My much loved and missed little brother …

Simon Keene
12th March 1975 – 31st May 1991

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Simon had many challenges in his physical life, severe epilepsy, cerebral ataxia and a mental age of three due to oxygen starvation during his birth.

A beautiful soul inside and out, his purpose is to bring light to those who need help in Spirit. He is one of many who work as “Spiritual Paramedics” – helping those who pass over suddenly to come to terms with their transition.

To make a donation to support the National Society for Epilepsy for research into finding an end to epilepsy, and providing practical support for the families of those living with epilepsy please follow this link: http://www.epilepsynse.org.uk/ I donate half of all distant Reiki treatment fees to this charity in Simon’s memory.

I owe pretty much all of what I do today to my brother Simon, who passed away in his sleep in 1991. He was 16 when he died, born in 1975 but due to birth complications, his severe epilepsy and cerebellar ataxia he had a mental age of just 3 years old.

My mum Judy has explained to me how she was told Simon only had a 50/50 chance he would survive as she was rushed into theatre where he was delivered by emergency caesarean. Nurses had discovered that his head was pulsating during an internal exam, but Mum wasn’t told this until 6 weeks after the birth, she found out while reading her notes during a post natal appointment.

During the operation it became clear that the umbilical cord was prolapsed and was wrapped tightly around Simon’s neck, starving his brain of oxygen. Despite all this, Simon wasn’t placed in the special care unit, as far as the hospital were concerned, he was revived easily and my parents were told there was nothing to worry about, and Simon was allowed home with my mum after 10 days.

I was 3 years old when Simon was born, and it wasn’t until Simon was 9 months old that anyone knew anything was wrong.

 

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He had a massive seizure, his first, and was rushed to hospital in the middle of the night. All I remember is my dad carrying me to the car in my pyjamas and the sense of panic from my parents. At the time my parents were told that this was just a febrile convulsion due to Simon having a high temperature, and that he should be fine.

However after this first seizure, my parents noticed Simon would occasionally go blank, as if in a trance, and this became more frequent. Doctors refused to believe there was anything wrong, but now we know these were petit mal epileptic seizures. When Simon was 3 years old, he was diagnosed with epilepsy due to previously unknown brain damage at birth due to the lack of oxygen. Still, my parents were told he could grow out of it. But one GP contradicted this and told my mum coldly and matter of factly that Simon’s condition would deteriorate more and more until he died an early death. My mum was completely traumatised and didn’t know what to think or believe. Simon’s fits were a few months apart by now, but mum had noticed he was always very unsteady on his feet even when he was well.

Eventually when Simon was seven, a specialist diagnosed him as having a second condition due to the brain damage at birth – cerebellar ataxia.

Cerebellar ataxia is a disorder of the nervous system which causes unsteadiness and a lack of co-ordination. It is a progressive disorder and can place unbearable stress upon the heart. It is a very rare disorder, with the group Ataxia UK estimating that only a few thousand people are affected in this country. Walking can become increasingly difficult, and it eventually becomes necessary to use a wheelchair. There is currently still no cure for people with cerebellar ataxia.

Family life was entirely about Simon, he had to be supervised 24 hours a day. Mum and Dad never got to spend time together so we had babysitters provided by the Red Cross on rare occasions to give them a break. I didn’t know any different so I was happy, and had plenty of friends to play with. One of which I will mention later…

Going out could be difficult sometimes; people would stare at us in shops and public places if we were out and about with Simon because he looked perfectly normal but was often in a buggy as he couldn’t walk far. And he was often quite loud, much to our amusement, he was hilarious!

Despite his challenges, he was an absolute joy to know, full of smiles and laughter most of the time. He was a beautiful child, inside and out. I know I’m biased being his older sister, but he had the face of an angel, big brown eyes, long lashes, and a smile and roaring laugh that lit up a room. Once met, never forgotten as his kisses and big hugs of affection were given freely to everyone who came to our house.

Simon looked a lot younger than his years and was on so much medication for the epilepsy, which unfortunately didn’t control the seizures very well. He would have one fit and that would be it for the day, he would then go on to have sometimes up to 35 in succession, with just seconds between one fit ending and another starting. We would sit by his bedside and wait them out with him, cooling him down with a fan as his little body went through so much physical punishment. He was so groggy between fits on those days he just slept. Simon had no idea what was happening to him during or after the seizures, he had no idea what a seizure was… and a few days later he would be his usual happy contented self.

As far back as I can remember, I knew the drill when Simon had a seizure. It was normal to me, after all I’d never known anything different, this was how it was. Simon needed 24 hour supervision as he could potentially have a seizure at any moment. I was under strict instruction not to get Simon over excited when we played together as too much running around and laughing could trigger a seizure, so we played hide and seek and I’d give him piggy back rides and swing him round and round until we were dizzy.

My parents had to show me how to administer Valium to him when I was just 11 years old, in case of emergencies. We had to keep a diary of the times and duration of all the fits to show the specialists at Guy’s hospital in London, as Simon was a test case for new drugs due to the severity of his condition. As he got older, the fits would increase in severity, number and duration. We just had to sit by and keep him safe while they happened.

When Simon died unexpectedly in his sleep, we were completely devastated. The previous day was completely uneventful, he had been his usual happy self, playing with his tape recorder, scoffing cottage pie and biscuits in the evening.

I had stayed up late finishing my college coursework; I was studying fashion and business at the time and was 2 weeks away from completing the 2 year course. On my way to bed at 2am I looked in on Simon, who was quietly snoring away as usual. But less than 3 hours later my father was waking me, telling me Simon was gone. I refused to believe him, and ran to see for myself, he looked like he was asleep. The post mortem stated there was evidence to show he had a seizure
(he had bitten his tongue) and so they put it down to epilepsy as cause of death. He was 16.

I was only 19 years old and this was my first experience of death, my little brother. I had assumed up to now that when someone died, that’s it; they were dead and gone forever. I had no spiritual beliefs, and was a sceptical person about psychics and mediums in general.

So many people turned up to Simon’s funeral to say goodbye, including teachers from his special school, friends he’d known. He’d touched so many people during his life.

A few weeks after Simon’s death, strange things started to happen. I would smell lilies when there were none in the house, and would catch faint whiffs of the smell of his hair, and saw fast moving shadows on the periphery of my vision. I would often feel like someone was stood beside me or behind me when I was alone in the house.

I assumed it was all part of the grieving process and put it down to lack of sleep and round the clock crying, my senses playing tricks on me. More happened each day, but I tried to dismiss it all.

A few months later Simon made his presence really known. I was watching TV and from the corner of my eye saw a shadow travel across the floor from the doorway to the hall. When I looked directly at it I saw it was moving towards me. I kept blinking, I thought it was something in my eye, or imagination… then I could smell him, and when I asked for as sign that it was him, I felt a cold hand on my hand. I couldn’t work out how I knew, but I just felt it was his energy.
I wasn’t scared either – a bit freaked out but I just knew it was him. And then in a moment he was gone again.

I think that was when I had to accept that there was an afterlife. I trusted what my own senses were telling me, that Simon had contacted me, and I wanted to know more about where Simon could be and what was happening to him in this other place.

I went along to a spiritualist church, and although their approach wasn’t for me I found it comforting to hear messages from this other place bringing comfort to others.

I had accepted there was an afterlife, but when a friend of mine asked me to go to a medium with her as “the voice of reason” I agreed, and was ready to be the sceptical one, just in case this medium was a fraud.
So when Rose, the medium, began reading my friend but kept being drawn to speaking with me instead, I felt a bit uncomfortable.

She told me a few things I’d told no-one. She stopped speaking at one point and told me I had a light across my eyes, and that it was because I should develop my ability and that I would be a better medium than her one day. I just laughed it off, but she insisted I hold her wedding ring, look into a candle flame and tell her what I saw and felt.
I don’t to this day remember what I said, it was as if I went blank… but 10 minutes later she said I’d just told her things that she hadn’t even told her husband. Once again I laughed it off as I was a bit unnerved by what had just happened.

I began speaking to other mediums, and reading every psychic publication I could find. Publications were few in the early 90s, and a lot of mediums weren’t interested in passing on any development advice, but I persevered and found the information I needed to enable my spiritual learning.

A little later, the internet became an amazing source of information and put me in touch with other mediums who were happy to share development advice. I practised, and learned how to develop my psychic, clairvoyant and mediumistic abilities, I learned how to read tarot, auras, I worked with crystal healers, Reiki healers.

To this day I still look for new things to learn! I found that as I learned and absorbed information from those who had more experience, I had lots of “me too” moments where what I was learning mirrored experiences I’d already had, or beliefs I was beginning to just “know”. To discover that others were having the same experiences and “knowing” was so exciting, and a great validation that I was meant to follow this path.

I pursued all of this in my spare time; I had gone from working in fashion, to the travel industry, to working as a housing officer for a London borough. I kept it quiet that I was a medium, only trusting a select few. My family were shockingly very supportive when I “came out” as a medium! I discovered that both my grandmothers showed clairvoyant streaks, though they never would admit it!

I was very wary and still am sceptical about a lot of things I hear and read. Just because I believe in my own experiences does not mean I blindly believe in everything under paranormal umbrella. I learned to trust myself and found I just “knew” things, so I began keeping a journal to record thoughts and meditation experiences, and found a lot of things did come to pass or that my instincts were right further on about situations or people I had just met.

I always tell people to trust their own senses and instincts during their development, because being told what to feel never works… we are all unique and so are our experiences, people feel spirit communication or feel premonitions in a myriad of different ways.

Simon popped in from time to time when I did my daily meditations, and I was introduced to my first spirit guide, now I have four! One is my doorkeeper, one is my healing guide, one turns up when he feels like it and one has always been with me for general guidance. When Simon or my guides came to me in meditation I acquired new knowledge about who we all really are.

I was amazed that Simon could speak eloquently and was quite unemotional yet spiritual about how he had suffered in his short life and didn’t mind that he had gone back to Spirit so young in our concept of time.

I was shown over the years that we choose if, when and how our lives are lived on the Earth plane, and that Simon had chosen a life of physical and mental challenge because he wanted to know what it was to walk a mile in those shoes, to gain understanding to help others. We all do this, no matter how hard the life we choose to live. It really helped me to come to terms with losing loved ones as time went on. I know we would all meet again one day.

Simon also showed me that we all choose purpose and roles in the Spirit world, and that his true role in Spirit at present is as a “spiritual paramedic” – greeting and counselling those who cross back to Spirit suddenly and helping them to readjust to life on the other side.
In 1999, my life was changed forever when I fell down some stone steps. I sustained a serious leg injury which required 2 emergency surgeries to repair the bones and soft tissues. I was unable to work for 3 months; I was on crutches for over a year. To this day I can’t drive or walk far.

Unable to get about in those first months at home after the surgery, I built a website dedicated to Simon’s memory, and my psychic experiences since losing him. I started to write and found I knew a lot more than I realised, and wanted to share it with people who might find themselves in the same confusing situation when their own psychic ability comes to the fore. Starting the website (which is now over 140 pages) gave me a distraction at a very low time for me, and a purpose for the rest of my life as the e-mails I receive and the readings and advice I give now help so many people all over the world.
Simon’s visits aren’t very frequent now, but every so often he pops in, and I know he sends help and works with my guides and other loved ones in Spirit to give me assistance.

For example, I know he had a hand in bringing me and my husband together, because I would never have been in the place we met in 1992 had Simon still been here. There are so many other synchronicities that would have drawn me and John together in time, all of which happened after Simon crossed over and so my path was changed again.

I am sure Simon sent someone to save me in September 2000. I believe it was my very first encounter with an angel, even though I didn’t believe in them yet!

John was driving us to work in our car, it was a rainy morning and we were on a dual carriageway when a car spun out of control across both lanes of the carriageway in front of us.

There was another car between us and the spinning car, and our brakes locked, the car skidding across the wet road for what seemed like an age, although the whole thing lasted just seconds. I was stupidly not wearing my seatbelt, and remember just closing my eyes and thinking “oh no what a shame, I had so much more to do”. I was 28 years old, and in those seconds I felt sure I was about to die. We slammed into the back of that car still travelling at 45 mph according to the speedometer afterwards.

John, being the wonderful man he is, threw his arm across me as far as he could when he realised we were going to crash, but I flew out of my seat… and suddenly felt another powerful arm holding me back on the passenger door side. It made no sense, but I know I felt that arm!
I should have flown through the windscreen, and did hit my head hard enough to break my nose, but I was saved. The car was a complete write off. John was fine, no injury at all, but he had to kick his way out of the door as the engine had been pushed so far back into the car.

When we saw just how bad the damage was afterwards, engine obliterated, car twisted…we both knew we had been saved. To this day I believe I would have died that day, and that it wasn’t my time to go. I have been told by my guides that angelic interventions happen all the time to ensure that random acts by people don’t bring about untimely deaths, and yet that when it is your time to go according to the plan you wrote, nothing will prevent your death.

I took being saved as a certain intervention to prevent my death, and validation that I had a lot still to do and had to continue my work. I feel this intervention changed me even further, soon after I began to see angels with people and at roadsides, and began to see other people’s spirit guides during readings, and often got prompted to draw them for people.

I believe that my leg injury in 1999 then this accident almost a year later were the catalysts for me eventually becoming a full time spiritual worker.
I plucked up the courage to do my spiritual work full time in 2005. My health was poor, I couldn’t bear the daily grind of working in an office, I was under pressure from my employer due to my health and I just had a moment of clarity – why was owning a house and clinging to material things so important? Would the world end if I let them go… what could I do to make our lives happier? After a talk with my husband, we agreed it was nonsense clinging to things that brought us no happiness, and we decided to sell up and move to the country so I could do my work in peace and quiet and not have to worry about making ends meet.
We realised we could survive on very little if we had to, and so we sold or gave away a lot of our material things in order to make it happen. We  have never been happier!

As good old synchronicity would have it, Rose, the medium who first told me I had ability, came back into my life in 2005, when I provided a reading for a man who was a member of her paranormal group. He had no idea I knew of Rose, he chose me to do a reading because he was drawn to me, having found my website. He could have chosen any of the thousands of online mediums out there. Was he guided to choose me? I believe so…It was only when we were chatting about paranormal investigation at the end of the reading that it became apparent we both knew Rose, as she was his group’s medium! I told him how Rose and I met, and asked him to pass on my regards to her.

Rose got in touch with me within a week, and we became good friends. It was like coming full circle for me, the final seal of approval from Spirit that I was on the right path for life now. I know it was meant to be that we met again, as she died shortly after in early 2006. She told me soon after we met again, that I had made her very proud by choosing this path, and that if she died tomorrow she would die a happy woman knowing she had helped to set me on this path in some small way. I never thought she would leave so soon, but it was her time. She has been in touch since she crossed over, so I know she is fine and still has her great sense of humour – she made a camera start up on its own on a paranormal investigation in October 2006, and when we reviewed the video footage days later, we heard her voice on tape faintly saying, “Rachel, it’s me!” just before the camera incident! I will never forget her or the comfort she brought me after Simon died, before I ever knew I was a potential medium.

These days I do a lot of different things, as over the years I have learned everything I can as new opportunities to do so come along. We never stop learning. I am now a fully fledged clairvoyant medium, exorcist, psychic artist (I can draw people’s spirit guides) Reiki healing practitioner, an Ethereal Crystal Therapy master, a Past Life Regression therapist, and writer. I spend my days providing readings, healings and regressions and my nights are my own thankfully to spend quality time with John, but sometimes spent distantly cleansing homes.
In more recent times, I’ve made a few “hindsight” discoveries which showed me I had the ability since birth, as we all do to varying degrees.
I was talking with my mum a few years back about the street where we used to live until I was four. I asked her about Rebecca, the girl I remembered from a few doors down who would play with me on the swing in our garden when I was 3 or 4 years old. My mum had no idea who I was talking about! But Rebecca is one of my most vivid early childhood friends; memories of her were part of my childhood! How could my mum not know her? She was in our garden all summer with me!
I knew she lived a few doors away on our street, I could pinpoint her house… and we would giggle and laugh on the swing! I realised quickly that this was a spirit child, because when I really thought about it, I couldn’t remember ever pushing her on the swing or touching her… just that she was there in the same dress each time…

My mum also has an embarrassing habit of getting out my old childhood drawings and poems from when I was 10 or 11 and showing them to my husband, much to his mirth! Last year mum found another batch of my drawings tucked away somewhere… but this time I was intrigued, not embarrassed.

These were drawings of 2 faces with names. I had forgotten that I would often be prompted to draw faces or whole people, name them and give the drawing to s specific person. I had no idea why and it baffled me slightly at the time but I went with it… looking back I believe this was when I was first subconsciously prompted to draw spirit guides for people.

I love my life, and I owe it all to Simon. I now know he and I agreed a shared a purpose before we decided to come to this life, to shine a light into dark places… and thanks to his choices, I am able to carry on the good work!