It can happen that we become so caught up in our grief that we fail to see the signs our loved ones are sending to show us they are just fine in their new existences. Darlene tells a story of how a case like this played out after her dear friend passed away.
By Darlene Montgomery
Thomas Drayton was my best friend. We’d met during the breakup of significant relationships in both our lives. We’d both had a powerful spiritual experience and been left wandering and wondering about our direction. We found each other in San Francisco at a seminar for our church, ECKANKAR, and had been friends ever since.
To say that Thomas was an enigma would fall short of the wonders of his character. To describe Thomas, I’ll start with his one eye. He was blinded as a teen when someone had thrown a rock up in the air and it landed on his eye. So Thomas often wore a patch. But he saw more with his one eye then most saw with two. Thomas was a mystery to all, except his closet friends; and even we, sometimes, had trouble penetrating the mystique of his profoundly creative, spiritual character.
Throughout our years of friendship, Thomas and I traveled together, spent time on the phone, went to movies, cried, laughed, fought and shared our writing. Mostly I listened to the reams and reams of poetry my friend composed while he lay awake night after night. You see, Thomas hardly ever slept more than three or four hours. He had several books of poetry published throughout the years, all of a profound and spiritual nature.
Thomas was struck down by cancer suddenly one summer. It came on so quickly and it took him all too fast. Fortunately, I was able to say goodbye. One evening just before he died, I visited him in the hospital. I entered the room to find Thomas looking gaunt, with the signs of death on his face and body. His spirit, though, filled the room with light and a profound sense of God. Thomas became even more of the person he was as he surrendered his spirit to the divine.
That night, I found myself feeling awkward, as I sat in shock, staring at his face which had shrunk in the four days since I last saw him. I knew that he would be leaving this earth very soon. He asked me, “Are you shocked? Do I look like Lily did before she died?” A friend of mine had died just two weeks earlier from a long battle with cancer.
“Yes.” I said, and stumbled to ask him, “Will you give me a …”
“Sign?” he filled in. “Yes.”
I had to leave town for few days to attend a conference. I was filled with angst—even though, in my religion, we refer to death as “translation” because we see it as a transition from one state of consciousness to another. Even so, I wondered: What if Thomas translated before I returned? I didn’t think I could deal with that.
But he managed to hang on another week. I was able to see him one last time, although he was past being able to communicate by then. Thomas left his physical form on October 24, 2007 in the late afternoon, surrounded by family.
This was my first great loss of someone close to me through death (or translation) and I went into a profound state of shock. I waited for the promised sign. Days passed. A week or more came and went.
“I guess I’m not going to get a sign,” I thought.
A few weeks after that, I stumbled into the living room of my apartment after waking one morning. Lying on top of the small entrance table was a ticket stub from a play that my daughter had dropped. It had been there since the night Thomas translated, but in my grief, I’d left it, never bothering to pick it up. I reached down and started to actually read the words on the ticket.
“Crazy for You,” it said. In the left-hand corner was the word Drayton.
Crazy for you. My eyes welled up with tears as I realized Thomas had given me my sign weeks ago, if only I’d noticed: The play had been produced by Drayton Productions, on Drayton Avenue in—yes—the Town of Drayton! The date of the play: October 24, 2007, the evening Thomas left this world for his journey to the heavens beyond.
So much like Thomas to slip that one by me. I laughed then, for the first time in a while.
I’ve kept the ticket. I love you Thomas. I’m crazy for you, too.
Darlene Montgomery is author of the Conscious Women Conscious Lives Series
And Dream Yourself Awake: One Woman’s Journey to Discover Her Life Mission through Dreams. You can find out more about her work here. http://www.lifedreams.org/