March 25, 1996 Journal Entry
“…With Jack so unwell, I have to admit that I’m just waiting for him to die. This clinging to life with drugs and constant pain and fear is so ugly. I just wish it would finish.”
March 26, 1996 Journal Entry
“Oh what a day!
Jack died at 10:00 a.m. Texas time. Mom’s just called – all in pieces, obviously…”
My relationship with my stepfather, Jack, was always strangely close. I remember the first time I met him when I was eight years old. It was as if I’d been waiting for him all my life. I clearly remember being irresistibly drawn to him, even though at that time both my mother and he were married to other people.
It was not until nearly 4 years later that I saw him again when he arrived to take my Mom on their first date. I clearly recall thinking “Oh, there you are. What took you so long?”
I can’t imagine a more devoted husband for my mother. As a strong willed woman who openly competed with men in business, Mom didn’t find it easy to relate to men on a romantic level. She had always fit in better as “one of the boys.” Jack, on the other hand was the “strong silent type”, but with a difference. He had several special gifts, among them an eye for color and design, and an amazing ability to empathize with others. He was my mother’s champion and protector for 24 years.
I wanted to do something special to let Jack know how much I cared for him, so I named my first child, Jacqueline after him. Little Jacqui at the tender age of 27 months accompanied me to Texas for Jack’s funeral.
Mom was a basket case, and stayed that way for much longer than I thought was healthy. Where she had been a strong level-headed business woman before, without Jack she found herself, for the first time in her life, a helpless woman in a man’s world. She let her business suffer. I think she ate nothing but banana pudding for nearly a year. So when she literally begged me, my husband and daughter to come home for a vacation in September 1997, we couldn’t refuse.
By this time Jacqui was talking, and she talked quite a lot about Jack. I can recall driving along and having her shout “Mommy, I see Jack!” She did this a lot. One time I was really amused when she was chattering away in the back seat and I couldn’t quite hear her, and she told me, “I was talking to Jack.” I can’t remember what she told me they were talking about, and neither can she. Sadly, now Jacqui is 8 years old, and says she doesn’t remember her conversations or visits with Jack at all. Seems to me like only yesterday she was telling me she saw Jack with wings guarding her in bed at night.
That visit led to us relocating to Texas from Spain. Our bedraggled little family arrived just in time for Thanksgiving, and the visits from Jack began to affect us all. We’d left nearly all our electronics in Europe and bought new stereo, t.v., and computer when we got here, so it really caught our attention when the t.v. and stereo began to turn themselves off and on. It was never scary, but it happened consistently enough to both my husband and myself that it was a topic of conversation. And from that time right through till the present, we have gone through light bulbs at an alarming rate. We can’t blame it on the wiring – we changed houses. We can’t blame it on the lamps – it happens in all the light fixtures. We can’t blame it on the light bulbs – we even bought the long-life bulbs. I think Jack’s, visiting.
In the spring of 1999, just as the famous Texas wildflowers were blooming, I rejoined the workforce. My second daughter was just a year old. Every day as I drove past a particular field of bluebonnets I felt like Jack was with me looking at the beautiful wildflowers with me. It was a road he’d traveled often in life, and I know he loved that spot. I’d mentally try to talk to him, and in response, I always got a sort of electrical charge, which I’ve come to think of as confirmation from the spirit world about whatever I happen to be thinking about.
Around that time I had a dream in which I was with my mother and a new gentleman friend of hers. We went to see Jack. A fit, young Jack about 30 years of age invited us into his home. It was impeccably decorated, and there was a little dog. Jack took us out to see his new car and seemed very pleased with my mother’s new fellow.
April 3, 1999 Journal Entry
“…‘My work is almost done,’ someone just told me. I don’t think that implies an ending, but rather a beginning.”
I was quite surprised when I wrote those words in my journal. I’d heard them clearly in my head, and it was just as clear that I did not think them. I knew it was Jack speaking to me. When the wildflowers finished blooming, I stopped having my visitor in the car on the way to work, and the odd electrical goings-on became less frequent as well.
What really clenched it for me was a conversation with my mother on the porch one Saturday shortly after that. Now you have to understand that Mom is not a person who ever had anything to do with anything metaphysical. She had however been reading about reincarnation. In particular she told me that “Many Lives, Many Masters” by Brian Weiss brought her the most peace she’d found since Jack’s passing. On this particular Saturday, Mom and I had had a bit too much wine, a rare occurance in our family, but the wine tasted good and it was a day for talking. I’m not sure Mom would have told me about her conversations with Jack had we been sober.
She said, “I’m really pissed off at Jack,” and I babbled a bit about that being a normal reaction to grief. But she said “No. I have been talking to him since he died. Always out on my balcony where the table is. The other day he told me he’s got to move on and do other things, and I need to go on without him.” Of course the day coincided with my message about his work being finished.
The happy ending, if there ever is an “end” to any story, is that Mom has indeed moved on. Though it has taken her nearly 7 years, she is once again the confident, outgoing woman Jack loved when he was alive. We all remember him, and we miss having him around to talk to, but his visits made it clear to us that we will see him again.