I’ll never know, really, if it was a premonition or his spirit coming to me when he passed. This is because I can’t for the life of me (no pun intended) remember what day it happened—the vision, that is. But it was real. That’s what matters. I saw him. Lying on the kitchen floor, next to a pool of blood. Dead.
So when I get the call from my eldest sister, I’m riding in a car at a 14,000-foot elevation, and all I can hear is, “It’s (crying) . . . SILENCE . . . (crying) . . . Dad . . . SILENCE . . . (crying) . . . ” I bark into the phone, “I can’t really hear you! Are you crying? What’s wrong?”
“It’s . . . SILENCE . . . (crying) . . . passed . . . SILENCE . . . ”
I frantically yell into the phone, “If you can hear ME, I’m in the mountains! We’re trying to find a good signal spot, keep talking!”
SILENCE (crying) . . .
The line drops.
And as I’m trying to call her back, the text comes through. I know she doesn’t want to tell me this way.
It reads: Dad passed. They found him in his apartment.
My friend finds a spot to pull over. And as I say out loud, “My dad passed away; he’s dead,” an uncontrollable wailing rises in me like a snake attacking its prey, surprising me—there is no stopping it. My friend reaches over and hugs me, and I unleash a torrent of sobs into his chest. In that moment, a rush of images and feelings fight for attention: Where is my beloved when I need and want him? Why isn’t it his t-shirt I’m soaking with my tears? It can’t really be true that I will never see Daddy alive again, but it must be, because I foresaw him dead . . . I need to call my sister back and support her . . . she must be frantic and feel so alone and frustrated not being able to reach me . . . I’m so grateful for Rafael being here, for having a wise friend at my side whom I trust and love. But all I can do is cry. Until I don’t. And as soon as the sobbing subsides, I reach for Rafael’s cell phone to call my sister. His phone has a stronger signal.
When I hear her, I want to cry again but don’t. I just want to be there for her and find out what she knows. She’s not crying now, either. And at once we are two friends (she the eldest and me the youngest of six children, yet we’ve always been surprisingly close) feeling comforted by the familiar and familial voice on the other end of the line. I discover she doesn’t yet know much. They think he died about four days ago, but it’s not conclusive, nor is the cause of death. “All we know right now,” she says, “is that they found him, lying on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood.”
“Oh my God, Marg. I saw that in a dream a few days ago!” I say in shock.
“You’re kidding me, right?” she hesitantly and quietly asks, as if not wanting to hear the answer.
“No, why would I be kidding?”
“Because I had the same dream.”
I’m staying in a wooded cabin in the forest-rich mountains of Southern California, where everything smells of crisp, crackly nature—earth and autumn leaves—and I wake up thinking about Daddy , just as I had gone to sleep thinking about him. I liked to call him that—Daddy—as I had gotten older, because there were so many years I missed out on calling him that. I had either been too scared of him or too mad at him; I tried to pretend I didn’t need him, and I knew I couldn’t trust him. I even tried hard to forget I had a dad. And in the last fifteen years, after lots of tears, straight talk, and hours of probing questions about the lapses in my young memory, after steel-grit forgiveness for the terrible abuses and afflictions he perpetrated, my Daddy and I became friends, and I got to know him as a man with flaws and a tremendous amount of love, and he finally found a way to feel within himself and to share.
I decide to walk my dog down by the lake. I sit on a bench under the pines, watching the sunlight dance on top of the crystal-clear blue mountain lake. With deep breaths, I relax into the rhythm of my heart and watch how it flows as calmly and steadily as the trees swaying in the wind. And I feel myself at one with the elements—me as a body and all that is around me, just cells really—and the energy within those cells just as powerful as the wind and sunlight and spirit. And I feel Daddy’s presence, which feels like his laughter. I remember his laughter, and I smile. And so I ask him, “Hey, Daddy, can you forgive me for not calling after I saw that vision of you?” I feel his answer: “There’s nothing to forgive. It was my time—nothing you could do. And there is nothing more we need to say; we’ve always said it: ‘I love you.’ There’s nothing else but that.”
“Yeah, you’re right. But here is the thing I really don’t understand, and I hope you can help me. If Marg and I both saw the same vision of you dead on the floor, was that us both having a premonition? Or was it you coming to us?” And the answer I feel is that it was his spirit, or Higher Self, coming to us. So I ask, “Well, then, did we see this before it happened to you, or was it afterward, and your spirit came directly to us as you were ascending?” The answer comes in a feeling: it doesn’t matter, because there isn’t really time, except in this dimension. So I smirk and ask, “Okay, well, then what I don’t get is, if you could come to us from any space in time, why didn’t you show us a more positive image of you, rather than a dead you lying on the floor?”
He says, “Sprytee, you gotta know the answer to that one. Now come on. I was there poking at you, saying, ‘ey, look at that guy down there, dead as a doornail on the floor—somebody better clean up that mess before it gets too smelly, capiche?’” I laugh so hard, I cry.
Yep, that’s Daddy, alright.