After the death of a loved one, do you ever feel like they are communicating to you through strange signs or an unusual synchronicity? This happened to me around my dad – who’s passed. But I’m on the fence. Read on…
When I was thirteen, I returned home one night from a record hop to discover there had been a power failure throughout our neighborhood.
My whole house was pitch black…except for my dad’s study, where he normally loved to sit and chart the ups and downs of our world’s commodities – slowly by hand – into a large chart book.
This was in the 1970’s – a time long before computers, when financial advisors were called “stock brokers,” and they tracked their trades with handwritten charts.
I was curious about how and why this one room in our house was illuminated. I stood on my tippy toes and peered into the window of my dad’s office.There my dad sat, his commodities chart book sprawled open on his desk- and dozens of lit Hanukah candles were lined up in a circle around his work, his body poised in hypnotic concentration.
It was as if my father were praying to the gods of porkbellies, lumber and corn.
I chuckled – but I was not surprised to see my dad had figured out a candle-lit way to stay hard at work, even in the midst of a neighborhood power failure. My dad often labored into the lateness of night.
It made sense to me that even in the middle of a power outage, my father’s unremitting passion for his work could not be dimmed an iota.
I confess I inherited my dad’s passion for work. Although I chose a very different career for myself. Nowadays, I often set my alarm to go off at 5am so I can sit in the silence of our home and work on a new book or new online webinar.
My career path has been zig zagging one. I began my career in advertising – winning a CLIO my first 6 months in the business – then rising up to Senior VP in my late twenties.
I didn’t want to write ads which inspired people to buy a new, improved toothpaste.
Instead I wanted to write books which inspired people to think and act in new, improved ways.
And so in my late twenties I quit advertising to be an author.
I thank my dad for teaching me to prioritize the size of my career passions over the size of my career paycheck.
Thanks to my dad I grew up believing that you need to love what you do for a living – and now I’m sharing this core belief with my son Ari.
I wish I could introduce my son to my father – but my father’s been gone for a long time now. He passed away at 77 – when I was in my forties.
Although my dad was actually gone, before my dad was gone.
My father sadly (make that tragically) endured a devastating memory problem for over a decade.It was noticed slowly – in stages.
And then my dad’s driver’s license was taken away.
The doctor explained why…
Soon after there was a secondary diagnosis:
At first all this was very hard to believe. But then my father began losing inordinate amounts of weight. It seemed that my dad had lost his appetite along with his memory.
When I was a child, my father used to resemble Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront.
Now my dad was starting to look more and more like Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond.
My dad was brought to Lenox Hill Hospital for a round of tests.
He was told he needed to stay… for a while.
I did have a boyfriend at the time, who my father smiled at a lot. But I was never sure if my dad remembered who my boyfriend was.
I remember one time in particular that my boyfriend and I visited my dad in the hospital.
My dad sat up in bed, seemingly alert, but looking strangely tiny.
My dad was never much of a talker. But in the last six months before the end of his life, he’d become practically mute. And whenever he did talk, his voice was a soft, raspy whisper.
“Hi dad,” I greeted him one day at the hospital – trying to sound cheery. “I’m back – visiting you with Greg again.” I motioned to my boyfriend – hoping to prompt my dad’s memory.
“Where am I?” my dad whispered, looking around the hospital room. “Which hotel?”
“You’re in the hospital,” I corrected him.“When can I go home to Hilgrove Lane?“ he asked.
This was the address of our childhood home.
“Dad, you and mom moved out of that house a few years ago,” I corrected him.
“I loved that home,” my dad said. “It has so many happy memories – of when you were a kid.” He smiled at me – then looked at my boyfriend. “Karen was such a sweet, good little girl,” my dad told him.
I smiled. I loved that although my father had been stripped of his memory, he had not been stripped of his essence.
My father was the epitome of kindness. Always.
Throughout my childhood, my father rarely lost his temper. He was always patient and empathic and generous of heart.
My “father’s kindness” was the repeated refrain in all of the eulogies given.The nurses at the hospital who only knew my father in this diluted form also shared with me the strength of my father’s kindness. Each and every nurse commented consistently about what a sweet man my father was.
And he was.
My father loved books on positive thinking. He shared with me his philosophies on positivity from the books he read.
My mom gave me one of his books called, “The Magic of Believing.” This book was written in 1948 – and was a version of “The Secret” – but ahead of its time.
When I cracked open the book, I saw there were many underlinings and notes my dad had made. The underlinings and notes made me cry. I realized this was a way my dad could continue to communicate to me after his death.
It was my dad’s way of saying, “Look at this paragraph, Karen – oh and – here’s a sentence I want you to keep in mind.”
I will give the book (with its talkative underlinings) to my son Ari when he is old enough to read and understand it.
This book will be a way for my dad to communicate to my son. And my son to get to know his grand pop.
My son Ari was born on August 27 2010 – the exact day my dad passed away – just three years before.
Since 2010 from now on August 27th marks both the day of my dad’s passing – and the day of my son’s arrival.
I sometimes wonder…
Was my son’s August 27th arrival a “wink” from my dad.
Was this a sign my beloved dad was communicating after his death?
I’m not very “woo woo” about things like spirits visiting us.
Instead I’m more of a single woo.
But I’m writing this essay today because I recently received another wink from the universe.
I was walking down the street with my son – and saw an older man. He was his seventies and looked exactly like my dad.
My heart stopped for a moment – because the similarities were so strong.
This older gentleman made eye contact with me. He then looked at my son and smiled.
“What a sweet and handsome son you have,” this older gentleman said.“Um, thanks,” I said – happy for the opportunity to stare at this man further.
As mentioned, I’m not “woo woo” about things like spirits visiting us. I’m more of a single woo.
But I gotta say, I felt strangely moved by this brief encounter.
It truly felt like it was a wink from my dad.
I am writing this essay today – as a tribute to my dad.
Truly, I want to believe loved ones can communicate after death – so I wanted to wink right back at my dad – via this essay.
Often I think about how much my son would have loved his grandfather – if he had met him.
And I know you all would have loved him too.
This essay is my way of introducing my dad to all of you who are here on my site today.
Note: The death of my father and the birth of my son have together extra-motivated me to take the very best care of my health. I spent 2 years interviewing our world’s top aging experts and immersing myself in fascinating longevity research. I took all of this passionate work of research and turned it into a bestselling longevity book LIFE IS LONG! I’m excited to share this cutting edge knowledge with you – so you can live longer and healthier! If you’re committed to protecting yourself against age-related diseases and dementia, you will love LIFE IS LONG!