Hi, I'm paranormal romance author Sarah Raplee. I've written stories published in two anthologies by Windtree Press. My first full-length novel, BLINDSIGHT, is coming out this fall.
The amazing, magical, loving, and slightly freaky way my father comforted me from the Other Side (of death, for those of you without access to tv, radio, print media, or the internet) while my mother hovered on the brink of death was a life-changing experience for me. He had died six years before, but he proved he's still around, keeping an eye on his loved ones.
* Keep in mind what some tv character on some show I once watched said: "One connection to an event is a coincidence, two is a pattern, three is a plan."
When my husband and I arrived the day after Mom was admitted to the hospital with a life-threatening infection, we introduced ourselves to her nurse, Diana. Not Diane, Diana.
My only sister is named Diana. I smiled at the coincidence.
Later, Mom's condition worsened. She was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit. Her new nurse was named Sally. That's my childhood nickname. Dad always called me Sally.
I remember thinking, O-kay, Dad, is this your doing?
The next day I received a resounding, "Yes."
The new nurse on duty was named Catherine. Guess what Mom's name is? Yup! She never goes by Cathy, always Catherine. With a 'C'. Just like her nurse!
I found it comforting that Dad was watching over Mom and would be there if she lost the battle with the killer bacteria.
Another nurse was named Lisa, like Dad's eldest granddaughter. The hunky male nurse was Dave, like my daughter's first husband, who was a professional pilot like my father. Another of Mom's nurses was Amy, which was an inside joke that I'm not going to explain. Apparently people keep a sense of humor in the Afterlife.
Dad loved to fly almost as much as he loved his family. When he was dying of cancer, he hoped to regain enough strength to soar above Oregon’s high desert one more time—in a hot air balloon. Unfortunately, he was too sick to accomplish his goal.
Fast forward to six months after and two thousand miles away from his death to my youngest son’s house in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The kids had climbed in bed with their parents because it was a Sunday morning. No one had to get up early.
Then the danged Siamese cat jumped onto the bed. Instead of pouncing on someone to wake them up, he ignored them all as he walked across them to the headboard and stood on his hind legs to peer through the window into the back yard. Whipping his tail back and forth, he yowled like a banshee. Three-year-old Lily stood up to see what had scared him. “Mommy, Daddy, look! Look!”
Her parents sat up and checked out the back yard. A rainbow-striped hot air balloon was landing - in their back yard! How often does that happen???
Back to my mother’s hospital room. Dr. Boddie (pronounced body - ain't that a hoot?) explains that my mom’s condition is deteriorating. Her infection may have spread into her spinal fluid, causing meningitis. He needs to do a spinal tap to be sure so he will know how to proceed with her treatment.
I held Mom’s hand as they rolled her to a procedure room where they would draw fluid from her spinal canal. My throat ached with fear. I closed my eyes and mentally reached out into the ether. Tell me she’s going to be all right, Dad. We stopped. I opened my eyes and looked inside the procedure room.
A poster of five hot air balloons soaring high above the ground greeted me.
I knew Mom would make it. After a stay in the Intensive Care Unit, she did.
I've learned that messages from the Next Life don’t usually come in the form of email, snail mail, or phone calls (but I’ve learned to never say never).
No doubt the Afterlife has immutable Laws that govern one’s actions, just as in this life gravity happens, fire burns and in a vacuum, no one can hear you scream. That doesn’t mean the people who have moved on from this earthly plane don’t try to offer comfort, assistance, and the occasional laugh to their loved ones.
It means they have to get creative - and we have to pay attention.