My father crossed over when I was 24. Although, he was an influence during my childhood, I mourned the fact that his opportunity of getting to know me as an adult was far more short lived than his 64 year life span. The things that I went through that could have benefited from his sage advice were left to my mother, who fell short on the aspect of ‘logic’ that men seem to possess as naturally as women do ‘intuition’.
When people discover that I am a Witch, they always ask if I ‘talk to dead people’, assuming that doing this is a requirement of being a member of the” Black Hat Society”. I don’t… however, they seem to want to talk to me and do on various occasions. They give me messages to pass on to those on this side and if I attempt to leave them undelivered, will hassle me until I do as requested. I don’t do this as a job or ‘service’ or even a hobby. To me, it is a gift. And like gifts, they come as something heartfelt, special and often unexpected. When I deliver the message for whom it was intended, I neither expect or ask for payment. “I’ve got a message for you from a loved one who crossed over and if you give me fifty bucks I’ll tell you what it is.” Who does that??? Using a gift to prey upon others is a sure fire way to loose it.
So, on the occasion that I was at a stop light and my car suddenly filled with the distinct smell and sight of cigarette smoke I was, at first seeking a logical explanation. My widows were up, the air conditioning on, but I assumed that I was pulling something in from the outside. However, the smoke intensified and by the time the light changed, I moved through traffic and the smoke continued to perplex me. Then, as quickly and stealthily as it began, it dissipated. When I got home I told my husband what had occurred. “Think about it”, he said. “Who do you know that chain-smoked?”. It hit me. “My dad” I said quietly.
The experience was a both a comfort and a curse. It was great to ‘hear’ from him, but it was smoking that contributed to his sudden death of a heart attack after taking an early retirement that enabled us to move to our Summer home. It was also sad that this is how he had chosen to communicate with me as if cigarettes where part of who he was and the legacy by which he is remembered.
Not to be overshadowed by this habit, his wicked sense of humor and odd spin he put on things is the frequent topic of family get togethers. We take turns quoting him and laughing as we reminisce over days long gone by, seen through a child’s eyes. Now, all adults, my brothers and I. The oldest has passed the age when our father left us, leaving that milestone passed, even though a propensity toward heart disease and high blood pressure makes us all candidates for the reality of the same fate if we don’t modify our lifestyles.
Today is Father’s Day and it was also my father’s birthday. Having run the gamut of practical gifts of tools and men’s cologne, I stumbled upon the gift that was to become the signature that accompanied my name on his card, for he relished it and looked forward to it every year from then on. A white paper wrapped wedge of Danish Blue cheese from a local shop.
He loved cheese, another thing that sentenced his arteries to an early grave. But, the joy it delivered was the price he paid. Both for his vices and his missing out on knowing me as a young divorced mother, raising his grand-daughter, who is now an ‘old married lady’. He would have loved the wedding, her choice of husband and what a wonderful life they have. Not long ago, she called me and told me of seeing and smelling cigarette smoke in her house. Grandpa says, “Hi”.
He would have approved of my own husband with his sense of humor and his level of genius that has enabled us to still adore being together after 27 years. Things just never get old or boring.
When at the grocery store yesterday my eyes were drawn to a display of blue cheese. Ah, Danish Blue. How I wished that I would have a reason to buy it, wrapped in white paper, and give it to a man who would have loved it.