4 Widows and a Medium: A Chat with my Dead Husband
Tiffany, Kelly, and I sat in a circle at an outdoor table at a cafe downtown. People surrounded us, surely listening in on our unconventional conversation, as we candidly (and probably too loudly) spoke of dead husbands, live boyfriends, and various other socially unacceptable topics for public dinner chat.
"Dude, I've been watching this Long Island Medium show and end up a crying blubbering mess every time. I've really been thinking about talking to one. I feel like I really need to talk to Cleve."
I threw it out there hoping they wouldn't think I was a total nut case. Then Tiffany chimed in,
"I have too!!! I've been watching it a lot and I really want to talk to one!"
"Oh my god, I haven't seen this Long Island Medium show, but I've really been looking into seeing a medium, too."
And so it began. Three widows, a common obsession to talk to our lost loves, and a mission to find someone to help us do it.
I believe our closest friends all fit together as puzzle pieces, whether they know one another or not, to create a whole - our lives. Each piece is needed to have a complete whole. My friend Lauren (also a military widow), as well as the other girls, are a very large piece my of whole. I had a Skype date with Lauren. I had forgotten that she lives in Salem, Mass and works at a small shop that does tarot readings and the like. So when I told her about my dinner date with the girls and our decision to see a medium, I was surprised at her answer. She has a close friend who is a medium whom she swears by. She had already heard from her husband, James, on multiple occasions through her friend. Her piece grew that much bigger.
Of course I questioned her about her experience. She told me the multiple ways this medium proved to her that it was indeed her husband and confided in me the things he had to say to her. Her opinion was proof enough. I trust Lauren, so if she trusts her friend, I trust her friend. I immediately went to the other girls with the idea of traveling to Salem. No hesitation and an unadulterated "Hell yes!" later and we were booking our flights.
We chose to book the trip around the date of Tiffany's husband's 3 year angelversary; angelversary being the term we use for the day our guys passed. We like to do special things on special occasions relating to our husbands. This seemed appropriate.
Boston was 12 degrees when we got off the plane. It was just after midnight on the 3rd. I hadn't seen snow in years before that so the little bit that was on the ground, though it wasn't much, was exciting. Well, it was exciting for the first minute. Then the cold set into my bones and I realized the cigarette I just pulled out to settle my excitement was going to be much more difficult to smoke than anticipated. It didn't take long for me to realize the importance of mittens in the world. Something I had learned in Alaska years ago, and quickly forgot. I put on my mittens, shivered my cigarette lit, and ran to the taxi. I barely took three hits, put it out, and jumped in.
Salem is about a 30 minute drive from Boston. It is quaint and, honestly, very similar to how I'd imagined it.
Let me point something out before I proceed. If I were to rewind 10 years, I would be a 17 year old daughter of a pastor who just quit High School and decided not long before that perhaps Christianity wasn't for her. Or at least, she wasn't right for Christianity. At that point I felt that the Christians in my life, those I looked to for support and justification, in my eyes, failed me. They didn't want me and shunned me for the mistakes, so small looking back, that I had made that were "un-Christianly." So, at this time, I felt that I was born unfit for the religion that was handed to me. I was not good enough. Still, Christianity is all I knew. So to think that in 10 years I would be looking to a medium in Salem to speak with my dead husband would have been baffling to me. In fact, who I was then would have ran the opposite direction. For me, if it wasn't god, it was the devil. Good and bad. Black and white. I was taught that everything in the world is one or the other.
Slowly things became gray. Everything was gray. Everything is gray. A lesson I have had to learn the hard way.
So there I was pulling into Salem - quaint old homes in every shade of pastel, snow on the ground. I sat next to some of the most courageous human beings I have ever met; on a journey to something unknown to us; no fear because we had already experienced what we most feared - losing someone we love.
Hell? What is hell if it is not suffering the pain of losing someone? I've been to hell already and I survived. And now I wanted know - no, I needed to know - more than anything else, that Cleve, wherever he is, is okay.
Finally arriving at Lauren's house, our foursome was complete. We didn't do much while there. We saw Salem, we saw Boston, and we ate a lot of pizza. It was much colder than I think we had prepared for so we weren't too keen on leaving the house.
On the second day of our trip, Tiffany got a call from her boyfriend that their child had gotten sick. He had to go to the emergency room so she had to go back home. It was so sudden and heartbreaking for both her and her family. She wasn't able to experience the reason she went. At the same time, her family needed her. Perhaps it just wasn't her time to do this. And the baby is okay. They are all doing well.
So, Saturday night the medium was scheduled to come hang out with us at Lauren's house. We greeted her with champagne and wine.
Leanne Marrama is her name. She has black hair and a demanding yet surprisingly endearing Boston accent. She is not shy, nor is she quiet. Kelly and I liked her immediately. She went straight for the wine, took a sip, then threw her hands in the air,
"Can I just say something? You girls are married to a bunch of nerds!!"
Her accent really was thick. It made it that much better.
Lauren, Kelly, and I laughed. Leanne went on,
"They all like each other and they think it's funny to talk to me at the same time. They think it's hilarious that it's confusing me!"
I was hesitant to believe what she was saying, but I couldn't help but feel relieved at the thought of him having fun. It sounded like him, and really, that was enough to give me some comfort about the whole experience. Because for me, my biggest fear in this was that I was going to find out that he was one of those angry black spirits that I've always heard about on ghost shows; angry because of the way their life and death panned out. I didn't want him holding onto anger or regret or guilt. The thought terrified me. It's why I avoided even thinking about a medium for so long.
So when I was given the gift of the image of my husband joking around with his Military buddies - my friend's husbands no less - I was finally at ease. And more than anything, I wanted to know more.
We sat down in the living room. Kelly and Lauren decided between them that I should go first. Nervous, I tried to convince Kelly with borderline desperation that she should take my spot, but she was not convinced. She stood up and motioned for me to take her spot directly in front of Leanne. I sat awkwardly in her spot and grinned. I grinned because I didn't know what to do with my face. I picked my cuticles because I didn't know what to do with my hands. She began talking. The fidgeting stopped, my grin went flat, and my eyes widened as awkwardness slipped seamlessly into entrancement.
"Water - he's drawn to water. If you want to feel close to him, go to water. Go to the ocean to be closer to him."
Before I left for Boston, I sat in the shower and talked to Cleve as I always do. Since the day he died, the ocean and the shower have been my place to talk to him. I cannot explain why - it just is. I spoke to the water as it burned my legs, "Please. If you're there, I need a sign. Tell her I talk to you here." I knew that she wouldn't know this and if she said anything about it then I would know. Shall I also mention that I moved across the street from the beach after he died? Coincidence?
"Who is...J...who is Jimmy??"
Kelly, Lauren and I looked at each other, mouths open, and could do nothing but laugh and hold onto each other.
She said his freaking name - something that is far beyond anything I expected. His name? Wow.
I was blown away.
Now, to avoid turning this post into more of a novel than it already is, I will simply list out the key points that I remember from our session. I am going to avoid some details as to avoid hurting anyone who may read this and to avoid embarrassment on my part. Some of the things were very personal and, frankly, I don't want to start "shit" and I don't want my mom reading things that were between me and him if she decides to read it at all (she thinks this is devil stuff, so there is a high chance she won't read it anyway...Love you mom.)
So, here it goes:
- This was repeated often: There are people that I have been worrying myself with and feeling guilty about that I need to let go. I love them but they have never loved me and I have beat myself up over how things panned out between us. Basically, they will never care about me, they will never be good to me, and I need to cut them out of my life completely. He is happy with how I've handled it, knows I've done the best that I can, and just wants me to keep moving forward without them. (Excuse my being cryptic. This is one of those things I don't want to give details on. But if you have read my blog for a while, you can probably put two and two together.)
- Apparently I'm supposed to have a son in the next five years. By whom is not clear, which is scary.
- He likes Nick and feels that he was needed for me to survive what happened. Cleve feels Nick has helped me get to where I am right now.
- It hurts Cleve so badly when I cry that he cannot stand it and checks out. But when I laugh, nothing is comparable - it's a drug to him and it draws him nearer.
- He is a "loud spirit". He wants to communicate. If I keep my eyes and ears open I will notice things being moved or lights flickering.
- He "is me". Our souls are bonded together. When I am sad, so is he. When I am happy, so is he. When I feel pain, he feels pain. He is literally a part of me now. (I liked this part a lot.)
- He does not feel guilt, anger, or jealousy.
- He is at peace with how he died and says it was meant to happen that way.
- He does not care what I do in my life as long as what I do makes me happy. He only wants me to be happy and taken care of.
- He is upset about how/where he was buried. He feels that I should have had more say - that his body is mine and it should have been my decision. He said a lot more on this topic - specifics of what he would have preferred instead. It was perverted so I shall leave it out. However, the kicker is that when I told his friend from the Marine Corps about all of this, he said that Cleve actually said he wanted this done at one point while filling out paperwork a few years back. I had no idea.
- He wants me to forgive anyone in my family that I've pushed away and begin a relationship with them again.
- He wants me to forgive God/Jesus.
- At one point she said, "Your marriage was never given a chance. It's almost as if it was over before it even started. It was always hard. A lot of passion and love. A lot of fighting."
- He's happy. And he's with me. And I'll see him again.
Kelly's was hard for me to remember. She was emotional so I was more focused on the tears running down her face than I was on what Leanne was telling her.
As for Tiffany, we asked Leanne if there was any way we could get a message from Brad, Tiffany's husband. She said she wasn't sure, but if she got anything she would let us know. Kelly and I stepped out to smoke at one point and as we came back in Lauren said, "Tell them what you told me!!", pointing at Leanne. Leanne said that Brad was worried about the baby and Tiffany, though the baby is going to be okay, and he said he was taking turns watching over the baby as Tiffany and her boyfriend slept. Lauren later told me that the way this came up is Leanne sensed that someone brought a baby to the house. Lauren corrected her and let her know that Tiffany has a baby and that he was sick. Leanne guessed the babies sickness and was correct, then proceeded with the stuff about her husband Brad.
Lauren let us spend the time with Leanne since she is friends with her and can talk to her at any time. She did talk to Leanne privately about her dad, though.
Let me point out that Leanne knew nothing about Tiffany, Kelly, or Me. I don't think she knows my name still. And as she said all of these things, I remained silent. The fact that she was so spot on had nothing to do with me.
So - that was my experience. I know a lot of this won't make sense to many people because they didn't know us personally. But know that every one of these things hits home - hard. They are all things that have been strong on my mind (other than the creepy kid thing) that I have been struggling with.
I knew coming into this that I could do one of two things. I could either look at this as a fun time and forget about it, or I could accept it as him. I decided I would go in with an open mind and hear what she had to say.
After hearing what she had to say, I've decided to believe it.
Nothing he said was negative. Everything had to do with us/me. It was too spot on. It was as if my innermost concerns were pried out of my soul, put on the coffee table, and addressed - one by one.
I have peace now that I had too much guilt to allow myself to have before. I have peace with the process of life and death. I have peace with living my life the best that I can while I'm here. I have peace that I will see him again. I have peace that he is okay.
I can't say that anyone who lost someone could run out right now, find the first person who calls themselves a medium, and find the peace that I have found. I can only account for my experience. So, as with anything, be cautious with who you trust.
I am embarking on yet another big step in my life. I found out the day after I got home from Salem that I was accepted to the University I've had my eyes on. I've worked hard for this and am so excited it's hard not to cry, especially when I consider where I came from. Still, it requires my moving away. Change is scary. Moving forward is scary. This place and the people in it have brought so much happiness to my life. I found myself here, and the thought of leaving it behind is terrifying. What if it's the wrong decision? What if I'm sacrificing my happiness for a big, fancy school? Then I think about my experience in Salem...
What is a life with no risks? And, perhaps the risks are what have lead me to happiness. They are what lead me here to this place and to these people. If I stop risking, if I remain stagnant, I am sure that I will sacrifice the happiness I have found. And in the end, this life is only the beginning. After this I will go somewhere else and the only thing I'm sure I'll ever regret is being too scared to try - anything. So, I'm going. I'm going to go discover my potential, to bust my ass, and see how far it takes me.
I think he'll be proud of that. I know he will.
This was originally posted to my blog www.widowofawoundedmarine.com
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