Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Of a Promise Kept: Do souls go back?

I believe souls go back before they travel to afterlife. I've had some experiences before that told me they happen. In most cases, it can be through burst of flowery or candle scent, at times, a whip of cold air that envelopes you despite humid days, or maybe a soft touch on the toe or foot when you are sleeping. 

When my very special friend, Dave, died two weeks ago, I was devastated as everyone close to him. We haven't met in person but for the past couple of months, we had been in constant contact. I mean, we talked everyday. When he wakes up, he sends me morning greetings and I do the same thing; that's depending on who happened to wake up ahead of the other. Most of the time, he did that first. Dave was an early bird. He often told me I am nocturnal, and that is one things that, at least, makes us different (that's in addition to his love for the water and my hydrophobia, and his "disgust" for my John Grisham interest though he likes I "have a thing for Southern lawyers haha).

Our talks are always an amalgamation of everything hilarious, serious, and weird. Dave and I share the love for literature and languages, we are both English majors, we love kids (he used to be a camp counselor, I manage a preschool and teach at the university), we have the same view on parenting, education, family relationships, value of hardwork, and changing the world. We both love good conversations; He is a lawyer (but despised that and would love to be called a diplomat) and I have a degree in communication. We talk about life, politics, social issues, and about the world in general. We argue on grammar, religion, choice of hobbies, and monogamy (or polygamy). When we talked about the books we've read, we often pick a name for new terms of endearment. After we talked about Orwell's 1984, he called me "spy" and I called him "propagandist" which he resisted coz he'd rather be the "Minister of Truth".  As he was older than I am, he has been my source of mature advice, motivation, and approbation, and I, for him, a fresh new insight, a spiteful individual who has the courage to banter him, but would not consider me "annoying". His humor is dry, but always intelligent. He told me things that can crack me up. We talked almost the whole day (except when one of us has urgent stuff to finish, like him going to press conferences or must polish an agreement, or when I am in class doing my lectures). We talked about everything; yes everything. 

With that, imagine how devastated I was when I found out what happened. Well, I still am devastated. That Wednesday, Dave strangely told me to prepare for a very strong storm that's in the Pacific. He said, there will be at least four days before it reaches Palau, and how he wished it will go north instead. I told him I'll be safe, and typhoons are a commonplace in this part of the world. He said, I should be safe and must take care of myself. He meant a metaphorical storm. (Huh! This Dartmouth guy!) During our last conversation (that was a Friday the 13th), Dave told me a very important thing (at least leave that to me). He had been asking me when my birthday is, and what gift should I want. I was so happy to know he decided we should finally meet (and was very happy I accepted that as a birthday gift). But that was the end of it. I was dead tired on Sunday but had been rolling in bed the whole night. There were no messages on Monday. This was strange. When I finally got my free time late afternoon, I found out he died Sunday night. It was heart attack. Something I feared the most for him. I almost died from the same thing that moment. 

I wept. I couldn't believe it was all gone. I just can't accept what happened. I would read the entire conversation history again and again until my eyes swell. He is the most admirable individual I know. People who know him can attest to that. But it ended. No more chances. No updates. Nothing. But, I can't dwell in nothingness. I was so sorry I broke some promises. I know he would forgive me. Yep, I hope that will get a "hey, no big deal really". 

I wrote to him a letter and even sent him my morning greetings. I miss him terribly. 

That was Saturday, a little over midnight. Six days after Dave's death. Six days of looking at my phone for the morning messages. Six days of crying every time I realize there is nothing to expect. Nothing. Not anymore. Not ever. And that night came. I decided to work on my editing to keep myself busy. I was in the middle of my reading, some minutes after I chatted with his bestfriends, Jason (from childhood) and Ate Det (from Palau), that my dog started to act bothered. (When I am working, I let my dog stay inside to keep me company). My pet became uneasy, and finally started barking, something he would only do when a stranger comes. It was a bark of defending territory. I saw my dog attacked nothing, and his fur raised as the nails are attracted by a magnet. He approached my bedroom door and never ceased barking, constantly on the offense, and of sudden retreats. I froze. Because my dog won't stop, I uttered, "I think I have a visitor". Growls. Attack. Retreat. Fur raised. So I said, "Hmm... Bite him, it's okay, he made me cry." Growls. Attack. Retreat. Growls. And so I said, "Dave, I know you promised to see me, but please don't scare me." No more growls. Dog stared at the door, sitting, waiting for some movements. And it was my time to have goosebumps. My dog started to move, adjusted his position while rotating his head, observing something that moves. And the dog was looking straight at me. Tilting his head, reading my facial expressions, not moving a muscle for the next 10 minutes. What do you think was that? I know it was Dave. I felt a whip of cold air. A strange deafening silence. I felt an energy right next to me. I didn't move. I stood up to take the dog out. 

I went to bed as my sister arrived home. I fell asleep quite fast, but felt someone's on the bed. My eyes half-opened, I rolled to the other side, reached out my hand and realized there was nothing there. The lights are still on and I could hear my sister tapping the keyboard. That was three in the morning. About seven in the morning, when I woke up, the first thing I saw was a butterfly resting by the curtain, just above my head. It was a big, white and green butterfly. And it flew away even before I had a good look at it. Then came Thursday morning.  I woke up a little later that the previous day as my classes started late. My sister saw a big white butterfly flying around me as I slept soundly. I always kept my windows closed. So, where did it come from? That was the third day after Dave's funeral. 

Dave laid to rest in Alabama.
© Jason Wilson

They said souls go back to people who are dear to them before they proceed to the afterlife. Was that Dave? I believe so. He is a man of words, and I know he kept his promise to see me. But, only him can see me. Until the end, he knew how I felt and wanted to prove he meant what he said. That still makes me a very lucky woman. Not even had he inspired me in many ways; now, he is there to keep an eye on me as one of my angels. He had been a source of my comfort when my father died. He said pop is in a better place now..... now, so is he. I just didn't know they would meet sooner. 

Dave and his boat in Palau. © Jason Wilson. 

Yep, blue Hulk. I know you would always banter me with my love for Korean language. But, as a lover of Japanese culture, I am giving this one to you. So, I guess we both have read the short story, "Of a Promise Kept".  I read that when I was 8, and became one of my favorite Japanese pieces. I didn't know it's gonna make a personal impact after so many years. You are Akana, but I don't know if I am Hasebe or their mother. Either way, don't worry, "I'll take care." 

Thank you for keeping your promise. Sabishii desu. 

Do you know how many people read my letter to you? It's just funny to find out they view "about me" half the time. 

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