An Ordinary Miracle (Part Two)

A couple months after Philip died, a friend asked if I was interested in seeing a medium she knew, S. Since S. was recommended, I said yes. Before Philip died, I hadn’t been to a psychic in decades, not since the Famous Jeffrey, whom Stephanie and I had to get on a waiting list in order to meet. We finally got the call, and the visit went something like Jeffrey telling me I was going to have two children and me answering that I was pregnant with my second and him saying smugly, See? I told you and me not saying that no, actually, you didn’t tell me, you should’ve known I was pregnant, and with a waiting list months-long and a fee of one-hundred-and-fifty-(1993)-dollars, I expected precision.

After that, the fascination remained, but I refused to waste my money on it.

And much as I thought I was going to get myself in trouble seeing a medium so soon after Philip’s death, I went anyway. See, I thought a medium was like a telephone. Like it’d be, Hello, Philip? Medium here. Your Mom’s freakin’ out. Say something to her, will ya??

I called S. to make the appointment and she only asked for my first name. She didn’t want to know anything about me, didn’t even ask if there was a particular dead person I wanted to talk to. I hung up thinking maybe this’d be okay.

That day I’d say I was half out of my mind, except my mind was half gone already, gone somewhere far away, probably in search of my son. That day my anxiety exceeded the limits my meds could handle. I was all sped up with nowhere to go. My appointment was at seven. It was a ten minute ride which meant I’d leave 25 minutes early to get there so I could hurry up and wait. At 6:00 I took my dogs for a walk, hooking my glasses in the top of my shirt. I usually kept them on a chain around my neck, but it’d broken and I hadn’t replaced it. I needed glasses for reading, for shopping, for seeing the food on my plate that, since my son died, I wouldn’t eat anyway. I couldn’t use them for distance because if I did, the world became muddled and distorted. Kinda like it was anyway.

When I walked my dogs strictly for business (their business, that is), I took a right turn out the house, walked to the corner, crossed the street, and circled back home. That’s exactly what I did as quickly as I could, as if quicker would make 6:35 come any sooner. Once inside, I realized my glasses were gone. Goddamnit. I’ll be right back I snarled at the dogs, and stormed out of the house. Since I was already in the habit of asking Philip to help me find things, I said to him, Philip, I want my glasses. Help me find them so I know you’re here. 

Twice I went round, but no glasses. Furious, crying hard tears, I headed back to the house cursing and cursing and I don’t curse much but when I’m feeling whacked and out-of-control I go all Brooklyn-Italian on myself (don’t let “Smyth” fool you). Like, what the fuck, fuck this, are you fuckin’ kiddin’ me and fuck you, him, it and her.  I had no problem hurling it all at Philip. Fuck you Philip, what the fuck was that? I want my glasses and when I get to this fucking medium you better either tell me where they are or tell me you’re sorry you didn’t help me find them or whatever, but fuck you’d better say something about my glasses.

Or what? I’d kick his ass?

I knew I was in trouble at S.’s house when she put some goopy new-age chakra meditation on and asked me to close my eyes, put on the headphones and listen. Like I really wanted to hear the deep, dulcet tone of some Woman-Wiser-Than-Me telling me to let my orange chakra allow my abundance to be abundant and my yellow chakra to allow my self-worth to be worthy and my green chakra that should be red because it’s the bloody heart chakra to allow its lovepeacejoy  to be all that and Lady, you’re off your rocker if you think love, peace and most particularly joy and I can stand to share the same room, never mind the same headphones. I sat for ten minutes crying noiselessly because I was embarrassed by my need.

When it was over, S took my headphones, nodding, and said, “I know. It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”

Which pretty much sums up the session. Because what followed was this really nice lady saying meaningless things to me about ghosts I didn’t know or barely recognized. Although it did seem like my mother-in-law was making a stink, but we hadn’t much gotten along, so what was that to me? When I finally asked if I could talk to the person I wanted to, S. said it doesn’t exactly work like that, except that when I helplessly added, “See, my son…” she got the picture.

She told me that when I walked into the room, an 8-year-old boy came in with me. But he wasn’t eight, I said, not asking her why she didn’t mention that earlier. They do that sometimes, come in at different ages, S said. I don’t know why.

Then what the hell am I paying you for?

Nothing else much resonated. She said Philip liked to garden and he liked to draw and that he kept mentioning Brad, none of which meant anything since the first two were just wrong and the third wasn’t anyone I knew or ever heard Philip mention.  She also talked about the letter K, another thing meant nothing and has since come to mean something so okay, I’ll give her that.

I left there devastated, angry at S. for what I felt was her ineptitude, angry at Philip for not showing up, angry at myself for exposing myself to such a risk.

Next morning, I took my emotionally-hungover self out to walk the dogs again.  As usual, I walked without seeing, letting the dogs lead, lost in the space where Philip used to be. But then it was like something knocked me on my ass and I stopped dead where I was, looked up at the sky, and said, “Philip, I want my fucking glasses. NOW.”

When I looked down, there they were. Right at my feet, right on the grass I was standing on.

I got it. I really got it. Which is why Part One of this story set the stage, the part about me needing someone to please tell me how to live and please help me find the life I was missing. Because what Philip was saying to me was, “Mom, you don’t need a medium to talk to me. You need faith and responsibility, and it’s up to you to choose it. And you know I’m talking about something larger, too. I’m talking about life. Your life.”

Wouldn’t you think me “getting it” would amount to more than just some understanding? That “getting it” would be more than idea? Because so far, it isn’t. So far, I’m feeling like a lost little girl, alone and cut off again. So far, I’m crying a lot and thinking it’s all too much.

But I have another thought about this – well, actually, a lot of thoughts. More on that next.

© 2013 Denise Smyth


30 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tersiaburger
    Nov 03, 2013 @ 18:38:10

    Vic and I agreed that I would see a certain medium after her death. We saw the medium after Vic’s dad died and again after my dad passed. It was an incredible experience. Vic came through loud and clear. She told Linda that we had arranged to meet there: that heaven was a nice place and asked whether the sign she gave me at her memorial service was clear enough…
    I found a lot of peace from my visit to the medium.


    • Denise
      Nov 04, 2013 @ 10:45:32

      Tersia, I so believe there are people who can help you communicate with those you love and lose, and how wonderful and amazing that must’ve been for you. I know for me, it just wasn’t the time, and the lesson Philip was trying to teach me was the bigger point. I was given the gift of an hour with a psychic for my birthday last year, and what a different experience! I’ll talk about that in another post.

      So many hugs to you; pyschics, mediums, whatever – they create moments of connection, but how we’re supposed to live without our children is what we suffer daily. xoxoxoxo


  2. anna whiston-donaldson
    Nov 03, 2013 @ 19:39:23

    Love the idea that they are right there and ready for us to talk with them. It took me many months before I would start talking to Jack. Now I whisper, “I love you” into the pain.


  3. shetall
    Nov 03, 2013 @ 23:00:20

    Tour blogs work as a reminder call to me. Thanks for sharing your experience.


  4. allesklar
    Nov 04, 2013 @ 09:31:00

    Spot on!
    I would say I came to the same realisation, though I phrased it differently:

    “The point to life, is that you create the point…”


  5. Denise
    Nov 04, 2013 @ 10:48:14

    Exactly – love the phrasing! Thank you ;o)


  6. Nancy Power
    Nov 04, 2013 @ 15:06:19

    Wow, your honesty is beautiful and true. I love the way you write, as it is, no holes barred. I went to a medium to try to reach out to my twin sister who had taken her own life when we were 20. I wasn’t expecting anything but it was a very powerful 3 hours (!). Some things she said didn’t resonate but so much did. Was I just wanting it to, I always wonder? We all get different things out of these experiences and you did too. In the very least, you found your glasses, even if you still have no concrete answers about how to live without your dear son. Your ‘life that is missing’ is now a different one, and it will suck, a lot. But you will get through this, you are stronger than you think and you are very funny and honest, which is a bloody good start.


  7. Denise
    Nov 04, 2013 @ 17:25:15

    You must feel like you lost a limb, losing a twin; and to suicide – how hard is that for you? When I was a kid, I felt so lost and alone and wished so much that I had a twin to love me. What’s so awful about all this is how Philip filled some hole in me and now he’s gone; yet, it’s the bond I had with him while he was here that makes me able to be in touch with him now.

    Thank you – you’ve made me smile with your kindness. “A bloody good start,” eh? I’ll try to remember that ;o)


  8. Greet Grief
    Nov 04, 2013 @ 20:26:46

    Denise, it is all too much! That’s why you stay in the fog, not being able to see straight, being angry and spinning. Taking in only snapshots of reality so that you don’t crumble in the process. But you still got out of bed, got dressed and walked the dogs – aren’t humans resilient, aren’t you amazing?!


    • Denise
      Nov 04, 2013 @ 21:15:14

      Sure wish I felt “amazing.” What I think is, but what else would I do? I have to get up and get out of bed. I think you’ve got such an energy – YOU are amazing. You’ve a lightness about you and I feel so damn dark. Thank you for taking the time to comment. It helps.


      • Greet Grief
        Nov 05, 2013 @ 21:45:08

        Denise, although I have experienced many losses, I have not lost a living child. I still believe that to be the most difficult loss, it is so unnatural, so disruptive to the order of how we think life is supposed to go. As a nurse, I have seen many people chose drugs and alcohol over feeling their grief, depression so deep they don’t get out of bed. So that is why I know YOU ARE amazing, pat yourself on the back for choosing life even in its most painful state!!

    • Denise
      Nov 05, 2013 @ 21:57:20

      Lately I’ve been feeling terribly alone; it’s not about people. It’s grief; I still feel so shocked and broken but I function so well…like I’m two people. And that life goes on is just hitting me hard again because Philip isn’t here. But there is a light in you, and it helps. So let me thank you for your kind and caring presence.


      • Greet Grief
        Nov 05, 2013 @ 22:05:45

        I had those people in my life when my husband died, it is an honor to “pay it forward” – now is my time to help! Are you involved with Compassionate Friends? YOU are NOT alone!

    • Denise
      Nov 07, 2013 @ 13:43:13

      No, I’m not. I’ve been to a couple of grief groups. I don’t so well there…


      • Greet Grief
        Nov 07, 2013 @ 19:28:06

        grief support groups are definitely not for everyone but I always tell people to try to go at least twice before deciding not to come back. One of the reasons it can be so difficult is that you have to hear everyone else’s stories when you are so sad yourself, it is hard to take more in. Compassionate friends has online support as well and being in touch with other parents in this format must be so helpful to you? What ever works is where your energy should go!!

    • Denise
      Nov 07, 2013 @ 19:54:16

      Thank you Kathy; I didn’t think about online support. I’m going to do a little research.


  9. Lucia Maya
    Nov 05, 2013 @ 00:22:09

    Denise, as usual, I can relate to so much of this… I love these “synchronicities” and have many wonderful stories about Elizabeth and messages she sends me! I have had 3 pretty amazing readings with mediums since she died, and each one told me such specific things that only she and I knew, that I really believe she was communicating through them – at least I really want to believe it!

    I hope you’re feeling a bit lighter!


  10. Denise
    Nov 05, 2013 @ 13:20:50

    I’ve no doubt she was, Lucia. The point of me going to the medium, as it turned out, was the message Philip sent. And I haven’t talked about this yet, but someone gave me a reading with a psychic as a birthday present last year, and it was a whole different experience, one which I fortunately have recorded on a CD. On the way to see her, I asked Philip, “Well, what’s up with this? How come now I’m seeing a psychic, when you told me I didn’t need the medium?” Because, he answered, now it’s about you. I’ve no doubt he was present; and much as I talk to him – and more importantly, listen to him – she told me some things I don’t think I would’ve heard even if he said them.

    So whenever you’re ready to write about some of those stories… ;o)


  11. rita kowats
    Nov 06, 2013 @ 11:12:22

    I love how real you are, Denise. This piece is a gift. Thank you.


  12. Denise Hisey
    Nov 06, 2013 @ 14:40:05

    Denise, I think your crying and anger is all good signs of your grieving process. You give us a gift when you share how real it is to grieve something so painful as losing your son.


    • Denise
      Nov 07, 2013 @ 13:41:50

      Thanks, Denise. Lately I feel like I’m getting worse. You know what? These holidays are bothering me than last year’s; that’s part of it. Not all, but part.


      • Denise Hisey
        Nov 07, 2013 @ 16:02:04

        The holidays must be really hard.
        My experience of things getting worse is sort of like the old saying “it has to get worse before it gets better.” Sappy but true for me…It might not make it any easier, but maybe give you some hope?
        I’m sorry you are hurting.

  13. Denise
    Nov 07, 2013 @ 19:58:55

    I appreciate that. I didn’t expect to feel like this about the holidays; last year was different. Philip’s birthday is January, and he died in February. It’s such a long stretch of wild emotions now. I mean the next four months…and I think when the days come, they never feel like you think. But so what? There’s so much heartache around the days. This is when I really, really have to say, just for today. There’s only now; don’t start grieving for a future that isn’t there. One. Moment. At. A. Time.


  14. tersiaburger
    Nov 13, 2013 @ 22:33:03

    Just thinking of you this morning. Much love dear friend. Hope you are going to post on the 2nd visit – the birthday gift visit.


  15. Denise
    Nov 14, 2013 @ 08:36:46

    Thank you Tersia; I know you’ll know what I mean when I tell you how damn down I am again. And I’m thinking of you, too. Yes, the birthday visit – I’ll be posting on that soon. Such a different experience.


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