To lose a beloved child is always a keen and grievous sorrow; but to see an only child – gifted with the finest and most promising qualities and the sole object of one’s affection – pining away, without pain, from no ascertainable cause; to have exhausted all the resources of the medical art, only to acquire the certainty that the strange wasting away of this idolized child must necessarily have a fatal issue; and to endure this anguish every day for many years, without the possibility of hope, - it is a terrible torture, and one that must necessarily be rendered all the more painful by the possession of wealth, from which the object of an idolizing, but torturing, affection can derive neither profit nor pleasure.
Such was the situation of Anna Bitter’s father. A gloomy despair took possession of his mind, and his temper became everyday more irritable from the contemplation of the distressing spectacle which could only terminate fatally, though after a lapse of time it was impossible to calculate beforehand.
A friend of the family, a spiritist, questioned his spirit-guide on the subject of this affliction and received the following reply:
“I will gladly explain the strange phenomenon that you have before your eyes, as I know that your request is not prompted by an indiscreet curiosity, but rather due to your interest in this poor little girl, and because, in lieu of your belief in divine justice, it will be a valuable teaching for you. Those who are smitten by the Divine Hand should bow to the infliction instead of rebelling against it; for no one is ever smitten without cause. The poor child, the execution of whose death-warrant has been delayed a while by the Almighty, will soon return to us, which will be a great blessing for her; and her unhappy father will have to bear the punishment he had brought upon himself, being smitten in the sole affection of his life, for having trifled with the affection and confidence of those around him. His repentance has reached the Almighty, for a moment, and death has suspended the thrust of the sword over that dear head; however, he has returned to the revolt and we all know that the punishment always follows. Pray for this poor child, whose youth will render the operation of disengagement more difficult; There is such an abundance of the sap of youth in this poor soul, that in spite of the weakness, that she is feeling, her spirit will find it difficult to detach itself. Oh! pray for her, and she will aid and console you in return, for her spirit is more advanced than are those among whom she is incarnated. It is through a special permission that I am enabled to reply to your inquiry, in order that your prayers may assist her in freeing herself from her body.”
The father died after having undergone the pain of the emptiness and isolation caused by his daughter’s death. We subjoin the first communication received from them both.
Anna B. Thanks, my friend, for the interest you took in the poor child who was so soon to vanish from the Earth, and for your prayers, which enabled me to escape more rapidly form my earthly envelope. My father, alas! did not pray for me; he cursed the decree that called me away. I cannot be angry with him for this; it was the result of his intense affection for me. I pray to God to grant him enlightenment before he dies; I try to excite his hope; my mission is to soften the pain of his last moments upon the Earth. At times, a ray of divine light seems to enter his mind; but it is only a passing flash, and he falls speedily back into his rebellious gloom. There is in him, as yet, only a germ of faith; and this germ is stifled under worldly interests, which must be cleared away by yet more painful trials, before it can grow and fructify. As for me, I had only a small complement of expiation still to undergo; my short life was therefore neither very painful nor very hard to bear. My strange illness caused me no suffering; I was rather an instrument of suffering for my father, who suffered much more at seeing me in such a state than I did myself; besides, I was resigned, but he was not. I am rewarded for this resignation by the happiness I now enjoy in the midst of the wise and loving spirits among whom I am, and whose occupations I am rejoiced to share, for inactivity would be a torture for the denizens of the spirit-world.
(The father; a month after his death):
Q. Our objective in evoking you is due to our interest in your situation in the spiritual world, in order to be useful to you, if that is possible.
A. You ask me, “What is my position in the world of spirits?” The world of spirits! I see no spirits. I only see men whom I formerly knew, none of whom think of me or regret my absence; on the contrary, they seem glad to be rid of me.
Q. Are you aware of your situation?
A. Perfectly. For some time, I thought I was still in your world; but, now, I am quite aware that I have quitted it.
Q. How is it, then, that you do not see any spirits around you?
A. I don’t know; for it is quite light were I am.
Q. Have you seen your daughter?
A. No, she is dead; I seek her, I call her, but in vain. In what horrible void her death plunged me upon the Earth! In dying, I said to myself that I should, no doubt, find her again; but I see nothing of her. I am always in utter solitude; there is no one to speak to me a word of consolation or hope. Adieu. I am going to look for my child.
The Medium’s Guide. This man was neither an atheist nor a materialist; he was one of those who believe, vaguely, in God and in a future life, but without troubling themselves concerning either, being entirely absorbed by earthly things. Utterly selfish, though he would have sacrificed all he possessed for his child, he constantly sacrificed, without scruple, the interests of all around him to his own profit. With the exception of his daughter, there was no one for whom he had a particle of kindness. God has punished him for this selfishness, as you know; He took from him the object of his sole affection upon the Earth, and, as he has not repented of his selfishness, he is deprived of the sight of her in the spirit-world. He took no interest in any one else upon the Earth; here, no one takes any interest in him; he is alone, abandoned by all; such is his punishment. His daughter is near him, but he does not see her; if he did, he would not be punished. What does he do? Does he apply to God for help? Does he repent? No, he still murmurs and blasphemes; he does, in fact, just what he did upon the Earth. Aid him, by your prayers and your advice, to emerge from this blindness.