Yesterday, I was a dying man of only forty-two. An aggressive form of cancer, they said. Nothing more they could do. In those final hours, I thought about my life and all the places I’d seen. The people I’d met along the way. Life is never long enough. Even after one-hundred-eight different countries visited, I wanted to see more. Meet more people. Form more friendships. I touched a lot of lives, and they each, in turn, touched mine. But then the news came: my days on this earth would be cut short. Yesterday, I was a dying man, full to the brim with wonderful experiences.
Today, I am the tiny bird, feathers shimmering iridescent in the morning sun, hovering in front of your tearful eyes. I am the dragonfly floating on the breeze and landing on your fishing pole. I am the flake of snow melting on your tongue. Today, I am the warm rays of the sun, caressing your skin in golden kisses. Look to the sky—the twinkle just past the North Star—that’s me. If you feel the sudden rush of cool air while you look at our photos, that’s me. Do not fear these ghostly gestures; these are the signs of my spirit, for all those I love.
I’ll nudge you in the right direction and cheer you on from above. You’ll see me in your dreams, and you’ll wonder: is it really me, or is it your mind in imagination mode? But it’s me, I assure you. When you’re driving along an open road and our favorite song comes on, turn it up loud—I’m there singing it with you.
And when you’re lying awake at night in despair at the loss of me, and you suddenly feel an overwhelming sense of calm, it’s me. My arms wrap around you tightly, even if you cannot feel them. Sleep now. Allow dreams to flood your head with memories, and I will see you there. Go to sleep…
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The tiny bird hovers at eye level in front of her face, feathers shimmering iridescent in the morning sun and wings beating in a blur. So close, it blows air kisses against her cheek. Staring into its black eyes, she is overcome with a sense of calm. Time stands still. The winged creature seems to stare at her as if trying to send a message. Her heart is hurting, having just learned that a very dear friend had passed during the night, and she wonders, could this be my Jamie? A believer in soul connections and past lives, she considers the possibility that he has indeed come to give her peace in the form of this little feathered friend. She is in awe. The seconds he hangs suspended in the air feel like several minutes. When he finally flits away, she can’t help the upward turn of her lips curling into a smile. Although sad, she’s immensely satisfied by what, or who, this visit represents.
A hypnosis-induced dream allows her to connect with his spirit that night. Floating weightlessly in an open, black space completely void of any light, the hummingbird approaches. Tiny in the distance, but as he draws nearer, it becomes Jamie, floating in perfect form, surrounded by a glow. Tranquility comes as easy as she breathes air into her lungs. He speaks to her without moving his lips. Everything is ok. Everything is as it should be. He seems more knowledgeable in spirit form than he was on Earth. She is filled with tremendous understanding that our souls are privy to much more than our human brains can comprehend.
Jamie takes her hand. I’d like to show you something. Trusting him implicitly, she takes his hand as he leads her to a time when they were young children, in a different era, a different place. They watch from above as crumbled buildings appear around their children-selves in whites and shades of greys, void of any vivid color. Sitting on cement stairs, laughing, smiling. Child Jamie gets up, snaps his suspenders tight to his shoulders, and reaches his hand out for hers, small and delicate. She takes it, holding a ragged old teddy bear in her other hand, and together they walk through the piles of war-torn rubble that used to be their city. He in his kippa, slightly taller, and she in her flowing dress, sooty and frayed. No matter what is happening around them, everything is ok. They disappear into a cloud of dust and smoke.
Further back now, still watching from above, she sees herself lying in a bed, old and frail. Another time, another life. It is quiet in this ancient place. Stone walls and sconces. Small window openings to the outside world let magical beams of sunlight paint the room in gold. She is dying. Surrounded by her husband and two daughters, she looks up to see Jamie standing in the background, smiling. Recognition. Everything is going to be ok. As she draws her last breath and exhales, she gets up from her bed, transparent, and takes his hand. Turning to her family, she is soothed by the knowledge that they will one day meet again.
Perceived time is not the same for spirits who travel between lives. At once, she and Jamie return to the darkness in what she knows is her present day. His message is clear. Without a doubt, she is certain they have met before and they will meet again. Her protector, he was, both in this life and in previous lives. His face is peaceful as he reverts to his winged, beautiful form and flutters away.
As she awakes, the awareness of something more, something other, courses through her veins, though she can’t possibly grasp what it is. But there is comfort in knowing that there is indeed something else, and that is enough to quiet her troubled heart.
Kathleen Foxx is an emerging multi-genre author from Southern Ontario, Canada. In addition to novels, she enjoys creating literary pieces in micro, flash, and short fiction/nonfiction. She has words in Eucalyptus and Rose, Paragraph Planet, and a second-place winning piece in Glittery Literary’s First Anthology. She is active on social media and tweets often @kfoxx_writes.