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Stead on the Death of his son, Willie

Quoted in Estelle W. Stead, My Father: Personal & Spiritual Reminiscences (1913) pp. 311-312

Eighteen months ago my eldest son passed into the other world. I heard his first cry as a new-born infant. I caught his last sigh as he passed into the unseen. I had always said I would never make my final pronouncement on the truths of Spiritualism until someone near and dear in my own family passed into the great beyond. Then I should know whether Spiritualism stood the test of a great bereavement, bringing life and immortality to light. And I am here to tell you that the reality of my son's continued existence, and of his tender care for me, have annulled the bitterness of death.

You remember what Lowell said: "Console me if you will, but all the consoling can never make death other than death." I can say Spiritualism has made death other than death for me. That boy had been for thirty-three years my joy and my pride. I had trained him in hope that he would succeed me and carry on my work. The very day he died I came up at 11.30 a.m. to appoint him as my assistant-editor. That night at 11.30 p.m. I saw him die. The blow was so sudden. I did not know he was seriously ill. When I saw him breathe his last I knew our Father had other plans, and that the boy I had trained to work for me here was going to work for me on the other side. And that hope has been gloriously fulfilled. The telephone helps us to realise this kind of communication. When my boy was here, our offices were connected by telephone, and it is much the same now. He writes to me through several mediums, he shows himself to my friends. I myself have seen his materialised face. One friend has seen him at least three times fully materialised, as was our Lord after His resurrection. He is here to-night beside me. I am as sure of that as I am of the fact that I am speaking to you. When I realise the difference it makes to have this knowledge, and to be without it, I feel I must testify to you as to the reality of the unseen world around us.

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