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  • We’re having one of the loveliest summers I’ve experienced since moving to the DC Area eighteen years ago. This is usually right in the middle of the dog days, the summer doldrums, blistering heat and humidity relentlessly bearing down on you day after endless day. This year, we’ve enjoyed beautiful, cool fall-like mornings, and delightful spring-like evenings, tickled with cool breezes.

    Last night, we didn’t have much business down at the 12 Step clubhouse in Georgetown, so we called it a night early — if no newcomers had shown up by then, they weren’t coming. It was such a nice, cool midsummer’s evening, I was drawn to wander the very cool campus of Georgetown University.

    Dad and his little sister, Sister Jeannie, have been on my mind recently. Part of my campus wandering would include a visit to her garden there. It grows just outside of the Lombardi Cancer Center of the hospital, where she’d served for years as the chaplain. She’d had such an impact in her work there, they dedicated the first ever memorial garden there to her, the year after we moved here. It is one of my favorite spots to just sit and contemplate. A most peaceful space, where I feel loved, and tap into the goodness of the universe.

    I had a lovely visit with Jeanne. It almost felt like she walked with me as I wandered the campus, me simply enjoying being alive — alone, but not alone. It’s hard to explain, but it felt soothing to my soul.

    So, earlier today, I found myself wandering through cassette tapes in my basement again, looking to see if I had another one from Sam Brown. (Sam is the man whose Mom had visits from Jeanne after she passed, then later had visits from Dad. He’d made at least one tape about his visit with Dad, right after he’d passed over, which I’d found the other day). Flipping through tapes in my secretary, I discovered one that was marked “Transitional Healing of Sr. Jeanne, 1/22/95 — Ellie Gardner”. I had no idea this tape even existed, or that I had it in my possession. The synchronicity of finding this struck me, having just visited her garden. “O.K.”, I thought, as I popped the cassette into the player.

    As I listened to the tape, it became apparent that Ellie was a friend of my sister Juli’s in San Diego, whom I’d spent last weekend with for the memorial service of her life’s partner, Ralph, who just recently passed. The tape was about visits Ellie had had with Sister Jeanne after she’d made her transition. As I listened, I remembered hearing about this years ago. Julie had also been visited by Jeannie then. Her friend Ellie, who apparently has a gift similar to Sam’s, then began to have regular visits by Jeannie. She described these visits on the tape. The tape must have made its way to me when we’d moved Mom from New Jersey to South Carolina back in 2001.
  • Why am I stumbling onto all of these things right now? I have no idea, but it sure makes life interesting! It does reinforce my belief that life goes on, even after we finish up our time in this lifetime.

    In addition to these instances of loved ones visiting complete strangers who happened to know us, this happened one other time, to me. My best friend Reed once visited this waiter I barely knew at a restaurant I was working in at the time, to make sure I’d received a message that he’d tried sending me through a dream, but that he’d rightly worried that I hadn’t received it clearly. Reed had died from complications with pneumonia, while he was fighting Hodgkins’ Lymphoma, when we were both 24 years old. We’d been very close friends.

    I’m glad I found this tape — or, that it found me. Who knows how these things work? I sure don’t — I just document them, when they happen. Maybe that’s why they’re happening right now. Maybe they know I’ll write about them, and try to help others to understand that there is, indeed, life after we leave this place. I don’t know — maybe that’s it…or maybe, it’s just happening for no reason other than, that’s life, and life just happens.

    Let’s ask this guy — maybe he knows the answer! (This last picture is of a professor at Georgetown in the 30's and 40's who tried to tell the world about what was happening to the Jews in Germany, long before anyone could believe such a thing could be true. I don’t remember his name — but, they thought enough of him to leave this statue of him, sitting on a bench in the middle of the campus, ready to play a game of chess — how cool is that?)
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