A Mother's personal story about the loss of a child


Chapter 3



             Events happen when least expected, or so they say.  I think the unexpected happens when the mind and will has prepared the way.  This desire to have knowledge about my son and his condition was intense, maybe some would call this desire a burning desire.  My desire was soon to be fulfilled.

             One Sunday afternoon, I had invited Carol to dinner in my apartment.  We were sitting around my smallish, “what I had from my marriage second-hand table”.  We had just finished a wonderful dinner and were drinking coffee.  When you are living alone in an apartment and working to support yourself, dinners as a routine are rather casual to say the least.  Open up that can of soup, or cereal for dinner routine marks the modern newly divorced.

             Both Carol and I missed those wonderful home-cooked Sunday dinners that brides cook for their husbands and families.  So periodically we would contribute something special to the cause and feast on what we had missed.  This Sunday, the coffee was accompanied by Carol’s raspberry cheesecake flavored with Chambourg an after dinner liquor. 

             My palate sizzles just thinking about it.  This followed a baked and stuffed chicken with some special trimmings that I had cooked. Coffee and cheesecake can make you real mellow.  We were just feeling how smooth the cheesecake felt on the tongue when the light in the chandelier which hung over the table blinked on and off.  The first thing I thought of was, “what is causing an overload on the electrical system in this building”?  After a few seconds the lights did the same thing again. Carol said someone is here.  I said, Carol, you’re crazy, why are you saying that?  She said, I can “feel” them.

             Since nothing else happened, I chalked it up to a stuck quarter in the pay-washing machine in the basement of the complex, and Carol having too many raspberry seeds in her cheesecake.

             The next time Carol came to the apartment, we finished up dinner and I was showing her some favorite possessions that were still boxed up from my recent move. We were laughing about the problems of getting boxes unpacked and the necessary hammer grips women needed while trying to hang pictures.  It seems that Carol put three holes in her wall while trying to hang a picture.  I told her she needed a larger picture to cover the hole.  After hanging three progressively larger pictures over the spot, she needed a bigger picture.  I told her we would shop for the biggest picture we could find.

             We were trying to decide who we knew who could help her fill in the holes in the walls when she was ready to move from the apartment. The cost for repairs would probably be more than she could afford.  It seems that Carol also tried to hang curtains with no better luck.  I guess drywall is thinner than it used to be.

              It was at that time that we heard a bang in the hall closet.  We ran into the hall and I opened the door to see nothing exceptional except a tablecloth, which I stored in a plastic bag and had set on a shelf, was sitting on the closet floor. I picked up the tablecloth and put it back on the shelf and we went back to our fun. 

             About a half a minute later we heard the same sound again and I opened the closet door to find the same tablecloth on the floor. I looked on the shelf and I said Carol, there’s nothing wrong, there was something under the tablecloth causing it to slip from the shelf. I moved the book and put the tablecloth directly on the shelf, and turned around to reassure her that everything was under control. But Carol was in the living room sitting down on the sofa.

             I followed her into the room.  It seemed to me that she was in deep concentration and not hearing

what I was saying.  She said “His presence is here, there he is”. “He is peaking abound the corner at you.  While Carol never knew Shawn, she had seen his picture on my table and she could recognize him.

              I had been grieving for over five years for this son that I loved and I wanted to know if he was safe and happy.  I wanted some contact between us and for him to say “Mom I am OK and I love you”.  I especially thought of him as Mother’s Day and Easter approached, because he always brought me flowers on those days.  We were approaching Easter, and here was someone in my living room telling me that my son was here, in this room, if only it were true.

              I could hear Carol saying to him, “You have to be stronger, you are fading in and out”.  Well he was just sixteen when he passed over; maybe he just didn’t have his new skills down yet.  She said to him, “You have to be stronger”, and she got up from the chair and walked over to him and put her hands up to greet him.  She said there is an aroma, a scent, so that you will recognize who it is.  Many times the departed will leave a recognizable scent, so that if the person has a connection with roses, they might leave the scent of roses, so you could identify the event with that person.  She said that Shawn’s scent was the scent of the earth after a rain and there was a fresh woodsy smell.

              I knew exactly what she was describing, because many times I have driven through a section of woods after a rain and I could smell the beautiful scent of the earth and woods.  How appropriate it was for Shawn to use that scent, this person of the outdoors, this person who I had taken hiking, camping, skiing so many times.

              If there was anything that Shawn was, he was an outdoor person.  He loved to fish, to ski, and he loved to roam the mountains.  How appropriate that he would leave the scent of the fresh earth at this meeting.  If there was anything that he could use for me to recognize him, it was certainly this smell of the good clean woods after a gentle rain.

              Carol smiled at Shawn.  I told her that she did not have to be afraid of him because he was a beautiful and gentle person.  He would not harm her and she said that she knew that and was not afraid.  But Carol said he is very sad.  He was so sad...My heart did some flips, I wanted to know that he was happy and here Carol was telling me that Shawn was sad.  Carol must have understood the feeling that I was experiencing because she said he is sad for you not for himself.

             She elaborated, he is sad because of what you are experiencing now and what you will have to go through in the future.  Tears started rolling down Carol’s face.  Though not a muscle in her face moved, the tears started rolling over her eyelids and down her face in several streams and dripping from her chin down her blouse. 

             We noted later that these were not thin human tears that we are accustomed to seeing and touching, but rather streams of something that was clear and thick, almost gooey, and it literally took off her makeup.

             She had her two arms extended out towards me and she said, “Come to me and put your hands on my hand”.  Not knowing what she had in mind, I put my hand on top of hers.  Very slowly she removed her hand and she said to me, “Your hand is on his face, and all I could say was “Shawn, I love you.” I said that several times.  I desperately wanted to say I miss you.  But I didn’t say that because I didn’t want him to feel bad. 

             I knew that wherever he was, he would be involved in work of some sort that was positive, so I didn’t say the most desperate thought, “Shawn, I miss you”.  But he probably read my heart.  He always knew that I loved him and he probably read my heart and knew how much that I missed him.

              Carol said to me, “Do you feel a tingle in your hand, like pins and needles?”.  Yes, I did.  I felt it.  I did feel the energy going through my hands.  I felt the pins and needles of my son’s energy and for a few precious moments, we were in communion with each other.  I knew he was there and I was passing the thought of love to him and he was passing that love and concern of his to me. It was the same feeling I had on the back porch when I thought Shawn was surrounding me with comfort - only more intense.  

              He gave Carol a message, but part of it was lost in the communication.  All she could hear was “Spirit of Life”.  I wish we could have gotten the rest of the message, because there was something that was important that Shawn was trying to relay to me.  As I contemplated Shawn, I knew that he was full of Life’s Spirit, but I wasn’t sure he was communicating something about my life or his.

              Carol said he is gone.  I did not feel at that moment that he had left.  I was involved in what I was feeling, so I sat down, and I was just repeating in my mind what Carol had said, He is gone, and I said No he is not...he is calling me...I could feel this pull, he was calling...I got up following the pull back to where he had been and I said he is here...I can feel him...and Carol said No he is gone.  You are just feeling the energy pulling at you.  I sat down just stunned, trying to compose my feelings, and examining what I did feel. 

             Shawn had given me a gift, a simple gift.  He just spent some time with me to tell me that he loved me and to share a few precious moments with me.

             My faith had told me that Shawn wasn’t lost, but simply changed dimensions.  In my heart I had hoped that he had lived and I wanted to believe that he was still happy, that he wasn’t destroyed, that he was still going on with life, and even though he wasn’t able to share his everyday events with me, I wanted to believe that his existence continued in this new dimension in which he found himself.

              Carol said she had seen something that she had never seen before. She said that she had seen a big blue ball.  It appeared to her that Shawn came from the center of a blue ball and that there were other people with him.  That sounded right for him also.  Shawn was always a people person.  Wherever he was, I could be certain that he would be involved with other individuals if that was possible.

              This ball she saw was interesting.  As I thought about it and there could be several answers.  Either there was a method of travel that looked liked a blue ball, or else there was energy needed to allow movement in this dimension that looked like a blue ball.  Carol has felt that it takes some form of energy or concentration for those in other dimensions to make themselves known to us. It wouldn’t surprise me if this energy form took its form in color. She said the blue ball went with them, or it appeared that they were in the middle of it as they left. They, meaning Shawn and his entourage.

              This indeed was a lot to contemplate. My son gave me a gift that I was not expecting.  Now I knew he survived, and that is what I wanted to know.  He had answered my question.  I could be satisfied with his one encounter if this was all there was to be.  I didn’t know at that time that the future was holding more experiences for me....

  Under Grace © 1991


Read more excerpts from Under Grace

Chapter 1

Chapter 5

Chapter 7


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