In Light
In Shade

Patricia Irvine

The inspirational story of a love that refused to die, even after death.


‘Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.’ ~ Mahatma Ghandi

In Light and In Shade is the inspirational true story of a love that refused to die, even after death. It is the first-hand account of extraordinary events that happened to an ordinary woman.

Before her husband died prematurely, Patricia Irvine was sceptical about spiritual matters. However, driven by grief and fear over a feud concerning the family business, she decided to seek the advice of a medium. Shortly afterwards, inexplicable things began to happen to challenge her beliefs. As Patricia awakened spiritually, so her husband was able to reach beyond the grave to help his widow achieve justice for her and their young family in a court battle that made legal history.

Based on the journals Patricia kept throughout this time, this memoir describes the author’s amazing journey from non-believer to finding her true destiny, healing through words. In a troubled and turbulent world, In Light and In Shade raises important points about religion, God and the true meaning of spirituality. It is a story anyone seeking answers to the big questions about life and death should read.


Chapter 1: As Black and White as a Zebra! 1
Chapter 2: Exploration and Education 10
Chapter 3: The Witches of Westfield! 16
Chapter 4: The First Words 22
Chapter 5: A Deep and Glorious Secret 37
Chapter 6: The Committal 45
Chapter 7: Astral Travel and the Eclipse 51
Chapter 8: Deep, Penetrating Fear 59
Chapter 9: One God, Many Names 66
Chapter 10: Everywhere We Go! 73
Chapter 11: Feeling the Fear 85
Chapter 12: Escape from ‘All Things Spiritual’? 92
Chapter 13: The Beginning of Seeing 100
Chapter 14: Synchronicities and Significant Moments 105
Chapter 15: A Deep and All-Consuming Fear 119
Chapter 16: Reassurance: Channelled and Personal 128
Chapter 17: Mischief Making and Talking to The Source 133
Chapter 18: Riding the Power 140
Chapter 19: Words, Books and a Kindred Soul 148
Chapter 20: In God’s Name 160
Chapter 21: The Courage of My Convictions 170
Chapter 22: New Resolve, Old Arrogance 178
Chapter 23: The Decision 186
Chapter 24: Artistic and Spiritual Experiences in China 196
Chapter 25: Catalyst and Facilitator 200
Chapter 26: A Matter of Faith 206
Chapter 27: The Right Place at the Right Time 214
Chapter 28: A Need for Reassurance 225
Chapter 29: Gloriously United 231
Chapter 30: A Birthday, a Wedding and a Funeral 245
Chapter 31: Foreign Travel and the Power of Words 257
Chapter 32: Patience: Not One of My Virtues! 264
Chapter 33: Learning Tolerance, Acceptance and Faith 273
Chapter 34: The Year of the Rooster 279
Chapter 35: Courage Prevails 287
Chapter 36: Breaking Boundaries in Malaysia and China 294
Chapter 37: Spirit’s Own Agenda 300
Chapter 38: Preparing for the Inevitable 314
Chapter 39: Irvine v Irvine (2006) 322
Chapter 40: Malcolm Campbell Irvine: The Last Word 336
Epilogue 346
About the Author 349


Our lives changed on 1 March 1996. Prior to that date, life with Malcolm Campbell Irvine had been like living in a golden bubble, where we were treasured and protected. My sons and I were the centre of Malcolm’s universe, surrounded by his love. We knew it and felt it, always.
Early that day Malcolm had set off from Mulberry Down, our Surrey home, to board his yacht Mulberry, moored at Port Solent, Portsmouth. He was smiling broadly and was armed with a fresh batch of his favourite homemade cakes, joyfully anticipating the weekend ahead. Malcolm was always a very private person and normally undemonstrative in public, so I was pleasantly surprised when he doubled-back to the doorway and kissed me firmly goodbye before leaving.
Malcolm was planning to step back a little from the arduous hours that he worked in the family business and he hoped to spend some of his newly anticipated free time giving sailing lessons on board the Mulberry, to young people less fortunate than his own children.
He had already passed his Yachtmaster’s Certificate but had chosen to repeat it this particular weekend with Clare and Bryan, two of his regular young crew. He wanted to ensure that his qualifications were first class and totally up to the mark if he was to be responsible for youngsters.
It was a warm spring day. I remained in Surrey and was out for several hours with friends enjoying it fully before returning home in good time to collect our youngest son, Duncan, from school. Golden rays of sun poured through the conservatory windows, lighting the blooms I was arranging in a vase. As I placed the final piece of greenery, the doorbell rang …
Moments later, our protective bubble burst and our glorious family life was shattered. Clare, Malcolm’s sailing companion, was at the door. Intuitively, I knew that something was very, very wrong and that she had come to give me dreadful news. My initial fear was that Malcolm had drowned.
But he hadn’t drowned. While still full of anticipation for the weekend ahead, Malcolm had suffered an aortic heart aneurysm and died that morning on board his beloved yacht. Clare explained that Malcolm, the instructor and the crew had been enjoying coffee and cakes, chatting together, while sailing through the Portsmouth Harbour entrance. Never one to make a fuss or complain, Malcolm had suddenly said, very quietly, “I have a pain in my chest. It really is quite severe.” He then slumped to the cockpit floor.
The instructor leapt into action and within minutes a helicopter and crew from Royal Hospital Haslar, Gosport, were in attendance. Malcolm had the very best possible attention but nothing could be done. He was dead. From that moment and yet, completely unknown to us at the time, the colour of our lives was being washed from gold … to grey.
Brave young Clare had insisted on telling me herself; she couldn’t bear the thought of me receiving such news from police strangers. She had driven past Mulberry Down several times that day waiting for my car to reappear in the driveway. Finally it had.
Inexplicably, there were no tears from me. A deep, deep sadness filled me from the very core of my being but there were no tears. There was an immense feeling of calm, of logic, and most definitely, being ‘in charge’. A great, long list of things to do was clicking into place in my brain. It was as though I was being told ‘not to waste time on tears but to get on with the job in hand’. I was being pushed, gently, from behind …
I couldn’t understand it at all but was powerless to do anything else but follow the calm, quiet orders I was receiving. It made sense to do exactly as directed at that time. I immediately rang Malcolm’s brother, Ian, at the office. Clare stayed with me. I ensured that Ian was alone and asked him to close the door and sit down before I told him the news.
The next priority was Duncan. He was twelve years old, still at school, and needed to be collected. Clare offered to do this for me and brought him home. Then I took him into the lounge and told him, as gently as I could, the devastating news. “My father? Not my father?” he repeated several times as the awful reality sank in.
Knowing that I must travel to Charles and Alastair, at school in Canterbury, I rang my stepdaughter Karen’s mother and explained what had happened. She was distraught but I asked her to speak to Karen on my behalf, as I couldn’t possibly be in two places at once.
By this time, Bryan, the other crew member, having returned from re-berthing the Mulberry, had joined Clare, Duncan and I in Surrey. I telephoned the housemaster at King’s Canterbury saying that I needed to visit in order to speak urgently to my sons that evening.
We hastily packed overnight bags and set off for Kent. Bryan drove my car. Clare sat in the front and I remained in the back with Duncan. The shocked silence was tangible and the awful enormity of the situation threatened to chip away at my calm façade. I knew I had to remain resolute. I could not dissolve. My sons needed me to remain strong, dependable, and reliable. Breaking down was a luxury I couldn’t afford.
On arrival, Duncan and I were taken to the matron’s office and shortly joined by my two bewildered-looking sons, Alastair and Charlie. Telling my sons that day of their father’s death was one of the most difficult and horrendous tasks of my life. The colour drained from their faces. They were stunned but they too kept calm, as we all silently clasped one another in a much-needed family hug. They returned to their dorms to pack and then, with Clare and Bryan, we travelled to Mulberry Cottage, our home in Kent, where we spent that night.
I arranged for my brother, Stephen, to call the next morning. There was still this inexplicable influence filling my mind with calm and logic but there was also a crushing sadness that reached every part of me. It was as though I had ‘stepped outside’ my own body and was watching my actions from a different perspective. I felt like a puppet with an invisible puppet master.
Stephen arrived and explaining what had happened to him was a daunting task as he was a very close friend of Malcolm. Together, he and I drove the short distance to my parents’ home where I repeated the awful news once more. Watching my beloved parents’ faces crumple as I repeated the events of the previous day was heartbreaking. They loved Malcolm like a son and bringing this pain to them equalled my own despicable sadness.
Little did I know at the time that I had only just taken the first steps of what would prove to be an incredible journey of realisation and proof that life continues after death. And, as we later discovered, we would not only have to deal with Malcolm’s death, but also cope with a long court battle with his brother over the family business.
‘I flourish in light and in shade’ is the Irvine family motto. That is what we, Malcolm Campbell Irvine’s family, tried hard to do. Love can be glorious, wonderful and enthralling. It can be deeply painful too. But, as I was about to learn, love can be stronger, far stronger, than anything else seen or unseen.

The names and identifying details of some individuals
have been changed to protect their privacy.


What readers are saying about In Light and In Shade

‘A deftly written, impressively informative, candidly personal, and inherently fascinating account, “In Light and In Shade: The Inspirational Story of A Love That Refused to Die, Even After Death” is especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Metaphysical Studies collections.’

‘I have just finished reading your book which I found spellbinding. I couldn't put it down.’

‘Congratulations, I am most impressed with your writing. It is an interesting read. The people that we really love never leave us. I like your poem on page 338.’

‘I've just finished reading your book, in fact I read it in one day! I was very moved by your courage in describing your experiences and the events surrounding them. I had no idea of the depth of your experiences. I found myself extraordinarily moved.’

‘What a magnificent, spiritual story!’

‘I am immersed in your book…Your connection to the spiritual world is fascinating and becomes more real every time you mention times when you have failed to connect. A non-stop success story would not ring so true. I love the title and the reason behind it, also the illustration on the front. You must be so pleased with the publication. Well done. The moments when you show confidence, commitment and contentment are enhanced by the periods of worry, doubt and despair. Fascinating reading. I especially liked the poem 'Alive'.’

‘I have just finished reading In Light and In Shade. It's 2.15am! I couldn't put it down. Wow, Patricia you are amazing I cannot congratulate you enough not just on writing the book but getting through the years since Malcolm's death and recording it all too. Just amazing! It is so well written.’

‘How comforting it was to read your enthralling and fascinating book.’

‘In this beautifully written book that includes some breath-taking poetry, Patricia shares the experience of her roller coaster ride in discovering spirituality after the loss of her adored husband, along with her honest emotions in dealing with a difficult court case. Patricia's book has, and continues to, help me in my own spiritual journey, for which I would like to thank her immensely.’

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About The Author

Patricia Irvine has always written for pleasure. Prior to being widowed in 1996, Patricia studied photography to LRPS level. Encouraged and facilitated by her generous-hearted husband, Malcolm, she travelled widely and has previously had travel articles published in magazines accompanied by her own photography.

Following the spiritual ‘wake up’ call prompted by Malcolm’s untimely death in 1996, Patricia had a break from travel writing. However, poetry unexpectedly became a new passion in her life, resulting in a substantial body of work, spanning many years. Much of her poetry has a spiritual theme and, as a confident public speaker; she has been invited to read her poems at spiritual gatherings, funerals, weddings, and other occasions. One of Patricia’s poems ‘A Gift for Betty Shine’ was published in Shine On ~ Visions of Life, ed. Janet Shine, published by HarperCollins UK, 2003.

In 2005, Patricia was commissioned to write and record a book of children’s poetry by the Sichuan University Press (China) and, around that time, was also asked to record a CD version of a phonetics and phonology book for them. She was also commissioned to write poems, for artist Tay Kiam Hong’s exhibitions ‘Sea Creatures 11’ and ‘Ocean Heartbeats’ used in his brochures (8–19 November 2008) and displayed at the Muse House, Katong, Singapore. She has been asked to write for his next exhibition in 2020.

Since her spiritual awakening, Patricia has spent a number of years turning her journals of that very difficult period into a book, In Light and In Shade. In June 2018, she was interviewed by Spirit & Destiny magazine, resulting in a three page article about her story. Westfield, Patricia’s home which features prominently in the book, also appeared in articles by The Sunday Times in 2014 and Devon Life, in November 2012. Patricia resides in Devon, Surrey and Kent, travelling frequently between the three counties. She has three grown-up sons and five grandsons (aged 7–10). Patricia is a member of the Society for Authors and a committed correspondent. Readers are welcome to submit any queries regarding In Light and In Shade, via the contact page below, and she will respond as swiftly as time and existing commitments allow.

Contact The Author