91st: Make no show of taking great delight in your victuals; feed not with greediness; cut your bread with a knife; lean not on the table; neither find fault with what you eat.
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24 November 2004
When I ordered the book, "Angel Cafe," by my friend Roz's daughter, Jill Morrow, I will admit that I did it to be supportive. I even ordered the second book of this trilogy, "The Open Channel," which hasn't been released yet.
Roz didn't build it up as the greatest book ever and admitted that many of her friends who read it said "it's not my genre, but Jill writes well."
I don't know that I have a "genre." I think my genre is anything that holds my interest, and "Angel Cafe" held my interest.
When I go into a bookstore at the airport to pick up something to read on a plane, my body automatically heads for the likes of Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs, Michael Chrichton or Ken Follett or any of those mystery, thriller, medical investigation type of books. So "Angel Cafe" would not have been my first choice.
It probably wouldn't have been my choice at all, since it would not fall on a shelf that I would be likely to explore.
But Jill is Roz's daughter, and so I ordered the book from Amazon (sorry, Alison) and sat down to read it. Then I found I couldn't put it down.
It's a bit New Age-y, and I'm definitely not into New Age, but then neither is Jill, who confesses no real affinity for New Age philosophies. Maybe that's what I find so intriguing about this book--the fact that the heroine and her pals are out to debunk the concept of "channeling" and when they encounter a malevolent spirit, they set about finding the truth behind it all.
I have kind of an approach-avoidance thing toward this New Age stuff. My aunt had more "beyond the beyond" books than you could imagine, so I suppose that there is a genetic predisposition toward an academic curiosity about what lies out there. And of course, feeling close to people who are "out there" makes it even more intriguing.
The day David died, a client came into the office where I worked at the time. The staff was naturally upset about David's death and I, of course, was not there. This guy was so sensitive, so caring, and wanting to help so much that he went out and bought some books on death and dying back to share with the staff. I didn't find out about this until weeks later.
One day I found a book lying on someone's desk and I picked it up. It was called "Hello from Heaven" and was supposedly a study of people who feel they have had communication from their loved ones who have died.
Now, I must add here that "Hello from Heaven" is, without a doubt, the absolute worst written book I have ever read That it could even get published by a legitimate publisher should give hope to any aspiring writer. It is simplistic, repetitive, and just plain bad stylistically, but I found myself unable to put it down specifically because of what was in the first chapter.
Each chapter is devoted to a specific kind of interaction between the living and the dead and gives examples. Chapter one talks about how it is very common that the first sign of communication with a loved one who has died comes often when the living person is driving alone in a car along a dark road and then senses that the loved one is in the car with him/her.
Well, this absolutely blew me away. It described in excruciatingly complete detail an experience I had after Gilbert died. I had never mentioned it to anybody and to find my own experience spelled out so clearly in this book was mind-boggling.
I still remember the incident. I was taking the cut off from Highway 101 to Highway 80. It's a long stretch of road, about 20 miles, and not always heavily traveled, especially at night, so with very few lights, it's quite a dark stretch. I don't remember how long it had been after Gilbert's death, but not too long.
I was driving down this dark road and suddenly I just "knew" Gilbert was in the car with me. I don't know how I knew but the feeling of his presence was so strong that I felt that if I stretched out my hand, I could touch him. I didn't dare look to my right because I didn't want to see the empty space. He was "there" for a few seconds and then he left. I felt him leave just as plainly as I felt him come. After he "left," a sense of great peace washed over me and I had the feeling, for the first time since his death, that I was going to be all right.
I told myself at the time that it was my imagination working overtime, and yet here, many years later, the exact scenario was spelled out in a book, giving examples of other people who had experienced the same thing.
There were three instances when I still feel Gilbert communicated with me after his death. Each is very firmly etched in my mind and I felt exactly the same after each interaction.
The second was a dream that I had. Gilbert had not been happy in this life and was in a constant state of unrest and depression. The thing I wanted to know most strongly was whether or not he had finally found peace, which would help me accept his death because I always hoped that he would find a way to come to peace with himself.
One night I "saw" him in a dream. He was wearing a brown leather jacket that he always wore and he turned and smiled at me. The only thing I can compare it to is the scene at the end of Ghost where Patrick Swayze is saying goodbye Demi Moore. He's bathed in this golden ethereal light as he walks off into the light itself. That's how Gilbert looked. This was before Ghost came out and when I saw the movie, I recognized the scene as something that I had seen in my own dream.
I woke from the dream, again feeling that incredible sense of peace come over me.
The last time I encountered Gilbert was the day that I packed up all the things in his house. I had purchased the contents of his house because I couldn't bear the thought of them going up for public auction. Some of his friends and I spent the day putting his beloved possessions into my van and I was driving them here to Davis.
At the end of the day, as I prepared to get into the van, Willa asked if I was sure I was going to be all right, driving home in a car full of all of the things that meant something to Gilbert. I assured her I would be. I got into the car, put the key in the ignition and before I started the engine, I had this sensation of warm air being poured over my body. It started at the top of my head and traveled down to my feet, extending out to my extremities until my whole body felt warm, in a pleasant way. Again there was the sense of peace and the feeling that this was Gilbert telling me that I had handled things well. It was the last time I "had contact" with him.
Walt worried that I would be disappointed if I had no such experiences after David's and Paul's deaths. And I indeed I didn't have those experiences, but I figured that when Gilbert died there was a lot of unfinished business between us. I don't feel that there was between myself and the kids. There was nothing I felt I had not said, and nothing that I felt I didn't do for them. I didn't need to contact them as much as I had needed to contact Gilbert. There were answers to questions I'd like answered, but I didn't need the contact in the same way I did after Gilbert's death.
Did I really have contact with Gilbert, or was it wishful thinking carried to the extreme? I'll never know
So the whole topic of "Angel Cafe" intrigued me and I was pleased to find that it's a wonderfully readable book which held my interest so well that I finished it in 2 days. It does go off on a tangent I hadn't expected and follows a different path than I anticipated, but still it's one of those page turners that I found I just couldn't put down.
Website of the Day
Another book which intrigued me was "Signals," by Joel Rothschild, whom I met through Steve. He's another one who claims to have had contact with his former lover--and has some convincing stuff to say about it.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
The night of Paul's funeral, Ned took pictures