So last week I went and visited my high school English teacher, Mary. We had reunited on Facebook and she asked me to call her. Facebook was a bit too complicated for her 82 years; email works out alright; but she prefers "the telly."
She told me we have a lot in common: namely, she had also lost a child and she could empathize with me on that level. She also wanted to share her story of near-death experiences with me.
I can remember Mary talking about auras one day in high school English class. She was my Honors English teacher and also taught Humanities and the Gifted and Talent program. I wasn’t involved in the latter two classes, but I figured when she spoke on any subject, she was probably knowledgeable in that area. She always spoke with such authority. So when she told us a little story about her aura being seen by someone else who was in touch with that sort of thing, I paid attention. Mary was very intuitive.
Anyway, all these years later, she wanted to share her story with me about death and what it is like. She also wanted to learn a bit more about Facebook, and blogging, something I might be able to help her with. So I went over and had a three-hour visit with her and we swapped stories. I told her about Andrew’s suicide. She reassured me that he had done something courageous, and that he was happy and at peace. She said being dead was not all tragic like people think. It was just … peaceful. I also told her about seeing the “bubble” thing on my last birthday, down by the Estuary, and how I just got a feeling it was Andrew saying “Happy Birthday.”She agreed with me that it was him, showing off a bit and letting me know he was finally happy, too.
Then this week I got another message from Mary. Call me, she said, I have a message for you. It’s from the “other side.”
When I got her on the phone, she was excited. She needed to pass along a message to me from Andrew. She had gotten it the day we visited, actually while we were visiting, but at that time she wasn’t sure if she should tell me or not—I might not be ready to hear it or something. So she had this message, and she could tell me on the phone, or in person, or write it down for me if I preferred…it was up to me. I had time to talk right then, and I said go ahead and tell me.
"While we were talking last week, I got this thought," Mary said, "and it was really strong; that Andrew knew he was going to get worse, not better, and he wanted to spare you from any more anguish."
"What he did was really courageous," she stated, “He did it for you, and the 'You' came through first!”
The “you” was the emphasis. She felt that really strongly.
Andrew died to spare us, like Jesus. Two days after Easter, after fasting for Lent. Yes, he planned it.
I could believe that, because I already felt that he was sparing us all in some way. I think he did it for all of us. His Dad was wearing down and had told me he didn’t know how much longer he could deal with Andrew. When Andrew had bad days, his father was ususally the one who bore the brunt of it. He worried constantly about Andrew and kept tabs on him all the time. He buffered Andrew from the work crew, family members, and anyone else who Andrew became fed up with. Jayne tried to take care of Andrew. Rebecca was gentle, yet fearful. We all depended on Andrew so much and he was so helpful—the good son, the best brother. We were all so scared, and helpless because we couldn’t make Andrew do anything. Denial felt better at that point.
Andrew had done his research. He and I had some discussions about his disease in a way he couldn’t really discuss with anyone else…factually. They were delicate discussions, because if you tried to persuade Andrew one way or another, he pulled away. Since he didn’t want to take the medications (he felt they would poison him, or at the least cause too many negative side effects-ironic!), we made a list of foods that would give him the most amino acids as a way to naturally balance his diet and his brain chemistry. The only foods he ate had to have some nutritional value and he ate with purpose. He also quit drinking and smoking in his last six months, so when he died, he was the picture of health.
I recall thinking just that as I viewed him in the hospital bed, all hooked up to monitors...the picture of health.
I really wanted him to have a change of environment, too. For one year between July 2006 and June 2007 he had lived with his sisters, out of his Dad’s house and away from all the extended family, but he had returned to it. There were so many dysfunctions in that household. Nobody there had what you would call a healthy lifestyle, so even trying to be healthy kind of made Andrew a freak.