Category Archives: stories

The Toll Free Day


She stood right here, on this very bridge, contemplating life and
death with all the wisdom her 16 year old mind could produce. Her heart
and mind raced at an equal pace, flooding her entire body and soul with
an anxious intensity she’d never known before. Her breath quickened and
her shaking hand clinched the cold steel bar of the fence, while she
steadied herself up and into the 2 foot space between where the fence
ended and the toll man’s empty booth began. Today was Sunday, and the
toll booth was most certainly empty due to a recent approval at town
meeting declaring that “Sunday shall forthwith and forevermore be a toll
free day” in the town of South Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

The early morning summer wind caressed her face, tossed her hair and
caused her to lose her balance several times. She struggled against the
will of the wind, which seemed intent on sending her spiraling to the
sea below with absolutely no regard for whether or not she was ready to
crash into the sea. For she definitely was not ready, almost ready for
sure, yet not quite, and she defiantly held her position while shifting
her weight to keep balanced on the wooden railing.

“How could I let this happen? Not once, but twice!” She heard the same
question over and over again in her mind, yet was unable to formulate a
reasonable answer. Of course, she was well aware of how “it” happened,
that was not the issue, her question was more about trying to comprehend
her own irresponsible behavior. All she could do was “sigh” and shrug
her shoulders; then shake her head, defeated and exasperated.

Finally, she screamed, “There is no answer!” Yet the nagging question
echoed over and over again like a scratched record skipping inside her
broken mind. She watched a hawk glide effortlessly overhead, envious of
its peaceful existence.

Her own voice interrupted the silence, “This is better than having to
face her again. I just can’t face her, not after what happened the last
time. I’d rather die than go through that “procedure” again like she
made me do the last time. I am not going through that again.”

She looked up at the hawk, circling gracefully above her head in the
sky, and then turned to look down at the empty ocean. The memory of her
mother’s reaction flooded into her mind like a tidal wave.

“What?! How did you let this happen,” screamed her mother, slapping
her across the face. “You’re only 15 years old. You will not have this
baby! Do you hear me?” This time her mother hit her across the back with
enough force to knock her to her knees. “There is no way I am taking
care of your mistake. I will call the clinic in the morning and you will
have a procedure to get this taken care of as soon as possible. Case
closed, and do not breathe a word of this to anyone.”

There was no discussion. They made the trip to the clinic three days
later and the “procedure” was over in less than an hour. They drove to
and from the clinic in silence. Back at home her mother smiled, asked
her if she wanted some lunch, and carried on with her daily routine
without ever once again mentioning the “procedure” or the reason for it.

As quickly as they began, the memories began to fade. The sun warmed
her face. Her breathing became shallow. The beating of her heart also
slowed as did the thoughtless nagging in her mind. The waves lapped
against the bridge timbers. She became exquisitely aware of minute
details, those surrounding her and those inside of her. Her senses so in
tune that she actually thought she felt this new baby’s heart beating
inside of her. The thought was comforting. She would be with this new
baby. They would be together.

She noticed that the wind had died down a bit, which made it much
easier to balance on the railing. She thought matter-of-factly of how
much easier it would be to balance without shoes on her feet, and
proceeded carefully to remove one and then the other; sending them both
splashing into the water below where they were quickly taken by the
hungry current and whisked away under the bridge.

Calm descended upon her from the top of her head to the tips of her
toes. She thought, “This is how it must be, and it is the best I can
do.” She took one final look up at the sky and again saw the hawk
gliding in an effortless flight above her head. “That is a beautiful
hawk,” she thought.

Then a distinct voice broke the silence, as if responding to her thoughts.

“But, my dear, how do you know I am a beautiful hawk? Maybe your eyes only see what you want them to see.”

Startled by the unfamiliar voice, she nearly lost her footing on the
railing. She held tight to the steel bar and looked around; not a soul
anywhere in any direction.

“Who said that?” She asked.

Again the voice spoke, “Do you only believe what you can see? If this
is the case, then you might as well jump and get it over with.”

“I don’t understand. Who is speaking?” She asked again.

“You know it is I, the hawk circling above. Who else could it be, there isn’t anyone else here.”

She asked, “Why are you talking to me? I need to be alone.”

The hawk replied, “You have other needs, more pressing than your own need to be alone. You can feel it, can’t you?”

She could, of course: the pulsing beat of her heart in her neck.

“Yes, I can feel my heat beat, so what.”

“You cannot see or feel yet what you know to be true, because the
truth is like a hidden jewel, waiting to be discovered. How can it be
true that this is the best you can do? Ask yourself twice, once for
yourself and once for the faint heartbeat that you can only sense is
there.”

She held on gently to the steel bar for support. The hawk continued to
circle above. Her eyes filled with tears; aggravating, stinging tears
that burned down into the very nucleus of her soul. She shook her head,
hoping to free herself from feeling….anything and everything.

Her mind began to race again and her heartbeat quickened.

“What am I supposed to do now, Hawk? Could you answer me that one question?”

The hawk replied, “The hardest thing to accept is the unknown, and sometimes there are no answers.”

With that, the door of the toll booth suddenly creaked open, startling
her. She lost her grip on the steel bar. Then, as if in slow motion,
her feet begin to slide out from underneath her. She was still not ready
to actually give herself up to the ocean, and she screamed. In that
instant, she felt a tug on the back side of her windbreaker. Her feet
were steadied. Her balance restored.

“Young lady, what the heck are you doing up there?”

She turned to see Ed, the toll booth man, still holding onto her jacket.

She couldn’t speak.

Then he said, “You could have really hurt yourself playing around up
there by yourself. Now, you come on down from there right now.” He
helped her down, and she stood timidly in front of him.

He looked down, noticed she was shoeless and said, “And you really
shouldn’t be running around here without shoes on either. You know those
seagulls make a damn mess all over this bridge.”

She spoke quietly, “Yes, Ed, I, I, I know. I’ll remember next time, I promise.”

He questioned her, “Now you tell me young lady, why were you standing
up there anyway? It’s not safe, you know that. Did you see my friend
while you were up there, the hawk?”

She nodded yes.

“Every day I see it up there, circlin’ and flyin’, like it’s waiting
for something important to happen. I thought maybe I’d seen some baby
hawks with it last week, but not anymore.” he said.

“Ed,” she asked, “why are you here today? There are no tolls on Sunday.”

“That’s a strange question, young lady. I think maybe the sun has
gotten to you or maybe your little brain is weak from being up so high.
You know that today is Monday. I’m here Monday thru Saturday, same as
I’ve been doing for the past 40 years; well, except for Sundays now. ”

“Monday? Today’s Monday?” She asked.

“And it’s a good thing it is Monday, because if it really was Sunday like you thought, you’d be swimming right now without your good friend, Ed, here, to catch you.”

She said, “I know, thank you, Ed. I guess I’ll be getting along now. I
wonder whatever did happen to those baby hawks that you saw.”

He said, “Young lady, sometimes there are no answers. They are hidden away, like the truth, waiting to be discovered. ”

He smiled, winked at her, and then turned around to go into his booth.
He sat in his chair, the same way he’d been doing for the past 40
years, lit his pipe (which was against the rules), put his feet up
cross-legged on the desk (also against the rules) and pulled his blue,
faded skipper cap down over his eyes.

She looked up to the sky. The hawk was gone. Seagulls dropped clams on
the rocks near the shore. She put one foot out, stepped off to go
forward, not having any idea where the heck she was headed. Still, and
without even a single ounce of doubt, she just continued to place one
foot in front of the other. She didn’t have an answer for how she would
manage, but she was okay with not knowing. Her heartbeat and her
footsteps kept time as she plodded carelessly along.

Sharen Wendy Robertson owns the copyright to all posts on this Blog.

Bella and Giorgio: a love story of two dogs

 

          Once upon a time, in Middleboro, Massachusetts, there was a family of six (a mother, father and four children) and a beloved black Lab named, Max.  

Although he’d not been sick a day in his whole life, when Max was 13 years old he became severely ill with a heart condition.  The entire family was heartbroken because Max just layed around on the couch without any energy.  He was dying……..    

          The mother of this family, whose name is Sharen, had the very sad job of having to take Max to the vet to have him put to sleep.  Sharen’s heart was utterly broken over this and so her oldest son, Al (who was 23 years old at the time), accompanied her to the vet that day to lend his support.  Al went into the vet’s office with his mother, and although his heart was broken over Max too, he stayed by his mother’s side and accompanied her into the room where the vet would give his dog the fatal dose of medicine which would end his suffering.  It was over in a matter of minutes and Al and his mother left the vet’s office without their beloved Max.  His mother’s knees collapsed outside, and she started crying.  Al picked her up gently, carried her to the car, and they drove home.  The children came home from school and found out the sad truth about their dog Max and thus John, Cathy, and Carmen all knew the heartache of losing a pet who was the equivilent to them of being a sibling.  
 
          In the next few weeks, Sharen was filled with overwhelming grief over the loss of Max.  The house was empty without the “pat pat pat” of his paws on the hardwood floors.  She was so grief-stricken in fact that she was emotionally disabled for several weeks.  Upon seeing his mother’s distress and sadness, Al decided to step in to try and help.  He told his mother that he needed some new clothes, and that he wanted to go shopping at the mall.  Sharen, ever desiring to accomodate her children, complied and off to the mall they went.  They casually walked through the stores, and then as if by chance, Al led his mother to the pet shop and told her he needed to look for a dog for himself.  However, Sharen did not want to go into the pet shop.  Al coaxed her in by telling her how beautiful and cute all the puppies were inside and that she just had to come in to see the puppies.  Reluctantly, she obliged her son and walked into the pet store.  There she stood in front of rows of puppies.  Her thoughts about Max were lifted for the moment, and then a little, white Maltese caught her attention.  Al asked the sales lady could she please take out this little puppy so his mother could hold it.  Sharen, unprepared for the feelings which might accompany holding a new pet, gasped, but Al reassured her.  She cautiously entered a little room where the sales lady waited to hand her the Maltese.  In one breath, Sharen knew immediately that she loved the little dog, and she decided to buy her right then and bring her home.  Al was happy to see his mother smile again. Sharen named her new little puppy, Bella.  

                   

         Bella was a joy to this grieving family.  Max had only been gone one month, but this cute little two pound munkin filled the house with joy and laughter once again.  Max will always be remembered and revered for the 13 years he grew up with this family but Bella was now making her mark as the next most loved pet.  She cuddled, yipped and bounced around under foot, like a little white mouse.  She received all the best vet care that money could buy.  She was an absolute joy.

          Three months later, at 5 months old, it was time for Bella to be spayed.  Sharen took her little puppy to the vet and left her overnight.  She picked her up the next day and asked the vet if she needed to cover the stitches with a bandage; he told her not to bother, that it would heal with the air.  At home, Sharen allowed Bella to go outside like she did before.  Bella seemed a little groggy, but Sharen didn’t think much of this, considering the operation.  On the third day, Sharen came downstairs in the morning to make coffee.  She sat at her kitchen table and waited for the coffee to brew.  She looked over at Bella, still sitting in her little homemade bed.  Sharen called Bella to come over to her, and Bella got up and walked to her, but she swayed to the side and bumped into a chair on the way.  Sharen thought this odd and continued to watch Bella while she made her coffee.  Bella continued to walk around the kitchen bumping into the other chairs and the walls.  Sharen called out Bella’s name again, and once again Bella turned to head in the direction of her voice but bumped into another chair.  “I think she’s blind!” said Sharen, as she put her coffee down on the table.  She called out to her husband and children and when they were all in the kitchen she pointed to Bella, calling her name.  Bella once again bumped into a chair while making her way to Sharen.  The children threw toys for Bella, but Bella did not try to retrieve them or try to play with them.  Sharen collapsed into her kitchen chair, lowered her head, and rested it on her hand and said again, “I think she’s blind.”  

         Sharen immediately brought Bella to the animal hospital, where she was diagnosed with distemper.  It seemed the vet had not vaccinated Bella adequately for distemper, which is a totally preventable virus for dogs. Bella probably caught the infection while walking outside without her stitches covered. By the time Bella was seen at the animal hospital, the infection had already taken the poor puppy’s eye sight, although she could still see some shadows.  Sharen brought Bella home a few days later. 

          It was difficult for the family to adjust to having a blind dog, but especially for Bella because she was such a happy, energetic little puppy.  She still played around a lot, but she had many bumps and bruises.  Within the next few months Bella also lost her hearing due to the infection.  This poor little puppy now could not hear or see and Sharen was heartbroken for her.  So, she decided to get another puppy to keep Bella company; another Maltese whom she named Giorgio. 

          Giorgio, a cute 1 1/2 pound little fluff ball, came into the family a skiddish, fearful kind of puppy.  He disliked sudden moves, and loud noises frightened him.  He was not as cuddly as Bella but that was okay because he was suppposed to be Bella’s friend anyway.  From the moment they were first introduced, Bella and Giorgio were inseparable.  Giorgio never, ever left Bella’s side. It was amazing watching Giorgio become Bella’s “seeing eye dog” without any training what-so-ever or coaxing from anyone.  Giorgio taught himself how to help Bella, and Bella trusted Giorgio explicitly.  For instance, if it were time to go out for a walk, Sharen stood at the door and called her two puppies.  Giorgio would run for the door but Bella would sit, unable to hear or see anything except shadows.  Giorgio would run back to Bella and nudge up against her and then run for the door again.  Giorgio patiently repeated this ritual until Bella caught on and got up to follow him.  When she finally did, Giorgio stayed right by her side.  They walked together like one, big fluffy white dog, without ever being tied together. 

               Mealtime was especially poignant.  Bella would be in her little bed (a bed that Giorgio climbed into every night), and Sharen would put out food.  Bella did not know food had been put down because she could not see, but Giorgio certainly did.  He would jump out of the little bed and run to the food, repeating the ritual of running back and forth to Bella until she caught on to get up and follow him.  Giorgio would not eat or drink water until Bella was by his side.  Then, when they were done eating, it was the ritual once again of running back and forth to get Bella to go outside; off they would go with Sharen following close behind the two of them.   

          Through the next few years Giorgio and Bella were like husband and wife, brother and sister, and best friends.  The steriods that Bella had to take when she’d gotten sick made her reach a weight of 18 pounds! while poor little Giorgio never weighed more than 5 pounds.  They were certainly a cute couple. 

          Sadly, Bella never quite regained her health after the bout of distemper when she was a puppy.  She contracted a severe infection when she was four and half years old (basically still a young dog) which she was not strong enough to fight.  She died at home, with Giorgio by her side.  He kept nudging her to go and eat and to go outside, but Bella was too weak.  She stayed in her little bed, her head hanging over the side, Giorgio licking her face.   Giorgio stopped eating too those last few days of her life.  When Bella passed away, Sharen took her to the animal cemetary.   Giorgio sat by her little bed for two weeks and howled and cried.  

              Giorgio will still look for his beloved Bella sometimes, if he hears a family member say her name or hears a dog barking that sounds like Bella he’ll turn quickly to see if she is around.  He loved her, and she loved him.  It is a wonderful love story, and if there is a doggie heaven, Bella is waiting to be reunited with Giorgio.  For now, she is content getting to know Max, who I am sure is watching over her.  

R.I.P. Max  2/17/90 – 3/8/03
R.I.P. Bella 2/3/03 – 12/18/07   

              

                   

Sharen Wendy Robertson owns the copyright to all posts on this Blog.

Alfie’s Yellow Socks

yellow socksALFIE’S YELLOW SOCKS
                                       A true story

Do you remember having a family story that you used to tell over and over again for years and years, and then for some reason you just stopped telling the story?  I have a story like that and the reason I want to share it now is because it came up in a conversation I was having with my 5 year old granddaughter.  I hadn’t told the story in a long, long time and yet there I was, sharing this precious story once again to someone who had never even heard it before.  She loved it of course, not only because it is a beautiful story, but because it has to do with her father, my oldest son, Alfie.

The story goes way back 32 years almost to the day, back to March 20, 1979.  I just turned 19 years old that February.  I had also just celebrated my 1 year wedding anniversary on March 19th, and we had a seven month old baby named Alfonso, who we called Alfie.  The three of us were living in an attic apartment in the home of my in-laws.  That year was very stressful: I got married, had a new baby, and moved in with my Sicilian in-laws who didn’t speak English.  My husband worked non-stop, and I was home alone most of the time.  There was a brilliant light in my life however, which was this new little person; my baby, Alfie.

The morning of March 20th, was uneventful.  I woke up and made coffee.  Alfie woke up, and I made him something to eat.  I noticed mid-morning that I felt a little dizzy.  I thought I was just tired and layed down when Alfie took his nap.  The day went by, but I still didn’t really feel like myself.  I had a little bit of a headache when I went to sleep.  Next day, March 21st, same routine: woke up had coffee and took care of Alfie, except I felt a lot worse than the day before.  I was really dizzy, and I had a low-grade fever.  I thought maybe I was getting the flu.  The headache was getting much, much worse.  I took a walk with Alfie, thought maybe I’d feel better if I got some fresh air, but it didn’t help.  I called my sister to come up and help me take care of Alfie.    I was on the couch by 4 p.m., unable to really get up because my head hurt so much, and I was too dizzy to walk around or take care of Alfie.  Poor little thing…..but I was also still breastfeeding him.  I felt like I was dying.

Now, it’s the morning of March 22nd, three days since I started not feeling well.  My husband went to work again, and I was left home alone to care for Alfie.  I had a fever now of 103, and I could not get off the couch.  Thankfully, my mother-in-law saw how lousy I was feeling and stayed home from work to help me.  My head was killing me and felt like it was going to explode.  I couldn’t move my neck and I could barely walk.  I started vomiting.  I still thought maybe I had a bad virus or something so I started taking some cold medicine.  Nothing brought the fever down or did anything to relieve the throbbing pain in my head.  I also could not stop vomiting.  I knew something was dreadfully wrong with me.  I called my mother and said, “Ma, I’m sick.  I need to go to the hospital.  I can’t drive.  Please come and take me.”  She was there in 15 minutes.  My father-in-law and my mother helped carry me to the car.  I barely remember the 10 minute drive to the hospital, everything was cloudy in my brain.  I couldn’t move my head it was pounding so much and my neck hurt something fierce.

I remember my mother driving into the emergency room parking lot and parking the car.  She looked at me and said, “Ok, ready?”  I couldn’t even turn my head to look at her.  I just said, “I can’t walk. Ma,”  and I opened the door to vomit again.  She jumped out of the car and ran into the emergency room.  Seconds later  attendants were helping me into a wheelchair.  They stopped at the reception desk but I couldn’t answer any questions.  I could only shake my head.  I was barely conscious.  They brought me into a room, and layed me on a hospital bed, all the time asking me questions, I guess in an effort to keep me conscious.  This was all to no avail, and I was completely unconscious within 5 minutes…………….comatose.  I’d somehow contracted bacterial Spinal Meningitis.

I can only tell here from what other people have told me.   I was convulsing and thrashing around, kicking and biting.  My eyes looked like they were going to pop out of my head.  I was strapped in the hosptial bed and had to wear a helmet because I kept banging my head.  It was an absolute nightmare for my family and friends, as they all waited to see if I would pull through.

Things did not look good.  I’d waited at home those three days and lost precious time which might have prevented the disease from getting too serious.  The anitbiotics were not working.  There were some moments when I opened my eyes and looked around, but then I was gone again in an instant.  There were also times when I was screaming and yelling at everyone, “I’m alive.  I’m here.  Can’t you hear me?”  But I was unable to move my mouth or my eyes, so no one knew.   Then there was another time I did open my eyes and looked around the room, but I was totally blind….that really scared me, and I remember I started screaming, “I can’t see.  I’m blind!”

A couple of weeks went by and it didn’t look like I was going to survive.  The doctors told my mother that if I did survive, I would probably be in a vegetative state for the rest of my life, crippled and/or brain damaged.  Only 19 years old with a whole life ahead of me!  I remember opening my eyes at one point and seeing two priests hovering over me, praying.  I remember thinking to myself, “What the heck are they doing here?”  But I couldn’t speak, and I fell unconscious again.
.
As the days passed I stopped coming in and out of the coma.  My mother said I just layed there quietly.  The fever was gone, but I was still in a coma.  During this quiet time, this is what I remember.  I was someplace floating around, like in space, but it wasn’t outerspace or anything weird or anything I was afraid of.  I was so light and didn’t have any worries or cares.  It felt heavenly.  I was alone though.  So, I was just floating around and enjoying the freedom, not thinking about anyone or anything, or about ever coming back to my body.  Why would I?  The weird part is that I had no ties to my life.  None.  My mind was free of space, time, or relationship connections.  My spirit was disconnecting from my body……..I was dying, yet I was being set free to start a new, different life.

My mother sat at my bedside day and night, stroking my forehead and talking to me as if I could hear her.  Poor women, she’d been told that I probably wouldn’t survive.  She was beside herself with worry and fear.   The doctors had done all they could, she knew that.  The priests had already come in and read me my last rites.  I wasn’t moving around anymore.  I was on a respirator and it seemed like it was just a matter of time before I passed away.

My mother was also deeply saddened by the fact that I would probably never see my son again.  So, about eight days into the coma she decided to bring something special to me from my home.  They couldn’t bring my son in to see me because he’d been admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital as a precaution since I’d been breastfeeding him.  He was fine, but he was so scared of hospitals.

Alfie’s yellow socks:  My mother came in to visit that day and she brought a little pair of yellow socks that my son loved to wear all the time.  He loved the color and wanted to wear them every day, everywhere.  My mother sat at my bedside and started talking to me about Alfie.  I was off in space somewhere, like I said, floating around without a care in the world and not planning on coming back.  Something happened though when she started talking about Alfie.  I heard her voice for the first time, but not clear.  It was a voice I knew but I didn’t recognize at first.  It came through to the space place I was at.  It was like someone talking far away in the distance, barely audible.  She kept talking about Alfie, and everytime i heard his name I wanted to listen harder.  With each sentence I could hear her a little bit clearer and then a little bit clearer. Then I heard her say, “And Sharen, look I brought in Alfie’s yellow socks.  I’m going to put his picture and his socks right here where you can see them.  You just need to open your eyes and they’re right here.”

Well, something happened to me in that moment.  A sudden jolt of reality hit me in my floating space, and I remembered about my beautiful little son.  I remember saying to myself, “What am I doing?  I can’t stay here.  Alfie needs me!”  Then all of a sudden, it was like I was swooshed back into my body, like a vacuum pulled me back in.  It was weird.  My mother said I turned my head to her and opened my eyes.  This is the first thing I remember……I looked over and saw Alfie’s yellow socks.  Then I smiled.  I looked at my mother, too.  She gasped and smiled back at me.  I was tired though and still couldn’t keep my eyes open.  I went back to sleep, but not for long.  I remember waking up again and seeing my father sleeping in a chair near my bed.  I was out of the coma.  He woke up to find me trying to get up out of bed.  The poor guy was completely stunned to see me awake and moving around.

I made a complete recovery with no residual effects;  no brain damage or paralysis.  My mother-in-law brought Alfie in to see me the next day.  He looked so frail and scared.  I loved him so much and couldn’t wait to get back home.

I have kept those yellow socks in my bureau drawer all this time, and repeated that story over and over again to my children and family.  But it wasn’t until I told it to my granddaughter the other day that I remembered how special those yellow socks were to me.  I’m sitting here holding them right now as I write this.  My baby Alfie, is now 32 years old.

I got very sick again in 2007 with pancreatitis and liver failure.   I got sick suddenly and things didn’t look too good.  You know what Alfie did?  He brought in a pair of his socks and put them in my hospital drawer as a reminder of how much he needs me and loves me.  Thank you, God for bringing Alfie into my life.  alfie1 Alfie and I, March 1979…..three weeks before I got sick.
alfie 2A couple of weeks before I got sick.
alfie3About a month after I came home from the hospital.
alfie5My guy, Alfie, 2 1/2 years old
alfie6Christmas 2009.

Sharen Wendy Robertson owns the copyright to all posts on this Blog.

Finding peace during the holidays

alfie7

For those of you who, like me, are trying hard to be strong this holiday season because you’re dealing with the loss of a loved one, the next few days will truly take a different kind of strength.  This kind of strength can only be found in the thought that our loved ones are still here with us.  I wrote this new Blog in the hope that someone may find comfort in what I am about to share.  I know the pain and sorrow associated with losing a parent, and also losing a child.  It has been a little over two years since my dad died in July 2008, and also a little over two years since my  youngest son, Carmelo, died instantly in a car crash in on August 7, 2008.  My dad was 71 and my son just 20 years old.  They died three weeks apart.

       It’s true that these losses have at times broken me down in mind and spirit.  I have often times found myself crumpled up in a puddle of tears begging my divine creator to please, please have mercy on me and ease my pain.  I have felt abandoned by the universe, wondering why I was even still alive, left to carry such intense pain alone; pain I could never imagine even existed in this life, only in hell.  I don’t drink or smoke or take any medication, so the ache of my pain has never been dulled.  It burns through my soul and into my DNA, if there is even such a thing.

Something weird happened to me when my dad died.  A weird something that I have since referred to as simply an “experience.” This experience definitely helped me deal with his passing.  First, let me say that when my dad died I wasn’t really a believer in an afterlife or in spirits being able to communicate with us.  Secondly, I do not want to influence anyone to believe anything.  I can only share my experience and let you decide what, if any, meaning it holds for you.  This is what I “experienced” at the same instant my dad died:

My dad had a heart attack and for a week was kept alive on life-support.  It was a long week for my seven siblings and I, and we knew at some point we would have to make the heartbreaking decision on when to remove the breathing tube.  The day came and we were in the room, surrounding our dad in his hospital bed (all except my sister, who hadn’t spoken to my dad in many years).  I laid my head down on my dad’s chest and put a
blanket over my head to hide my tears from everyone.  The nurse was there, prepared to
take out the breathing tube.  I started to cry under the blanket, my tears soaked his chest.
The breathing tube was removed.  He breathed on his own a few breathes.  I could feel his chest move as he struggled to breath.  Then he stopped.  His chest was still.  I looked out from under the cover at his face.  Next thing I knew, my knees gave way, I collapsed on the floor next to his bed, and found myself in some kind of trance or dream.  I still don’t know what to call it which is why I call it an “experience.”

          My eyes were closed (I thought I passed out) but my mind was wide awake and in my mind, I saw my dad ahead of me walking away really, really fast.  He appeared to definitely be in a hurry to go somewhere.  I called out to him, but he just kept walking away really fast, almost running.  I called out again and started running after him.  I was running right behind him and calling him but he didn’t hear me and he didn’t turn around.  I finally got close enough to reach out to grab his hand.  In that instant when my hand touched his, he stopped moving away and turned slowly around to look at me.  His face was so different.  It was illuminated with a soft white glow….he looked like he was about 35 and not 71.  He didn’t look sick anymore (my dad was sick for a long time with diabetes and arthritis).  He wasn’t overweight anymore.  He just had a look that I can only call angelic.  His eyes were compasionate and loving.  I said, “Dad,” and paused and said, “don’t go.”

          Then, I turned around and all my siblings were standing there with me.  My dad looked at us all, and then he reached through the group and held out his arms for my sister (who he hadn’t talked to in about 20 years).  He hugged her and honestly, the hug seemed to last like 20 years even though it was over in a moment.  Then he moved back from us and started to turn to walk away.  He wasn’t running this time though.  I got anxious and said, “Dad, don’t go.  When will I see you again?”  He turned around to look at me, and with great tenderness put his hand out to me and gently said, “Sharen, don’t worry.  I’ll be waiting for you.”  He smiled at me then turned away slowly.  I stood there with my siblings.  All of a sudden a huge white light appeared off in the distance (and I mean huge, bigger than the sun).  My dad started walking toward the light (without a limp anymore).  He was young and strong again.
alfie8My dad and I in 1992.

I watched him walk off and started to open my eyes.  I was still on the hospital floor next to the bed he died in.  My sisters were looking down at me, calling out my name.  They picked me up, and I told them what happened.   None of us even tried to explain what happened and I guess we all hust innocently believe that I really did catch of to my dad’s spirit on his way to heaven.  I think (or I hope) the experience comforted them too.  I keep this memory close to my heart and know that my father would not have told me he would be waiting for me if it were not true.  Was it a dream?  I still have no idea what the heck it was, but I know that my spirit chased my dad somewhere after his spirit left his body.

The next experience I had was a dream I had a couple of weeks ago.  I have been feeling really sad with the holidays approaching, missing and longing for my son (who died in a car accident two years ago), crying a lot.  The dream really helped me and maybe it will help another grieving soul.

I dreamed I was at my mother’s house and my son, Carmen, was laying there in a bed.  I saw him there, and he started to move around like he was trying to come to life.  He kept trying to talk but I didn’t have any idea what he was trying to say.  I thought he was on drugs or something, and I was going to call an ambulance.  I kept reaching for the phone but never called.  The poor kid was trying so hard to talk to me, but it was all just babble to me.  I felt completely helpless watching him trying so hard to communicate with me.  He was almost crying, but he just couldn’t do it no matter how hard he tried. 

I woke up from my dream.  This is my interpretation:
I felt selfish.  Here I’ve been grieving without any thoughts of how or if my emotions and actions affect my son.  My dream proved to me that my son feels my sadness and longs for me to be happy.  He would do and give anything to make me happy.  He even tried to come back in a form and using a language that I would easily understand and recognize just to comfort me.  However, I now know just how difficult it is for him to take his ultra-pure form and force it back into a human form.  It would be like me trying to force my spirit to be a cat or a fish.  And, he doesn’t even speak English (or any other human language) anymore.  He has reached his fullest potential, and I need to be happy for him and accept him in this new form.  My belief that his presence is still here was completely renewed after I had this dream.  I need to stop my grieving and encourage and love my son, just as I did when he was here in person.  The relationship between he and I continues throughout eternity, the bond can not be severed just because the body dies.

I accept my “experiences” as nothing more than random things that happen.  I don’t define myself by them or try and label them in any way.  I try and live in the moment and accept things and just hope that by sharing my experiences I can help other people.
Peace, Love, Joy to all  = PeLoJo 
     

                                            Let me smile today and forget my sorrow,
                                                   wrap up my tears until tomorrow.
                                              Let me be of good cheer….. this is why,
                                     because my angel sees the world through my eyes.
                                          Let me give my angel a day filled with love,
                                                  my actions reflect to him up above.
                                          Let my heart be known by the songs I sing,
                                             for my angel carries my love on his wings.
                                                                  SWR (c) 2010


Sharen Wendy Robertson owns the copyright to all posts on this Blog.

It’s about the message

    I wrote this story back in 1994, a time in my life of much spiritual soul searching.  As I analyzed and questioned all that I’d been taught and learned in my life about religion and spirituality the notion came to me that I should be free to create my own explanation of God and destiny, love and hate, human behavior, etc., etc.  Although 16 years have passed since I wrote this, it still holds (what I consider, anyway) some unique and interesting explanations on life.   I consider it to be just a story, please don’t be offended.  Think about the message……………..which is LOVE.                                        

REENA SHI
By
Sharen Wendy Robertson
                                                                                 

 

 

           

     Long, long ago, before God created the universe, He lived with all of His angels in Heaven.  God thought His angels were very special and loved all of them the same.  Each angel was empowered with a unique talent: some angels could sing, some could write poetry, some could draw, and some angels could think big thoughts.  Yet, there was one angel who was especially close to God.  He called her Reena Shi.  Sometimes Reena Shi would sit for hours and days (well, for a long time because they don’t really keep track of time in Heaven) on the front steps of God’s throne and watch as He inspired the universe into existence. 

     This was not an easy task, even for God, so once a month He summoned a meeting with His staff of angels who could think big thoughts.  They met at the Palace of Heavenly Thought.  It was by far one of the most beautiful buildings in Heaven. The Palace was made of clear, blue crystal.  There was no need for doors because the beings could pass right through the crystal.  The steps up to the Palace were magnificent: sculpted silver with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds, and sparkling stardust waterfalls on each side of the steps.  Worker angels lovingly polished the stones, while maintenance angels kept watch over the stardust.  The roof was open to the sky so the light of the sun always shown down from above.  God‘s conference chamber was on the first floor.  The meetings usually lasted a long time, and Reena Shi always included herself because she wanted to be near God. 

     In those early days of creation there was so much work to do, like where to put this star and where to put that planet.  Creating a new universe isn’t as easy as you might think, the dimensions must be absolutely perfect so that everything has enough room to grow or else things will bump into each other.  This was such important work in fact that God commanded his angels to be very precise. 

    “When you design this new universe make sure it is perfectly balanced,” said God. “Everything

 

must have enough room to grow.”

 

     Reena Shi watched God create.  The matters of the earth, like the flowers, trees, and animals all listened carefully to their instructions from God.  He was like a conductor of an orchestra, his hand would go up and all things would know what to do.  The flowers would open.  The clouds would rain.  The sun would shine.  The moon would glow.  Babies would be born, and people would die.        

     From out of all that God had created He loved the earth the most.  In the beginning, God had loved everything the same, but the earth was the only planet that had listened to Him.  All the other planets were once as alive as the earth, but they became very stubborn and thought they didn’t need God.  Like Mars and Pluto and Saturn, they were once filled with plants and people just like the earth.  Sadly, they began to think they didn’t need God and when He tried to whisper to them they wouldn’t listen.  This stubbornness upset the balance God had worked so hard to create.  He kept trying to whisper instructions to all those planets:

     “Please, just love each other,” God said softly.  They all ignored this tiny, simple command.

     Life on those planets existed for awhile without God, but without love to balance the meanness, all the animals and insects and people hated each other.  Soon the flowers wouldn’t open because they were jealous that the birds could fly, and the sun stopped shining because he didn’t want the moon in his sky anymore.  Then, little by little, everything on those other planets slowly died off.  It got very, very cold until everything…………just…………….froze. 

     There wasn’t anything God could do except to try and not think about all He had lost.  Instead, He thought about something very wonderful. 

“Thank goodness,” He sighed, “I still have the earth.”

     God turned away from the cold, lifeless space.  Looking down from His throne He could see the earth: healthy, vibrant, and colorful.  God gazed lovingly at the blue skies, green forests, golden fields, orange sunsets, red sunrises, gray clouds, and the silver moon.  Even when He was busy doing God-work He still kept a loving, watchful eye on his favorite planet.  Sometimes God would journey around the earth.  His presence was a warm, gentle breeze. 

Reena Shi often traveled with God.  She enjoyed her trips to earth; loved all of it, especially the creatures that God called human beings.  Of all of God’s creations, human beings were His favorite, and He was very protective of them.  With a peaceful thought God would breathe over the earth.  At this, all the animals and plants jumped up and down with joy.  Then everything lit up with a warm, heavenly light only God and the angels could see.  Any living thing with an innocent heart had this light.  It was the most shimmering, sparkling, shining light in the whole universe.  Human beings had the most brilliant light, some so strong that it was visible to God and Reena Shi for miles and miles.  It was especially helpful to those humans whose light was not very bright because to grow stronger all they needed to do was be around someone with a strong light.  Every minute with that person made their light glow brighter and brighter. 

     Sadly, there were some humans who were so far away from the light of others that they were always in darkness.  They didn’t know they were in darkness because only God and the angels could see the light.  They just felt lonely and bored with themselves, and their sadness made them feel cold.  The coldness slowed them down, and they became angry.  God traveled the earth and searched for those humans who were cold.  He tried over and over again to warm them by breathing His spirit on them but they were stubborn.  Their hearts were too cold to love anything, not even themselves.  They just turned the other way until God passed by, pretending not to notice that He was even there at all.  They just got colder and colder until their hearts……….just…….froze.

     God was very sad for these humans.  He looked away from the earth, out into the cold, lifeless universe and cried.  His teardrops were made of pure, blue crystal and each tear was the thought of a cold, yet beautiful human.  Each crystal teardrop was caught by an angel and placed gently in its own glass case.  Every case was outlined with liquid gold and silver.  On the bottom was a golden nameplate where the angels carefully wrote the names of the humans who had died without feeling the light of God.  Reena Shi noticed that God was crying more often and that the overflow of tears was keeping the angels busier than ever catching his teardrops.

     Now, the order in Heaven was this: God loved humans beings and the angels, but unlike the angels, humans were delicate and needed special, gentle care.  So, God assigned an angel to protect every child. 

  “Throughout time,” He commanded, “every human child will receive an angel. The angel will stay with that human for an entire lifetime.  The humans will call this presence “soul.”  You will bring my love with you to earth, and I will call you home when your work on earth is done.”

     The angels smiled and danced because they were happy to please God.

     “Remember,” God said gently, “humans must choose to love each other.  You will experience life and they will experience my love.  As your time on earth is fulfilled, your memory of Heaven will start to come back.  If you and the human become especially close, they will feel what you feel and sense what you know.  But remember, if you reveal yourselves to the humans they will die.”

      There was silence in the great hall where God’s throne was.  A warm wind passed through all the angels and the great hall became thunderous with God’s thoughts. Then God tried to prepare his angels for those humans who would not love.

     “Some of you will be born into humans who will grow cold no matter how hard you try to remind them to love.  When I call you home your only memory of them will be their names.  Each name will then be inscribed on a glass case with a crystal teardrop inside.  Nothing else will be remembered of that human.  For the humans who were warm and loving, all their thoughts and feelings will live on for all eternity in you.”

     Reena Shi sat on the marble steps with her friends.  They all sang a heavenly tune for God.  Soon, it was time for Reena Shi and her friends to leave Heaven.  They were all lifted up and placed in a golden archway.  There they waited suspended in space and time.  They sang again while they waited for God (in a low hum of course so God would not think they were being impatient). 

     “I send you out to the earth as my special messengers,” God finally said.  “You will bring an understanding of love and it will light the world.  This is an important mission because the light has already begun to flicker

on earth and even grow dark in some places.  You must rescue and protect all I have left.”

     Then God summoned Reena Shi to sit near Him.  She gazed upward, eyes closed, and the vision of God filled her mind. 

     “You are my joy,” God whispered.  “I am always with you, watching over you, and loving you.  In a very short time you will not remember me, but do not be afraid because I will remember everything about you every moment of forever.  You are always with me, and I am always listening.”

     “I am not afraid,” she reassured God.  “Even if I can not remember you, I think my love is strong enough to stay with me and keep me warm until you call me to come home.” 

     God moved Reena Shi back with her friends, and then she fell asleep.  When she awoke she was within a small child named Rose.  The child felt Reena Shi’s presence. 

     Time passed slowly on earth.  God missed his companion, and sometimes on his journeys around earth would pass by Rose’s house.  Once, when Rose was four years old, He even paused while she played in her backyard.  His presence filled the yard.  The birds and animals began an excited clatter and the trees bent down to welcome Him.  Rose closed her eyes and turned up toward the warm, bright sun.  From deep within Rose, Reena Shi awoke and turned up toward the sun too.  For that moment, God was the sun and both Reena Shi and Rose were filled with His love. 

     Rose took a deep breath, and Reena Shi felt the warmth of the breath.  Then, as if by magic, their breathing was in perfect harmony with the presence of God.  The moment was calm and peaceful. Rose was overwhelmed with the light and warmth of God’s love, and she began to cry.  The little girl sat alone in the yard; no one heard her cry or came to comfort her.  She rocked back and forth, crying tears that she did not understand.  She lay down on the grass, the tears continued.  Still, no one came to comfort her.  

     God felt compassion for Rose.  She stopped crying and fell asleep on the grass.  At that moment, God lifted her thoughts, and she dreamed of Heaven.  God took Rose above the universe and beyond the stars.  In that same instant, Reena Shi awoke and remembered who she was.  She gazed at God and His love embraced her.  Reena Shi and Rose rested in God’s loving embrace.  An eternity passed, yet when Rose opened her eyes she was still laying on the grass in her yard.  This experience stayed with her throughout her life.  God continued to visit Rose, and she grew up to be a loving, compassionate woman.  God was very pleased with this, and Rose was remembered throughout eternity in Reena Shi.   

     As for the rest of the earth, God continued to watch and hope.  He realized the difficult challenges His angels were facing.  He also knew that the distance between Heaven and Earth was far too wide for even the most loving humans to cross.  So finally God decided, without another moment’s hesitation, to pack up His kingdom and move everything to earth.  This way He could monitor the situation more closely.  As always, Reena Shi, who was now back home in heaven, was by God’s side.  Thank goodness, because when God arrived on Earth neither His angels nor the humans recognized Him.  He realized that in order for things to improve He needed to make Himself known. This proved to be more difficult than He thought it would be. 

     “How can I show my loving nature?” said God.  “Humans are suspicious and fearful.  Maybe I stayed away too long.”

     He thought and thought.  Finally, He had an idea. 

     “I will answer them when they call.  I will answer them loudly so they can hear me.  I will also call out to them.  I will call them loudly so they can hear me.”

     The wind began to blow boldly from the four corners of the earth.  The sun danced merrily with the moon in the sky.  The birds perched on the backs of other creatures and rode peacefully without being bothered.  The oceans calmed themselves and the air around the earth smelled of sweet, fragrant roses.  Everything in nature cooperated as if to say:   “Listen up humans!  God has not forgotten you.  This is His nature and He is revealing it to you.” 

    With a sense of wonder and curiosity, humans from all walks of life, all races and nationalities, turned from their busy, lonely lives, closed their eyes and felt the safe embrace of their loving God.  All at once everything on earth heard His voice.  The whole of creation glowed brilliantly with a light not seen by God since the beginning of time.  Then, in all His glory and joy, He cried.  Reena Shi sat down beside God and cried too.  At that moment the earth became a beacon of light and warmth to the rest of the universe.  God reached out generously and lightly touched the planets around the earth.  They were still frozen, yet somewhere deep within the ice and cold a tingle of thaw began.  The loving light from the earth was being absorbed in the universe.  Everything was peaceful.  God smiled, and then He and Reena Shi rested with the earth.               

 

                    The End        

           

Sharen Wendy Robertson owns the copyright to all posts on this Blog.