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Heavenly Clouds

    When you stumble into a late-night conversation with someone you know is dead, it changes you. Really.

Start: I see dead people. Everywhere.

(No … just kidding.)

However, when I say I have communicated with the dead, I am … well … dead serious.

When it comes to mediumship, I’m a lightweight. I knew a woman who does this professionally, and I have a number of friends who are intuitives, so in comparison my “achievements” are almost laughable. But on the other side are those who contemptuously dismiss the possibility of such a thing, or those who look on with open-minded wonder, thinking such a thing would be impossible for them personally.

And I will tell you outright that I can’t prove any of this, and I don’t insist that you believe me, but I will tell you it is true.

It honestly didn’t come as much of a surprise the first time I communicated with someone who had left the plane of the living. I was, in a sense, primed for it. Dozens of times I’d watched the tears filling the eyes of the audience members of John Edward’s Crossing Over, members who were convinced that John had made connection with departed loved ones. Or, closer to home, the time I sat with my wife in a private session with a local psychic medium, and felt my wife’s hand clench around mine as we received a what she felt to be an authentic, in-character message from her father who had passed many years before.

The surprise was that it was me doing it.

Close Encounters of the Surprising Kind

It was a mid-August evening in 2008, the day I had learned a friend of mine, Ron Lewison, had died a couple of days before from injuries sustained in an auto accident. Ron was a fellow member of Toastmasters International, and I first met him in early 2003, after I had placed third in an area-level humor speech contest. Shortly after, he became a mentor to me in competitive speaking, and helped coach me to a first place win at the highest level of the same speech category in the spring of 2004.

Ron was a burly, retired oil industry consultant, and public speaking had become his life. He delighted in specialty Toastmaster clubs (he was the member of several) and was also an affiliate member of the National Speakers Association. I sat with him on a Saturday at the awards luncheon of a Toastmaster convention when he received the 2003-2004 District 33 Mentor of the Year Award. I recall seeing how deeply touched by the experience this normally reserved, no-nonsense gentleman had been as he returned to the table, holding the plaque with his name inscribed. I remember him regarding the plaque and quietly uttering, with a touch of awe, “This is cool.”

That mid-August night, with Ron’s death in the background of my thoughts, I settled down to sleep and slowly recognized there was an extremely strong presence near the foot of my bed. Naturally it had my attention, but the reactions provoked by this mystery presence were more feelings of surprise and wonder than any sense of unease.

I could see nothing, but as I listened inside, the presence resolved into personality. When we think of someone we know well, we have a set of mental and emotional “adjectives” that make up our picture of the person in question, and as the impressions of my visitor became clearer, it finally came into focus: I was being visited by the spirit of Ron Lewison.

Perhaps unwittingly, I slid into a clichéd response. All I could think of to say to him was, “Ron, everything will be fine. Go into the Light, Ron. Go into the Light.”

(As superficial as it may sound, I believed that. I still do, actually.)

I repeated this several times, and then he interrupted me. I didn’t hear this in words, but perceived it in feelings and impressions — very strong ones — that lent themselves to words. The intent of what he was conveying was very clear. He said: shut up and listen to me.

(Surprisingly blunt for, well, someone who’s dead.)

Tying Up Loose Ends

Once Ron had gotten me to put a metaphorical sock in it, I “listened,” eventually piecing together what he was trying to communicate.

Ron had been interested in learning more about the techniques of stand-up comedy, and back in 2004 he had expressed a desire for the two of us to work with each other to this end, using the lessons in what’s become something of the “Bible” for beginning comedians, Judy Carter’s Stand Up Comedy: The Book.

What Ron was trying to tell me, that mid-August night, was that he regretted that we hadn’t done this.

Afterwards in hindsight I realized that Ron valued his relationship with me more than I’d grasped at the time. It was rare that he would talk about his personal feelings, and I guess I wasn’t that good at reading between the lines with him. Unfortunately — I’m sorry to say — I simply hadn’t picked up on it. I must confess that I am as much at fault as either of us in that we didn’t pursue it. If I had, I probably would have become a better speaker; certainly a better speaker while Ron was still with us.

This wasn’t the only thing he had to say to me, but of what he had come to convey it was the most important.

The Gift of Experience

Heavenly CloudsThis experience put the last (ahem) nail in the coffin of my doubts about the afterlife. Again, there is no way I can prove this, but, simply, the human consciousness continues after death, and it certainly appears that those who can maintain a level of clarity about the experience of their own death and have a strong enough desire can communicate with the living.

So when I cross paths with someone who insists that I’m deluding myself, and tries to force on me his or her belief in the stereotypical idea that death is the snuffing out of identity — and that “all we are is dust in the wind” — I shake my head to myself. This isn’t belief, pal. It’s experience. When you’ve actually walked in my moccasins a couple of miles, we’ll talk.

Though I’ve had some success in communicating with the dead, I won’t be hanging up a “psychic medium” shingle anywhere, any time soon. I’ve only been able to communicate with those I’ve known personally, and this, frankly, is enough.

So, no, I really don’t see dead people. Anywhere.

But I do talk with them, sometimes.

• • •

Copyright © 2012, by Daniel Brenton. All Rights Reserved.


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Daniel Brenton is the creator/author of the 5 Second Novel series, co-author of the space race thriller Red Moon (with David S. Michaels), and is the author of the satirical column The Round Files, published in Stuart Miller’s short-lived Alien Worlds Magazine.

Despite being a writer, Daniel has no cats at this time, is unwilling to become an alcoholic, and has a very difficult time keeping a straight face while writing about himself in third person.

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