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Q&A: Long Island Medium Theresa Caputo - For Anyone Who Has Lost a Loved One

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Whether you believe in mediums or not, if you’ve had anyone close to you die, most people desperately look for a sign that they are still near. One-time skeptics suddenly notice strange things happening connected to that person — a song, a butterfly, a smell. Theresa Caputo, a.k.a. the Long Island Medium, whose hit TV show on TLC has provided comfort and answers for countless grieving individuals and families, is taking her show on the road.

The New York Times best-selling author has been touring all over North America with Theresa Caputo Live! The Experience and has 18 dates across Canada, beginning June 1 at the Sask Tel Centre in Saskatoon, SK, and ending June 20 at the Meridan Centre in St. Catharines, ON.  

Through her fan club, she also has a pay-it-forward charity engagement program and she personally donates 100 percent of the proceeds from her readings to charity. Of course, her manner and her “messages from spirit” also help people heal.  It’s a personal takeaway, of course, but if seeing a medium can help, why is it any different than going to a grief counsellor or crying to your best friend?

Samaritanmag spoke to Caputo about providing comfort, dealing with death, her charitable giving, and what to expect from her live show.

I’ve never interviewed a medium before, but obviously what you do helps a lot of people, which fits Samaritanmag’s mandate. Can you first tell me what’s the difference between a medium and a psychic because not every psychic is a medium, but is every medium a psychic?

That’s what they say. I feel that I have this amazing gift to be able to communicate with people that have died, and I have an amazing intuition.  If you want to say that’s also a psychic ability, I don’t know.  I don’t predict the future. I’m not clairvoyant.  I don’t get the lotto numbers. Nothing like that.

You can’t tell us if Donald Trump is going to be President?

No, I can’t [laughs]. My mother raised me right. I don’t talk about religion or politics.  It is what it is [laughs].

You’ve taken on a lot of responsibility doing what you do because everyone that comes to you wants to be comforted.  They want to be able to move on. 

That’s the bottom line.  I struggled for many years. I’m just going to put this in a nutshell for you. I was the first one to say that what I do is crazy.  How could someone communicate with someone that died?  And then I went through why would someone want to go see me because I couldn’t understand that. And what I learned from being a medium is that, unfortunately, no matter how one loses a loved one, no matter how old they are or young they are, we are left with burden and guilt.  Should’ve, could've, would’ve. And all of these emotions and burdens block us from healing.  So, there’s no way you can heal from the loss of your loved one if you’re too busy beating yourself up.

So, what I‘ve learned that spirit does, when I found out that I had this gift, I said, ‘Listen, if this is the work and this is what God has for me, this is my journey, then I would use my gift in a positive way.  I want to be able to help people.  I want people being able to live life with happiness and joy again.’  It’s not going to be easy, but making it a little bit easier for them knowing that this would transform a life in the physical world and, more importantly that the souls of our loved ones are still with us, loving, guiding, and protecting us from the other side, and that’s what I can give people.

It’s not about believing in mediums.  I really don’t care if people believe in a medium or not.  I want you to believe that the things that go on around you – the little things that are odd, weird, different, a coincidence, and remind you of your loved ones; I want you to be able to embrace that and say, ‘Oh my God, they’re with me at that exact moment,’ and know that they really haven’t left you, and that’s it. Along with that, I feel that my gift is so giving that you have to give back, and I’m able to do a lot of amazing things with the work that I do as well.

So, is it true that all the money you make from outside the TV show, you give to various charities?

What I do is people that are on Long Island Medium, they do pay you for their reading. My prices haven’t changed since I started Long Island Medium. It’s $175 per private reading for the hour and $50 a person for a public reading.  But the money is donated.  It is donated to either Meals on Wheels for the elderly here on Long Island and also the Stony Brook Foundation for our veterans here on Long Island as well. So, the clients directly write the cheque out there.

My ticket prices are like $39.99 to $99 a ticket and what we found out is that people were taking advantage of my fans, selling them up to $3,000 a ticket.  So,we formed a fan club, $19.99 to join, and the main thing that it does is that it gives you pre-sale tickets.  So you’re getting the correct price.  You’re getting them before everyone else, and you know that what you’re paying is what we’re charging for tickets.  So, now, I have so many amazing fans, my fan club is producing a profit.  So because this was mainly about protecting my fans, all proceeds from my fan club are donated right back to my fans.

So, they might receive a random gift in the mail.  They might receive a gift card at Christmas time, make their Christmas a little extra special.  We run a pay-it-forward program where you will receive two gift cards, one for you and then another gift card for pay-it-forward to your favorite charity, and it’s amazing that we’re able to do all these things. We bring fans to a live show, all expenses paid; they get to spend the afternoon with myself, my crew.  They get to see the live show and it’s just an afternoon of fun. Because I do consider it, and my family as well, we consider it an honour and a privilege to meet our fans, because without them, I would not be able to continue to do God’s work.

Not everyone has a Theresa in their life or can get a reading with you, and it’s very hard when someone dies.  We don’t know what to say to a person and often someone who has lost a loved one finds that their friends disappear.  People disappear because it’s an awkward thing.  What advice do you have based on all these experiences of dealing with people going through grief, how can we a) better get through our own grief, and b) comfort others, say the right things, be there for them?

Well, that’s that thing.  I think people place too much pressure on what the right thing is to do or that there’s a specific way to grieve and to heal, and that’s one of the most valuable lessons that I’ve learned from spirit is that there is no right or wrong way to heal.  You do what makes you feel better, what comforts your soul.  And I always say, as long as you’re not harming yourself or someone else, then do whatever it is that you need to do.  Who says that after a year, you can’t be crying every day?  If that’s something you feel you need to do, then so be it.  Some people don’t cry at all.  Some people go to the cemetery and have picnics.  Some people can’t even drive past a cemetery.  There is no right or wrong way.

And that’s also the thing about not knowing what to say to someone. Just let them know that you’re there for them and don’t be afraid to speak about the person that had died.  That also I find the most barrier thing is that people are afraid.  They’re like, “Well, I didn’t want to bring it up.  She was having a good day, so I didn’t want to bring it up, but when I was thinking about her husband, and I didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t want to ruin the day.”  Well, how do you know it was going to ruin the day?  That might have made her feel more comforted in knowing that you cared how she was feeling and that you do miss her husband as well. 

I always say this, when we have children, they give us a case of formula, and they tell us, “Have a nice life.” You’re left to figure it out, how to raise this baby.  And you have family members, in-laws, friends, cousins, everyone is telling you what you should and what you shouldn’t do for this baby.  And, ultimately in the end, you do what you feel is best, correct? It’s the same thing when we lose a loved one.  Everyone’s going to have advice, kind of soak it all in, and maybe some of the things you’ll use and some of them you won’t, and I think that the main thing that spirit always says is that even if you just think about me, when you speak to me, I hear you, and don’t place so much pressure on feeling that you have to constantly be doing things every day just in memory of me.  By just thinking of me is the most valuable thing and gift that you can give to departed loved ones.

Even for people that don’t believe, it’s interesting — it actually happened to me as well — when someone dies, suddenly you’re looking for signs.  You’re talking to that person.  You’re going for readings.   Are there ways you can develop your personal abilities to connect with the spirit world?

Absolutely.  I believe and know that each and every one of us has that own connection with our loved ones.  That is a soul bond that can never be broken.  I am just able to connect with everyone’s loved one.  So, what it is is it’s not always having to be something so specific.  It could be anything.  You know, it’s anything that goes on around you that’s odd, weird, or different. Like you shouldn’t say, “Okay, mom, if you’re with me, I want to see three yellow butterflies and two red cardinals.” That’s ridiculous, you know.  But people do do that, and the thing is is that you just have to be aware of those little things that go on around you that are weird and odd, and you’re like, “that’s weird, I just smelled my mom.”  And there’s no reason why you would smell her perfume, but all of a sudden you smell her perfume.  Know that she is with you at that exact moment.  These are the little hellos from heaven.  Do you ever get change at a supermarket and it might be the year that your loved one died or the year that they were born — those are all signs.  Embrace anything that goes on around you.  Just be open to it.

You are touring all over North America, including 18 shows right across Canada in June. People will have big expectations coming to see you, and, obviously, you can’t give readings to everyone.  You’ve got thousands of people there. What should people expect?

That’s the thing.  I tell the people all the time, “You’re going to have a life-changing experience.”  Because these are the most comments that I get after everyone attends one of my live shows.  Like I said, whether I walk into a room and there’s 5 people or 5000, there are only so many souls that I can channel in a two-hour period.  But the messages that are given, you’re going to be able to connect to so many things.  So, even though people will say, “I personally didn’t get read, but what I experienced was life-changing.” 

The other comment that people made that I find to be so remarkable and it just goes to show how amazing my fans are and how they get it, they’ll say, “I walked into that arena thinking ‘pick me, pick me.’  I left that arena tonight feeling very blessed and realizing that others needed to hear from their loved ones more than I.”  And I think sometimes that is also a turning point in a healing process also because you might feel that you’re so stuck and like you’re not moving forward and then you hear all these other stories and you’re like, ‘Oh wait a minute, you know what, I am healing.  I’m not doing so bad. I know that my mom is with me. ‘ So it’s just an experience of a lifetime.  You’re going to laugh.  You’re going to cry.  And you’re going to leave that theatre or arena feeling good and positive, and that is something that not everyone can give you. The spirit can give that to us.

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Samaritanmag.com is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.