Messages from Across the River

by Steven Falcone

It was close to 11:00 p.m. when my mother phoned. "I'm scared Steve" she said. "When I kissed your father goodnight, I told him that I'd see him tomorrow morning, but he shook his head no. He wants you to stay with us tonight, can you come"? "Of course mom" I replied. "I'll be there in 20 minutes."

Driving the short distance to their home, I reflected that my wife Kim and I had been anticipating this call for the last few days. We both intuitively felt that dad would be making his journey soon.

Diagnosed almost 11 years ago with lung cancer, he had been given little hope of recovery. However he was very special, and achieved full remission for over 8 years. Dad a deeply spiritual man had often said, "I'm not ready to leave yet." He instinctively used guided imagery and prayer to give his clinical treatments a boost.

Recently the cancer had manifested again, and dad began to grow restless and tired. His body slowly began to shut down. Hospice was called to help with his comfort, and a hospital bed was set up in his living room so that he could be at home with his family.

I pulled into the driveway and met mom at the back door. "I think he's getting worse" she said, and as we went into the living room that now felt like a hospital, I silently agreed. My dad, thin and frail labored to breathe even with the help of an oxygen pump. Mom and I each held one of his hands and gazed lovingly at him as he drifted in and out of consciousness.

Mom's bedroom faces the living room, and I suggested that she try to get some rest. I reasoned that she could see and hear everything that was happening, and that I would call her if his conditioned worsened. She agreed and went to lie down and I settled in on the sofa near dad.

Neither mom or I slept as my fathers labored breathing kept us constantly checking on him. At 4:30 a.m. his conditioned worsened and I overheard my mother by his side, telling him that it was ok for him to let go, that she would be fine and that they would be together again someday.

Dads breathing calmed, and he fell into a deep sleep. Exhausted, mom lay back down and I continued my vigil. Dads breathing continued to calm, so calm in fact that I found myself continually checking, checking to see if he was still alive. The room grew peaceful and quiet, only broken by my whispered voice reassuring my mom that dad was asleep.

I found my mind wandering, and my thoughts began to drift. I was in a state somewhere between consciousness and sleep. Suddenly I found myself standing on the edge of a wide river. The air was warm, the water was clear and there was a great feeling of peace. In front of me floating in the water sat my father in a sturdy wooden boat. He looked like the early pictures I had seen in the family album, young and handsome and healthy. He smiled lovingly at me, his eyes were clear and full of joy. Across the river I saw people waving, waving at him, and I recognized some of them as people who had died. I saw my grandmother, and my aunt, and some of my dads' friends. The boat began to move by its own power, began to move towards his family and friends. Dad looked back at me, smiled and waved.

As his boat reached the other side of the river my eyes immediately opened, and I was again in the living room. Two minutes had passed since I last checked his breathing, and rushing to his side I saw that his spirit had left and he was gone...

The day of the funeral came and I suddenly remembered the old file cabinet in the basement. Dad had entrusted the secret of the old cabinets' contents to me earlier that summer. Hidden within were valuables that would help to ensure my mother's security after he passed on. Valuables that only he and I knew about.

After the funeral I rushed to the cabinet in the basement but I could not find the valuables he described. I searched over and over to no avail. Why hadn't I checked it when dad was alive? Could he have been mistaken? Did he hide the valuables somewhere else? I searched one more time and found nothing.

I hadn't mentioned any of this to my mother, expecting to surprise her, and now I was glad I hadn't.

In the weeks that followed I began to help mom get her affairs in order, and I started to organize the basement cabinet. Systematically I reviewed and either filed or discarded the contents. I marked a large stack of old material to be thrown out, and realizing that I was about to be late for an appointment, I set it aside and told mom that I'd see her tomorrow.

That night I had a vivid dream, a dream in which my dad came to me. He showed me that the valuables were hidden in the materials I was about to destroy. The next morning I drove to my mothers home and resumed my search. My hands trembled as I remembered my dream from the night before, and halfway through the pile, hidden inside the flap of an old appointment book I found the treasure.

"Mom" I called upstairs "I think you should sit down, I have something to show you, something from dad."...

I believe that hunches, dreams and intuitions have special meaning. My dad communicated with me in my dreams. This connection with him not only conveyed important information but was very comforting. My father has helped me confirm my belief that we are all connected in spirit, and this connection transcends time and space.

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Copyright 1997

Steven Falcone

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