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Monday, November 14, 2016

HOPE



Excerpts of Twenty-Seconds Amazon #1 International Bestseller
and my favorite
I Will always BELIEVE


CHAPTER 10
HOPE

Finding beauty everywhere would serve me well.  Two months into my after effects research after the calendar awakening in February of 2014, it all became apparent why. At a time in my life when I thought I was going crazy in what I assumed was a haunted mansion on the lake in Eden.  Constant bumps and bangs.  Shadows.  Creep feelings all alone. Felt the shinning all snowed in up there in the mountains.  But it was beautiful. Apparently the peninsula that defines Penninsula Drive in Eden was supposed to have been Indian land and sacred in some manner.  It was lonely and desolate.   
            During my recovery after my fourth surgery, once again deemed cancer free, I found continued inspiration with connecting with old friends. On that snowy day in the lake house I posted a picture of a skydiver and mentioned that I would once again like to feel the breeze in my hair and the quiet peace and beauty of skydiving. I had enjoyed that as a young man. I wondered what the perception would be now with an evidently expanding mind.   It was within minutes that a response came. A friend from school posted a comment about always wanting to try it all of her life.Fear had stopped her for years and the conversation ensued about my thoughts on fear. The date was February 16th and was the exact anniversary of my diagnosis three years prior.Thats just freaky.
The woman in question was Carol, and the crush I had in high school was still etched into my heart as we spoke some thirty years later. The only person in my history that made me nervous to talk to. Ever. We had not spoken since high school but here she was listening to me plead with her to trust me. To step out on the limb and take a chance. Overcoming fear is a biological necessity in life, I believe. The world, as I mentioned, has a way of bringing our fears before us whether we like it or not. This was one recurring epiphany in my NDE and we will discuss it more later in this book. It just might be the key to everything. I think it's best to face our fears consciously with free will before that intervention occurs and shocks the shit out of you. It teaches self-confidence for one thing, but I believe the universe rewards you with many gifts for it. What seems self evident to me is whether you want to or not the world brings your fears right to your door sometimes?  Forcing your hand to deal. Life is funny that way. I think its important to understand I believe fear is an illusion.  Its keeping many from great things.
Carol agreed to the sky diving adventure and with my pleading to trust. Admittedly not strongly represented in her wheelhouse throughout life. For whatever reason she stepped out onto that limb that day and both of our lives were forever changed. But something was different.  I had dated. I chose not to. I wasn’t looking for anything. But poof the only girl I crushed on in High School that I couldn’t even ask to dance.  Geez.  At exactly the right time and manner.
 It was two hours after that decision of Carol’s that she got word of her ex-husband's terminal diagnosis and possible entry into Hospice - a synchronicity that spoke volumes to us both in regards to her children’s' upcoming adjustment in facing death that closely for the first time. Here I am researching death and the afterlife to a degree.
You see now that the purpose, not just the reason, is coming out in this book over the last few pages. I am happy you realize that. This story isn't to prove anything. That's up to you to make your own decisions, as we talked about earlier. Your conclusions mean more to you than me telling you. Pay attention to the signs and you will see. This isn't a scientific journal filled with the research I did. That honestly would make for a very long book. This is a love story of hope and faith you see. It is my legacy to leave. It isn't just about the love of family and the healing power of my experience. It is in the hope of the love so pure it will shake the foundation of everything you may have ever known about relationships. It's about the love of two soul mates and the beauty of paying attention to all who cross our paths, even if it was thirty years ago. There is much to say about Carol and I that may never make its way onto these pages. If I found the NDE ineffable, so too would I find explaining the love I feel for this woman and how far we have come together. It certainly wasn't planned to allow her to love me and vice versa, and I believe that's what makes it so undeniable. I have heard many say "when you least expect it in life, that's when it appears". So it was so. So too shall it always be. The reason may be just being comfortable with yourself, I believe. Not needing anyone else in your life to highlight any particular thing, being ok with being alone and having enough self-love to understand that no one else is required to "complete" you. But it should augment you and so it did here in this case. It wasn't planned but it was impactful. Timing was hard to ignore.  My life had spun into surgery after surgery of my ass.  It was becoming exhausting. I was ready to give in again as the after effects were to numerous.  My mind was exploding with ideas.  Holy cow ideas.  I couldn’t stop it.  I needed control and exactly at the right time.  Carol reaches out to face a fear and found trust.  It would change everything.
Carol and I spent hours talking and chatting. That really isn't an exaggeration. Literally hours on end before we even met. Some days we would chat for 6-7 hours while she was on vacation that week.  Serendiptiy.  Every single night until the early morning hours. I saw some sun rises with the phone glued to my ear. We talked about everything to catch up from our 30 year distance and in retrospect was one of the most important things I have ever done. I was hesitant in allowing myself involvement at first as my health was so up in the air and the visions I had about my death didn't seem to fit into devastating another. But regardless the attachment grew with every word.
The bulk of the conversation was about her kids. Carol's life had been centered around these children all of their lives. Not unlike every Mom I am sure, but there was a difference. She had spent the last 12 years of her life alone partially because the time she committed to her children and their upbringing. She was selfless when it came to her kids - perhaps too much and she knew it. She didn’t date. It was all about the kids.  The eldest, Mercedes was now grown up and gone to college in Arizona which was devastating Carol.. While the middle child, Jake, was a senior at the very same high school we had attended. The youngest, Cole, was a sophomore there as well. Her kids were growing up and getting ready for their next adventure. The timing couldn't have been more perfect actually for her to spread her wings and discover things for herself. It wouldn't go unrecognized for either of us. Although we didn't go into it with dating in mind, we did recognize the growing affection as we talked into the early morning hours for weeks.
Carol and I made plans to skydive and agreed to meet prior to discuss it further in person. In lieu of any pressure, we called it an appointment rather than a date and it seemed to ease any pressures she or I had about it. I had told Carol of my sensitivity to touch and an undefined energy in my touch that I couldn't explain. It intrigued her and her curiously was palpable. I was hesitant at first to talk about my Near Death Experience honestly.  But gradually little things came out.  I would finish her sentences or guess things.  She thought I hacked er web cam.  I was so connected to her.
That "appointment" changed all of our lives that day and I am forever grateful for it. It was clear over the weeks of conversation that an attachment was growing and quickly between Carol and I. We fell in love with each other's personality and our thoughts aligned on nearly everything. That's rare today. Her life was her children and it would be just what the doctor ordered for me, timing notwithstanding. The impending death of her children's father and my recent brush with death quite obviously were no accident. I spent months researching theories on death and life after death. Another prevalent gift from my NDE that left me with certainties that I was sure could aide in these kids' journey and might even be "the important thing" I was supposed to do. Little had I realized the gifts in store for me.
Not only was it a perfect time for us to meet for her, but for me as well. Over the last few months after I awakened from the epiphany with Mom’s calendar and the brain shift I was experiencing, it was difficult at first dealing with the understanding of what was happening in my mind. The thirst for information was timed perfectly and I found peace in the changes I had noted slowly but surely...day by day. But one epiphany that I found during my research was the dogma of suicide and it would haunt me to a point of rationalization that I would keep in my back pocket. After all I had been through and here I was after the fourth brutal surgery for the Carcinoma that seemed to have no mercy with my body. One surgery of the rectum is something I don't wish. But four in a year is, in retrospect, hard to even imagine. I had made a deal with my rationalization with suicide that if this surgery was required again I would not partake in it. Weeks prior to me connecting with Carol, I had collected a stash of pain medications I had never used and ceremoniously placed them into a orange bag and stored it like a trophy into a briefcase of important documents. It would forever be named my Mercy bag and its intent was clear. I would have no more painful surgeries allowed and I would once again let go to the path of life and destiny and let the universe be my guide as I did in Hospice a year earlier. If the pain got too bad from this decision I would find my mercy bag and I would use it. I was not afraid of whats on the other side.  I missed it in some way.  Longed for it. It's ironic to me that during my nearly three-year battle I never contemplated suicide. I am not sure that's actually fair to say. I contemplated it but previous religious beliefs and my commitment to Kate's love and efforts would always deter me. Kate and I had an agreement about suicide during those days. The only stipulation was that I would call her first. She never took a position but she did take an interest. I knew she wouldn't try to talk me out of it but I would forever be too embarrassed to make that call. Just seemed disrespectful considering all she had done. There were plenty of dark days that I picked up the phone in my little ant apartment. But I never did make the call. My Mercy bag was prepared and ready and I was too if need be. At some point every human being has a breaking point. Mine had been crossed more times than I could count and I had enough of it.
            So at exactly the right time during the recovery process in the lake house from the fourth surgery, I come across Carol. It quite simply couldn't have been timed any better obviously for either of us. The beauty in her voice over the next few weeks on the phone was captivating. Like the voice of an angel. I tried and tried to keep my feelings in check but the more we shared the closer we became. We spoke about everything. I found an honesty and candor I had never experienced with another human being in my life and I believe she did too. Nothing was off limits except the one lingering secret I had hoped never to have to share with her. My HIV infection. I suppose I still hadn't found the forgiveness in myself for getting infected. Sins of the past still haunted me. Shame is an ugly ghost and I was visited daily by this one. The closer we got the more it haunted me and in turn the more I didn't want to get closer. I had dated before and have had to have “the conversation” as I called it but never before had the impact been so ominous. It had always gone well in the past but I hated it.  I also wondered if it was honestly fair.  I have no idea whats next for me.  Im lucky to even be here. My immune system was limited and that should have been a concern. But it wasn’t.  It was clear to me that I was falling for the very soul of this woman and its resistance would become more and more difficult. The guilt of not sharing my secret would as well.
            We texted more times than we spoke at first and in retrospect I think this was perfect. Some might think immediately it represents our own fears on getting close as both of us never had intentions on letting it go too far and you would be right. But amazingly there was something else to consider here. Not only did texting allow the walls each of us had built to stay in place, it also allowed a comfort level and depth of thought perhaps we hadn't considered. It allowed time to truly absorb what each of us wrote and answer in a manner that left us responsible for the truth. Writing it just gives you pause maybe. It's a forever thing unlike the misconceptions of words perhaps. Either way it is clear in life that “when people talk they are repeating what they already know. When people listen they might actually learn something new.” Dali lama.   This paid dividends in our communication. I read and re-read what she wrote. Literally dissolved into the intent and emotions she poured onto those text pages. It always made me think. The shear vulnerability she showed got stronger every day. I responded quickly and confidently but with a clear understanding that unlike spoken words she could go back and read these texts again and so could I. Oddly the precognition issue I was trying to control was rampant and she would catch it eventually as way too many times I knew what she was going to say. We spoke about the “gifts” bestowed upon me eventually and I was grateful to have someone to share them with that didn't judge me for it. Perhaps we were both looking for reasons to run but we never found them. Every single day I waited for her to message me or text me and tried not to be too quick in responding but the joy I experienced at the tone of any incoming message was enthralling while I sat at home recovering. I just couldn't wait to talk with her every day. Our words to each other resonated so similarly that it was impossible to ignore. Regardless of how much we tried.
            We planned an “appointment” carefully and cautiously still nonetheless always cognizant of never calling it a date. Our intention was to talk about our spring time sky diving excursion, but I think we both secretly knew the ruse as it was still the dead of winter. In preparation for the “appointment/date” I set out a few things that I told her she needed to bring. I knew enough about her by now to plan the locations and entertainment without having to clear it with her and the mystery was daunting with her. It built daily as she just couldn't wait to find out what I was planning. To increase the suspense I explained the items I needed her to bring. I gave her the list a few days in advance one day and every single item I made up on the spot without hesitation. I suspect some of it was to build the excitement but the rest would serve as a distraction from the thing we were both secretly thinking. “This is going to be the greatest date of our lives”. The suspense and time spent for her considering were maddening she would later explain. Carol is a planner by no uncertain terms and not understanding the items relation to the event was building the more she tried to plan it.  What could these items (a three inch piece of string, 2 coins of any value chosen at random...both the same, A highlighter...any color of choice, a rubber band, and sneakers in a separate bag if desired), possibly have to do with our appointment?
            That night after battling her incessant requests for more detail I hung up the phone and laughed and laughed. It was right then and there after weeks of conversations, texts and messages that this was my soul partner. I hadn't even laid eyes on her and I was in love. At exactly the point in my life and hers that wasn't just perfect but critical.
            The day of the “appointment” I felt like a school kid. I must have changed ten times wondering what I should wear. Yea, guys do that too. My body so depleted of muscle structure and scarred beyond recognition I still had questions of confidence. The fear of my secret HIV status still haunting and looming over me. “Its just an appointment. Just an appointment.”  It was easier just calling it an appointment but I knew what was happening. I cleaned my vehicle and was ready to go hours before I needed to be. I paced the lake house and listened to music feeling the day's sun streaming off the frozen ice. It was the most exciting time I have had in many, many recent years and the light was beautiful. Do you remember what it's like on the first date? It's like that butterfly feeling but way, way better. I tried to keep expectations in check but I found it difficult. It all just seemed like it made so much sense. But there would be a difficult conversation yet to come up if it went well and I dreaded it. Butterflies ! Waiting…

            I arrived in her home town a bit early and found a quiet parking place behind a school with a spectacular view of Mt. Mansfield just down the road from her house. Mt Mansfield is Vermont's largest and most spectacular peak and it was in the shadow of this mountain that I had spent my youth. I played many soccer games right here on this field.  I was home again and I knew it and the first thing I did at the view of the sun setting on the purple mountain was …..I prayed. Then I wept. Big fat tears of Joy. I prayed for courage, I prayed for strength, I prayed for confidence. Most importantly I prayed to forget my HIV status and enjoy the now moment approaching. It was evolving in mind the notion of living in the now.  The absolute secret to all life in my opinion.  No stress of past Forgive yourself.  No worry about the future.  Just right now.  What are you doing? The environment is everything that determines your perception and this day clarified that little secret. What we perceive is our reality.  It was a top ten moment for me. It was beautiful.
I wondered what was left to talk about after hours of talking but knew it would be ok. The butterflies and adrenaline were at peak levels and I once again found the one thing I had done everyday since being ill and found great reverence in realizing its significance at that moment. I looked into the heavens above that beautiful mountain and I thanked god for this day. Like everyday I had done this but today it just felt different. For the first time in years I felt hope. My legs weakened not unlike the many occasions over the past few years and I humbly went to my knees right there in that quiet parking lot weeping like a child.  Whipsering “thank you for another day” over and over. No thought other than that I was grateful for the opportunity to be there and even the chance to entertain the mere thought of it. The past three years flashed before me through tear-stained eyes in clips of suffering not unlike that of what NDE'rs explain in a life review. Awe !!! Reverence !!! The past 3 years had been a journey I was happy to have behind me. I should have died.  But I didn’t. It all seemed so surreal standing there in the presence of the Mountain from where I came from. Like the whole journey now made sense. In an instant my past was gone for now. All I cared about was this moment. It would forever be a lesson branded into my soul. I was home again. I won't forget that majesty, ever.
            I drove to her house in a fog barely to control my excitement. As I pulled into the driveway, I was suddenly flooded with one thought. What in the holy hell am I supposed to say about the items I had her collect as a distraction and suspense builder. I had zero plan about it. All the planning and excitement and I had forgotten about that little tidbit. LOL I put it out of my mind and parked near the rear of the residence. I had asked her to meet me outside as a measure of respect until I could meet the kids. I felt that was important somehow, especially to the oldest male son for some old fashioned reason. In retrospect perhaps it was fear but it seemed important. She agreed without hesitation. As I exited onto the icy driveway and approached the rear door I saw her coming out in a hurry. Nearly running. When she realized I was in view she slowed deliberately and retained her composure but it was too late. The light from the setting sun hit her face and I just knew and was most certainly alive.  The smile at her obvious excitement hit me, and hit me hard. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. My smile would be impossible to hide but I collected myself and approached her shaking like a fifty cent ladder. We both extended our arms and hugged quickly and professionally. I certainly didn't want to give away the trembling. I took her arm and escorted her to the vehicle and helped her like any good man should over the icy driveway. We drove to the first location I chose, the Lincoln Inn and chatted all the way. An ancient old inn and restaurant that had been a favorite haunt of my former grandfather. I hoped for his strength. I knew it was always with me but I could use some of his and my fathers charm.  Carol lives about one mile from the graveyard that both my Dad and family are buried.  Serendipty.
We had some time to spare before dinner so we had a cocktail and started talking nonstop like we had known each other forever. All the hours spent talking and one of the things I had never told her was the NDE completely. I had hinted to things but never told the whole deal. It would be here in my grandfather's favorite place that I found the strength to share with her my experience eye to eye as well as the courage to explain the list of items previously detailed were a ruse to distract her. She forgave me for that one and it remains a long lasting loving memory of the occasion I would later memorialize in gift fashion. Maybe I thought the NDE might scare her off although I didn't consciously think that but it seemed so effortless. The story flowed without one bit of hesitation. I still think about this decision and its importance. Little weird explaining this to anyone and it was my first real experience in doing it. She sat quietly listening, intently watching me and the passion in which I explained it. I explained the changes in me and apologized if it all seemed so weird. Time flew by and we ran over my careful planned schedule.
When I realized we were late for dinner, we left and headed for dinner at the Japanese Hibachi place not far away. All the time talking and laughing at anything and everything. I chose the Hibachi as she liked Chinese food but had never had Japanese. Not to mention the entertainment value of a wise cracking Japanese chef throwing food around and creating a fun experience, just in case. Lol. Dinner went great and we continued our conversations and laughter. We flirted and occasionally brushed into each other coyly under the table. Like two school kids giddy with joy.Occasionally touch legs under the table.  Starring into her eyes I could feel myself slipping away.   We left the dinner experience that had really been a blast and off to the next stop.
            The next stop was a comedy club I had planned. Knowing both of our spirited sense of humor, I knew this would be the ticket. I don't remember much of that experience in all honesty as I was so distracted at the energy from Carol. I could feel a tingling everywhere along my body and the trembling had gotten worse. I had explained my sensitivity to touch since my NDE and after repeated requests to explain the electricity others felt coming from me the suspense overtook her. She got close to me as we both pretended to watch the show. The way the seating was arranged she was slightly behind me and to my left. But her face got closer and closer to my neck until I could feel every breath. I suspect she knew what she was doing and it sent shivers with every expanse of her building breaths. The electricity was palpable. I tried to concentrate but it was no use. Without notice I turned to her and found her inches away scooted up in her chair. I looked at her beautiful eyes and told her that I just couldn't get a handle on it all. So this needed to be done right now and I kissed her. Softly but quickly. Twenty Second moment. I was shaking.  The ice breaker we both needed. We spent the next hour at the show completely ignoring it as we touched hands for the first time. The electricity tingled us both. The hairs on my body everywhere stood on end. I was quite honestly nearly overtaken at that moment in time. Like nothing else existed. The softness of her skin. The beauty of her eyes. It was nearly too much for a man who was sensory deprived for so long. The show ended too soon and we exited the building on the way to the car. She stood in front of me holding me and looking into my eyes in such a tender moment that it felt like the whole world just stopped. Time literally froze and we kissed deeply and passionately while I cradled her face in my shaking hands that didn’t go unnoticed. Twelve years of her missing out and my years of illness and suffering all melted away in the fires of passion at that moment. It would forever be etched into our hearts and soul for eternity. At exactly the right time and manner.
I escorted her home as expected and left for my home in a complete fog, later being stopped by the State Police accordingly for my inattention. When the trooper asked why I had been speeding, I spilled the whole moment and past history of my story. I shed a big fat tear and he saw it telling the quick version of the intensity of the evening and the impact on both of us. He never spoke once while I babbled on about what I had been through over the past few years and how tonight might have changed my life forever. When I was done and exhausted, I looked at him and he smiled at me, handed me back my license and told me two things. First he was going to go call his wife. The second was that I should be on my way more carefully and to have a fantastic night. Impact from a third party reaffirmed the miracle I knew had happened and I slowly drove home to revel in the evening. I realized on that drive one certain fact. That I had just started living.
            We texted and talked every day and night until the wee hours of the morning. I watched each and every sunset and sunrise and realized how very much I loved this woman. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever met in my entire existence and decided that day to remind her. Every single day. I still do it to this day. I think its important.
            Over the next week we saw each other nearly every day. If we didn't see each other, we talked for hours. Funny to think about that now. How is it possible you never run out of things to say. But one thing was clear in regards to that. The things I had to say that I was avoiding were fast coming into a view and I wondered at what point that conversation was appropriate. A short while later as intimacy took over we were forced to the point I had feared. I arranged with my doctors and other experts to be at the ready if she needed them and I waded in the conversation slowly like a cold lake. She let me go through the entire story and smiled all the way through it. It was a little daunting honestly to tell the story while watching her adoring eyes staring at me. Seems she found the courage attractive. Who knew? I explained that my viral load was undetectable and the possibility of spreading the virus was extraordinarily remote but our future would always involve safe sex. I offered her counsel with the doctors as I had done previously with others but she declined although I am sure she did her own later.  I Would. It was still odd for a planner and researcher didn’t want to even talk to my Doctors that I had set up. Once again trust and faith that never ceases to blow my mind. She accepted me with open arms and explained that would never, ever be enough to deter her. There were additional conversations as well. Life expectancy for me is limited. I walk around every day still with barely any immune system. Because of the late stage of my diagnosis it's impossible to tell if it will ever rebound. So far its not. But here I am anyway. Spontaneously healed of diabetes, tuberculosis like MAC, blown retinas, cancer and a basket full of other diseases with little to no immune system at all. It remains unexplainable for doctors and changes virtually everything we understand about the immune system. How is it all possible? Then and even now? I have theories but as always in the book I leave it up to you to decide. But I will give you a hint of some of it. It's about LOVE and I think you have already figured that out. Love of my sister and other family members and now Carol. Carol never blinked an eye at the future of my medical longevity either. She told me whether we have six months or 60 years....she was IN. Her appearance along my path at just the right time and place was remarkable.
            It takes a deep breath if you ask me after that to breathe in that kind of love. How does one become that selfless in her commitment? It is truly stunning. Her resolve was absolute but not without testing. As was the course we were thrust into shortly after our “appointment”.
            A couple months after the “appointment”, now madly in love we spent every waking hour we could together. I met the kids and the dog Jameco accordingly and began to feel out these kids in regards to Mom's new interest. I worried like anyone that their Mom who had previously been so “there” for them was suddenly out gallivanting with this new boy in the wake of her x husband’s death coincidentally.  Although Carol and her husband had been divorced twelve years. . A scenario they were not at all familiar with.  But as their father's terminal diagnosis spun down to the end, I became closer to them all. There he was in the very room I was meant to die in two years prior at that Hospice house.  What is someone trying to tell me?
Carol's children are each individually remarkable in their own distinct way. The eldest, Mercedes, was a gifted academic and a vivacious reader all of her life. Even before she could read she would pretend to while alone in her room. She was sensitive all her life and it was clear she was born with a heart ten times the average, metaphorically speaking. Her compassion for others was her gift and her soul sang to me instantly. All of my life I have been a nickname kind of guy. You will find nearly all of my life I nicknamed people or altered their name for my own purpose if they were important to me. I am not sure where it comes from, but it has been consistent. Before I even met Mercedes, I had shortened her name to "MERCY" quite innocently one day. The serendipitous naming could not be ignored and was a topic of conversation with Carol then and still is. You may recall that during my illness, I prayed every day for MERCY. And there she was, in all her glory. Mercy was off at Arizona State College with near full funding to the Barrett Honors College. It was a tough but rewarding Honors program that would serve as her introduction to serious academics and a desire to help others. Quite coincidentally, Mercy wanted to be a counselor for veterans. Imagine that. Serendipty. Maybe Ill get free service one day. The recent discovery of her father's terminal illness highlighted the breakdown between her and her father that had occurred some years prior. Billy, Mercy's father, was an alcoholic and had been for many years. It was, in fact, that reason he was now terminal. Some years prior, Mercy had made a stand for the sake of the love of her father and his disease. She simply refused to watch him "kill" himself with alcohol and made sure he understood it. She had stopped nearly all contact with him until he sought the help he needed for the affliction of alcoholism and told him face to face what was required to re-establish their relationship. As I am sure you can imagine, it made no difference to him. In fact, he pulled away even further. He was told two years earlier that his drinking would kill hime.  He didn’t listen in the grips of addiction. The recent news of his impending death brought this topic full circle as they prepared to bring her home to see him. Her biggest fear was manifesting right before her eyes. I am sure it still is the hardest thing Mercy has ever gone through in her 20 years of life, meeting with her ill father in that Hospice respite house. Her heart is just so damn big. She went to see her father and made her peace with him as best she could. His denial and resentment would leave its brand on that big heart that continues to this day. Interesting to note that Billy was placed into the same respite house that I had reservations for not long before. Point in fact, the same exact room. Her arrival was timed perfectly and within a couple weeks Billy passed away. With his death, lost was the opportunity to find and give peace to his daughter and it would haunt her for some time to come.
Jake, the proverbial middle child, was 17. So full of life and charisma that it wasn't a stretch to compare his energy to my own as a youth. His gift is his charisma, unrealized by him, which makes it even more precious. The energy of the family unit ebbed and flowed by and through Jake, whether they saw it or not. His role as the eldest male was clear in both spirit and practice, he made sure of it. He was a gifted athlete and a virtual encyclopedia of historical sports fact and stats. He was short in stature, but huge in compassion like his sister. His heart was sincere in regards to others and it defines him to this day. Jake wants to be an elementary school teacher with a focus on special education if that helps you see through his soul. He has known what he wanted since middle school. Both Mercy and Jake were raised smartly, obviously, as these aren't born traits in my opinion. Jake and I would become instant friends. A friendship that I would be honored to say is one of the top three I have ever known. He is a good man and I am forever grateful for his presence. His addicting personality is always felt by those he meets. He is well liked by all, and most importantly, he is always remembered. Jake and his father had been close so his passing, although difficult for him, would be easier than Mercy's. Nonetheless, it carried an impact.
Cole was 16 and by all definitions been labeled "different" as a youth. He was diagnosed with Asperger's at an early age, and like most Asperger's children had difficulty with change and social environments. Emotions were, at best, limited in his spectrum but what wasn't was his wit and intelligence. He was, quite simply, smarter than others his age and that could be the root of his label frankly. He was just honestly beyond those his age in maturity and thought and it showed. I had trouble identifying Cole's Asperger's "disability". Disability my ass. His mannerisms seemed normal to me and it would take me some time to realize that the mannerisms I saw as normal were because he was at my level of thinking as a 45 year old man. He was not the average 16 yr old. He spent most of his days playing on video games, which bothered me tremendously, but it was his place of refuge from his quicker acting brain and I understood it. God help this world when Cole becomes awakened to his own magnificence as his impact may just change the world. Hanging out with Cole was like hanging out with any guy my age actually and I wanted more of it. He had much to offer the world and I knew it. I would make it a mission to introduce him to social skills and I was certain it would make an impact if he allowed it. His mother had spent many years working on his Asperger's and the wake it left behind as a youth. Change was what he needed and a fresh perspective of others to see him and what he had become in a new fresh light. It seemed imperative. One thing was clear to me from the start - Cole was gifted and he didn't even know it yet.
            Interestingly, On the night of their father’s death I was at home alone in the spooky lake house. I had been exploring my new “gifts” of psychic abilities often still searching for control points. This one particular evening in one of many moments of epiphany I decided it might be possible to visit the void where I met my Grandfather. I endlessly searched for that “important” thing I was supposed to do. Feeling like I could control it, I made a deliberate attempt to revisit it through meditation and inducing an out of body experience. I had read about the new science of out of body (obe) and felt like it was within my reach. This would be where I would get my answers yet again. I only hoped it would be more detailed. As I slipped away and entered the dark void the light found its way to me again but this time there was no presence of any face. But nearly everything else was the same. Except one haunting thing. Somewhere on the edge of that void again I realized that the line if crossed then and now was a point I could not return from. This frightened me back to my place in bed and I awoke gasping for breath. I spoke out loud and adamantly. That would never be allowed to happen again. No way would I tinker with this void. It was just too damn final and I knew it. But was it? It had been clear to me that death wasn't final from my NDE, but now that Carol and I were together, suddenly the time I have remaining here seemed all the more important obviously.
            I got up from the bed and headed down stairs which wrapped around a corner connecting the four levels of the huge lakeside home. As I got to the top of the stairs I felt it. A surge of intense warm energy from behind. Twenty Second moment. It was so energized it burned me. Not only did it burn me it lifted me. Lifted me from the top stairs around the corner to the next landing twelve feet away after further review. The last thing I remember was hitting the second set of stairs, having missed every one of the first set. How I was thrown around a corner to the second set remains a mystery but it was clear and distinct as the nose on my face that I hadn't fallen although the stairs are polished hardwood.  I felt something push and lift me.  I came to at the bottom of all the sets of stairs in tremendous pain and blacked out briefly from the blow to the back of the head.
            I layed there realizing that I had severely hurt myself but one clear vivid vision came to me.  It was Carol’s ex-husband, Bill.  I had never met him or spoken to him, but there he was prevalent in my thoughts as the pain gripped me into fear.  I carefully tested my legs and arms finding peace in the ability to use them and move them one by one. Not without terrible pain I might add.  My arms were scalped and bleeding and my back and hips hurt like pain I was all too familiar with.  As I drifted in and out of consciousness I dreamed.  I dreamed of the Hospice house and the gardens that day with Kate as the crocuses peaked above the frosty ground. I rarely dreamed since well before my diagnosis but I drifted off to this haunting memory so vivid and crisp.  I could feel the cold air it seemed and the tender touch of my sister’s embrace.  I awoke on and off a few times before crawling to the couch testing my abilities even further.  I considered an ambulance but resisted like I always had in my dozens of trips to the Emergency Room over the past couple years.  I always prided myself ridiculously that no matter how bad it got I would always carry myself to the ER with some level of pride.  The same would apply here.  I staggered to my truck and in sheer agony drove the 45 minutes to the ER with tears of pain clouding the way at times. I rationalized the entire way the story I would tell to the all so familiar ER doctors.  They certainly knew me well.  I would often joke with them that I was “running a tab”.  I made it to the ER somehow and the work began in dressing the wounds that soaked my shirt with blood and peeled skin.  The doctors diagnosed me with two broken bones in my back called xyphoid process  - two small shark-like fin bones in the back that helped hold muscles all together.  I also had a chipped bone in my elbow and what can best be described as a severe road rash that didn't require stitches but would require a lot of time to heal not unlike a burn.  The most severe was the severe concussion and once again the negotiation began on admitting me for a day or two.  The concussion was severe but I resisted their advice like I always did to be be admitted to the Hospital.  I had to show them that I would sign out against medical advice but first I had to inform them of who would be caring for me or the negotiation was over. This didn’t stop my return three days later terribly ill with Post Concussison Syndrome.  It was brutal.  Where would I go to heal?  There was really only one thought here and I called Carol immediately to explain what happened.  I was allowed to leave and arrived shortly at Carol's house.
We laid on her bed and I shared the entire story and my fears.  But there was a story she needed to share as well.  She told me with tears of fear streaming that while I lay at the bottom of those stairs in that early morning, she had gotten a call from family that Bill passed away at exactly the same time.  In the same bed previously reserved for me in the same Hospice house I had dreamed of. We held each other wondering the synchronicity and its future impact as well as intent and I drifted off to sleep.  We both tried to rationalize it as a clumsy fall but we both knew better. I would be laid up for a few days but still tried to move around.
            I would never spend a night in that Lake House again after that incident.  I tried weeks later to go back but fear overtook me each time.  The energy every time I entered that house was intense and it literally made me nauseous.  As did the bangs and footsteps I heard every time.  I went back and forth from Carol’s on several occasions to complete my obligation to the Lake House owners to care for the place but I never laid my head on another pillow there again.  The house was thick with negative energy and I felt every bit of it. 
A few weeks prior to the fall I had quite by “accident” stumbled into a man from my past Jeff Carter.  Jeff had been a former honors English teacher for me from high school and was endeared to me as one of my most influential and liked teacher from my youth.  Serendipitously he had retired to a beautiful farm in Eden just down the road from the lake house. Imagine that. Exactly the right time and manner.   We quickly reconnected and it wouldn’t be long before I shared my experience with Jeff and his wife one cold day in front of their fireplace.  The smiles they had while I explained with great passion the brain shift I was trying to accommodate and understand troubled me until they explained why with an apology.  Since Jeff’s retirement, he had become a spiritual counselor and the significance of our reconnection was clear to all of us.  We spent the next two weeks working together on his farm or walking through the forest together talking about life, love and spiritual things I never thought I would be able to share with anyone.  He never took a position but counseled me and counseled me well, not unlike the days in high school.  At exactly the right time and manner I found Jeff and Sandra and their influence at that moment of my life was critical to understanding and accepting what was happening to me.  I contacted Jeff and Sandra the night after the “fall” and explained what I felt.  This would be my first education of the effects and possibility of negative energy that I had yet to encounter or even consider.  How could such negative energy come from an afterlife that I associated with such peace harmony and beauty?  Jeff would be the first to explain how my own energy sparked the fuse of everything but he wouldn't be the last.  We do mirror the energy around us and vice versa and this epiphany was clear in my teachings from me NDE.  Jeff came to the lake house and examined the stairway and walked quietly through the whole house.  We sat in the living room overlooking that beautiful lake and he re-affirmed my feeling that the house had a negative energy.  He recommended I do anything I could to stay away and thats exactly what I did.
            Seemed ironic that the very energy I assumed was Carol’s ex-husband drove me right into the arms of his ex-wife and to the aide of his children at exactly the moment they needed me most.  Perhaps he guided me there.  Something did with a big push. Literally.

We made arrangements to get Billy interred according and began to heal.  All of us. It soon became clear that the very energy needed to lift me off those stairs was exactly the energy I needed to let go of my fear of entering into a new relationship My pain involving being abandoned by my ex-wife at my death bed prior. Who knows whats in store for me medically.  Why put anyone through that?   I never considered another serious relationship with a woman let alone living with one again after that painful sting at deaths door.  Not to mention my new diagnosis of AIDS and my shortened life expectancy.  It just didn't seemed fair to involve someone with that much baggage.  Whether we were ready or not that fall and dearly needed recovery pushed us into eventually moving in together at just the right time and exactly the right manner needed.  Perhaps it was negative energy that threw me around a corner down the stairs nearly twelve feet.  But twelve feet of needed flying in retrospect.  It was easy to find peace in the synchronicity after I healed and I am forever grateful to Billy or whomever chucked me down that expanse.  Sometimes ya just gotta step out onto that limb and face your fear, I had told Carol the day we met.  For me it took a push but one I would be eternally grateful for. Its synchronicity is too hard to ignore.  All of it.
            I moved into Carol’s house permanently after she helped me recover with the blessings of the kids and spent a summer of eternal bliss at the house which coincidentally was in my old home town with a magnificent view of Mt Mansfield.  It was an amazing summer of love and connection for Carol, the kids and myself.  We spoke of our dreams, our fear, our pains and reverence of our presence together at a time it was so important.  For all of us.I wrote constantly about my crazy epiphanies and thoughts.  I found great peace with it.  I stayed outside constantly and was followed everywhere by the Dog Jameco.

One of Carol’s dreams was to move to Arizona where Mercedes was now attending college at Arizona State University (ASU) and where her Mom and brother lived nearby in Mesa. Carol had visited and loved it.  She always wanted to move to Arizona. Like it was a calling actually. The opportunity or means had just never come along. Scary endeavor picking up and moving across the country as well as difficult with kids.  Jake would be graduating High School this summer and also wanted to attend ASU.  Without doubt, fear or even the means to do it, Carol and I began planning the move. Just one day started talking without a dime to our names. It started slowly and with some doubt but I was having visions almost immediately about Arizona.  It has crossed my path several times in my previous years as well.  It is such a fascinating place Arizona.  The only state I had visited where in a two hour drive you could be in the snow-capped mountains or the hottest desert.  And oh the sunsets and sunrises.  Wow ! If you have missed the pleasure of a desert sunrise you are missing an important beauty.  They are spectacular and full of color and hope. We set about without even considering how the planning of the move.  We didn't hesitate one bit regardless of the concept that we didn't even have the money to do it.  It would seemingly take time to save for such a venture.  We didn't panic or worry we just went about the task of healing from the fall and the loss of Billy.  Every day we found the forgiveness we all needed to make it all possible.  I spent every day in the warm sun speaking to the spirits of Billy, my Dad and Grandfathers etc. but was cautious who I told.  There were many lessons that flooded in from these folks that would impact me in so many gracious ways although some messages would haunt for lack of any better explanation than control of them.

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1 comment:

  1. Incredible story and insights. Thank you, Robert!

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