Before you think I’m totally nuts, or was dropped on my head as a child or use hallucinogens, please read my story. I can count on one hand the number of people I have ever shared this with. You have my permission to pass this along.
I went to high school and college with a young man named John. John was the pudgy nice kid who was picked on by the jocks. As I matured I realized that nice people are important friends to have so John and I became very good friends in our college days. In 1992 I was recruited to sell educational books door-to-door in the summertime to help pay for school. My first summer with this crazy job I did exceptionally well. Word spread amongst Baylor University about my success so many people approached me about how they, too, could get out of teenage poverty and run their own business over the summer in lieu of flipping burgers. John was one of them. My mission going into summer #2 was to recruit 20 strapping young adults to transform their lives the way I had – by good old-fashioned hard work. John was the epicenter of my team and my personal relief that I knew at least one soul on my team “from back home”.
We were entering the last week of our 12-week summer sales brigade. We were in a frenzy to finish strong – to make ourselves, our parents and colleagues back on campus proud. This is when the phone call came in. “John was killed today in a car accident”. I don’t even remember who called and told me. I just remember the words. The funeral, locking eyes with his parents who had lost their only child, the sales award we honored John with – is a foggy memory. But what came next is what I have kept mostly a secret over the past 16 years.
Back on campus I was a complete emotional wreck. If only I had not recruited John he would still be alive. I took full responsibility for his death – and it almost killed me as well. One night about 3am my telephone rang.
Kate, it’s John.
What!? Where are you? How are you calling me?
I just want to let you know to stop worrying about me. I am so happy now (I could hear it in his voice).
But where are you? How is this happening?
It doesn’t matter. I am so happy. You don’t need to worry anymore.
(I kept asking the same question. He kept giving the same answer)
Then I woke up. I was facing my wall when my eyes opened. I immediately recalled what had happened a few hours before. My heart exploded out of my chest. Did this really happen? Did John really call me? Or was this a crazy dream? I rolled over to investigate the phone to find it dangling off the bedside table (yes, remember when phones had cords attached to them!). My heart was beating faster. I laid frozen in my bed for an hour not knowing what to think. Then my roommate Stephanie who slept in a different room knocked on my door and entered my room. She asked, “Who was that who called so late last night?”
A few months later my best friend’s mother, who died of cancer, met me in a dream talked to me as well. I saw her in person and she said, “Please tell Beth that I am so happy.” A few more months after talking to Beth’s mom, another friend lost her mother to cancer as well. She sent same message to her daughter, “Tell Anne I am so happy.”
Over the last 12 years or so my communication with the dead has been rather quiet. Until this past weekend. Saturday night I kept thinking about John. He was so strong on my mind I kept thinking something is up. John is close.
Well, Monday morning I learned that a young girl named Tara who had sold books door-to-door and who attended Baylor University, just like John and I did, was killed in a car accident Friday night after wrapping up a hard day of sales like John had. I am absolutely positive that John was nearby because he finally had a comrade to join him in heaven who he shared so much in common with. John came down to escort Tara up to heaven. They are now soul mates – in a way we will all have to wait to experience.
We all grieve when our loved-ones pass away, especially when it’s tragic. But based on John, Isabelle and Chicha’s voices who all so enthusiastically said “We’re so happy. Stop worrying about us!”, perhaps the joke is on us. If everlasting life is even a smidgen of truth from what I caught from my friend’s voices, then we have so much to look forward to. Thanks to John, Tara, Isabelle, Chicha and the dozens of others who have passed before me, we have fine fine company waiting for us in heaven!