My stepsister was killed by a drunk driver when I was twelve years old, yet I remember it as though it was yesterday.
My brother and I were standing in the kitchen making blueberry waffles. The doorbell rang. It was so early in the morning that one could only guess who it might be. As I made my way toward the front door, I was intercepted by my stepfather;
“Wait in the kitchen,” he said.
I watched him walk down the hall. He opened the door to a priest and a police officer.
“Thank you. We will. I appreciate you stopping by.”
The door closed, and I quickly ducked into the kitchen to find my brother pacing nervously.
“Something is wrong,” he said tearfully.
“Everything’s fine,” I lied. As the older sister, I always felt it was my duty to protect my younger brother. I knew something was wrong, but being so young I couldn’t put my finger on it.
My stepfather arrived in the kitchen a few minutes later. He knelt in front of us, eye level (never a good sign).
“Your sister Jennifer was in a car accident yesterday-”
I couldn’t feel my legs.
“And was killed.”
My mouth was open, but no sound emerged. The water escaping my eyes was uncontrollable as this powerful force called grief utterly consumed me.
In the twenty-six years since her accident, I can still remember that moment so vividly; I can hear the emptiness of the house, the smell of the waffles burning, the feel of the air, what I was wearing, thinking, doing…everything.
Her death played out in my mind over and over and over. The driver, in his drunken state, misjudges a turn. Jen’s body gets tossed through the tiny rear window of his sports car. The car flips over an embankment, landing upside down in a ravine. She drowns in six inches of water.
All these “what ifs” ran through my mind. What if the driver had not been drinking? This would never have happened. What if she had her seatbelt on? This would never have happened. What if the car hadn’t flipped over? She wouldn’t have drowned, which ultimately killed her, and thus this would never have happened.
Your mind races to try and rationalize things that can’t be explained. You wish you could go back in time. And when you’ve finally pushed passed all of that, the BIG question emerges: Where is she now? Is she gone? Is she in heaven? Is there even really a heaven?
It’s hard to make sense of the senseless, especially in the 3D physical form we have all incarnated with. I, of course, turned to psychics to help pierce the veil of illusion that has many of us trapped in fear of an unknown fate.
IS THE DEAD ALWAYS WATCHING OVER US?
After many years and many psychic readings, the answer to this is a big fat unequivocal YES. Jennifer has come through more times than I can even begin to write about.
She’s come through to warn me about bad friendships, career moves, and dating certain toxic men; she even told me I was going to marry a man named Joe. This was four years before I met my husband. Whenever a psychic asked, “Who’s Jennifer?” my hair stood up, and my body broke out in goosebumps.
When I was getting married, I kept harassing psychics to find out if my stepsister and uncle were going to be at my wedding. The answer always came back yes, but my stubborn brain would not concede.
On the day of my wedding, I had a migraine. My best friend Stephanie ran into the store to grab me a Coke, which usually helps get rid of it. She came back with three of them. She reached into the bag and handed me one.
I looked down at the Coke bottle and gasped.
The bottle said, “Share a Coke with Jennifer.” T
The shock on Stephanies’ face and the tears that rolled down her cheeks told me she hadn’t planned it. She had just grabbed the drinks and didn’t even notice. But I did, and so did my stepsister, who put my fears to rest that she would be at my wedding.
To Buddhists, death is a temporary end of this temporary phenomenon. It is not the destruction of this so-called being.
-K. Sri Dhammananda
These were extraordinary events, but the most profound and deeply impactful was in 2006. I was having a somewhat emotional procedure and was at the hospital with my biological father’s stepdaughter, whom we will call “Sherry.”
Sherry gave the nurse her cell phone number.”I’m her sister. Have them call me when she is done.”
While Sherry was very kind to have come with us, this sense of annoyance emanated from her that I couldn’t shake. Her being there never felt sincere.
Thank God for Stephanie, whom I had only been friends with for about a year. She was also in the waiting room trying to converse with Sherry, who was less than enthused about her existence.
About half an hour later, a voice came over the intercom:
“Jennifer. Jennifer. Please come to the triage desk.”
For reasons unknown even to her, Stephanie stood up, looked at Sherry, and said:
“They’re calling me.”
Sherry rolled her eyes.
Stephanie arrived at the triage desk.
“Your sister Angelique is ready. You can go in the back to recovery.”
Stephanie nodded her head and came back to get me.
Stephanie went home that night and asked her family if they knew anyone named Jennifer. She found the whole thing so odd, yet she knew there must be a reason.
A week later, she told me the story. I just stared at her, speechless.
“I asked my family if they knew a Jennifer, but the best I could get was from my Nonna. She said I was supposed to be named Jennifer. Jennifer Jo.”
I started to cry; poor Stephanie was so confused.
“Sorry, Ange. I didn’t mean to upset you.”
“No, it’s not that. My stepsister was named Jennifer.”
That entire experience bonded Stephanie and me on a whole other level. She would go on to become my best friend and soul sister. I hadn’t known how much I needed someone like Stephanie. But someone did, someone who I’d also loved, who made it a point to tell me that even though I couldn’t see her, she was always watching.
Take heart in knowing that your loved ones are right there with you, lovingly guiding you from another dimension in time, reminding you gently that it’s never goodbye.