My mother was not religious. She never really went to church. I’m not certain she believed in God.
But toward the end of her life she began sharing with me memories of what can only be considered vivid moments of psychic experience that she experienced when she was younger. Experiences that had been quite profound.
My mother was the fourth in a family of four daughters. She was the youngest by quite a few years. And she was the prettiest, with silver green eyes and naturally curly light colored hair. She was also the only daughter that went to college – in Illinois, where, because of her looks, and her sweet mildly spoiled personality, she was instantly quite popular. Sought by a major college sorority to pose for their magazine cover, often invited to parties.
There she met a man her age who was ‘the life of the party’. He was funny, outgoing, always the center of attention. They were attracted to each other. I never ever heard about their having a wedding. I suspect they may have eloped. I was told more than once my grandparents did not approve of him. She would quickly learn, after becoming a young married college dropout, that the reason for her new husband’s fun outgoing behavior was because he was a major drunk, from a long family history of drunks. A drunk, who didn’t work and made no income. Her childhood had been somewhat easy and very secure. Now, as a young married adult she was impoverished.
One day she met a female friend from college who had recently gotten married. This friend asked my mother to come over to her home to see photos of her wedding and all of the wonderful things she’d received as wedding gifts. A couple of days later my mom, with her husband, walked through a bitterly cold snow storm over to the apartment of her friend from college, who served them coffee in cute cups, showed them her cute apartment, and all of the cute and lovely things she’d received as a fresh new bride. My mother could clearly see that her friend from college was very happy, and had just had the wedding of her dreams.
Leaving her friend’s apartment, walking back to her crummy apartment through a bitter snow storm, with her constantly drunk broke young husband, my mother became depressed. She reflected on her own impoverished life. How she had no cute things. How she and her husband were always without any money.
Suddenly, in front of her, the snow storm that surrounded her kind of ‘broke’ and disappeared. And all of a sudden she found herself in a house, where it was warm. She walked forward a few steps through this house, and could clearly see the nice furniture on both sides of the room in which were displayed beautiful dishes and ornaments. In front of her were windows that looked out over a lazy river, where it was warm, sunny and beautiful outside.
A few seconds later and her immediate surroundings returned, and she found herself once again surrounded by bitter cold and a brutal snow storm. But the effect of that experience, the memory of that setting remained with her. She knew that what she had just experienced was not imagination, but something far more powerful.
Several years later, after having given her husband two young boys, she and her now older family had driven south, ever searching for some kind of job her husband might be good at, and actually commit to. Eventually they found themselves in Florida, in a small town just north of where her oldest sister was already living with her husband. They rented a house on a rather lazy Florida river from a man, a recent widower, who lived next door. A few days later she walked next door, to give this man, her landlord, his rent money.
She knocked on the door. From the rear of the house she heard her landlord yell out, “Just a minute. Go ahead and let yourself in.” So she did. And suddenly she found herself entering into the rooms she had experienced during that vision when she was just barely married, while she and her husband were walking home through a bitter snow storm returning from her friend’s apartment in Chicago. My mother stepped forward a few steps. To each side were the attractive cupboards and furniture along the walls that held nice dishes and various ornaments. In front of her were several windows that looked out upon a beautiful lazy river on a bright sunny day. All of which she clearly remembered, even though this was the very first time she had ever physically stepped inside this setting.
My mother then turned slightly, and looked over into the living room And there, seated in a chair, she could see ‘herself’. As a much older woman, in the future, living in this home. A ‘little old lady’ settled into a living room chair, the future owner of this house. The ‘house of her dreams’. That momentary vision disappeared when the man who owned the house stepped out from the rear of the house in order to receive her rent money. When they saw each other there was immediate chemistry.
My mother began separating herself from, and then legally divorcing herself from, her first husband, a man who was a no account loser and absolute failure in life. He had made her young adult life bitterly sad, despite his constant jokes. She would sum up her first marriage, “When I wasn’t laughing, I was crying.” When he left her he left her with two teenage boys, no money, but a very pretty necklace, that he admitted he’d stolen. In the only photograph I have of the two of them together she is wearing this necklace, an article of stolen property. I don’t believe at the time of the photo that she knew that the very pretty necklace she was wearing wasn’t really his to give her.
Soon afterward she would marry the man who lived next door. And even though they were both by then older, they had a child, a real surprise, who came into their lives and gave both of them much happiness in their later years. That child was me.
My father smoked. He would start each day with a cigarette, kind of like an appetizer. And then keep a lit cigar in his mouth the rest of the day on into each evening. I like the smell of a cigar, no doubt due to the memories of my dad. But while I was still fairly young it was discovered that my dad had developed lung cancer. Two difficult years later, and my dad passed away.
Several years later my mother made one of her several trips to Europe. During this instance she had been staying in the home of a family who were friends, when the father of that home, accompanying my mom on her final day’s stay with his family to his town’s train station, politely inquired of my mom about her recent husband. My mom was just about to answer, when she gazed across the train station, and saw her husband, my dad, approaching her.
My dad was smiling, looking directly into my mother’s eyes. But what was even stranger, beyond seeing a deceased man suddenly appear and walk toward you, was that my father was walking a few inches above the actual ground. My mother turned, for only a brief moment, to the man sitting next to her. She was slightly stunned, and confused. But when she turned back, to see her husband, he was no longer there. There was no one walking across the train station platform toward her, either on the ground or a few inches above it.
She sensed, by the look and smile on her deceased husband’s face, that he was trying to tell her that he was fine. That she shouldn’t worry. Everything was ok.
Toward the end of my mother’s life, during her final year of life, I would occasionally overhear my mom, when she didn’t think anyone was listening, speak with, and even offer a brief prayer, to God.