My mother is an intuitive. I would stop short of psychic, but she’s in touch with parts of the psyche the rest of us don’t normally tap. A totally creepy incident in my childhood that saved the lives of my brother and I convinced me she had one of those extra senses people talk about. But she doesn’t see the future or talk to dead people. Yet, with someone like her in the family, I grew up with a sense that there is much that we do not know or understand in this realm we exist in.
Last Wednesday my friend Shelly’s daughter, Kelsey, lost her battle with brain cancer. She was a daughter to me, and I have struggled with the loss. She even called me Mom #2, an honor I cherished. Through the months before her passing we talked about death, with me attempting to answer and allay her fears. I’ve never felt so inferior as during those discussions. While I have never questioned my faith, these last months have been difficult for me to understand or explain. How could God take away everyone in Shelly’s world? Her husband, then her son, and then her daughter? With those doubts, who was I to answer Kelsey’s questions?
Still, with prayer I muddled through. One of her biggest concerns at the end was for those she was leaving behind. I believe this is because she had experienced it so much in her young life. In just a few years, she had buried her dad, her brother, her uncle, her cousin, and her grandma. She wanted to know if I thought she could let everyone know she was “happy” when she got there, that she was with family and loved ones. What could I say? I told her I believed she would be with loved ones, and I hoped she could let us know. She told me then, and it was the first of several times, “Mom, if it’s at all possible, I’ll send you all a message letting you know.”
Fast forward to a week after Kelsey passed, and my phone buzzed. It was a text from her. I did a double take. Shelly had canceled Kelsey’s phone the day after she passed. So many horrors stories these days of technology being hacked upon the death of someone, it’s best to take care of those things immediately. Her number had already been reassigned. Still, how would that person have my number? The message had said, “who is this. sorry. new phone.” I replied by saying who I was and asking who she was. She didn’t answer that question. “I’m sorry. I don’t know you.” It didn’t make sense to me since she contacted me so I told her so. Her words set me back. “You sent me two texts, blank ones.”
I’m thinking my stupid phone is acting up when she says, “do you know anyone with the prefix ___” and my stomach drops two feet. It’s the prefix for Kelsey’s life long best friend. Seems she got two blank texts from her as well. Okay, one time? I can explain away. Twice, at the same time, exactly one week after her passing, is not a coincidence for me. It’s a message from another realm. Goosebumps erupted on my arms, and the ache in my heart eased at the thought that Kelsey, who lived to text and I think communicated this way 24/7, had found the best possible way to send us the message she promised. She had arrive safely in the arms of her loved ones.
What does this have to do with writing? Sometimes as writers, we allow the world we live in to limit our writing. We question whether a reader will believe this or that is “realistic”. What we need to worry about is whether it is organic. Did it naturally arise from the story? If it did, the reader will accept it as I did that message from Kelsey. I don’t need scientific proof. I merely needed what happened to have been the direct result of everything that came before. It did.
Kelsey was one of my beta readers. I’ll miss her thoughts, but I can get other beta readers. I can’t replace my daughter. She was one of a kind. Rest well, baby girl. Love you much!