Forgive me if I steal a line from “The Sixth Sense,” but people come to visit me after they die. This does not happen often. In fact, the visits are more rare than I would like. Then again, I shouldn’t hope for more visits because that would mean more people have died.
The most recent visit was from my Dallas school chum James Lee “Jimmy” Lemmon. We were very close during junior high and high school, close the way boys and girls can be without any romantic interest. We wrote passionate notes and told each other how to live our lives. We counseled each other about our love crushes. Although we attended the same college, our adult friendship suffered from our combined poor decisions.
Out of the blue the other night, Jimmy appeared in a dream. He was college age, dressed in jeans, wide belt and a starched shirt, very handsome, like the photo here. He smiled and told me, “I’m all right now.” Because of some previous experiences, I worried perhaps Jimmy had died. So I did some research and discovered he passed away in July 2011. I was very sad to see this but 20 years had passed since I had seen Jimmy.
My Father Used the Same Line
My father told me the same thing when he visited me after his death long ago. He didn’t appear in a dream like Jimmy, but I simply heard my father’s voice, high and clear. I was not thinking about much of anything. A blank slate. Then came his distant voice, “Patty, I’m okay now.”
Since this is almost the same line as Jimmy’s, each may be wishful thinking on my part. I don’t claim to be psychic. But I was relieved to hear from both, because my father struggled in this life with alcoholism. His death was not easy. I heard through rumors that Jimmy struggled…not sure of the details. But one time when I reconnected with him in Austin as adults in our 40s, he was so agitated and over-the-top rude, I shouted at him, “What in the world happened to you, Jimmy!?” Those were my last words to him and I felt sorry later.
Mother Got In a Word and a Few Pennies, Too
After my mother died, she sang to me when I was peeling potatoes for dinner. Like the time my father’s voice appeared, my mind was a blank. I simply peeled potatoes when mother’s voice soared into my brain just as clear as anything I’ve ever heard. She sang that old lullaby, “Tura Lura.” And I felt so comforted.
Mother also leaves me pennies in places you could not possibly expect to find them. Before she died, she told me, “If I can find a way to come back, I will.” So after her death, I continually found pennies in the oddest places. Inside my bedsheets when I turned down the covers. Out on my back deck. Inside my shoes. Extraordinary, since I don’t carry change in my pockets. But Mother always said, “Pick a penny and put it in your pocket for luck.” She left off the word “up” in “Pick up,” perhaps a colloquialism. So I always “pick a penny” and tell Mom thank you.
So, Why Are You Here, Anyway?
A long-time hairdresser and good friend once came to visit me after he died. His name was Michael. I didn’t see him in a dream or hear his voice, but he entered my life in the manner of an inexplicable compulsion. I had just moved to Austin and could not find a decent hair stylist. I ranted to Michael about this long-distance during one of our phone conversations.
One day after a class downtown, I had a weird urge to go inside a shop I saw. The only sign said, “Aziz.” I didn’t know it was a hair salon, or even why I had walked in. I jokingly told the receptionist that some “force” had made me come in there. He smiled and told me, “You want David.”
So I made an appointment. A week later, David cut my hair exactly the same way that Michael had cut it. I was so thrilled, I called Michael to tell him that I had found a stylist, but his roommate answered the phone. He told me Michael had committed suicide the week before. I told the roommate, “Well, he was in Austin this past week, I can assure you.” I so appreciated Michael’s effort to let me know he had died and his help to find a stylist. Now that’s a spirit you want around.
Are You Dead People?
Sometimes when I close my eyes and reach that spot between awake and sleep, I see people’s faces. Lots of faces, not all at once, simply one by one, each face flashes by. I don’t recognize these people, and from their dress and hairstyles, they appear to be from many eras. I suspect they are spirits. Dead people? Instead of being frightened by them, I am comforted that they are “out there.” Makes me feel I will be out there someday, too.
I wish I could predict or control mystical moments or glean some monumental truths to share with you. When I try to see dead people, I get nowhere. They come on their time and terms, like my buddy Jimmy. I had no clue he had died, but he arrived in a dream to tell me that he’s all right now. The image of him looking so young and handsome was a true comfort. My friend was himself again. Rest in peace. Pass me a note, huh?