Postcards From The Other Side

postcardFew things will cause others to call into question your sanity (or lack thereof) or your level of gullibility more quickly than announcing that you have received a message from a dearly departed loved one. More often than not, they’ll explain it away — and maybe even try and convince you — that it’s just your imagination or perhaps some wishful thinking at work. But if you are the one experiencing these communications from spirit, you know what it was, you know what you heard/saw/felt, and furthermore, there isn’t a naysayer on the planet who could convince you it was anything but the very tangible, real experience you know it to be.

I personally have always believed in an afterlife. Certainly, it’s a much more comforting concept than the thought of there being only a deep, dreamless sleep after we leave this world. But that in and of itself is not what made me a believer. To me, it’s inconceivable that our essence, consciousness, essentially, what makes us, us, simply ceases to exist when our physical bodies are no longer compatible with life. Our bodies are merely the vehicles in which we travel through this lifetime. I once read an interesting analogy that was something along the lines of, “if you are driving your car and the engine blows up, rendering it useless, what do you do? You get out of your car and move on. Just as you are not your car, you are not your body.” We are energy…and it is a proven fact that energy cannot be destroyed. It can only change form.

After the death of my freedom-loving Sagittarius first ex-husband more than 12 years ago, which was also the first experience I had ever had of losing someone very close to me, I was strolling through the city library, searching the shelves high and low, yet not knowing what I was looking for. All I knew was I desperately needed guidance, something, anything to help me cope with the excruciatingly painful grief which was unlike anything I had ever before felt. Sure enough, after several minutes of winding my way through the aisles, a title seemed to jump out at me. It was called Talking to Heaven: A Medium’s Message of Life and Death by James Van Praagh. I took it home and read it cover to cover. I then began frequenting bookstores for more of the same and found, among others, One Last Time: A Psychic Medium Speaks to Those We Have Loved and Lost by John Edward. And I pored over these books for hours at a time, reading and re-reading them, as they gave me a glimmer of hope in the darkest hours of my life up to that point. Upon reading these books, I came to realize that I had already experienced a few of my own messages from spirit and, little did I know at the time, I would continue to receive many more over the weeks, months, and years to come. Here are some of those experiences:

My now-deceased Sadge ex-hubby playing with our then-baby boy Bull

My now-deceased Sadge ex-hubby playing with our then-baby boy Bull

Be A Good Boy
One night, about two weeks after my Sadge ex-husband passed, I woke up in the middle of the night after having fallen asleep on the couch with my then-four and a half year-old Taurus son. I laid awake for just a minute or two, and then I listened intently as my little Bull started talking in his sleep:

“I know, dad…okay…uh huh…but what about your BB gun, dad?…uh huh…uh huh…okay…I will…I love you too…”

The only way I can describe this would be to say that it was as though I were listening to one end of a telephone conversation. There is no doubt in my mind that what I was listening to was my Taurean preschooler as he received a visit from his dad.

Here’s Your Sign
Several weeks later, one bright, crisp winter afternoon on my way home from work, I stopped at the cemetery as I did every week to leave a single red rose on my ex’s gravesite. I began to “talk” to him, asking him to please show me something, a sign, anything to know that when I told our children their daddy was still with them that I was telling them the truth. Trying to think of something specific to ask for, something that would let me know without question that it was from him, I made the tongue-in-cheek suggestion that he “show” me an elephant, reasoning that if I were to see a random elephant walking around, there would be no way I could write it off. I chuckled out loud at the thought, acknowledging that an elephant walking down the street would probably not be doable (ya think?) I then stressed that whatever he chose to show me, just let it be something that I couldn’t shoot down or dismiss as wishful thinking. With that, I left the cemetery and headed home.

A little more than two weeks later, I stopped by my ex’s widow’s place on my way home from work to pick up the Valentine’s Day goody bags she had made for my three kids. When I got home, I passed out the bags and went about my usual routine. My young Bull excitedly ran up to me. “Mom, look what she put in my bag!”

He proudly held up a small stuffed elephant with a plastic picture frame on its tummy…which held a picture of my wee Taurus with his dad.

This Is How It’s Supposed To Be
Shortly after my former Cancer hubby was killed in a car accident in January 2013, I was driving and came to an intersection when I realized

The makeshift roadside memorial at the crash site

The makeshift roadside memorial at the crash site

I had forgotten to put on my seat belt. As I clicked it into place, tears began welling up in my eyes. I spoke aloud, “why couldn’t you have been wearing your seat belt? You’d still be here if you’d just worn your seat belt.” Suddenly, the following thought was impressed upon me:

“If I had survived, I would’ve wished I hadn’t. This is the way it’s supposed to be.”

This is another experience that is difficult to explain. I heard it in the same way one “hears” their own thoughts, except it wasn’t my thought: it was as though I were “hearing” someone else’s thought. Like, as I previously mentioned, the thought was impressed upon me rather than originating in my own mind.

When I “heard” this, my jaw dropped and I was pretty much just frozen in shock. The hair on my arms stood on end. On one hand, it made perfect sense and to my surprise, I realized I had never considered that point of view. Knowing my ex-Crab as well as I did, I could totally see the logic in that statement. He was already prone to bouts of deep depression, anxiety, and moodiness. If he had survived, but with injuries severe enough to be life-altering, compounded with the (relatively trivial) fact that he would have lost his truck and probably his job in the wake of the accident, I could absolutely imagine him spiraling even further downward, cursing the fact that he hadn’t been killed. But on the other hand, from what I had heard, if he had only been wearing his seat belt that night, he very likely could have walked away from the wreckage rather than it killing him instantly. This was confusing because there was no doubt in my mind that the “thought” I had “heard” was from my recently-deceased ex.

It came full circle earlier this week, nearly eight months after my Cancer ex was killed. I was at the police department in the town where he died, speaking face to face with the first responding police officer to the scene of the accident. I asked several questions about what transpired that horrible night. Through tears, I asked one last question:

“If he had worn his seat belt, would he have survived?”

The officer hesitated and thought hard before responding. “Well…maybe,” he relented. He then added, “I hate to say yes or no.”

“That bad?” I asked.

He nodded. “Yeah. Really bad.”

With those statements, the officer had unknowingly validated the message I received from spirit so many months earlier. The accident was so horrific, the damage to his vehicle so extensive, that even if my ex-Crab had worn his seat belt, there is a significant chance that he still wouldn’t have survived and if he had, he wouldn’t have simply walked away.

Looking down several feet into the drainage culvert where my ex-Crab lost his life in the early morning hours of New Year's Day 2013

Looking down several feet into the drainage culvert where my ex-Crab lost his life in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day 2013

A Deer In Headlights
While visiting the town last weekend where my now-deceased Cancer ex was killed, my current Cancer man and I decided to head over to the scene of the crash. It was exactly 0.5 miles and a two-minute drive from his home. Because it was a single vehicle accident and in the very early morning hours, there were — at least, as far as anyone knows for certain — no witnesses; therefore, whatever happened to cause his truck to leave the roadway and tumble down into a drainage culvert is pure speculation at this point. Now, I’m all too cognizant of the fact that we will probably never know exactly what transpired to set the accident in motion. But as we drove to the crash site, I silently pleaded with him to please, point me in a direction, give me a clue, just help me try to make sense of what happened.

My current Cancer and I parked in the parking lot adjacent to the site where the wreck occurred and walked the twenty or so feet down the grass so we could look down into the culvert where my ex-Crab’s truck ended up on its roof. Standing on the very ground where he went off the road and lost his life, it was unbelievably surreal; difficult to wrap my mind around the fact that it really happened right there. As we stood at the fence his truck barreled through, which had by then been replaced, we visually surveyed the area below. My current Cancer broke the silence by bringing to my attention the sound of leaves crunching.

“Look, check it out, there’s a big buck down there.” I looked just in time to catch a brief glimpse of a massive buck as he darted off and up into some thick brush, quickly disappearing from sight.

We continued to look around, taking note of the curb he would have had to go up to leave the road where he did, the curve and grade of the road itself , thinking out loud, bouncing possible scenarios off each other as to what could have ultimately led to him losing control of the truck and crashing. It still didn’t seem to add up.

A short time later, back at the home of my ex’s stepmother and younger sister at which we stayed during our visit — and also where my

What happened, Tom...why did you have to go...

What happened, Tom…why did you have to go…

ex had lived at the time of his death — my current Cancer and I sat on the front porch sharing a cigarette and rehashing our hypotheses. He mentioned the deer we had seen milling around for a few brief moments at the spot where my ex took his last breath.

And that’s when it hit me.

“Oh my god,” I told him incredulously. “I know what happened. I know why he went off the road. I can’t believe I didn’t see it while we were there!”

I then proceeded to tell my current Cancer how I had silently asked my ex-Crab for a clue or a sign that would explain what caused the wreck. “And then that huge buck was down there! Right where he died! The roads that night were wet. His tires were bad. He’s got no weight in the bed of his truck. He’s coming up that hill, around that curve, and a deer is in the road so he reflexively brakes or swerves to avoid it, or both…and he goes into a spin, sliding back down the hill and at this point, he’s now basically just become a passenger and there’s nothing he can do…and it’s up the curb, through the fence…and down into the drainage culvert.”

A feeling of peace and contentment washed over me. What I was saying didn’t feel at all like a theory or a guess. It felt like my ex had actually told me what happened. Speaking with the first responding police officer the following day and running the scenario by him, he confirmed everything I said, except for the presence of the deer in the road, which obviously can never be proven.

What are the odds that a random deer would be in that culvert, in the exact spot where my ex’s truck crashed, at the exact time we got there? I have no idea…but what I do know is that I had received the clue I had asked for.

A typical manifestation of the number 33 showing up

A typical manifestation of the number 33 showing up

Lucky Numbers
Shortly after my first ex-hubby passed away in January 2001, I began noticing something unusual. Looking back, I’m not entirely sure at what point I noticed a pattern and began recognizing it as a nod from spirit, but I do know that by April of that year I was quite aware of it. I started seeing a lot of instances of the number 33. Everywhere I turned, I saw the number 33: on receipts, digital clocks, license plates, road signs, phone numbers, you name it. I’d be driving and glance down at the clock, or my odometer, and there would be a 33. In the grocery store checkout, my total would have a 33 in it, or the change I was due would have a 33 in it. I’d pull up to a stop light and the license plate on the car ahead of me would have a 33 in it. I’d go to adjust the volume on the TV and the volume level number would be at 33. I could go on and on.

Granted, I can see how those could be easily dismissed. But then those 33s began to

Hello from David: A sticker with the number "33" which I found in a random dryer's lint trap at our Laundromat. Still think it's just coincidence? I NEVER did.

Hello from David: A sticker with the number “33” which I found in a random dryer’s lint trap at our Laundromat. Still think it’s just coincidence? I NEVER did.

pop up in places/situations that weren’t as easily explained. There was the time I stopped by the tanning salon after work only to discover their computer had crashed, so as customers showed up they were being assigned new member ID numbers, starting with 1. When it was my turn in line, the new member ID number assigned to me was — you guessed it — 33. I couldn’t have timed that to happen if I’d tried. When I began dating my current Cancer man in early 2003, I discovered that he was born at 8:33am. The first time I took a road trip up to visit him, the exit number was 33 and as we sat outside having a cigarette in his garage, there was a can sitting on a shelf with a giant number 33 emblazoned across the label. Now, the 33s that are connected somehow to my current Cancer man, I feel, is my Sadge ex-hubby’s way of indicating to me that the two of us being together is a good thing. A hat tip, if you will. In fact, my late Sadge ex and my current Cancer love were friends. And my ex-Sadge always thought really highly of my Cancer. I absolutely believe that were he alive today or had still been with us when my Cancer and I took our friendship up a notch to the romantic level, knowing himself what a stand-up, honorable guy my Cancer man is, he would have been more than pleased because he would’ve known without question that his children and I would be loved and protected.

These are just a few examples. The appearance of the number 33 continues to be pretty frequent to this day.

So, what’s the significance of the number 33? That was how old my Sadge ex-hubby was when he succumbed to cancer.

I can’t seem to see you baby…
Although my eyes are open wide
But I know I’ll see you once more…
When I see you, I’ll see you on the Other Side. ~ Ozzy Osbourne, See You on the Other Side

Thank You
As you might have already read in my post Suicide Solution: Friends To The End, my teen Taurus son’s best friend, an angst-ridden 17 year-old Piscean, committed suicide on September 4, 2013. His chosen method? Self-immolation. And in his suicide note, he instructed “P.S. Don’t bury me. Finish the cremation.” His devastated family did as Kevin requested, and a memorial service will be held for him on Saturday, September 14, 2013. Because my grief-stricken young Bull lives in Arizona, nearly 1,500 miles away from where the service will be held, he is unable to be there. Fortunately, I live much closer and it’s only a 350 mile drive for me. So I volunteered to go on my son’s behalf. This is particularly important because Kevin’s family has graciously offered to give my son some of his late best friend’s ashes, and I don’t think I need to tell you how honored and moved we are that his family thinks so much of my Taurus teen and his friendship with their beloved Kevin.

Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson

Last night, I decided to burn some new CDs in preparation for tomorrow’s road trip. I downloaded some new music and created a few new playlists. This was all pretty uneventful until I tried to play one of the playlists. Regardless of which song or artist I selected, what I heard instead were random tunes by Marilyn Manson. It’s true, I am a fan of The Manson and I do have several of his songs downloaded to my laptop. But none of those tunes were on that playlist. In fact, I don’t happen to have a playlist with any Manson on it whatsoever.

You're welcome, sweetie...

You’re welcome, sweetie…

Obviously, this was pretty annoying. As I was cursing aloud to myself several times over the course of trying to figure out what was going on, it dawned on me. Kevin was a huge Marilyn Manson fan. Was he acknowledging the fact that I will be traveling to his memorial service on my son’s behalf and bringing some of his ashes home with me to give to him? Was this his way of “thanking” me? I honestly don’t know. But what I do know is what happened next.

“You’re welcome, Kevin,” I spoke aloud, smiling.

And my playlist immediately began to play…normally.

All that lives, lives forever. Only the shell, the perishable passes away. The spirit is without end. Eternal. Deathless. ~ Nate AlexandriaLA1999Fisher, from the HBO original series Six Feet Under

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one who is quick to attribute every woo-woo thing that happens to me as being a sign or message from spirit. To the contrary, I am more likely to dismiss my own experiences as being figments of a wishful imagination than I am to dismiss the experiences of others. That said, however, there are several instances along with the ones I have just shared with you that I have been unable to discount or chalk up to an overactive imagination. I am convinced that death is not the end of our existence, but rather a transformation to a different level of consciousness.

This Is The Way The World Ends: Volume I

Tom, January 2003

Tom, January 2003

“People say I’m crazy doing what I’m doing
Well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin…
When I say that I’m okay well they look at me kind of strange
Surely you’re not happy now you no longer play the game…
People say I’m lazy dreaming my life away
Well they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me…
When I tell them that I’m doing fine watching shadows on the wall
Don’t you miss the big time boy; you’re no longer on the ball
I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll…
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go.” ~ John Lennon, “Watching the Wheels”

This is the first post I’ve written in nearly six months! Aw, and I missed all of you too… *sniff*… Make no mistake about it: it’s not that there hasn’t been much to report; on the contrary, I have plenty of musings and anecdotes which I’ve been dying to share; therefore, we have a lot of catching up to do, my fellow bloggers/followers/friends! For the sake of this particular post however, I’ll nutshell it for you: my beloved Cancer cusp and I officially reunited in a living-together capacity in late October after a two and a half month “getting-to-know-you-again” journey. Things have been amazing and I’m hard pressed to remember being happier before in my life. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I’d actually be saying (typing?) these words. But here I am and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. Happiness is abundant and life is — and has been — beautiful. But for this post, I will be focusing on one of the most painful events of my life thus far, occurring during my extended blogging hiatus. As the “Volume I” in the title indicates, there is much more to come regarding this tragic turn of events. It sucked the breath right out of me like a full-on punch to the stomach or, perhaps more accurately, like a dagger plunged through my very heart and soul.

Monday evening, December 31, 2012. I worked until 9pm. My Cancer cusp love was home waiting for me and we planned a quiet, just-the-two-of-us evening to ring in the New Year…complete with homemade loaded baked potato soup, other snacks, and of course an abundance of alcoholic beverages: beer, wine, margaritas…you name it. We were both off work New Year’s Day so we genuinely looked forward with great anticipation and excitement of doing next to nothing the following day, perhaps with the exception of noshing on our traditional black eyed peas, which we planned to slow cook along with a meaty ham hock in the crock pot. Just after the stroke of midnight, I sent text messages wishing each of my children a “happy, happy new year!” and each one of them had responded in kind shortly thereafter. And around 3 or 4am on New Year’s morning, we fell into bed…exhausted but thrilled to be back together and beginning a brand new year of possibilities.

Around 1:30pm on New Year’s Day afternoon, I slowly began to rouse. That’s some serious sleeping in but I didn’t care; my agenda for the day included…well, nothing! I rubbed my eyes, stretched, turned my head to the left and watched as my wonderful Cancer man continued sleeping next to me. I leaned over and gave him a kiss, which didn’t wake him, but that was okay; that hadn’t been my intention. I got up, threw on a T-shirt, and shuffled to the bathroom. I then went into the kitchen, poured the dried black eyed peas into the crock pot, added the water and the delicious, salty ham hock, and set the slow cooker on low. I then plopped myself down on the living room couch and turned on the TV.

I yawned and lit a cigarette. What to do, what to do, I silently pondered. After all, for this one day I wasn’t at the mercy of any schedule whatsoever and it just doesn’t get much better than that. Bliss.

Suddenly inspired, I got up and put Tiger Woods 2005 in our Xbox 360 and thought it sounded like fun to just chill on the couch, wearing only an oversized T-shirt, playing golf while I waited for my love to wake up and join me in the living room, probably with a “mornin’ babe” kiss and a cup of coffee. I powered on the console and waited as it began to load.

While the game was loading, the song “Little Suzi” by Tesla pierced the silence in the apartment as it began to loudly play from my cell phone on the kitchen table, indicating my 21 year-old Scorpio daughter, Suzanne, was calling. I smiled as I got up and grabbed my phone from the charger, assuming she was simply calling to wish us a happy new year, perhaps planning to let us talk to her Libra son, our awesome five year-old grandson Brendan (a.k.a. “Lil B”).

I swiped the touchscreen to answer her call. “Hey sweetie, what’s up?” I smiled, surprised at the call. Scorpio Suz rarely just calls out of the blue; she usually texts.

“Mom!” my daughter sobbed, trying to catch her breath.

Instantly, my smile vanished and I felt the blood drain from my face as my excitement turned to terror. What was wrong? What was she going to tell me? In the space of what in hindsight was probably no more than one or two seconds, all kinds of horrible scenarios filled my head. Had something happened to my grandson? To my Taurus son, who is now living with them in Arizona? Was my son in-law okay? “What?! What is it!?” I almost shouted, begging for an answer that I wasn’t even sure I wanted to hear. “What happened?!” I repeated loudly, seemingly in an effort to drown out whatever her response would be…

She then choked out the words in between sobs as she tried to catch her breath. The words that have replayed in my mind every day of my life ever since.

Tom died!”

Tom & my Scorpio daughter Suzanne, May 2001

Tom & my Scorpio daughter Suzanne, May 2001

I felt disoriented, confused, as if I’d heard her wrong. I heard her say “Tom” but I couldn’t wrap my mind around the words…or his name being used in that context.

I shouted in a panic as my heart and mind began to race. “Who??” Surely I’d misunderstood her. “Tom who?!”

But I knew.

Tom!” she continued, crying about as hard as I’d ever heard her cry in her 21 years.

“What?! What happened?” I asked loudly, still hoping maybe she was wrong; maybe it wasn’t true. It couldn’t be true.

“I don’t know,” Suz sniffed, trying to catch her breath again. “Jace just talked to Danielle [Tom’s ex] and she told him…do you want to talk to Jace?”

“Yes!” I told her adamantly. “Let me talk to him!”

My 16 year-old Taurus son took the phone. “Hey…” he said solemnly.

“What happened to Tom!?” I angrily demanded as I paced the living room floor so fast and furiously that it could have worn a path in the carpet.

“I don’t know, mom…Danielle just told me he died last night…” my son said quietly

At this point, I was filled with such a potpourri of mixed emotions that even now I’m not sure if I could identify them all individually. But the one at the forefront during that moment was rage. Tom? My Cancer ex-husband? The man from whom I inherited my current surname when we were married on December 29, 2000? The man with whom I had briefly reconciled when I was living in Hot Springs, AR after he moved down there to be with me in 2011 & 2012 ? The man who took my children’s dying father to chemotherapy sessions and whom he promised to fill in as their father should the unthinkable happen (which it did in January 2001)? No. No! No, Tom, you don’t get to die! Who the hell do you think you are? You don’t get to die and leave these kids, leave your daughter, leave your family…and leave me! I don’t think so!

My Taurus son Jace, Tom, and my Sadge son Brian, 2008

My Taurus son Jace, Tom, and my Sadge son Brian, 2008

“That motherfucker!” I snapped angrily. I looked around the room. I felt like breaking something. But I didn’t.  “That stupid son of a bitch! What the fuck did he do!?”

“Don’t…,” my uncharacteristically placid Taurus-cusp son urged me, “don’t dishonor his name like that…” I could hear him fighting back tears.

But I was infuriated. “No!” I argued. “I guaranfuckintee you, however this happened, it was not natural! Whatever killed him was because of something, probably something fucking stupid, that he did!” I believe I then told my son I loved him – I’m not absolutely sure; I think a bit of self-protective amnesia set in around this time, causing me to lose some of the details – but I did ask him to put his sister back on the phone.

When she said “hello?” I was still in such shock, such disbelief, and feeling such utter rage about what had happened, I told my daughter, “I’m gonna get off here and see what I can find out…I’ll let you know…and let me know if you hear anything, okay?” Still crying, she told me she would and that she loved me.

At this point, evidently roused from sleep by my emotional tirade in the living room, my Cancer cusp man came walking out of the bedroom and with genuine concern in his eyes, he asked, “What’s goin’ on?”

I took a deep breath. I hadn’t yet cried. I blurted out, “Tom died last night.”

Tom & his daughter Lindsey, 2012

Tom & his daughter Lindsey, 2012

“Hey, I ain’t never coming home…
Hey, I’ll just wander my own road
Hey, I can’t meet you here tomorrow…
Say goodbye, don’t follow
Misery so hollow…”

~ Alice In Chains, “Don’t Follow”

Oh my God. Did I really just say those words? I wondered. Is this really happening?

Without hesitation, he walked over to me and held me in his arms, stroking my hair, trying to comfort me. “Oh baby. Oh, baby. I’m so sorry…” For a moment I felt safe, protected, comforted. At the same time, I felt confused…why was he consoling me? Tom was my ex-husband. I felt like a fraud, like I didn’t deserve any sympathy. Then, speaking into his shoulder, I said, “I have to find out what happened…”

I hadn’t spoken to Tom since early December, about three weeks prior to his death, but I  knew he had been living at home in Weirton, WV with his stepmother, a forty-something Libra named Leisa, the kind of person who knocks herself out taking care of others before tending to herself. Tom’s father, a fun-loving Leo known as “Big Tom” (a misnomer, as “big” Tom was actually smaller than his son) had passed away from a long battle with cancer only four and a half months prior. At that very moment it suddenly occurred to me that although I had been quite upset to learn of Big Tom’s passing, I was now overcome with an intense feeling of relief that at least he hadn’t survived long enough to suffer every parent’s worst nightmare: the loss of a child. So what if Tom was 36 years old? He could have been 86 years old and it wouldn’t have mattered: your child is still, always and forever, your baby.

Not knowing Leisa’s phone number, I logged onto Facebook and was immediately greeted with an inbox message from Tom’s cousin Dan’s wife, Jenny, whom I’d gotten to know somewhat via Facebook over the previous year. And as I read her words – possibly aloud, I don’t really remember – I had to re-read them…and re-read them…and re-read them yet again because they just weren’t sinking in. This couldn’t be reality; this happens to other faceless, nameless people, not to us! It was like an out-of-body experience reading Jenny’s words:crying eye

“Tommy was killed in a car accident last night. The family is keeping this closed-lipped for a while but I thought you should know. I’ll let you know when arrangements are set so you can contact whomever you like. […] so please just keep this between us for a day or so. So sorry for your loss.”

Reading that message, repeatedly, it still felt unbelievably surreal. This can’t be true. I had no doubt whatsoever that any second now, I would wake up in a heart-pounding cold sweat, crying, but simultaneously relieved that it had all only been an, albeit very realistic, nightmare…

I never did wake up.

And then I began to cry. And I don’t mean shed a few tears. I wailed. I sobbed uncontrollably. I dropped to my hands and knees and screamed like a wounded animal. I shouted, “why is this happening? Why?!” over and over again, as though I might actually get an answer. I thought I’d never stop. My heart literally ached with sadness. It was torturous.

crying girl

Tom is really, truly gone. He’s never coming back. Never again will I hear his voice on the phone, or receive a text from him, or be able to give him a hug, or tell him I love him. I won’t be able to share things with him…news/updates about the kids…and never again will we have one of our haven’t-talked-to-ya-in a-while-how-have-you-been phone calls where we catch up on each other’s lives. So much has been lost. Gone forever. And that’s just on my end. I haven’t even begun to touch on the life-altering impact this loss has had and will continue to have on Tom’s beloved eight year-old daughter, my three children whom we raised together, Danielle, the mother of his daughter Lindsey (I’ve been in her shoes when my children lost their biological father to cancer in early 2001 so I truly do know what she’s experiencing and feeling), along with the rest of his family, especially his stepmother Leisa, his younger sister Jamie and younger brother Justin, and everyone else who loved and cared about him…which there were and are many.

And so it appears the Universe has decided I need a refresher course in Grief 101 as I embark on another  journey through life’s inevitable, excruciatingly painful grieving process. There’s no escape; therefore, my only option is to deal with it. Some days it’s just making it through one day at a time; on the worst days the goal is to make it through one minute at a time, like a toddler learning to walk. The bottom line, however, is that I will survive this…somehow. It won’t be easy; in fact, it’s one of the worst experiences one can ever face.

To be continued…

“And I’ll take with me the memories to be my sunshine after the rain…
It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.” ~Boyz II Men, “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday”

Tom and Brian, May 2001
Tom and Brian, May 2001

All he ever wanted was to teach you, to reach you
Death is the cousin of sleep
Just close your eyes, count sheep and breathe deep…
Think about the sound of relief that surrounds you.

~ Atmosphere, “Bleed Slow”