A few weeks after my mom died, I was talking to an acquaintance on the phone. When I told her how sad I was, she responded that I “needed to snap out of it and move on.” This person needs to read Dr. Kim Bateman’s book.
Often our relationship with our dear departed hinges on spiritual beliefs. Some are convinced their loved ones have gone to heaven and will meet us at the Pearly Gates. Others believe in no afterlife, and they find no comfort in spiritual connection. And, of course, there are a million viewpoints in between those two extremes. Bateman’s work encompasses that canyon, offering a portal to what fruitful, imaginal relationships we can have with those who have crossed over, those we miss, those we still love.
“Crossing the Owl’s Bridge” is part case study, part analysis of folk tale, and a bit of Bateman’s personal story as well. By tracing the origin and meaning of folk tales such as “Cinderella” and “The Snow Queen”, Bateman discusses our humanity’s evolving relationship with grief and healing, and she links this history with contemporary story and its importance in the imaginal realm. The structure of the book is aligned with the grieving process, and guides the reader through an intuitive approach to healing that is too often skirted in our society. When in “The Abyss”, for instance, it is both helpful and comforting to know why, to find wisdom in the process, and eventually access the ladder up and out–so that we can finally cross the owl’s bridge and heal. Then, Bateman argues, we are richer for continuing to love and continuing a relationship that may in fact be more honest, powerful, and intense than it was when both persons inhabited the physical realm.
More than a work of scholarship or personal testimonial, “Crossing the Owl’s Bridge” is a wise guide to a process none of us can avoid. Those who dismiss this process rob themselves of the full dimensionality of love and the richness it brings to our human spirits.
Bateman, who lives and works in Truckee, CA, is a well known speaker and storyteller. Her TEDx talk “Singing Over Bones” is on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3hib….