my work on near-death experiences, we began to have a few friendly and nostalgic exchanges by email. My friend's father happened to have been an art historian and that prompted me to mention that my own father, Phil, had been an artist, and that I had written a privately printed memoir about him called My Father, Once Removed. Since the memoir also dealt quite a bit with my own life in relation to my father, my friend said she would love to read it, so, shortly afterward, I sent her a copy.
The main thrust of my book was that, although my father had lived with me for only the first few years of my life and then had died at a young age, I had long felt his presence in my life, and in a way I could not quite explain but could not deny either, his love and guidance for me. After reading my book, my friend wrote to me as follows:
Once I read the book, it is very clear you and your father have a very strong bond. Also, we can only speak by personal experience. Where I go when I have a need to KNOW my father is truly with me is to a good medium. They are kind of hard to find (a good one). I know of two that are VERY good. [She then gives me their contact information.] I have had a couple of readings from one of them and my father came through clear as a bell. I cannot of course guarantee anything she might be able to communicate to you. I can only tell you she is good at what she does. My experience has been that this is the best way to KNOW they are with us a LOT of the time.I didn't doubt the impact of these readings on my friend, but I had always shied away from mediums and psychics and had never sought a reading. Besides, after writing that book about my father and subsequently discovering quite a bit about his life that confirmed many of my intuitions about him and his love for me, I no longer felt any need to seek any kind of medium-mediated contact with him. So, I in effect demurred when I wrote to my friend concerning her urging such a course for me:
What I wonder about is whether I would be a good candidate for it since I am so left-brained. You have such a great openness to these realms and you are so loving yourself -- no wonder you can enter into these states of consciousness and GO THERE. What a blessing. Well, I won't rule it out if the opportunity should come my way -- it's only that I don't feel the need for it. But maybe I shouldn't be closed to this sort of thing, eh?Within days of this exchange, I heard from another dear friend and colleague of mine, another woman who had had a long involvement in the field of near-death experiences and who had published several books on the subject. Her father, too, had recently died and she had earlier written to me when he was close to death about her deep connection to her father in the days prior to his death. Although my friend had had a difficult relationship with her father when she was a child, in later years they had grown very close and her father was very open to the implications of near-death experiences as he approached his own death. He was not afraid, and according to what my friend had told me, he had died serenely and in peace.
I was sure my friend would grieve his death, but because she is a very critically-minded and sophisticated European woman and was of course thoroughly versed in near-death studies, I was surprised to learn that after her father's death she was desolated by it and wanted to find for herself some evidence that he was safe and secure in the afterlife. I was really taken aback by her response since I felt that surely, she of all people would not require this kind of reassurance. But there it was -- she was no different in this respect, it seemed, than many people who suffer the death of a loved one and want some kind of a sign that he or she still exists and remains connected with the living even after death.
In any case, my friend was now writing to me about how she had gained the knowledge she so fervently had been seeking. She had consulted -- a medium.
I must tell you something beautiful that happened to me. You know how inconsolable I was with the death of my father. I asked a friend to indicate to me a good medium because I desperately needed to establish a contact with him and restore my spiritual convictions which I had completely lost.
Last Friday I received the report of the medium and it is simply unbelievable. It's a beautiful text of 2 1/2 pages, made of 2 kinds of messages: (1) the statement that he is still alive and that the after-life exists: "You were right my daughter, the after-life does exist, you can believe in it. I was surprised but I feel so incredibly well." (2) Facts which the medium could not know or guess. Many of them. Completely accurate, some of them referring to things we said just some hours before he died.
Ken, I am not sad anymore, I cannot be sad! I know everything is well, just the way it is supposed to be. I feel 100% in peace, and so incredibly happy. I feel completely connected to my father, I can feel him, see him smile, being next to me, all the time. I thought I had lost him and I have found him. But not exactly the father I knew, but the person he was in the last days of his life. I then had the very strong feeling that he was sublimated, as if he had already been touched by the grace. That's exactly what I felt during his last days. And this is the being I feel next to me. I must say that this is like a miracle to me and I am infinitely grateful for this.Needless to say, although I was very happy for my friend, I was even more struck by the fact that within two days I had received two communications from old friends connected to my NDE world who had reported such intensely impactful and subjectively convincing experiences of their deceased fathers after having received a reading from a medium.
Raymond Moody in 1977 after which he and I had founded an organization to study these experiences, I was to hear another such story. At lunch one day, my friend -- not knowing anything about my recent communications with others about their experiences with mediums -- began telling me about his. The short version of his tale concerned a good friend of his who had recently died. My friend had consulted a medium and what she had told him had simply blown him away. I have now forgotten some of the specific details my friend related to me that day over lunch, but I do remember his saying how much of it was evidential and how profoundly he had been affected by the reading he had received.
It was at this point that I could not refrain from mentioning that this was the third such account I had come across within the last two weeks. What was the universe trying to tell me?
After hearing my story, my friend urged me to make contact with the medium he had consulted -- someone in New York -- and later provided her email address and phone number. I said I'd think about it, but I really didn't. I just filed the medium's contact information away and more or less forgot about it.
And now for the clincher. Would you believe that a week later, I had another visit from a colleague, a philosophy professor this time, whose main professional interest for some years had also been the study of near-death experiences. I had read one of his articles years ago and we had become fast friends ever since. In any event, while he was visiting from Chicago, my friend and I met for lunch in Berkeley and began schmoozing. At one point, he asked me whether I was familiar with spiritualist churches.
I allowed as how I was -- I had attended of couple of services many years ago when I was first becoming interested in what were then called "altered states of consciousness." I knew that their services were conducted by mediums and that after the religious portion of the service was concluded, the medium -- often a woman -- would give readings for some of the members of the audience.
This is what had happened to my friend who was attending his first such service, and when he received a reading from the medium, he was so forcibly impressed by it that he decided to make an appointment for a private reading a week later.
Now some background: My friend has made it a practice to write dialogues after the manner of Plato, which deal with perennial issues in philosophy. For this purpose, he actually makes use of historical figures, such as Plato and Socrates. I have read a couple of these dialogues and found them powerful and provocative. However, my friend told me that prior to meeting with this medium, he had been utterly blocked when trying to complete his latest such work; the dialogue had just stopped flowing and it was frustrating my friend enormously.
When my friend first attended the church service, and it came to be his turn to receive a message, the medium who had never laid eyes on him said something like this, as best he can remember: "There's a gentleman here in spirit who's been helping you with your writing. He says that you've been dilly-dallying around and wants you to get back to your writing desk." At that point, my friend added, he had written only 9 or 10 pages in over 3 years. The medium then added something to the effect that the spirit was concerned with his legacy, "even if I didn't care about such things."
My friend continued, and now I quote:
I was completely blown away, and have still not integrated this into my psyche. I then scheduled a private half hour reading with her. She talked fast and non-stop. She said that gentleman was here, wearing a lovely white robe, which would have been a toga, and he was upset that people -- meaning academic philosophers, I presume -- do not understand his writings. Now, there is just no way she could know that Plato and Socrates were spiritual teachers whose teachings are completely misunderstood by western philosophers. She is a social worker, and I assume she has her MSW. But like most practical do-gooders, she has no knowledge of western philosophy, and would not know the difference between Plato and Mickey Mouse's dog. Then, in that reading, she went on to describe my father, and a good friend who had recently died from obesity.My friend said he was utterly amazed at what she told him -- indeed he said that it had been a "life-transforming event" for him -- and afterward, when he resumed work on the dialogue, it came out of him like a flood (he has since finished it and it runs to 793 pages!). It was almost as if he was "channeling" Plato himself, he said, beaming. I could see how much he was affected by this.
At that point, I told him my story.
On my way home, I thought: How many times do I have to hear the same message before I decide to act on it?
As soon as I got home, I got out the contact information I had been given for the medium in New York and called her up to arrange for a reading.
The woman I reached whom I will identify here only by her first name, Laura, sounded rather young, but friendly and lively on the phone. [She is in fact a very highly regarded medium who has since published two popular books about her work.] She said she'd be glad to consider doing a reading for me, but as she was about to leave on a vacation with her family, she suggested that I first look at her website to get some information concerning how she worked and what I might expect from a reading and then, if I were interested, I could get back in touch with her. I read over her website, was impressed with her credentials and professionalism, and emailed her back to make the arrangements. We agreed that she would do a reading for me just after her return from vacation, on August 22 at 9 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time.
Laura said she didn't need or want any information from or about me. She only needed to know my name, that was all. Her website made it clear that when it came time to do my reading, she would first "read my aura," and after that she would make contact, if possible, with some of my relatives "on the other side" to see what messages they might have for me.
Two weeks later, at the appointed time, Laura called me and gave me some initial instructions concerning how she would proceed, which pretty much conformed to the information I had already read. She advised me just to relax and let the process unfold as it would.
What follows is a partial but reasonably full transcript of the reading. My comments and questions during the reading are in red font and parentheses. Comments in brackets made after the reading relate to my clarifications and interpretations of some of Laura's remarks.
Looking at Aura. Oh, my God, your aura is quite magnificent, to say the least. It goes up in a giant U, and I don't see that typically. I feel that on some humanitarian level, you must have reached a lot of people or they're telling me you're going to reach a lot more people. In other words, your energy is very expansive. It's like a rainbow, but not the usual rainbow -- it's colors upon colors. At the base, there's yellow ... may indicate two or three minor medical issues going on for you right now. Above that, there's green, and green has to do with openness to new ideas. Your aura's very interesting. It's not a normal aura. Normally, I see one color above, one to the right, one to the left. Yours is like this gigantic expansive aura, like a cone on top of you ... You're going to bring change to others. Your energy is going off to the world in some way. Above that, there's blue and white, and at your core, your astral body is a beautiful, beautiful blue color. Blue for me is a sign of nobility of spirit. Blue for me is for someone who is here on a much more advanced level. You're here to help humanity. Blue ... often means a person to whom others spill their secrets, confide in ... You have this balancing effect on people. People just open up to you and spill their secrets. You have a very balancing, healing effect on those people. It's interesting because above you, I see white, and white for me has to do with soul testing, with the reason we are here. And it's interesting because it's tied to this blue, which means helping others. Your soul test wasn't just about you. It’s almost as if you are in a teacher role, to help other people. To me there's definite teacher energy to you, but it expands beyond a normal classroom. You're here on this earth in a physical form on a very advanced spiritual level. I don't feel that you were a super-religious person as a child or anything like that, I don't think it's tied to religion at all. But there's a humility about you, a humbleness. It's very beautiful, what I'm seeing. But you are definitely a teacher to others, but it expands beyond your lifetime. It's going to extend beyond your lifetime, beyond you. It's not just that you've mastered your own soul test, but you're going to help other people master their soul test. Above that, there's pink, and pink has to do with love. But it's not just directly attached to you, it's like it's love for humanity, or something. And I feel that above this white/blue soul test is this pack [?] of love. I need to tell you that whatever work you've done here is going to resonate after you cross and bring about love and healing. Wow, sorry to stay in your aura so long, but I don't often see something like this.
Now, on your right, what you're going into, I see orange. And orange has to do with creativity, appreciation for art. You're about to go into this period of creativity, too. I feel like writing -- are you writing now? (I have written, yes.) Are you currently writing something? Working on writing? Are you counseling or collaborating with someone? I almost feel like you are helping to guide someone or contributing to something someone else is doing? [I had recently been in touch with a doctoral student about collaborating on a research project on NDEs and had been advising her in other ways about various professional matters.] (I think that could happen, yes.) I see that this is coming this year. By November that will be more clarified. I don't know if someone who is connected to you is writing something or including you or asking for your assistance ... The other thing I want to say is that I see ... science around you. Are you very interested in science? Your guides are telling me that you're very educated. I don't know if this makes sense, that you'd be, like, decorated, like an honorary degree? I feel like awards (well, recently, I have been honored for my work). OK, I feel that there's more to come, though. I think it's going to be a big deal, like a major award or a major honorary degree. There's something big coming, all right. That's what I'm feeling because they're decorating you.
[At this point, Laura begins picking up on the presence of various relatives of mine. From what she told me after the reading, it was as if there were a group of them gathering around and they all seemed to want to communicate at the same time. Multiple voices as in a Robert Altman film. But principally, they were my mother, my father and my first wife, Elizabeth, the only one of my wives who has died. In life, she and my mother were quite close.]
Your mom is stepping in from the other side. There are a lot of people there all at once. Mom and dad are both there. She wants to tell you that September is important. Is September a birthday or anniversary or crossing date? (Not that I'm aware of.) I feel around the 23rd, OK? ... There's someone behind her, very strong. Like a Mary. [This is presumably my aunt Mary, my mother's older sister, who was very close to my mother during life and like a second mother to me. She was a very strong personality in life and was in effect always my mother's protector.] (Yes, Mary definitely connects.) On your mom's side, right? I think there's someone with an E, Elizabeth, actually. You were very close with this Elizabeth? [Elizabeth was my first wife who had died a couple of years ago. Like me, she was a psychologist.] (I was close to Elizabeth at one time, yes.) Did you work together? (Ah, we were married.) There's something like being interested in the same things or working together. It's more like intellectual interests. (We did have some intellectual interests in common.) Did you have three children together? (I have had three children, but I only had one with Elizabeth.) Are there two children of one sex and one of another? (That's right.) You were married to her first? (That's right.) Did you divorce? (Yes.) She's telling me that you separated here on earth, not because she crossed, right? (That's correct.) She also says she sorry about being stubborn about things. (Ha, ha, tell her I forgive her!) I feel like when she was here, she 100% thought she was right about things, but when she crossed and did her life review, she kinda felt a little bit like "Oh, things could have been different, I was stubborn." She's kind of joking about it. She also brings up a “D” name. (A “D” name?) Yes, is there is David? [David is my son.] (There is a David, yes.) Is that a child for you? (Yes.) She brings it up as child. Also, there's something that sounds like Kathryn. (That's amazing, Kathryn's another child of mine.) In some ways she watches over. I mean, it's not just Kathryn, but also David. She also mentions someone with a M name. Is there a grandchild with a M name? [David's young son is named Max.] (Yes, there is a grandchild with an M name.) Is it a little bit different of a name? (Yes, it is a little bit different.) Do two of your kids have kids? (Yes, that's correct.) Two of the children are put together, and one is separated out. Do two children live closer and one elsewhere? (Two of my children are closer to each other, and one of them is more or less separate.) Is it Kathryn who is more separate? (Yes, that's right.) [Speaking of Elizabeth who is doing a lot of the talking after my mother let her in ...] I don't feel like you two stayed very close after the divorce. (That's correct.) I don't feel that there's a great connection. [This is true; we were estranged for a long time.] I have to let you know that she's sorry for what she contributed to that. She also realizes that she was stubborn about that, by not holding things precious, but also that she's also at peace with everything. In the end any love that existed, that's what's amplified [?]. She sees the kids, she watches over them, that sort of thing. (That's really nice to know, thank you.)
Dad's staying in the background. Dad crossed before your mom, yes? (That's correct.) I also feel like, very intelligent was your dad. (Yes.) I also feel like he handed something down to you. Do you have his name, his middle name? (Well, I had his name, but not his first name; our first names are different.) I also feel like he's been crossed for quite some time. [My father died in 1953.] (Yes, that's true.) Did he have an illness, like in the stomach area? (Not that I'm aware of.) I'm also getting something from the chest area. [My father died of a heart attack.] On Dad's side of the family, was there a military connection there? With the war? (My dad was in the military, yes.) I have both sets of grandparents here, but there are strong ties to another country. Did your grandparents emigrate here? (Yes, that's true.) I feel like it's around Poland or somewhere (You're very close -- Lithuania.) [Lithuania was sometimes a part of Poland.] It's your grandmother who's coming through with that. Did you have a grandmother who was born there? (Yes.) Very strong woman, yes? (No!) Emm. I also get that there's a R name coming through. (Connected to the grandmother?) Yes. (Yes, her name did begin with R.) Was it like Ruth? (Yes, perfect!) I have to tell you she tells me that you are peacemaker. She tells me that's a role you've stepped into. I'm supposed to tell you, and I think she brings this up because she was from another country, one thing that you learned is that we human beings are not from any one particular country. I mean, we got too caught up with this, our identity. We can look at ourselves in our identity as fellow human beings to one another, and not be so [identified with our own country], but we are all connected. Somehow -- remember the writing I was talking about? (Yeah) -- somehow the writing might be connected with this. It's a very advanced way of thinking, a very healing way of thinking, a way that we human beings need to connect to one another on. You're more aware of that and that's one of the messages you're going to be trying to share ... Did you do writing on this? (Yes.) To me, you started this process, and whatever it is, others are going to pick it up from here, but you're still involved.
I also see you being asked to speak somewhere ... There's going to be more to come, or you're going to be interviewed or something. You've laid the groundwork, but now you're going to be asked about it.
Your mom is talking about a picture in an oval frame. Do you have a picture of your mother in an oval frame? [I later remembered that I did have such a photograph in one of my albums, but I didn't recall it at the time.] (No, but I do have a photo of another relative who is in an oval frame.) Is this in your office? (Yes, it is.) She's very happy about this, and is it a black-and-white picture? (Yes, it's her father.) She's very happy about that. Is there a William there? He's attached somehow. (Yes. Attached to her father?) Yes. (Yes, William was his son.) William's also on the other side. [He was very close to me when I was growing up and was the first big influence on my intellectual life.] (That's right.) There are together. This is their way of telling you that they're all hanging out together ... But they're making me feel, like, were they all closed-minded to or ignorant of this whole idea of heaven, the other side type of thing? [They were all irreligious and as far as I know none of them believed in life after death.] (Definitely!) It's almost like you've been here, they said. (In a manner of speaking.) I almost feel like you could describe it better than me. Does that make sense to you? (Emm, yep; afterward I'll tell you why.)
I hear this "thank you" all the time coming from the other side. It's giving me chills. It's somehow that you're teaching others about the other side. Somehow, I feel you know more than I do about the other side. Do you understand? (Yes.) There are children over there who are thanking you for -- like bringing peace to their parents. (I understand that, too.) Do you do grief counseling or work with the bereaved? (Not exactly, but I can relate to what you are saying.) I know, because there's a lot of them, but you're not related to them, but it's thank you on behalf of the children, thank you for the work you are doing. You're very, very unique. Because you -- I feel like a lot of people once they cross and do their life review realize that all this was real, this is how I could have helped people, this is how I could have done things differently in my life -- it's almost as if you have that knowledge, but you're here (Right). You help bring other people to that knowledge. It's very beautiful what I'm seeing. (Thank you.) Very beautiful ...
[After a bathroom break ...] One of your grandchildren will take after you. (Oh, how nice.) It seems to be about writing, too. You've involved with writing, correct? (That's right.) Is one of your grandchildren writing, too? (They're too young.) It's gonna be one that is involved in writing, somehow. Or following in your footsteps. (Are you sure it's a grandchild?) I think it's going to be a grandchild, but does your son do that, too? (Yes, he does.) They're telling me that your son already does this. Your son has a child, too, yeah? (That's correct.) OK, it's going to be handed down again. (Ah, OK.) It's almost as if I'm just supposed to let you know this, that this will come, too. It's almost like a beautiful chain that goes on. Your son has a son, too? (That's right.) It's a beautiful connection that I'm seeing. Does your son think alike or is very much alike? (We're alike in some ways, yes.) Are you interested in the same topics, and does he do education? (Yes, he does do education.) Is this the David? I hear David again.
Mom [who seems to have been imparting the above information] has crossed for a while now, yes? [She died in June, 2001.] Did she get to know David well? [Fairly well, but not too well.] It's like she knew him around the age of 20, right around there. I also want to say -- was mom put in a care facility when she was ill. (Yes.) Did she have an issue with Alzheimer's (Well, she was somewhat demented at the end.) When I see her [then] she was not of clear mind. I feel like what mom is trying to show me is that when she was still here, she was physically on earth, her mind was half there. When she crossed, did you try to get there in time or something like that? (Yes, I tried to but was unable to.) I need to let you know that she sees that you tried to get there in time, but I feel that it wasn't meant to be. You weren't there when she crossed, is that right? (I wasn't, and I was not able to get there.) OK, I just need to let you know that that's OK. That's how it was supposed to be. I also feel like your mom wanted to cross with a little more privacy than other people. That was something that she wanted. [That would be in character for my mother.]
Do you have prostate problems? (Ha, ha, well, I do have prostate problems, but only benign prostatic hypertrophy, but just last night I started to read a book about a guy with severe prostate problems ...) Did they talk about laser surgery of something? (Well, it has been discussed ...) She [mom] seems to be indicating that there's more to come, that there's going to be some kind of treatment, that you shouldn't shy away from it, but should listen ... I don't see anything serious for you ... And I'm supposed to tell you -- do you exercise a lot by walking? [Tape needed to be changed at this point, but I was urged to keep walking, as that was the best exercise for me. Walking is in fact my main form of exercise, as it was for my mother.]
[When Laura resumes, but before the tape starts recording, she begins talking about my personal guides. There are two of them, both male. They are powerful, very advanced beings. One has a scientific background. At his point, side two of the tape begins ...] The scientist feels to me like somehow in the science field, but also interested in the afterlife. And I want to go back about 100 years. Like he's on the team with your guides. Like there's a connection to France there? [I have long felt a connection to France, more than any other country.] There are some very unique things about my reading for you. [And there are apparently other helpers as well -- she wasn't clear here.]
John Audette who has been a longtime colleague in my NDE world and who recently visited me.] Is there, like a Bruce you work with? (I have worked with a Bruce, yes.) [Bruce Greyson, another NDE colleague, also connected to John.] Somehow you and Bruce do the same thing or you help each other. Were you both at some conference recently? (No, but we've been together at conferences.) [And I was invited to be at an IANDS conference with Bruce -- also John -- early next month, in September.] I don't know if there's another one coming soon ... But somehow, you're all on the same playing field. It's almost as if the other side knows that. If this were a baseball team, these people are all on it and are all working for the same kind of goal.
Is there a Diane here you're connected to? Are you very close to her? (Yes, in an odd sort of way.) [Presumably Diane Norton, a longtime NDEr friend who has been very loving to me over the years, but whom I have treated rather indifferently at times. I had, however, just written her a letter.] I feel like somehow that relationship definitely helps you grow. (Hmm, interesting.) She's more important than she seems.
[At this point, Laura asks me if I have any specific questions for her.] (I'd like to know if you can give me any information about my father.) Well, first of all, I feel like he crosses before his time. Somehow you and he had abbreviated time together. (That's very true.) And I hear an apology for that. He apologizes to you, that's what I'm getting. To me, it's like in a way he was letting you down. This could be like he crossed without having enough time with you as father. It's like, "I'm sorry." He crossed very quickly, too. (Yes.) Was that from a heart attack? (Exactly.) OK, and there was no goodbye, correct? (That's right.) And you were much younger, right? (True.) [I was 17 when he died.] I just feel like there's an apology for that. I feel like he's saying he should have taken care of his health better. I don't feel that he's that old when he crosses at all. [He was 41, just as his career as an artist was taking off.] There's a tragedy around him. (Yes.)
He was a very smart man, yes? (Yes.) (Can you see him?) Let me look. I don't think he was that tall. Was he under six feet? (Yes, he was.) He had dark hair, yeah? (Yeah.) Did he have dark eyes, too? (I think so.) At one point, did he wear a mustache? (Yes, he did have a mustache.) There's something funny about it or he thinks he looks silly with a mustache. He's joking about the mustache. There's something about a train. Did he collect trains? (That sounds more like my stepfather.) Did your stepdad collect trains? (Yes.) OK, this is his way of letting him in, too. Somehow your stepfather was around in your life a lot more to raise you than your biological dad was. (Yes.) He's grateful to him. For helping you, for nurturing you, for being there, OK? Could your stepfather be very stubborn about things, though? (Extremely.) And did he yell? [My stepfather was very bellicose and choleric; he did yell a lot.] (Yes, exactly!) Like, yaah! He's happy that he was there, but he wishes he could have -- well, that side of his personality could be very difficult. (So you're saying that my dad knows this about my stepdad.) Oh yeah. (Does my dad have any particular message for me?) Obviously, he's very, very proud of you because obviously you've achieved more in the family than anyone else. Did you get an advanced college degree? (Yes, I did.) And nobody else in the family had done that, you understand? [That's true; I was the first.] It's a really big deal to them. (Huh, no kidding?) A really big deal to them on the other side. And your biological dad's mom is really, really proud of you.
Your biological dad was a hard worker, yes? (I think he was, yes.) I feel like he was trying to build something while he was still here. I don't mean like trying to build a house, but trying to build something on his own ... and it was cut short. (Yeah, it was.) Like it was left incomplete. (You're very right.) He wasn't so happy about that. He was happy about other things. It was like, "oh, man!" When he crossed, it was like, "Hey, wait a minute. You're kidding me. First of all, this is real. Second of all, I'm not going to be able to finish that?" You understand? He was annoyed about that.
Do you know if your mother had a miscarriage? (She might have, but I can't be sure. I wouldn't know.) OK, it's what your biological dad is telling me. Is there a brother for you? (I don't have any brothers.) He's bringing that up -- it might be his way of telling you that. (I kinda always felt that I had an older brother.) You probably did but you didn't know. But you look like your dad, though. (I think I do look a little bit like my dad. I've always identified with him.) And also, you've dreamt of him, yes? (I've had many thoughts about my father. I might have had dreams about him, but I can't recall them offhand.) It's also interesting in that he says he helps you with your work from the other side. Somehow organizes things on the other side that helps your work here, you understand? (So he's helping me?) And he has helped you. He's helped you for twenty years. Because he couldn't do it here physically, he's had to do it from the other side. [I always felt this and several years ago wrote a memoir about my dad whose main theme was my sense that he had been a continuing, loving and guiding presence in my life.] He also thanks you for not being angry at him. I don't know if you understand that. (I've never been angry at him.)
(Does he say anything about his own name?) Oh, did you take your stepfather's last name? (Yes.) He's says that's fine. His last name was longer. (Yes, it was longer.) Was his last name Jewish or something? (It wasn't particularly Jewish. Not like Goldstein or Silverstein ...) But he was Jewish. Was there like a Kaufman or something? (His last name was Kurman.) Oh, that could be it, then! But it's fine that you didn't take his last name. He's happy with what you did. [I've always been glad to have been Kenneth Ring and not Kenneth Kurman.]
He says you're not closed-minded at all. You don't look at life like I'm this religion or that religion. You kind of swim through things, through religion, and through people. You're not based in only one, you understand? You celebrate humanity. Very impressive.
Do you wear glasses? (Yes.) Do you need to get your prescription changed? Did you just do that? (I do it very often.) Well, he's just bringing it up. He's watching out for you. (Well, I feel a real connection with him.) Well, he loves [?] you a lot, and as I said, he's been helping you for the last twenty years. I think you're very connected to him.
How are you tied to the other side? The way I'm getting it is the way a medium would. (I'll tell you afterward.) It's very interesting to me. Because he's helping you organize things the way one of my guides would help me, you know what I mean?
(I have one question you might not be able to answer, but I'd be curious. I'd like to know that in the unlikely event of my death, will I see my father or will I have some connection to the various people you described to me?) Well, absolutely, but he's laughing at you! "You asking me that when you already know the answer to that!" I mean, he's joking with me, and he sighs, and says [apparently tongue-in-cosmic cheek], "first, there's going to be a tunnel, and then, if you like, I'll greet you first, and then you're going to see all of us there ..." It's almost like he's laughing at you, you understand? You gotta believe that they're all going to greet you. I don't think it's going to be any time soon. I think there are a lot more connections and things that you're doing here. You're still very involved in things.
I also see you on TV. Were you -- this is going to sound bizarre -- OK, were you on Larry King or something? (That's amazing, yes, I was on Larry King.) Really?? Was this like 20 years ago? [Damn close -- it was in 1992, 19 years ago.] I'm getting something like, your dad helped to arrange getting you on Larry King. I was arguing with him, "What, Larry King?" I thought maybe I was getting it wrong. I'm also supposed to tell you that if you chose to, you could still be doing media, but you've backed away a little bit. (Yeah, exactly.) You chose to back away from it? (Yes.) You're definitely going to be invited to speak somewhere, too. (I wouldn't be surprised.) You're in California, but I could see you going to the other coast, like to Virginia? (I was asked to speak in North Carolina, but I declined.) OK, but I think they are going to ask you again. It's not going to go away. It's nothing you have to do; it would just be kinda cool. Just so you know that. You also don't like to fly? (That's very true. I don't like to fly anymore.)
At this point, Laura asked if I had any more questions, but as we had already been talking for 80 minutes and her reading was only supposed to be an hour long, I said I thought we should stop here, I didn't want to impose on her any further. So I turned the tape recorder off after which we chatted for a few more moments and I thanked her for what had been a very meaningful reading for me and one, as I told her, in which she had related many accurate things about me and my family members that she could not have known. Afterward, I gave her reading a lot of thought, especially as I was transcribing it and again, now, as I have been writing up this report.
One more concluding note. Not long ago, in another memoir in which I had discussed some recent discoveries about my father's life, I ended my remarks by writing the following:
I have always felt his love as the primordial fact of my life, even when he was forced to part from me, and even after his death. Even now, as I write these words. And when I die, I hope I will have my own confirmation of this when, at last, I may see him once more with his arms outstretched, waiting to welcome me home.This reading has only added to my sense, now bordering almost on a firm conviction, that when my time comes, my yearning for this reunion will indeed be fulfilled and I will again find myself embraced by my father and will feel his love once more, only more intensely and with the greatest joy.