Two days later on January 17, 2016 after seven long years battling Stage IV base of the tongue cancer, my father died. He spent the last four years of his life unable to eat a morsel of food or drink an ounce of liquid. I watched cancer ravage his body, and slowly take away all those little things we take for granted. He spent the last five months of his life on hospice, unable to leave the home. He spent the last week of his life bed ridden, even changing the channel on the TV remote was an impossible task. My father and I were limited to holding hands and praying. Anything beyond that was an impossible task.
My father’s illness shattered our hearts and sent a wave of shock through our family and friends. My Dad never smoked, yet died a gruesome death. Sure, he spend much of his life surrounded by heavy smokers, but they were healthy and he died unable to eat or drink. I quietly observed the smokers vanish to take quick smoke breaks as my father was dying. It seemed very unfair. It made me very angry. My father was reduced to a mask just to breathe and somehow enjoy his final moments on earth and visitors were quietly slipping away for a much needed cigarette break.
In the end the doctors could not cure my Dad, the nurses could not comfort my Dad, and we were forced to say good-bye. I remember leaving my father’s lifeless body in the hospital room that fateful evening. Could he see us standing over him? Could he hear us? Was he comfortable? Were other family members who crossed over with him?
I knew he was dead, but his physical body was there. The man who held my hand my entire life was in that hospital room. I felt guilty leaving him there, alone. My mother was speaking to the nurse but I was unable to comprehend what they were saying. My only thought was my father’s body, alone in that hospital room. Would the nurse remember to remove his feeding tube? How long would his lifeless body remain in that room unattended? I remember thinking maybe I should stay there with his body until the nurse finished his paperwork. You know just in case the nurse forgot to do something. I was panicking at the thought of leaving my father alone.
And then very quietly while everyone was busy talking, I snuck back into the room. I quietly fixed the covers on my Dad and suddenly felt a strong urge to fix his hair. Something was telling me to fix his hair..now. So very gently with my fingers I fixed what hair my Dad had left and said goodbye one last time. My father no longer felt like my father, I knew his spirit had left this world. With a heavy heart and tears in my eyes I said good-bye to my father’s lifeless body.
I had seven years of cancer treatments and sickness to prepare me for this moment and NOTHING could have prepared me for the overwhelming sense of sadness and the paralyzing heartache that seized my body.
The days following my father’s death were dark and filled with exhausting sorrow. I could not think, I could not eat, I had only one thought, “my father is dead.” A piece of my heart was gone forever.
Almost immediately I began to notice unusual things happening. Two days after my father passed I started waking up every night at exactly 1:30 AM, the exact time he died. There were times I was certain he was standing right next to me. Sometimes I would even see the most beautiful glowing light in the corner of my bedroom. A week after my father’s passing I started to find the most beautifully fluffy white feathers. Almost eight months later, each time I find a feather it’s always in a spot that I know it’s him. Perhaps the greatest sign was a phone call from my Dad in July. I was having a tough time and wanted a sign from my Dad. I challenged him and told him to make the lightbulbs in the bathroom blow out (grieving people do strange things). I was staring into the lights waiting and then my IPAD began to ring. I looked at the incoming call and to my surprise saw “D-A-D.” Instantly, I was overwhelmed with love, the kind of love that you just cannot describe but I knew, somehow, my Dad was moving heaven and earth to once again tell me he loved me.
That phone call prompted me to write Heaven Now Has Cellular Service, which connected me with Lisa Scrivens, Canadian medium. On September 6, 2016 we had our telephone session. I opened my mind and let go of assumptions. I believe my Dad aligned the stars with that story and connected me to Lisa.
Nothing about this reading was what I thought it would be. Although I had an open mind I was skeptical and extremely nervous. I spent the entire half hour leading up to the reading running up and down my steps with nervous energy. I set up the kitchen table with my mason jar of feathers next to me, proudly wore my Dad’s wedding band around my neck (I wear it daily), and I even had my favorite childhood photo with my Dad displayed. We had plans to Facetime, but unfortunately my internet connection had other plans.
Over the telephone Lisa attempted to connect me with my Dad. It started with my great-grandmother and the mention of an old photograph with her, me and a polka dot dress. It was no surprise to me that she was by my Dad’s side in the afterlife. Our entire family knew she adored my Dad. It was a surprise to me that she’s been by MY side much of my life. I felt honored that this great woman, who lived such a long life with such a rich history was by my side.Moments later my father entered the reading. Lisa didn’t even have to tell me because immediately I could feel his love. Words cannot do justice to how I felt at that moment, only that it felt as if I was a little girl again and everything was going to be okay. I knew my Dad was there with me at that moment.
She started by telling me that my Dad was here and told me that a”Ginny” was with him. Immediately tears began to fall because just a few days prior my mother was crying, asking if Ginny was with him (Ginny was our beloved Pom who passed a few years ago). Lisa then told me my father wanted me to start wearing the ruby ring he handed down to me. We spent time talking about my father’s unconditional love for my mother, the beautiful larger than life love they shared with each other. They were true soul mates, and my father wanted my mother to know that she will always be “his Marie” and he will always protect her. Halfway through my reading I became overwhelmed with the smell of cigarette smoke and at that time Lisa asked me if my Dad was a smoker or if anyone in my family was. My Dad was not, but my grandparents and other family members were. We spent an hour discussing things only my Dad knew, things I have not written about. Somehow Lisa knew of my anxiety about my Dad being alone after he passed, and through my father she assured me that my Dad was surrounded by family and friends. Perhaps one of the greatest things Lisa told me was that my father was at peace and even now, in death, he would move heaven and earth to keep me happy.
Death forces us to question our beliefs. Is heaven for real? Is my Dad okay? And then I morph into Stewie from Family Guy… “Dad, Dad, Dad, Daddy…Hellooo….can you hear me?
Learning about the afterlife gives comfort, hope and peace for the grieving…for ME.
My reading and spiritual insight about life after death has not eliminated my grief, but it has transformed my grieving experience. I went from hopelessness and anxiety to hope and peace. I have gone from wondering where my Dad has gone, and worrying if he is still suffering—TO—knowing he is surrounded by the love of God. I now know for sure that he is watching over me and can really hear my mom and I speaking to him. I believe that he is no longer suffering, he is finally at peace, celebrating his homecoming with those who had crossed over before them.