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My dad was the dad of all dads. I mean it, I've truly never met another human being who was as universally adored as him. It was never lost on me that I'd won the parent lottery when it came to both of my parents, but cancer doesn’t seem to give a shit who has what and who needs who.
I lost my dad to brain cancer last August after a nightmarish two-year battle and if you've ever lost someone who was holding up a significant portion of your world, you'd understand why my bank statement now reads: Bloomingdales, psychic medium, H&M, Spirit Circle.
Let me clarify for the common naysayer that this is not something I've spent my life being interested in. The loss of my dad has created an un-fillable void that no amount of rationalizing or support group sessions can fix. Losing a parent young creates all kinds of holes and questions for the future. Does he approve of my career choices? My new hair color? Is he lounging in heaven perched on a cloud judging my boyfriend and the lack of vegetables in my fridge?
Losing a parent is a nightmare I would never wish on anyone, and is something that's extremely difficult to grasp unless you've gone through it yourself.
One of the very last things I said to my father was, "Dad, no matter what, you'll never really leave me, right? You won’t ever be completely gone?”
And while my hero struggled to answer, he was able to respond "Right on." Then and always, my Dad was a man of his word. And so shortly after he passed away and took my life as I knew it with him, I set off on my impossible quest to hear from my Dad.
Being that the ghost to human transfer machine from "Casper" does not seem to be available on Amazon, I felt I had no choice.
I saw my first medium two months after my dad passed away and was instantly hooked. I went in expecting there to be a Teen Witch style lair going on, but no such luck. No candles, no Ouiji boards or paper cut-outs of ghosts on the walls either. Just a plain room with a woman who assured us she had the enviable ability to connect with my dad.
It's difficult to relay how amazing the things the mediums were able to tell us really are without knowing personally how important it was to hear them. I'll give it a try.
A few examples of my experiences thus far between the four that I have seen:
My mom, siblings and I decided before our first appointment that if the medium referenced his being a Yankee fan, it would give them instant credibility to us. The first medium told us, "Your dad said he was a huge Yankee fan, and that he misses his seats."
My father was a diehard Yankee fan, and a 20-year season ticket holder at Yankee stadium. How could this stranger have known that?
One of the hardest things about losing a parent is their unanswered approval on things you do. I left my job in magazine publishing, accepted a new job and had a previously scheduled meeting with a medium that week.
"Do you work in magazines?" he asked. I half-nodded.
"OK, but you just got a new job right? Your dad says you'll be happy there!" I had just started at my new job the day before.
What really solidified my belief in mediums is the most recent session I've attended. My dad and brother had an amazing bond that I like to think even death could not touch. We had asked the medium if my father appreciated what was written for the epitaph on his stone. The medium then laughed and said "Yeah, he's good with it, but he really likes that your brother put a baseball down next to it."
Sorry, what?! In a million years, there's no way for this stranger to have known that was how my brother chose to honor my dad.
Mediums worth their salt will occasionally give you the chance to ask questions at the end of a session that they did not cover throughout the hour you typically get. We thought we'd stump him on the one we had in store. In my family, there's been a two-year search for a missing will for my great-aunt. The only one who knew where it was happened to be my father, and his illness took over before he was able to find it.
So, we asked.
The medium responded "Your father was an attorney right?" He was.
"Your father drafted up the will in question himself?" Yes.
"He says it's in a manila folder in your house, and he's sorry the files are so messy." My dad's files had always resembled a paper explosion.
I have a lengthy running list at this point of unbelievable things mediums have told me upon my visits, but the most important to me yet has been the message that was delivered a few months back.
It goes without saying that brain cancer is a shitshow of a disease. It unapologetically reduced my father to a fraction of the incredible human being he was for his 55 healthy years on this earth. In has last two months, it was considered a good day if he recognized his family and was able to sit up. It was essential to me to know my dad was not still suffering once he passed.
That being said, during one particular session, the medium locked eyes with my sister and I and said the words that have continued to get me through each day. "Your dad says he wasn't himself in the end at all, and he doesn’t want you to remember him that way. He says, remember me suited up in my shirt and tie."
For my family and I, seeing mediums has been the only thing that's brought us any kind of peace. It has armed us with the priceless comfort that the person we loved and lost is still here with us.
People could and have argued that it just can't be real. I get it. It goes against any and all logic. To that I always say -- it makes a great deal more sense to me that I hear from him in this capacity than to not hear from him at all.
I may never be able to call my dad again just to say hi, hug his Polo undershirt wearing self or link my arm with his to walk down the aisle one day, but I now have invaluable piece of mind that he's still hanging with me somewhere and hopefully, not too disappointed in my budgeting skills.