The night before…


This may be the last entry…

In the midst of my living, I have been touched by many events…the birth of my children, the deaths of my parents, the discovery of life after death and the event of last night. Exhausted by recent schedules, I worked a partial day and then came home to do some light homework and rest.

Once released of minor chores, I indulged and watched some episodes of my favorite’s to catch up.  As fate would have it, the chosen episode of the Gilmore Girls turned out to be the last episode where Rory gets a job as a traveling reporter and Luke and Lorelei make-up and the end scene hints of their renewed relationship. It is a bittersweet episode full of endings and beginnings…of holding on and letting go. Later that night, I watched another favorite, Castle…There too, Beckett and Castle struggled to get their timing right in love.

Now, I am not the diehard sap queen this makes me sound like, but I am always deeply touched at the potential loss of love for want of someone being unable to step forward and claim their heart, or because they have suddenly had an epiphany to set someone free from an untimely obligation. That being said, I thought about recent events with my own children. The hole in my heart at their independent strides away from me…their heartaches, triumphs and disappointments…the daily battles with coming to terms with the empty-nest syndrome, work struggles and the lag in between where I am and where I want to be. All this to say that aside from an interesting phone call, a stray thought to Jessica and Charley that evening, I was as far from connection with the case right before I went to bed as I have been of late.

That is why this is so incredible. My dreams have been so vivid of late. One night it involved pastries in the form of a frog decorated case and my having to choose between the yellow and green checkered cake and a pastry on a tray in Bavaria and feathers in my hair from a little girl. (I know… what did I eat for dinner that night?) The night before, I dreamed about a snake- an Asp to be specific and I was struggling to stay safe, trying to hold its head away from me so it could not bite me. Then, later in the dream I lost the snake somehow outside a house and when I went inside, the building was full of theatre props which began to spontaneously combust as I walked past them. It was so odd… Needless to say, I ate a healthy meal- very light with mostly vegetables, but it didn’t matter, the dreams continued to haunt by night and confuse by day.

So last night…

No sooner had I fallen asleep than I was mentally placed back inside my theatre with the set fromCharlotte’s Web still intact. The barn set design was still untouched and as I was pulling props from the scene and down from the walls… a group of people began to enter. I felt bad because I knew the show had already closed and so as the group began to form in a line,  I advised them that the show had just closed the weekend before…but they didn’t seem to care and then I noticed there was something about this group that suddenly pulled me out of step.

There were four women, two men and one small boy. When they came in, they looked around and after I informed them a second time that the show was closed, they went to the seats and sat awaiting my recognition. The odd thing was, everything around them was in full color, but the people and their immediate auras were that color of Sepia that you sometimes see or create when you process photos.

I went to the first woman; she had short hair and pearls on. The hairdo gave her away and I immediately recognized her as Hazel. She said hello and thanked me. Stunned, I smiled and turned to the next seat which held a man I did not recognize.  He smiled and nodded his head…puzzled, I moved on. The next woman had long blonde hair done up and she smiled big like Adele and I suddenly knew she was a slightly older version of the debutante Roxanne. I spun around and saw another young woman I deemed to be Jessica and ran to hug her too. When I pulled away and wiped a tear, I saw the last woman at the end of the row waiting. She had a cold look on her face and though I did not immediately put 2 and 2 together… I could not understand why she would not look me in the eyes. I moved to stand in front of her and asked why she would not look at me. Her answer confused me. “I cannot look you in the eye…it would pierce my soul.”

I did not understand what she meant. Had I harmed this woman somehow? Had I done something to anger her? Why was she so cold to me? Who was she and why would she say something so odd when the others seemed so happy to see me? It was then I realized the only person left in the equation for her to be was, G. It took me aback and I stumbled away from her in silence and stared. Struck by the assembly, I realized who the group was. The other man I did not recognize must have been the MOT. So where was…

I heard a child laugh and turned to see a young boy run from the hands of a man who stood silent on the other side of the room and smiled. The child I assumed to be one of the children Hazel  had lost. A child who ran about as playful as my own at that age… a child that would have captured my heart had it not been for my need to see someone else– the man who watched him. I looked up from the child and saw him. A man I have talked to and cried with for over three years. A man who waited 44 years to save me. A man that took the broken pieces of my life and glued them back together with the fragments of his own….a man you have come to know as, Charley. Grayed at the temples and minus hair, but for the sides of his head he walked slowly towards me. His eyes shown softer than the painted steely blue of his 8 x 10 and his voice graveled like the snippet on my recording.

No longer in black silhouette, no longer made of wispy smoke…this man was real and he was Charley. My Charley…. my shepherd. He smiled again and told me I was beautiful. It was an odd compliment and I brushed it aside, knowing I had gone to bed in PJ’s and a ponytail. He said it again and I knew it to be the compilation of his impressions of both heart and soul and it made me cry. He was there- a whole person just as I had prayed he might appear one day. Not a bust of a man or a postcard imprint of a personality- he was there in person, just the way I imaged he appears to R.  Filled with gratitude and love, I ran to hug him and prayed that I would be able to feel something more than air beneath my fingers.

I hugged that man for everything I was worth and sobbed into shoulders that held up to the touch. He was real…Charley was real and I knew in that instant that maybe the reason why I had not been able to finish the book and let justice follow its own course, was because I had not been able to let go of something I had never held. He kissed me on the cheek and I held him tight as I cried like a child begging him not to go. He thanked me again and I held tighter knowing that heaven would soon take him away. I whispered I loved him…that I had done everything I could to help and that I never wanted to lose him, though I knew he couldn’t stay.

I held tight until I awoke with tears on my cheeks. It was 1:11 AM.  Even now as I write, tears stream… but for joy, not for sorrow.

Yesterday while driving home with the top down on the Mustang, I said a prayer that I wanted for us all to be able to move forward… that the case would come to fruition, that those living would confess and those that were dead would repent and find a new path for their evolution. I prayed to be able to finish writing the story because I wanted to be able to release them all to where they needed to be, but confessed that while I wanted Charley to be free…I did not wish to lose him. That maybe that was why I could not commit to the ending.

For three years, this man and his life and death have been my constant companion. His lessons, my lessons…his strength, my strength and my weakness… a reason to hold on tighter to his tragedy. Last night I received the gift I’d prayed for… a hug from a man I could see and feel. A solid validation that the connection was as real as the flesh I felt beneath my trembling fingers… a glimpse at a face I could recognize…a word and smile I could calculate. I needed to know it was real- all of it. Charley, my parents… life after death, Karma and consequence, and a chance to rewrite my own life.

I have that validation now. I have that peace.

I do not know where we go from here, my dear readers. The dice are cast…the game afoot and the players now begin to scramble upon the board. What will be from this point forward is what the universe has designed-not me. My portion of this may now be finished. Know that I will continue to seek the truth…to follow the leads and pass them on accordingly to those who can cause real effect for that is my duty and my privilege.  This was my part in this; my journey and I have carried my stone in the building of this bridge between life and after-life as far as I am allowed. It is not my time to cross that bridge…along with R, it is my job to help build it and we will…one case, one soul, one book at a time.

Like Terrance Mann, in the Field of Dreams, I have been to the cornfield and now have my duty to finish my portion of this grand adventure. The wheels can now move forward without my oversight at the helm. Greater powers now prevail and I must follow their lead… the yoke of discovery has been replaced by the mantle of responsibility and I have another chore to finish now. I must let go and let God.

Charley was right… we are forever. I not only know this academically, but now feel it inside. I have finally held the man inside the 8 X 10 and he, the hand of a woman who thought she had lost her way.

Found…I leave you all to look at your own lives and make the connections you need to make to the one’s you love, to the one’s you’ve lost and to yourselves.

Blessings in your travels…

T.A. Powell

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