Coming from a big family, I am no stranger to death.
It’s to be expected that those that come before you may leave before you would like them to.
In some more traumatizing cases, those much younger than us depart this world before it seems they were even given a chance, and such is life.
My biological father abandoned us when my brother and I were at the ripe old age of four and five, respectively.
Already a selfish and abusive character, he sought to add infidelity to the list by carrying on an affair with his business partner.
This kicked off a dysfunctional few years of familial fighting and an ugly divorce that would permanently scar us.
My Uncle Carlo was always kind to us; a beacon of light in our chaotic lives.
As we sat with him in his garden one beautiful Spring day, we found ourselves overcome with sadness.
Who is going to love us now?
Before we knew what was happening, we asked him if we could call him daddy. Without hesitation, he said yes. According to my Aunt Mary, my uncle cried for days, unable to reconcile the idea of a man devastating his family the way my father had.
For years he treated us like his own. We never felt abandoned, lost, misunderstood, or abused in his company. We would stay at their house for weeks during the Summer. It always smelled like wood burning, which was my favorite smell. We would go on hikes in the woods, play golf, ride the tractor or help him make wine in the basement. He told us stories about the war in Italy and how he escaped the Nazis.
At night while watching TV, we would have a dessert party with Oreo Cookies and Chocolate Entenmanns Donuts as we watched Top Gun and Dirty Dancing ad nauseam. It was the best time of our emotionally fragile lives.
He was a father to us and would often refer to himself as our “second father.”
In 2009, after a valiant fight with cancer, the Universe took him home.
I kept thinking that there was so much left for me to do, and he wouldn’t be there for any of it.
My heart was broken.
Naturally, I wanted to speak with him again, so I did some research.
I found a Medium on Long Island named Glenn Dove. I had heard great things about him and wasted no time setting up an appointment.
When the date finally arrived, my best friend came along with me. As we raced out of the Midtown Tunnel, I had a nagging thought.
I turned to Stephie and said, “I have a lot of dead relatives, and I love them all, but I only want to speak with him today.”
“Well, hopefully, he will come through,” she said. She fully supported this adventure, making it all the more comforting.
When I finally sat across from Glenn, I couldn’t help but feel nervous.
What if he doesn’t come through? What if everything this guy tells me is complete crap?
I’d had so many bullshit readings I was a bit jaded. Glenn smiled and gestured for me to sit. He took out a tape recorder.
“Are you ready to begin?” he asked.
“Absolutely,” I said.
Glenn began writing on a piece of paper. He looked up for a moment.
“Your father is on this earth?” he asked.
“Okay, then it must be a grandfather … no, no. He’s holding his hand to me and showing me the number two. He’s saying, a second father. He says he was your second father.”
I was speechless. There was no way this guy could have known that we referred to my Uncle as a second father. I just nodded. “That’s my uncle.”
Glenn continued. “There are a lot of relatives around you right now, but he pushed forward to the front because he says you are expecting him.”
Tears poured out of me like a faucet. I couldn’t believe it. There’s no way he could have heard me.
Glenn paused for a moment, then smiled. “Have you reached a milestone? Like a birthday or something?
“Yes. I turned thirty, two days ago.”
“Your relatives are celebrating. They are throwing roses. There are roses all around you. It’s quite beautiful.”
For the next hour, Glenn gave me one of my best readings. More of my relatives came through, and he got them all BY NAME.
These are not familiar names, so I was certainly impressed.
Before I left, I asked him one final question; “If or when I ever get married. Do you think my uncle will be there?”
Glenn didn’t hesitate. “Absolutely.”
“But what if he forgets or is busy? It might be a while before that happens. I might not even know he was there.” I rambled on like a bumbling baby.
Glenn paused for a moment. “He said he would be standing right beside you. He will be sure to make it known he is there. That’s a promise.”
Then he added. “Your uncle says he knows you miss him, but you have important work to do here. He doesn’t want you to obsess about the loss of his life … he wants you to live yours.”
“Thank you,” I said as I left.
I felt comfort in knowing that my uncle was not gone. The reading left me with a sense of peace I hadn’t had in months since his death.
As ate would have it, I was married in August 2014.
A good friend of mine *Ann, who is highly intuitive, was at my wedding. She quietly pulled me aside as I made my way around the reception.
“I don’t want to freak you out, but a man was standing next to you while you were taking his vows. He was so handsome. He just kept smiling. Do you know who he is?”
I was so overwhelmed that day that I couldn’t think straight.
“No. These places are always haunted. It could have been anyone.” I somewhat dismissed her, leading her back toward the cocktails. “Why would some random ghost be smiling at your wedding?” Ann insisted.
“I don’t know,” I said. Ann rolled her eyes. I handed her one of our signature cocktails and made my way back to the party.
Twenty minutes later, I found Ann standing in front of the memorial table I had erected to honor our deceased relatives.
Their photos were displayed in vintage gilded frames surrounded by white roses and pillar candles. There were so many pictures that there would be no way to tell which or whose side of the family they were from.
Ann was holding a picture in her hand. When she turned around to face me, I saw the picture. It was my uncle.
I knew that the final prophecy from Glenn Dove had come true.
My Uncle Carlo had attended my wedding, and although I couldn’t see him, he had fulfilled his promise.
While we may miss our loved ones here on Earth in their physical form, they are never truly gone. They are always with us.
I don’t know for sure if there is an afterlife, but I do know that there is life after death. And maybe the purpose of it all is to live.