Yesterday I told my Coach I was leaving the team. Coach didn’t understand it, neither did my father. I was one of the fastest guys on my high school baseball team even as I grew close to 6’3,” but I don’t like playing baseball, I have other interests. My Dad is an ex-professional baseball player turned doctor. He was good at sports, he is good at doctoring, he is one of the leading cardiologists in the country, but I don’t have the same aspirations. I may choose to go into medicine, but not as a practicing physician. My life is different from my dad’s. I am still trying to understand why I see things and know things most people don’t know and no one understands.
When I was 8 years old, I was riding my bike home from school. I saw two girls walking on the sidewalk ahead of me. The girl closest to the street was twirling a colorful necklace. In my mind I saw the necklace fly off her finger right in front of me and land on the street. I stopped quickly, no one was hurt. As I rode closer to the girls I said to myself - that is not going to happen. I was riding up behind them when the necklace flew off her finger, I stopped quickly as she moved to retrieve the necklace. I looked at it lying on the ground in the exact position I saw it in my mind, no one was hurt. Since then I have had other things happen. I see things and know things that others don’t. I don’t know why, and I don’t talk to anyone about it except my dad, and Cathy my sister. My sister thinks it is neat, my Dad just calls it coincidence, but it is a feeling that comes over me, at least sometimes.
One fateful day, I call it a dream, but it was different. I had just woken, and in my mind, like the necklace incident, I saw my mother collapse. I was 10 years old I didn’t tell her, she is so healthy I was sure it was nothing. When I arrived home from school I was excited, she always bakes cookies on Tuesdays. I opened the door “Mom” I began to yell out, “I am home.” “Hi, Dad what are you doing home?” Then I saw the police officers. I wasn’t surprised by the police cars outside since the neighbor was an alcoholic, and his wife was always calling the police. This time they were at my house. “Dad, what’s wrong? Mom, where is Mom? Mom! Mom! “I don’t smell the cookies, where is she?”
“Mom isn’t here MAC.”
My eyes filled with tears as I looked up at my Dad. The “dream” the evening before flashed in my mind. I saw my mother collapsing again. “Dad where is she? What is wrong?”
“A few hours ago she wasn’t feeling well, when she was unable to reach me she called an ambulance.”
“She’ll be okay? Right, Dad?”
“Here, let’s sit on the couch.”
I watched the police file out the door.
I learned that day she died of a brain aneurysm before she arrived at the hospital. I could have saved her. Why didn’t I tell her? “Dad I had a dream of her collapsing I could have saved her.”
“She wouldn’t have known what to do with the information,” he said wrapping his arms tightly around me, “It would have turned out the same way. We all have an appointed time to leave this earth.”
I had trouble believing that, maybe it was my age. Maybe there was something deep inside me telling me I could have saved her. I began to sob. Through my tears “Dad how can you be so calm?”
“I have had a few hours to deal with it, the rest will hit me later. Right now there are things I need to take care of including you and your sister. Cathy will be home shortly.”
That was the day my life changed. I became frightened of what I was about to see, I became afraid of going to sleep. That night, and for the next few weeks people were always stopping by with food. Dad said it is their way of helping us during this difficult time. All I remember is being terrified to go to sleep. Did I see what was going to happen? Part of me said I caused her death. Dad would sit up with me until 12 or 1 o’clock in the morning then encourage me to go to bed. I didn’t want to go to bed. He would put in a DVD and I would fall asleep on the couch in front of the TV, he would sleep in his chair. I did not have a vision for 6 months.
The day of Mom’s funeral.
Mom’s memorial service was 5 days later. As we walked into the service I was very scared. I didn’t know what to expect. Then I saw Danny playing the Organ, I waved to him. Danny is like my older brother. He is married and lives a few hours away from us, but we see him once a month when he brings his wife and boys to visit. Mom and Dad adopted him right after they were married. Danny was in trouble with the law, his parents didn’t know how to deal with him, they let the courts place him in the foster care system. He lived with my parents for 9 years then went off to college with a full scholarship. I was only a year old when Danny went off to college, I have come to know him over the years when he visits.
Dad walked us to our seats. We were sitting in the front row. Dad sat down and sat Cathy in between us. Cathy was 8 years old, we were the best of friends. Most of my friends hate their sisters, but we get along just fine. I could see Pastor O’Brien seated up front next to the pulpit. Someone stepped up to talk to the pastor. Pastor O’Brien got up to speak.
“Welcome to all of you. I understand there is quite a traffic jam in the parking lot. We will wait a few moments before we start. If you would be so kind as to move toward the middle of the section you are seated in it would be greatly appreciated. There are still many people that would like to join us in saying goodbye to our dear departed Claudine.” He turned and took a seat next to the pulpit and lowered his head. There were sounds of shuffling as people moved as directed to make room for those still outside.
At 4:10 a man walked up to the Pastor tapping him on the shoulder. The Pastor looked up and nodded, he took his place in front of the pulpit. The man exited by the side door. The organ music faded Danny got up and walked over to sit by us.
“Thank you for joining us today as we remember our very dear friend Claudine Catherine Cottrell. Claudine’s husband Phillip and their children thank you for your kindness and love as we celebrate the life of their wife and mother. Phillip and Claudine were united in marriage in this very church 22 years ago. Their children MAC Marcelino Adriano Camden and Catherine Claudine were baptized here at birth.
Claudine was the lead Sunday School Teacher and served as the membership chairman on the board of directors. She was a medical doctor and authored many medical textbooks used in our colleges today. She also co-authored with her daughter Cathy, a series titled ’Creative Cathy.’”
Cathy quickly turned her head to look at me. She was surprised he mentioned the book series. It was nice for Cathy she always likes the attention.
“Claudine will be missed. But we know she is now in heaven with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God rest her soul. Claudine’s loving husband has chosen one of Claudine’s favorite songs ‘True Love’ to play today. Please sit back and enjoy the music as our hearts say goodbye to our dear friend, and we enjoy a collage of pictures the family put together.”
“Phillip,” The pastor said looking toward Dad, “I believe you would like to address your family and friends?”
Dad didn’t move. I am sure he was changing his mind. “Dad, you need to go up there.”
“Oh son, I am so tired.”
“Dad it is for Mom and everyone here,” I told him. “Remember, you can fall apart later, you have things to do”.
Dad leaned over and kissed me on the head, and walked up to the pulpit.
“MAC,” Cathy turned and whispered, “Have you had any of those weird feelings or visions lately?”
“No, I don’t think so. I am so confused and tired I don’t think anything could get through.”
“Well, remember I am the first to know if you do.”
I smiled and nodded. I never told her about seeing Mom in a vision. Dad spoke quickly and returned to sit with us. “Good job Dad.” I got up and moved to sit between Danny and my Dad as we listened to Mom’s 2 aunts and Meg, Mom’s best friend. When they finished the Pastor talked for about 10 minutes then announced “there is food and drink in the family lounge just across the breezeway. The family looks forward to greeting you there.”
We were escorted to the family lounge. There was a long line of people who wanted to greet us. It was all family and friends, I knew most of them. Then dad told us to get something to eat. I was starving so Cathy and I ran off to get some food. We ate and brought a plate back for Dad.
“Thanks kids, I will sit here and it enjoy it. Why don’t you look for Danny, but don’t be gone long it is time to leave soon.” Dad sat down to enjoy his food. A few friends sat down with him, they began talking about college days.
Cathy and I ran off to find Danny. It wasn’t long before we were back with Danny in tow.
“Hi Danny, Dad said, are you spending the night tonight?”
“Yes, I was planning on it.”
“Great” Dad turned back to his college friends “I would love to have you over for dinner soon.”
“Phillip,” a man almost as tall as Dad spoke up. “Let us take you out to dinner!” he said looking at the other college friends sitting there. They all nodded.
“I will be looking forward to getting together again. Let me know where and when to meet you! Okay gang, is everyone ready to go?”
“Yes, I will follow you over,” Danny said. “My car is in the back.”
“I am out front Danny, pull around front, I will meet you at the center driveway.”
Dad looked a little sad leaving his college buddies. I was glad to hear they were planning on getting together again. It was almost 8pm when we walked in the door. We agreed Cookies and Hot Chocolate sounded good. Danny heated the milk, I got the cookies out and Cathy set up a table in the living room, Dad helped her move a table out and she brought out the spoons and napkins. We sat there trying to be normal. Trying not to cry anymore. I asked Danny how the boys were.
“They are doing well, thanks for asking. Michael will be 3 months old next week.”
“Why didn’t you bring Sally and the boys with you? “
“Michael is pretty young and Sally felt he might be getting a cold, so she kept him home. We will all be over to visit next month.”
“Good, I haven’t seen Trevor since Michael was born.”
“Yes, sorry about that. We have been busy, and with the new baby, it has been difficult to get out. We definitely will be by next month. That was a wonderful service this afternoon” Danny commented.
“Yes, I enjoyed it, and I think Claudine is happy as she looks down upon us.”
“Dad, do you think Mom will visit us?”
“Hmmm smiling, I don’t think so, but if there is a way I am sure your mom will contact us!”
“That would be great.” I said. My attention was diverted away to the doorway that leads to the back of the house. I really didn’t see anything, but I felt like something or someone was there. It didn’t seem to be Mom, it was much taller than her. Then Cathy grabbed my attention.
“Hey MAC,” Cathy said, “do you remember that time I was walking home from school and you were walking home from the other direction and…”
“Yes, it was Tuesday. Mom always bakes cookies on Tuesday’s and when we saw each other we both began running.”
“Yes, and I am sure I would have won.”
“Yes, Cath but…”
“Yes, I fell down right in the middle of the street. It was horrible.”
“Oh, I almost forgot about that story,” Dad said. “Danny, have you heard this?”
“No, I don’t think I have heard this one.”
Cathy continued, “Well, Danny when I saw MAC I started running.”
“I took off running as fast as I could. The problem was I was wearing a skirt, and I had a load of books and binders in my arms. Well, I was running so fast I wasn’t sure how long I could keep it up especially with all the books I was carrying. Then it happened, right in the middle of the street, I tripped and fell. SPLAT! I was down, and my knees were already hurting. Books and papers went flying everywhere. The worst part was there were kids, kids I didn’t like down the street watching as it all happened. Oh, how would I live through this? I remember thinking. Well, I decided it would be fine who cares about those stupid kids anyway. I got up and started picking up my binders and chasing after all the papers that had come loose and flying in every direction. It wasn’t long before Mom and MAC were there helping me.”
“We each had an arm full of paper, once we got everything together we walked to the house. As we entered the back door we saw the water for the pasta overflowing, it was running onto the floor. Mom said she would take care of it, plopped her jumble of papers and books in my arms, and told me to take them to my room. I walked to my room, MAC followed me.”
“Look at your knees,” he said. There is blood everywhere.
“I looked down oh there was. I had forgotten about my knees. Now they were starting to hurt again. I threw everything on the bed and ran to the bathroom. I grabbed the nearest towel and started cleaning up my knees and my hands, the blood was running down my legs. Just then I heard Dad walk in the back door.
“Hi everyone, I am home. Oh, what happened dear?” Dad said to Mom.
Mom said “I will explain later, please go check on Cathy she fell down on her way home from school.”
Dad walked into the bathroom. “Oh Catherine, that must have been quite a fall.” He kneeled down, he reached out for the towel and started cleaning the blood from my knees.
“It was quite a day Dad,” I said, and I started crying. “I don’t know why I started crying. I hadn’t cried until he walked in.”
Cathy was crying as she finished the story, she turned to Dad and smiled “My hero.”
“I still have a scar on one knee.” She pulled her skirt up over her knee and showed Danny.
“Wow you were a brave girl,” Danny said.
“Yes,” I echoed, “that is my sister.”
Cathy enjoyed the attention, but she was on to another memory.
I turned my attention back to the doorway, trying to understand what was there if anything.
“MAC, my sister began, remember the time we were camping, you and mom just finished playing cards? You asked her to pick a card and you would tell her the suit and the number or letter on the card.”
“Yep, and I gave her the correct answer 3 times in a row, both the suit and the number or letter were correct.”
“Wow” Danny said. “That is impressive. Were they trick cards or did you stack the deck?”
“No, Danny I just knew. It is weird every once in a while I get this strange feeling that comes over me and I know the cards or what is going to happen in the future.”
“So, this has happened before?”
“Yes, a couple times. Mom and Dad think it is a coincidence, but it happened again before Mom… got sick. I had a dream about her collapsing. I didn’t know what to do with it. Up to now it has been fun, but it is not fun any longer, I am afraid to go to sleep.”
“Hmm yes,” Danny said, “I can understand that.”
“He has some great stories Danny, you should ask him sometime.” “Well,” Dad said “it is almost 11pm I think it is time for bed.”
“No one is going to work or school tomorrow.” said MAC
“Yes I know but we still need our sleep. If it is okay with Danny, MAC maybe you can sleep in his room on the top bunk.
Is that okay with you? I looked at Danny my stomach was in knots.”
“Sure, little man, let’s go, I am exhausted.”
Cathy was looking at me with a weird expression on her face. Maybe it was because I hadn’t told her about the vision with Mom. I smiled at her, she let it go, for now anyway.
“Let’s take the dishes out to the kitchen first.” Cathy said.
“Good idea,” Dad said, “just like your Mom is still here. You are turning into a fine young women. Okay, everyone grab something to take to the kitchen. I will put the table away. We can do the dishes in the morning,” Dad said through a long yawn.
After everything was cleaned up Dad settled back into his chair.
Walking toward the hallway I saw him sitting in his chair “Dad aren’t you going to bed?”
“Yes son, I will wait for you guys to settle in, then I will turn out the lights and head to bed.”
“Okay, night Dad.”
I followed Danny to his old bedroom. My parents had kept it the same as when he left. There was a queen sized bed and a set of bunk beds when his friends visited. I always like sleeping on the top. This would be the first night in 5 nights I would sleep without the TV on. I am hoping I am tired enough to sleep, and praying I won’t have another vision.
Now at 17 years old, I am still trying to understand why these things are happening to me.