and different. It’s the only word I can think of to say. There’s no formula, but it’s something that every time, even if I have a dream with my mom in it, I can tell if it’s a dream visit or if I’m dreaming about something and she’s in it. I wish I could be more specific.

 

 

That’s all right. That helps. That’s okay.

With my grandma, I was in an elevator. I don’t remember a lot of the details but I do remember she came into the elevator. Immediately, I recognize. It was like you became more lucid and aware. I realized that this was a dream visit and I was seeing her from the other side here and now. She looked younger, healthy, and was smiling. I don’t remember the words that we exchanged but I remember feeling and knowing we were connecting and exchanging love. For me, that was enough from that experience.

That’s a great validation that she was with you from the other side.

It was wonderful because before she passed away, my grandfather had passed away and I never saw him in a dream. This was my first dream visit. I then had one with my aunt that I’m going to say was almost like an out-of-body experience. Although I’ve never had a full out-of-body experience, I don’t think. In the dream, I was seeing her and I wanted to connect with her more and wanted her to stay. I reached up my hand to hold her hand and we connected. I was pulling her and she was pulling me. As that was happening, I woke up. It felt physical then and I could see her image before I became fully awake.

That’s beautiful. There was also a sign received the day of your father’s funeral.

A little background on that. After my mom passed away several years ago, I had a dream visit from her within a few days after she passed away, and lots of them through the years. I journaled and have them all, but I had not gotten any after my father passed away. I hadn’t had any with my mom in a little while. I was feeling a little lost and a little disappointed. I wanted to connect with them.

I had put the thought out there to them of how much I love them, how much I wanted a sign and I wish I could connect. We were leaving the funeral. My whole family and I were in the car. I should also explain that signs often come for me in the way of numbers in very specific numbers like birthdays, a significant date from something that we had done together, or my dad’s favorite number, which was the number three. Sometimes, I’ll see three.

They’ll come at certain times and I’ll know that I’m getting a sign. It’s not just happenstance. I had put out the thought that I love them. I wanted to connect with them. I saw in succession in front of me on license plates 429, which was my mom’s birthday, and then 421, my father’s birthday. I saw 1959 which is the year they got married. To me, I was getting confirmation. Not only were they with me but they were together with each other. I got a chill again. That helped a lot.

It’s so validating and reassuring. I want to ask you. We’re leading up to your wonderful book. Please tell us about your childhood relationship with your mom because I know you had a hard time navigating your young motherhood because she had passed. The book, The Heaven Phone, is about connecting with Grandma.

GAR 248 | The Heaven Phone

The Heaven Phone by Sydnei Kaplan

The pictures in The Heaven Phone are photos of my daughter, me, and my mom. My mom and I were super close to the point where we grew to be close friends. If she were alive now, she’d probably be my best friend. We would test each other out like try to send each other psychic messages and see if we could tell what the other one was thinking. Oftentimes, we were able to do that.

We were very close. She was an amazing mother. She was a stay-at-home mom for my brother and me until I was in high school when she started working again. She spent all this time with us. She would do fun things with us and take us places. Even if we were hanging out at home and we were cooking or we were talking, there was a lot of connection. She a huge part of my growing up. I feel like I’ve gotten that from her and poured all of that into my motherhood. One of the things you never think about is losing your mom. I even thought it would be so horrible if I ever lost my mom. I still want her to be with me on this journey and she passed away.

She is, but she’s not physically.

In a different way exactly. She passed away when my daughter was 5 and my son was 2 and a half. I was getting into my groove of motherhood and she was a part of it. Also, a bit of background, my husband and I lived in Atlanta for eleven years. We got married there. We were there before we were married and had both our kids there.

When my son was six months old, we moved back here. I remember when I told my mom that, it was probably one of the most joyous expressions I’ve ever seen on her face. Both of us were thrilled we were going to be able to be together and she was going to be a part of our lives on a daily basis. She was while we were here. We were here for two years before she passed away. I had to find my way through being a mom.

To the point, she was not there.

There are all wonderful people in my life. I’m blessed to have a wonderful family and a great husband and friends, but there is no one like your mom when you’re raising your children. You want to be able to have her share things and ask her questions when you don’t know, you’re nervous, or you’re sad. That was challenging to adjust to that. Over the years, I do feel like my kids and I are closer almost. We’ve developed a deeper relationship probably because of that. My daughter has become my best friend. I feel like my mom is channeling through her a lot of times.

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You began a journey of spiritual exploration after your mother transitioned. Tell us about that.

After she passed away, I felt this strong urge to find her. I had always believed in life after death. I was always into a lot of spiritual stuff when I was a kid in a teenager, but I never researched and explored on a deep level. At this point, I was driven to explore more so I could find where she was and connect with her. I started researching on the internet for websites or forums where I could talk to other people. I connected with amazing people all about the afterlife, dreaming, and dream visits. I got to talk to other people and learn and grow in that way. I started reading voraciously so many books. I don’t remember how many but a lot of different books.

I can relate. The same thing happened to me.

You want to know. You want to be able to find them again and find out everything about where they are. Hello from Heaven was a pivotal book. I love that and I saw people in workshops. I saw Brian Weiss.

You became a certified in Reiki. What attracted you to that? Tell everyone for those who are saying, “What is Reiki?”

People are going to say, “That’s a little woo-woo.”

On this show, you’re allowed to be very woo-woo. It’s okay.

Reiki is an energy healing modality. There are many different ways that we can heal with energy. I’ve probably drifted a bit away from Reiki over the years. I feel more, in a general way, connected with energy healing. The reason I pursued Reiki was because there were people who were telling me that I was a healer or they would shake my hand they felt healing energy. This was at the time I was going to those workshops and I had seen a psychic. There was a workshop on healing that I went to.

I decided, “I want to take a class in healing. I’d like to try to see if I can learn a little more about it.” I connected with someone who is now a dear friend of mine. She’s a naturopath and a Reiki master. She had a class for me and another woman. We are certified through two levels of Reiki. I’m not a master, but we learned. It’s a hands-on energy healing where you channel the healing energy from the universe, from God down through you.

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I’ll bet you’ve helped a few people with it, too.

That was a question I always asked. I wondered. I always felt, “Am I doing this? Am I good at it? Is it working?” Healing energy can be very subtle and it can work on us. We can do self-healing. It can work on others even when we’re not intentionally giving them a session. I’ve had both my daughter and a couple of people tell me that even if they were feeling unwell or something wasn’t right, they felt better after being with me. I’m not trying to say that in a bragging way.

It’s aura, your presence, and the light. It’s the vibration.

That reinforced my belief that every one of us can channel healing energy. We’re all healers and we have to be open to that and trust that we can.

I agree with you. You also share the different ways that we can learn that our souls never die and we remain connected forever. Do you want to talk about that? You had a dream visit with your mom that confirmed that your dream was in fact a visit from your mom.

Which should I address first? Which would you want?

Let’s talk about the ways we learned that our souls never die.

For me, the way that we can learn that the best is by exploring, reading, and learning about spirituality from lots of different perspectives. Maybe learning about near-death experiences, after-death communication, talking to a medium, and reading a little bit about our spiritual nature. There are wonderful books out there even about that even for people who are drawn from a religious standpoint like Kabbalah.

The more different kinds of sources you check out and explore, the more you’re going to learn and feel that it’s true because you’re not getting it from a medium. You’re getting it from a lot of different sources that end up saying the same thing. I read Michael Newton’s books. That too was another perspective on the origin of our souls, why we come here, and who we come here with. All of those things overlap and reinforce the other like you were talking before about things collectively built. At some point in time, everybody could come to know that we remain connected and we’re eternal.

What’s happened for me, I can honestly say that all of this is taking away my fear of death. It’s given me a passion for taking very good care of myself and respecting myself and my needs. Not narcissistically but because I wanted to do service and keep myself as vibrant and light as possible until the time that I cross over because we remain connected forever. Do you want to tell us about that dream visit you had with your mom? Did that confirm that it was a visit from her?

That was early on in the dreams I was having with her. I was questioning a lot, “These feel like I’m with her, but I’m not sure. How am I going to know? No medium has been able to tell me for sure and I wanted to know.” I had this dream which was probably the only dream at this level that I’ve ever had where I got evidence. It was early on, probably within the first year after she passed away.

We were getting ready at that time to go visit my father. They had always gone to Arizona together and they had a home. He was redoing it. He was getting it so that it would be his. Trying to clear some of his associations with losing her. Anyway, that was all going on and we were going to be visiting him. In my dream, our whole family was out to dinner at a restaurant.

There were more of us there. I’m not sure who was there, but I know my husband and my kids were. Maybe with my in-laws in the other room in the main restaurant area and I was standing by the bar waiting to go in. My mom walked up to me and she looked wonderful. She looked healthy. They tend to always look very healthy and vibrant.

They’re bringing themselves back to you at their best.

I felt love and we were smiling. It was wonderful and I said hello. I even recognized that she was coming to me from the other side. I let her know I knew, “I’m seeing you but I know that you’ve passed on.” She smiled. She looked at me and she said, “I don’t like Slate.” I looked at her and I knew we were in a restaurant. I said, “Do you mean skate?” like the fish because I was thinking maybe she was telling me a menu item that she didn’t like.

She shook her head and smiled. She said, “No, I mean Slate.” I smiled and I gave her a hug. I turned into the restaurant thinking maybe she’d come with me and I woke up. I wrote that dream down. I specifically wrote what she said to me on a napkin because that was near to me. I was trying to figure out what could that possibly mean.

 

 

That night, I was having a conversation with my dad about us coming to Arizona and my kids were little. My son was probably three at that point in time. My dad said to me, “We’re getting the house ready. I want it to be all good for your visit. I have to tell you, I’m putting in slate floors and I’m a little concerned about Ben. I don’t want him to trip and hurt himself. We’ll have to put blue tape or something.”

I’m getting chills.

I have the chills again. I told my dad. I said, “You aren’t going to believe this,” and I told him what happened. His first comment was, “Wow,” and then he said, “Maybe I shouldn’t be doing the floor,” but he did. He did do the floors and we did visit and my son did not hurt himself. From that moment on, the dream visits, I could tell when she was visiting me and when I was just dreaming and it was just a dream.

What a blessing because what she did with that not only let you know that she was around you. She let your father know that she knew what he was doing and she was right around him. That was probably the purpose for that. Now we’re building up to your wonderful book and your mom’s passing support the creation of your book, The Heaven Phone. I want to know about the book and about how the term The Heaven Phone came to be.

The book was written in stages. It started out when I probably wrote a little poem in the years after my mom had passed away, thinking and reflecting on what had happened, but never did anything with it. It stemmed from the fact early on. We spent tons of time with my dad after my mom had passed away and he would babysit for the kids. He was with my daughter, getting her ready for bed. She asked him, “Do you ever talk to Nana?”

He said, “All the time,” and she said, “Can she hear you and can you hear her?” He said, “Yes,” and she said, “How?” He said, “Sometimes, you can hear her in your heart. It’s different than hearing her with words.” She said, “Do you have to talk out loud?” He said, “No. You could think it in your head. You could talk out loud, but she’ll hear you either way.” Probably a few nights after that, when I was putting her to bed, she brought up that conversation to me and said that she was talking with her papa about that.

She asked what it was like to talk to Nana. I told her to imagine using one of her toy phones when she would talk to any of her imaginary friends. I said she could use that even if she wanted to talk to her Nana. Whatever she felt in her heart, Nana would know and Nana could send her message back just the same way. Because I had used that little phone example, she said, “Do you mean like a heaven phone?” It’s like, “Yes. That’s a perfect way to describe it. It’s like a heaven phone.”

Again, I didn’t do anything as far as a book went at that point in time. This book was published in 2022, so they took all that time, the little poem that I wrote, and reflecting on the experience. I finally pulled it together into a rough format of what you see in the book and I was feeling nudged to try to publish it. I’ve written for blogs and for online publishing sites, but I have never thought I would ever publish a book, I sent it to a publisher and it was accepted. We edited it.

It’s so adorable.

The illustrations are beautiful.

The thing that I love about it is that it’s written for young children, but it can also help older children, adults dealing with loss, and even caregivers who need to help a child with grief. Do you want to talk a little bit about that and anything else you’d like our audience to know about your book?

First and foremost, I wanted parents to be able to give comfort to their children the way we gave comfort to ours. The year after we lost my mom, we lost my father-in-law. We talked a lot about what you hear in the book, which is that we remain connected, death is not what you think it is, and not even from a specific religious standpoint.

We wanted them to know as the soul they are, they are eternal and your loved ones are still there with you. You can talk to them anytime you want. I wanted other parents to be able to do that for their children because it did. My kids both from a young age had a very comfortable understanding of what had happened. They weren’t scared necessarily of that.

 

GAR 248 | The Heaven Phone

 

Do you know what’s so wonderful about that because so much family stuff is never mentioned? The children are left to draw conclusions. In a way, your book is so wonderful because it can help direct them to a conversation. They’re feeling safe about what happened.

I included some conversation starters and ideas for activities that parents can do with kids in the back of the book. I would like it to be a jumping-off point for them to have more conversation, encourage questions, and do activities to help their kids not be scared, feel at peace, and find the answers that they’re looking for.

It’s wonderful. You could even read it before the event, so a child is not afraid when the event happens. Is there anything else you’d like everyone to know about that?

I would love for us all to be able to talk about the experiences that you’ve had and stay connected with Saul. Know that there’s a very thin veil between this side and the other side, where they’re always around us. It’s like a different vibration. We don’t have to be scared. Everybody makes you feel like it’s taboo or you shouldn’t try to connect. There’s a limit to what some people are willing to talk about when it comes to that subject and I’d like to take away that taboo and for people to be encouraged to learn more about our greater spiritual nature.

 

 

Using a tool like your book, instead of growing up with fear, the kids grow up with acceptance. I do the same thing with my grandchildren. I talk with them very openly about it. I say, “One day, I’m going to leave my bodysuit, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to be all around you, believe me.” We talked about that. What is Sydnei’s important tip for finding joy in life?

I’ve got a couple of things I’ll play in together, but I believe in being present, gratitude, always finding something that you’re grateful about, and lots of things because all you have to do is look around and focus on what you’re grateful for and on this moment. Also, soaking in time with your loved ones. You don’t want to let that time go by where you don’t appreciate them, spend time, and talk with them because you never know when their time is going to be to leave.

One day, you may have to talk with them on the heavens phone.

It’s good but it is different.

The Heaven Phone does serve as a beautiful parenting tool that can help a child through the process of loss, especially with lines like these, “I talk and listen with my heart, not my ears and I feel Nana’s words and her love for me.” The Heaven Phone describes with simplicity and a lovely rhyming cadence how we may not be physically with our loved ones anymore and we are unable to hear their voice. We are always able to connect with them through our hearts.

It is a great gift for any child or family going through a grieving period. I love how this beautifully illustrated picture book quickly pulsive the reader in with its charm and comforting reassurance. The Heaven Phone is also relatable to all faith perspectives and I like that. Without being over, it reassures its readers, young and old, that death is not the end.

 

GAR 248 | The Heaven Phone

 

Thank you for my heart, Sydnei, for this truly delightful, comforting, and meaningful interview. I am sure people are going to get your book to have to resource for their children, grandchildren, or maybe for themselves. Here is a loving reminder, everyone. Make sure to follow us and like us on social at @IreneSWeinberg on Instagram, Facebook, and wherever you get your show. As I like to say, to be continued. Thank you for my heart, Sydnei.

Thank you.

Many blessings and bye for now.

 

Guest’s Links:

 

Host’s Links:

 

About Sydnei Kaplan

GAR 248 | The Heaven PhoneSydnei is a mom and wife, blogger, freelance writer and author of the children’s picture book the heaven phone. She strives to help moms navigate all seasons of motherhood, and reassure that parenting evolves but never ends. Find her at mom in the moment on facebook and instagram. In addition to her view from home, you can also find her work on collegiate parent, the real deal of parenting, grown and flown and others.

 

 


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