I just had my sixth reading with a medium. Now, I could rationalize and say that I had to visit another medium for research on my current book project, but that wouldn’t tell the whole story. The truth is, I love having readings. I’m at the stage where I’m convinced that life is continuous, yet I’m still amazed when perfect strangers tell me things about my loved ones that they have no way of knowing.

I took my mother along for her first reading. I was nervous, not knowing if this medium was the real deal. Mom went into the medium’s guest room while I waited in the living room. When it was my turn, we didn’t have a chance to compare notes. The medium spent the first fifteen minutes telling me things about my life. I sat there wondering when she was going to get to the spirits I’d hoped to see. After another few minutes of meaningless banter I began to despair that my mother’s first experience with a medium had been a bust.

Then we hit pay dirt.
“I see the same man next to you who I saw with your mother,” the woman said, “and I’m getting the name ‘Bill’.”
I bolted upright in my chair, my eyes wide. “You told her you saw Bill?”
“Yes,” she said, “and now he’s like a broken record, saying, “Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad.”

I flopped back, tingly all over. My mother had been a non-believer all her life. Hearing her husband’s name from a woman who knew nothing about her except her first name would surely open the door to belief that Mom’s husband of 61 years was around her in spirit.

When my hour was up, Mom and I stumbled to the car. I had to concentrate on my driving on the way to a coffee shop where we compared notes. To my great pleasure, I learned that Mom had received far greater evidence that Dad’s spirit lived on than merely his name. You see, Dad’s real name was Oliver, but he went by Bill. When the medium told Mom that she heard him say, “Just call me Bill,” she had unknowingly passed along the exact phrase my dad would say to every new person he met.

When the medium told me that my dad was giving me a big bear hug and “squeezing me to pieces” she probably wasn’t aware that my dad had always hugged a bit too hard in his exuberance to show his love. It was beyond comforting to hear that he knew his whole family was around the bed when he took his last breath and that he didn’t die alone, but the message he gave my mom about that moment made us both reach for the Kleenex.

“I heard the whistle blow,” Dad’s spirit told the medium, “and I knew it was time to go.” This message, from a retired railroad engineer, could not have been more perfect.
My hour with the medium was almost up, but I hadn’t yet heard from the one spirit who I always longed to hear from: my step-daughter, Susan, killed by lightning at age 27. “Is there a young woman here?” I asked, feeling as if I were cheating by prompting the meeting.
“Why yes,” the woman answered without pause, causing me a bit of pause, in all honesty. All doubts were erased when this was followed by the woman’s claim that the spirit was repeating my name: “I’m Susan! I’m Susan!”

I laughed with utter joy and informed the medium, “She’s not giving you my name—I’m Suzanne—Susan is the woman I’m looking for.”
“Oh, well, Susan is telling me that she’s filling your life with butterflies,” the medium said.

Her words brought me instantly to tears. Nothing she could have said would have been more meaningful. All of the amazing encounters we’ve had with butterflies since Susan’s death were instantly validated (see “Why Yellow Butterflies Are Special to Me”), as was Susan’s presence beside me at that moment.