When I was a teenager, my best friend confided in me that her grandfather would visit her family. Interesting because her grandfather had passed away over a decade before this confession. Needless to say, I was a bit skeptical. She told me that he would move the photographs in the house he was in. When the family would come home, his pictures were always askew even though other photos were hung perfectly on the walls. Of course, I asked questions about the nails and the angles of the walls, and since we were living in an area that had mild earthquakes, I surmised that the cause of the crooked or fallen pictures had to do with something besides the great beyond.
Shortly after this discussion, I stumbled upon the book Illusions by Richard Bach. At 15 years old, I found the book profound. It opened me up to possibilities outside of the physical realm. I started to think about different planes of existence and contemplated the soul. Before the internet, this was the early 1980s, and discussion around anything metaphysical wasn’t happening in my circle of friends.
Over the next few years, my family (step-father, mother, sister, and I) moved from the Virgin Islands to Florida. Shortly after the move, my biological father passed away. A couple of years later, I moved out of their house into my own apartment. Around that time, I learned of this quaint little town called Cassadaga. It is a spiritualist camp of homes with certified mediums and psychics. Never had a reading before; I wanted to see what it was all about.
I drove 35 miles from Orlando to Cassadaga. I had no clue how to go about getting a reading. I drove around the camp slowly, looking at each somewhat dilapidated home, reading the signs, and trying to pick up a vibe. There was one house I was drawn to, and after about 30 minutes of contemplating if I would go through with it, I parked my car and knocked on the door. A stout woman with gray hair in a Mumu dress answered the door. She barked at me, asking why I rang her bell. I said I wanted a reading. I learned that you are supposed to go to the bookstore at the front of the camp and book a reading, but she softened and told me that she wasn’t doing readings that day but would read me.
We went into a back room, she pointed me to a chair, and she sat in a big puffy chair facing me. She asked if I had ever been to a trance medium before, and I told her I had not. She closed her eyes, and after what seemed like 5 minutes, she began talking. I had wanted to know about my dad and was told he was there but unable to come through because he was still adjusting to life in the spiritual realm. However, my great aunt, grandmother, and great uncle came through, giving many details about family members, calling them out by their names. At this point, I had chills… there was no way she would know my aunt and uncle’s names, that they were married, and what they were doing. Then, she said to me, “mind your p’s and q’s,” which my late great uncle said to me every time we saw each other when he was alive.
Let’s say, by the time the reading ended; I was shaken. The detail and specifics were shocking. I no longer doubted my friend from years ago and became interested in life after death.
Over the years, I have had other circumstances with glimpses of the other side. Five years ago, the love of my life passed away. He was a fantastic man, and his loss hit me hard. A year after he died, I was dusting the furniture in my bedroom. I had moved items from the nightstand and gently placed them on the bed. One of the items was a candy dish he had bought me from an antique store. It was made from carnival glass with a lamb on top. He got it for me because it reminded him of my little fluffy dog. The few items were close to the middle of my bed, and none of them were touching each other. I was dusting the floor lamp next to my nightstand with my back turned to the bed. I was deep in thought, remembering when he gave me the candy dish, thinking I wasn’t as grateful as I could have been. I watched the good times we had in my head like a movie and felt like I could feel his presence near me. Then, I heard a loud cracking noise which startled me. I turned around and on my bed was the candy dish, broken in half. Nothing else was near it, and there was nothing that could have caused it to crack on its own.
For the past thirty years, there have been many other instances in my life where I have felt the presence of loved ones who have passed away. From symbols and signs to straight-out messages in my head. And I tend to question, is this real since naturally, I am a skeptic. I usually dive deep into subjects, poke holes, and seek confirmation from opposing views. I don’t care to accept things on a surface level. But, my thoughts on the soul and what happens to it changed over the years. The more experiences I have and the more stories I hear from others, I look at life and death differently. To me, the soul is everlasting and forms deep bonds with those we love. Which is why I believe there is an afterlife, do you?
About the author: Theresa Touhey owns Nature Reflections, an online jewelry store specializing in handcrafted Angel Callers and Harmony Ball Jewelry. She is also an artist, a writer, a grandmother, a caregiver to a rescued Havanese dog, and a nature lover. She has practiced various forms of meditation and yoga for over 30 years.