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So, today I’m on my walk listening to a Podcast and thinking about my day coming up.  As always, Shayna is on my mind also and I’m thinking about how I haven’t cried in a while. Is the grief changing?  Do I not miss her as much?  Is this a good thing or a bad thing?  I spot a tiny feather on the ground and I’m taken back to a conversation I had yesterday with a bereaved mother I work with on the SoulPhone.  She showed me a collection of feathers she’s gotten from her son.  I haven’t seen a feather in a while I think. What’s up with that, Shayna?  This feather is really tiny, but a feather is a feather.  I continue my walk about 20 minutes later I look over to my right, and I see the biggest feather I have ever seen. It has to be at least eight inches long. OK, Shayna. Good job.

I’m walking slowly today.  I wrap up the Podcast and cruise back toward the house. I decide to check Facebook which I never do on a walk. This might be the first time I’ve done that. What pops up is a memory from 7 years ago.  It’s Shayna’s “Bugsy video”.  She was in the kitchen playing on my laptop and had turned on the special effect that distorts your face. For a few minutes, she just freestyles this comedy routine.  I walk by, having no idea what she is doing, and take my laptop back.  As I’m shutting it down, she says “Bugsy, shut down by the man.” I would discover it later among a bunch of videos she recorded on my laptop.  It’s my all time favorite video of her.

So, now here come the tears I had been wondering about.  So much pain. I miss Shayna every day. When I allow myself to think about more days without her, the tears come. When I think about her not being at the house when I finish my walk, the tears come.

Yesterday, I wished for a feather. Today, I saw the biggest one I’ve seen yet. This morning, I wondered where the tears had gone. Then, this video pops up that is guaranteed to bring them back.  Good job, Shayna.  I don’t know how you pull these things off.

We had a reading with Suzanne Giesemann recently. Afterwards, she called with some additional information.  She said that Shayna came to her dressed up like a cat with whiskers drawn on her face and her hands up like paws, dancing around and laughing  and just having a great time.

Tywana immediately thought of this picture which, as far as I know, has never been published any place. A neighbor took it several years ago and sent it to Tywana after Shayna passed and it’s only been on Tywana’s iPhone since then.

It’s been almost exactly a year since my first medium reading and we had been discussing medium readings in group I’m in.  So I wanted to go back and listen to the reading again.

As I was listening, I noticed there was a section of the reading that was missing.  I knew there were some things she had said that weren’t in what I heard back.  I thought maybe I had spaced out for a while. So, i went back and listened again.  I didn’t notice where the gap was because there were long pauses during the reading, but again, I knew something was missing. When I got to where she said she was turning off the recording, the time indicator showed there were 8 minutes left in the audio. But, there was silence.  I went back in the audio and played some more. Then, I went back to the last 8 minutes expecting to find silence. But, this time when I played it back, the counter counted all the way down to zero and the audio ended there.

I came back and compared what I heard to my transcript of the reading and found out where the missing section was.  There is a section of the audio that is simply gone.  I found the original audio file sent to me by the medium and the section is there.

So, then I looked at the total length of each file. One said 48:10 and the other 48:09.  How is this possible?   So, I went back and played the file that was missing the section.  I’ve listened to that section three times now and it was not there.  When I listen to it on my computer, it’s there.  When I listen to the same file from my phone the section is not there, but the total length of the audio shows it’s the same time.

To the left of the sun, you can see (it doesn’t show up great with the camera) one of the two rainbows (sun dogs) I spotted in the clouds on the way to meet our friends Lynn and Doug. A sun dog is a particular type of rainbow that forms to the left and the right of the sun when the sun is at just the right angle in the sky and ice crystals are present.  Lynn took a picture of the same type of rainbow the day before while she and another friend were remembering a mutual friend.  We didn’t know this until we met them at the restaurant. We were talking about our rainbow to Lynn.  When we showed Lynn our picture, she told us she had taken a similar picture the day before. For some reason, she told us the time she took it 4:41.  I don’t know why she told us the time. Tywana checked the time stamp on our picture, it was exactly 4:41.

Kayla came home for the weekend for the first time this school year.  She’s been at college for about a month now, even though it seems longer.  It’d be nice to think she came home because she misses us, but she came home so that she could get her hair done.  Oh, well.  Whatever works. Right? 

Kayla and I always have a great time when she’s here, but I’m finally coming to the realization that the days of the girls living here are over. She’s a visitor now.  She spends more time away from our house than here. When our kids grow up, we have to accept they are going to grow away from us, too.

We go to a going away party for a friend’s daughter. She’s an only child and is very close with both her father and her mother. They still spend a lot of time together as she still lives in Cincinnati only about 20-30 minutes from where they are. But, she’s met a young man and is getting married and moving slightly farther away.  Well, maybe a lot farther away- Switzerland. At the party, her mother tells us that if we see a new river in Cincinnati, it will a river of her tears.  I talk with her father and give him my sympathy.  He reminds me that he and his wife left their parents to move across the ocean when they came to America.  Yeah, but us leaving our parents isn’t the same I tell him.  Our babies aren’t supposed to ever grow up.

Kayla tells us a story about her boyfriend. They are talking about affection in their respective families of origin. Kayla tells him that we kiss and hug her every night and tell her that we love her.  He looks at her with amazement.  “Even when you’re not leaving?  Even when they’re going to see you the next day?”  Yeah, every day. 

Today, Kayla will go back to school.  I’m not sure when she’ll be home again.  If the hairstyle holds up, it might be a while. Here’s hoping it doesn’t hold up.

p.s.- weird happening- the ceiling fan light continues to come on, on its own, randomly. This morning I wake up about 6:30, my usual time. I’ve been taking a course on getting in touch with images, sounds, thoughts, impressions that come into my mind. I wake to see an image of Shayna at around age 7, toothless, smiling at me.  I’m just there in that state halfway between sleep and being awake and thinking about Shayna when the light on the ceiling fan comes on at 6:55.  Tywana turns it off. I’m wondering if Shayna is doing this. So I try a little thought experiment. I ask her if she’s doing it to do it again.  Nothing happens. I say “Well, maybe we can do it together.”  So, I focus on making it come on again.  Nothing happens.  Still, it’s very strange that it keeps turning itself on and when we turn it off with the remote, it just goes right back off.

Today I start a course on raising my vibrational level in hopes of having more direct after death communications.  It’s been a weird several days.  We want signs from Shayna, but if what’s been happening lately are signs, we can hold off on the signs for a while. A few of weeks ago when we took Kayla back to school, I discovered a $1,700 problem with her car.  The refrigerator suddenly stopped working just a couple of weeks after that.  A light switch stopped working entirely, then started kinda working.  I’ve had three hard drives crash including two on the same day. Two of those drives were backup drives, but one is the main drive on Tywana’s computer which now needs to be replaced. And, the ceiling fan in our bedroom keeps turning itself on and off including the light. A couple of nights ago as we were trying to fall asleep the light flashed on and off and the fan changed speeds.  OK, Shayna, if you’re going to give us signs, please try not to make them destructive.

As I’m falling asleep I decide to try praying for a dream visit.  Several people have recommended asking for dream visits, but I’m hesitant to ask. I’m not good at asking for things because I don’t want to be disappointed when I don’t receive.  I ask for a visit and I fall asleep.

I wake up around 5:45 AM. I normally get up around 6:30-7:00.  I’ve had the most amazing dream, but my first thought is a bit of a disappointment, but not surprise, that I did not have a dream visit from Shayna.  

In my dream, I’m at a big family gathering in a house I don’t recognize. It’s a huge gathering full of adults, children, laughter, food, the whole nine yards.  Even though I don’t recognize the home or most of the people, I feel safe and fully at Home.  There is this little baby, an infant, no more than a few months old.  She is a beautiful baby girl. I don’t even know her name. She can speak clearly though and she says she’s really, really sleepy and wants me to put her down for a nap.  I take her tiny body and hold her close to me.  I cradle her in my left arm.  I wrap my right hand around her tiny head to support it, my thumb on one side and just three fingers on the other side. She looks up and me.  I love the feeling of holding her, protecting her and knowing she is totally dependent on me.  I feel like she is mine even though I don’t even know her name.  I take her into the bedroom and there is a place made up on the bed to put her down for a nap.  As I lay her down on the bed, she looks up at me and tells me she will see me when she wakes up. I leave the room so that she can sleep and join the rest of the party.  Then I spot another little girl walking across the floor. She is so sleepy she can barely keep walking. Her body is that of a one year old, just about the age when they can start walking, but her face is that of an adult.  She’s a beautiful girl, big round fat face.  Her name is Dorene (I don’t know anyone named Dorene).  She’s ready for a nap, too.  I convince her to go lie down.  I sit and enjoy the party until I finally wake up.  I’ve got the most wonderful feeling.  I would pay a million dollars to feel that feeling I had as I held that little girl.  Being a Daddy was the best thing I’ve ever experienced in my life and even though it was just in a dream, I had that feeling for a few more moments.

As I wake up, my thought is the girl I put down for the nap is a metaphor for those who pass on before we do, they sleep while we’re awake, then they wake up to join us. But I quickly realize this thought is wrong. It’s not the “dead” who are asleep.  It’s us. And they don’t “wake up” to rejoin us, we wake up to go be with them.  Then, it hits me, that little girl I held and put down for a nap was Shayna.  The disappointment of not having the dream visit I hoped for passes quickly.

6:20 rolls around. I might as well get up. I go into the bathroom to get dressed so I don’t disturb Tywana.  As I come out of the room where the toilet is I notice the light in the bedroom is on. I didn’t turn it on.  Why would Tywana have the light on so early?  I look out and she’s asleep.  I ask her why the light is on. She doesn’t know. She hadn’t turned it on.

Tywana listened to a Podcast today.  The guest being interviewed is a woman whose son has passed. Since, she has become a medium and has had many signs from her son.  Two of the signs she mentioned were lights coming on and off and the fan changing speeds on its own.  There is a circuit of lights in our house that stopped working a few months ago. I’m pretty sure it’s the switch. I bought a new switch, but they’re lights we rarely use, so I haven’t installed it.  Today, when I get up, the lights are on. They wouldn’t not turn on at all before. I turned them off and didn’t think much about it. 

Later in the day I go upstairs to our bedroom and the ceiling fan is running and the light is on. I’m always on Tywana and Kayla about leaving the ceiling fan on, but Kayla isn’t here and Tywana doesn’t turn the light on during the day. I wonder why she’s left it on, I turn it off and think no more about it.  

Later in the day I go upstairs again and the light is on again.  So, I ask Tywana why she keeps turning the light and the fan on. She says she didn’t do it. On top of that, she had come up during the day and found the fan runnning. So that’s at least three times. As we’re going to bed, she tells me about the signs she heard about in the Podcast and the light comes on again.  We are no where near the remote.  

Today is the first Sunday of the month. It’s the day before Labor Day, so we weren’t sure it if was the best time to try to have the Helping Parents Heal meeting.  IANDS moved their monthly meeting to next week. But, Tywana and I decide to just leave it as it is and see how it goes. No one showed up last month.  There is nowhere to go but up.

A couple of people have told us they would be here this month including a woman I have not met that found us through a mutual Facebook friend.  So, we’re hopeful we will have at least two people. We gather up our stuff, set our expectations knowing we might be coming right back home and we’re off to the meeting.

A few minutes till seven, I hear someone come into the room next to us where the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting is. I hear her ask “Is this the meeting?” and I hear the response of “Yes, come on in.”. Then I hear her name as she introduces herself.  It’s an unusual name, so I immediately know this is the person coming to our meeting, so I’m off to retrieve our first member.  

We do introductions.  It’s a few minutes till 7 o’clock. At 7, I start.  I tell her what the group is about.  By ten after it looks like no one else is going to show up. So, we begin sharing the stories of our kids.  Just then our second person walks in. We redo introductions and I retell the story of Shayna, quick version. Then we go around the table and complete the storytelling.  We have two mothers.  One’s grown son transitioned two years ago.  The other’s teenage daughter passed 32 years ago. She is here to help those of us who are recent- well, there’s no word for what we are.  Wives whose husbands have transitioned are called widows. Children whose parents have gone on are called orphans. The horror of losing a child is so bad there is no word for it.  But, she is here to help us, us parents still walking around in a fog.  I’ve had many parents tell me the first year or two you’re numb, on autopilot, barely functioning.

What happens in the meeting stays in the meeting so I will not share any stories or any information that could be used to identify any individuals.  But, as the meeting goes on, I’m thinking “We’re scheduled to be here until 9 o’clock.  There are only four of us. We’ve just met.  We’ll be out of here by 8 o’clock.  I have no formal agenda. We don’t know each other. When the conversation lulls, I’ll call it. 8 o’clock rolls around, 8:30, 8:45.  Finally, at 8:55 I tell them we’re going to have to start winding down the conversation.

During the meeting, I read an introduction by Sheri Perl Migdol that summarizes what HPH believes about the continuance of our children’s lives, what we are to do while we are here and the eternal beings that we are all.  My intent is to read it at the beginning of every meeting just to get everyone on the same page.  But, it was totally unnecessary with the two women who showed up. We share stories of signs we have gotten from our kids before they passed and prescient dreams before. We talk about reincarnation.  All of us had been to psychics or mediums or both and gotten amazing incontrovertible evidence that there is something very real about their abilities.

It’s not the number of people in the room that count. If we can help even one parent, we have done what we set out to do. And the meetings help us.  In spite of the signs Tywana and I have gotten, the evidence we’ve found through our research, every story helps. Every person who confirms we’re not crazy, it’s not just wishful thinking bolsters our hope and gives us the strength to carry one.  Tonight, it’s mission accomplished.

p.s.- I almost forgot… One of the things we talked about was finding dimes.  Pennies from Heaven is a common phrase, people attributing finding pennies to their Risen loved ones. Well, we decided we wanted dimes because finding a penny is too common.  I told my Put-In-Bay dime story.  When we get home, on the bedroom floor is a single dime.  

I get an average of probably 10-15 offers for free products in my email inbox every day.  I am one of Amazon’s top reviewers, so people send products to me to review. Fairly often I get an offer to review a book.  Usually I pass because, as much as I love to read, there are more books I am interested in than I will ever be able to get to.  My queue is constantly full.  

Yesterday I received an offer to read a book titled “They Serve Bagels In Heaven”. I had never heard of it.  It was offered to me because I reviewed   “The Afterlife of Billy Fingers”  I’m not sure if the person promoting the book noticed I hated “The Afterlife of Billy Fingers”.  I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to review it or not.  I’m still about four books down- books I have bought and haven’t even started. I told them if they could send a Kindle version I’d read it.  

Last week I ran out of Podcasts, so this week I started a new one. As I glanced through the available episodes I thought I saw “They Serve Bagels In Heaven” in the title of one of the episodes. I thought I must have someone gotten a glance of the email.  It was just a flash, I barely perceived it, but I started scrolling back through the titles and there it was.  The author of “They Serve Bagels In Heaven” had done a two part interview on this Podcast.  

When I got back home, in my inbox was a gift of the Kindle version of the book.I guess I’m supposed to read it.

Today I feel like I just need a break. A friend saw Kubo and The Two Strings a couple of days ago and recommended it.  I know absolutely nothing about it, but on a whim, I ask Tywana if she wants to go see a matinee this afternoon. So, off we go.

We get to the theater and there are exactly two other people there when the movie is about to start. I love seeing movies where I know as little as possible about them, it makes the adventure all the more intriguing.  The movie starts and I am immediately taken by the animation. The story begins with our hero in trouble.  

Kubo and the Two Strings is a classic Joseph Campbell hero’s journey.  I hadn’t heard of this until a couple of months ago at church where the concept was introduced during a sermon. Once I knew the template I realized you could overlay it on just about every movie or television show ever made.  In short,  hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.

I won’t ruin the story of Kubo anymore than I already have, but as I was reflecting on the movie I realized the reason we are so drawn to this narrative is is the story of each of us. We are on that journey, we are far from home, facing perils, testing ourselves, looking for and receiving supernatural aid along the way, and one day we will return home, victorious after having completed our quest.

This is something I have to remind myself of quite often.  The thing that has been added to our quest though is we have forgotten who we are. We can’t even remember home.  I saw a meme yesterday that read “The gods conceal from men the happiness of death, that they may endure life.”  It was one of those “Ah-ha” moments for moments for me.  People often ask: “If reincarnation is true, why can’t we remember our past lives?  If we were pre-existent, why can’t we recall life before we arrived here?”  The answer is simple.  If we could remember how great it is to be home, when the going got tough here, it’d be way too tempting to bail.  I know when I’m having a bad dream, I can usually just wake myself out of it, knowing that when I leave the dream I’ll be safe back in my bed.  

So, for today, it’s time to lace up the boots and continue on the quest.  I don’t know what today or tomorrow will bring, but I know that ultimately I’ll return Home, victorious.

Oh, one little synchronicity. Just this past week I bought two versions of “While My Guitar Gently Sleeps” one by Carlos Santana, Yoyo Ma and India.Arie and one by Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and Prince.  Then, during the closing credits of Kubo and Two Strings they played… While My Guitar Gently Weeps