Journal Entry #51
Laurie died Thursday. My Uncle Gene died Friday.
It was sudden. And it wasn’t.
It was expected. And it wasn’t.
I am stuck between a place of sadness and a place of relief. Falling somewhere on the complex spectrum of grief.
I cannot summarize a man’s life in one journal entry. Suffice to say, he was a man of juxtaposition. He presented himself strong with a tough exterior, but was a giant teddy bear. He cursed like a trucker, but he always said “I love you.” He loved Harley’s, had tats, and a long ponytail but he had a soft voice and gentle hands. He worked hard and he played hard. He drank and smoked and knew how to have a good time, but he always made sure everyone had lots to eat and drink themselves. He had little income but always gave the shirt off his back to his family and friends.
Sometimes I thought of him as a collision of opposites.
He made mistakes. He made amends. He cooked. He made jokes. He made friends. He told stories. He was always informed of the family and the goings on in town. He loved hard. Even when the love wasn’t reciprocated. He hurt. He was hurt.
Such is life though, isn’t it? We don’t get a say in the cards we are dealt. But we do get a say in how we handle the cards we are dealt. How we choose to look at life, even when it sucks, is so important. Uncle Gene was laid up for the last few years because he was electrocuted at 220V and his body never discharged the energy. So basically, his body was simmering from the inside out. Over the last few years, his body deteriorated in horrible and gruesome ways. A slow torture that no human should have to endure.
But he did.
He persevered, even when he didn’t want to do it anymore. He suffered. He struggled. It was a chore for him to survive everyday not only physically but mentally too. And even in his suffering, he still called regularly to check and see how I have been doing. How am I healing? How am I hanging in? Even though he lived in New York, he kept close tabs on us here.
I remember about 20 years ago, my Mom took me to Lillydale, New York to participate in a workshop put on by Dr. Doreen Virtue. Honestly, I had never heard of the woman before in my life. But I went, sat and listened to her talk about Angels and the Afterlife. She had taken a short intermission, but came back to the stage earlier than anticipated, cutting the break short. I remember her picking up the microphone and saying,
“Where is Juli?”
My heart skidded when I heard my name. She asked again,
“There is a Juli here, where is she?”
I sat on my hands, heart pounding, still she persisted walking off the stage, down the aisle to the far back corner of the auditorium where I was seated, looking in my general direction,
“Juli, please stand up, I know you are here. I have a man with me, singing a song – he says that if I sing it to you, you will understand?”
As I sat stock still, convinced that surely there was another Juli in the room of more than 400 people, she began to sing,
“Juli, Juli, Juli do you love me? Juli, Juli, Juli, do you care?”
The song my Dad used to sing to me as a baby.
I had no choice but to go forward. She invited me to stand with her, and shared messages from my Dad who had crossed over about 6 months before. He told us that he couldn’t believe he was communicating with us in this way because he always thought psychics were a bunch of ‘horse shit’, he commended my brother who had recently graduated confirming details of that day, told my Mom to quick closet smoking, and shared with me his gratitude for my presence and care as his body shut down from the pancreatic cancer. He asked for forgiveness, and he said thank-you.
The whole conversation lasted about 10 minutes, happened in front of an auditorium full of strangers, and created a space for healing that was desperately needed at the time.
It was the kickstart to a participatory Spiritual Journey for me. At the end of her workshop, she said to the audience, that she was offering a training that fall in California. If anyone in the audience felt compelled to learn how to develop their own Spiritual gifts, to be able to help themselves and others heal, to pick up a flyer on their way out. She then said, that if we are meant to be there, to participate, if our hearts were calling, that everything we would need would fall into place…the transportation, day care, finances and support…that the Universe would support those willing to help humanity heal in this way.
Overwhelmed with the experience, I wasn’t sure what to think, but I picked up a flyer anyway.
Obviously, I was floored by the public reading…there was simply no way for her to know what she knew about me and my Dad. It was real. It really happened.
Not long after my experience in Lillydale, my Mom asked if I had anywhere I would like to go because her Airmiles were expiring and had to be used immediately. So, I got to thinking. And I did a little research. Then on a leap of faith, I booked a flight to Orange County, California. The course Doreen Virtue was offering was to be held in Laguna Beach, so the next step would be to pay the tuition, find a hotel, and rent a car. And I had zero funds to do this with.
Then Uncle Gene called.
He said something to the effect of “I am not sure what is going on with you, or what you are wanting to do, but I feel like I am to support you for this thing you want to do.” Now, I don’t know if he knew what the “thing” was…I know I hadn’t told him. To this day, I don’t know how he knew, or why he offered, why he encouraged, but he did. And because he did, I was able to study with Doreen for 8 days in Laguna Beach and learn from the Angel lady herself, the ways of energy medicine, how to connect with Divine, how to read Oracle Cards, communicate with the other side, automatic writing, pendulum use, psychometry and so much more. It was a new foundation, a new growth, a huge expansion on my Christian faith that took me years to both navigate in a way that I was comfortable and also integrate into my daily practice and eventually my work. I didn’t come out of the Spiritual Closet immediately.
That took some time.
Over time, as my intuition became stronger, as my prayer practice deepened, as my connection to Divine became more clear and I began practicing the tools that I learned by helping others…strangers even, I knew that those forces that came together to get me to California happened through Divine intervention. First my Mom, then Uncle Gene, and then a series of other mysterious happenings that resulted in extra cash, encouragement and even transportation to make it happen. Divine intervention.
No doubt in my mind.
I know that there are naysayers and disbelievers of the psychic realm. I am not sharing this to start a debate or discussion on what is “real” and what isn’t. My experience has been real and true for me. And I have had experiences with strangers, where I have had no means or reason to know the details and messages that came through me from their loved ones on the other side. What matters is that these episodes and experiences have brought about healing, surrender, forgiveness and freedom not only for myself, but for others too.
And that is a beautiful gift.
A gift that wouldn’t have been shared with the world, if Uncle Gene didn’t listen to that Divine intervention and support the “thing” that intersected my life.
I have lots of wonderful memories with Uncle Gene, moments of laughter and moments of sadness. Moments that were raw and real and loving. I can still hear him saying “Love you, girrrrrrl.”
My heart is sad, because I am not well enough to make the 7 hour drive to be present at his funeral today. Lately, I have had to make some difficult decisions, and miss out on parts of life I normally wouldn’t miss out on. If I were well, feeling 100%, I would make the trip in a heartbeat to hug his sons, my cousins and my Mom whose heart is broken…again. You see, my Grandma just passed away last September too.
I am operating at about 60% right now thanks to the effects of the chemotherapy due to Leishmaniasis. I am up to about 4000 steps a day and my resting heart rate ranges between 80-110 – still too high! I have little room for stress and little capacity for emotion…my internal barometer short circuits with simple triggers that never use to be triggers for me. I have a headache that has been constant for 9 weeks now…and is welcome to leave anytime now! I still rest lots through the day and am keeping my foot elevated to promote healing. The IV therapy is helping – at the last treatment we ran two bags, one of nutrients and one of fluids…turns out I am still dehydrated. Every day, I get a little stronger, feel a little more normal and see improvement. It is just such a slow process.
There will be flowers in place of me there today, which isn’t the same. My absence does not mean I loved him any less. I will be there in Spirit.
If you’ve been reading along, you’ll know I have been down the rabbit hole of perspective these days. For those who knew Uncle Gene, they will have their own perception of his legacy. What I know to be true are the lessons he has left me with:
It is okay to not be okay. And it is okay to ask for help when you aren’t okay. When life sucks, you just gotta ride it out…in whatever way is right for you. Always say I love you – and even when others don’t reciprocate your love, it doesn’t mean that we stop loving them. It means we love them harder. Love hard. Always.
Thanks Uncle Gene, for sharing the path with me in this life. Thanks for the lessons, the memories, the hospitality, the encouragement, the support and the love. I am forever grateful that you existed in my life.
Ride on, Uncle Gene. Ride on.