I found a TikTok-famous medium to connect with my late mother

I've always been what some would call “woo-woo.” I call myself a Crystal Girlie, another 20-something on her spiritual journey, and yes, given the opportunity, I would accept any tarot card reading ever offered to me. When my estranged mother passed away in early 2019, I naturally began considering an option that some people would consider unconventional: hiring a medium to contact her in the afterlife.

For quite a while, however, I didn't know where to look… until last year. I was scrolling through my “For You” page on TikTok and came across Amie Balesky, a spiritual medium who has amassed a whopping three million followers under her account “The Balesky.” She is known for connecting people with lost spirits and the dead. Her bio states, “She has been helping spirits and people since 1995.”

Balesky's site is full of clips from virtual readings with people from all over the world, where she answers questions about the afterlife, offers helpful life advice, and, of course, matches deceased loved ones with their living family and friends. I immediately contacted Balesky's team and booked a session six months in advance – which is pretty standard for one of the highest-rated mediums in the Northern Hemisphere.

When the day finally arrived, I was so excited. And nervous at the same time. This was my chance to connect with my mother: the woman who didn't get to raise me, who disappeared from my life for 11 years, who missed so much in her own life because she spent 32 years battling methamphetamine addiction. It was my chance to say and hear all the things I never got to say.

Before my hour-long session, I received instructions from Balesky: Find a quiet place for the session, spend the days before and after asking the spirit to make themselves known, and write down any questions you want to ask.

It is important to note that before my session, Balesky had only asked me the name of the person I was trying to reach. I did not share any identifying factors about my mother or me; she did not know my age, my mother's age, how she died, my story, or anything that could have led her to certain conclusions.

Before I knew it, my time had come. When I joined the call, I was greeted by Balesky, who exudes positive energy and makes me smile. She doesn't seem much different from the woman I'd seen on TikTok, which is reassuring, and she's sitting in a witchy-looking room that's oddly calming: the walls are a dark shade of purple, the lighting is dim, and candles flicker on the tables behind her.

Balesky explains how the process of channeling works for her. Spirits communicate through her, using her brain like a computer. She says they can show her images, make her feel emotions, and even send out words or phrases to convey messages to the living. She also shows me a notebook in which she scribbles while channeling.

Then the channeling begins.

“I see a picture of you crying … maybe five years ago,” Balesky says. “Are you dating someone now, but five years ago you were dating someone else?” Yes, I was: Five years ago, I was dating my ex-husband and moved to New York City before I met my current husband.

“There are a few people here. A man came in briefly, but he left, and now there's a woman. Oh, she keeps saying 'mommy,' 'mother,' 'mommy.'” I smile, happy that my mom decided to show up for me now, even though I asked her not to.

My mother died of an overdose, but I hadn't told Balesky that. “Did your mother die of… oh, she says 'bad meds,'” Balesky says. Oh yeah, bad meds. Balesky points to my mother shaking a pill bottle and taking one, and then another, and then a third. “That's not a good combination,” Mom says. No shit, it's not.

Balesky correctly notes that my mother and father were not together when my mother died. My parents had an on-off relationship for most of my life before they finally broke up in 2004. They were extremely toxic to each other. “He gets on my nerves,” says Mom. This makes me laugh because Balesky is using exactly the tone my mother would have used. My hair stands on end.

“Your mother says,” smiles Balesky, “'I'm the one who brought them together.'” My mother means my husband and me. It's funny: My husband is definitely skeptical of the spiritual, but lately he says that being with me has made him believe in magic. He often says he thinks my mother sent him to me, even though she died before we got together. Whenever I do my spiritual routine, like tarot cards or meditation and journaling, he says he sees us talking.

Balesky adds, “She always says 'Rob' or 'Robby' or 'Robert.' Do you know anyone with that name?” It brings tears to my eyes. Robert was my mother's ex-boyfriend who left her because he got sober and she didn't. I first met him at her funeral; he came up to me, introduced himself and said that despite our estrangement, my mother always loved me.

“Oh, she seems mad too,” Balesky says. “She just said, 'Robert is probably screwing another girl.' Your mother seems to hate men. I like your mother, she's funny.” OK, yeah, that's true too. It makes me laugh. I smile because it's so typical of her.

“Was she cremated? She says, 'Don't put me in the closet, put me in the living room.' She wants to go out with you,” Balesky says. My mother was actually cremated. When I moved to New York, I left her ashes in a closet at my father's house before I brought them home. They sat in the living room of my apartment for four years.

“Are you writing a book?” Balesky asks. “She shows me how you write and put pictures of her in the book. She says, 'I don't know why she uses all these pictures.' But she likes it too.” In fact, I'm writing a book about her: a memoir about addiction, love, and how to exist even in the most painful moments. I'm halfway through.

“She's proud of you. She's always showing me how you get measured for a pantsuit – maybe for the book launch or something,” says Balesky. “She also shows me how you and she sit together at a café table. She holds your hand. To me that means she wants to be close to you.” I want to be close to you too.

Balesky adds, “Oh, she just showed you coming home and putting the keys on the counter. 'Hi baby,' your mother says. She shows me you with a dog, a little wiry dog ​​with a squished face.” Hi baby: When I was little, my mother greeted me like that, in the exact tone Balesky just used. My heart feels like it's going to burst. Oh, and as for the dog, I'm getting a Brussels Griffon this summer.

“She just said, 'I would use her if I could,' which means I would manipulate you to get what she wanted. Is that true?” Balesky asks. Yes, that's why we were estranged and why we couldn't have a healthy or good relationship.

“You should know that I see her in you. I mean her spirit,” Balesky says. “She knows that now, she owes it to be with you and guide you, something she couldn't do when she was alive.” Maybe that's why I feel her around me all the time now. It seems like she's always showing herself to me somehow.

There is so much more to say. The hour flies by and leaves me feeling tingly and emotional. I feel as if a part of me is opening up that I haven't seen or felt for years. I can hear and feel my mother.

Balesky's ability to channel seems brilliant and spontaneous, as if she knows things she could never have known if my mother hadn't actually spoken through her. It feels undeniably real; I believe it is. It reminds me of how some people describe religion as belief in something we can't see but know is really there. After the session, I notice a lingering feeling – as if my mother was somehow hugging me from beyond the grave.

Before Balesky says goodbye, she smiles. In my mother's voice, I hear her say, “I love you, I'm sorry.”