ASSOCIATES (2006, March, v. 12, no. 3) - associates.ucr.edu
Click here to read Part 1 (Chapters 1-3)
The Hand Beyond
(Part 2 of 2)
The Hand Beyond
The Hand Beyond
My friends had asked me to go with them to Palatka on an excursion to a singles’ club. We arrived at the Magnolia Bowling Alley a little early, to find preparations underway for the meeting. I looked around, unconsciously counting tables and chairs and people. Palatka is a smallish “cow” town, kind of a crossroads for vegetables and dairy products. Bottomland black mud-rich soils yielded the best crops of potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes, lettuce and other veggies waiting to be devoured by travelers and residents alike. You could also find fresh fruit and nuts in season that were always very good. I asked about this person my friend wanted me to meet. They refused to describe him, but everyone spoke highly of him. They knew he was around gathering chairs and tables for the social. As I started to lose interest, the door to the alley opened with a bang, and one man filled the entrance with a table in one hand and two chairs in the other. He stooped to come into the room, placed the furniture where people suggested and stopped to wipe his forehead. My friends ran over to say hello and then brought him over to meet me. Bob Massey was every bit the 6 foot 7 inch Paul Bunyan I had not anticipated, but his eyes were the deepest blue with a kind of giggle emanating from them. His smile entrapped me like a big bear hug and I knew immediately what my future would be. He got us some cokes and we sat to talk for awhile. He admitted to being a little afraid of me because I had so much education. I quickly countered that education was a product of the opportunity one had to obtain it. I always felt that true wisdom was far more valuable in life. He grinned and began to relate stories of his attempts to become educated, his life growing up and his children. His wife had left him with four children to raise and the last in the nest was just getting into some college courses as we spoke. It was interesting that we had lived in nearby communities and worked in some similar places, but had never met before. There was something so familiar about him…so warm and compelling. The group asked him to sing and he complied, displaying some of the most beautiful deep tones I had ever heard. I sat entranced while his friends applauded. They all wanted me to believe how wonderful he was, but there was still that history of multiple escapades with women, the race car driving, the preaching, the singing, the volunteer work with children mingled in the body and soul of that giant man. I wasn’t sure I could reconcile my feelings into a course of action. I needed time to think… but wasn’t granted time and space on that particular night. We danced some and talked a lot, sharing histories and stories and philosophies. I couldn’t pull myself away from the magnetism of his eyes. I was sinking deeper into the cool fires of love and there was no escape. We shared an interesting first evening and parted after a quick snack at the Clock Restaurant across the street. The dark drive home along country roads lulled my brain into a foggy remembrance of Bernie. Bob used some of Bernie’s favorite quips and his mannerisms were a match for the man I mourned so deeply. I reached home in a warmth and bewilderment I could not explain. I only knew that the house was large and lonely. I drifted off to sleep trying to understand how life could fill this house and me again from the breath of one giant “teddy bear.” His eyes appeared in my thoughts as I settled into softer quieter breathing rhythms and a smile brushed my lips.
There were days when I longed for Bernie’s voice and nights when I ached for his return. How long it had been since I talked with a man. Bob and I dated for months and I was unsure of the efficacy of emotional involvement versus school time. I was trying to complete that degree. It would take a long while to achieve my goal, two courses at a time. Bob’s companionship was far more compelling than some “M.L.S.” on a xeroxed sheet of paper. We married that January, some three months after meeting. Our vows were exchanged in a Community Church with friends and family present. The reception was unique in that Bob’s old band was there and he sang to me as if I was Cinderella at the ball, all very neatly captured on video tape. We had a fantasy trip to New Orleans, then up the Natchez Trace to Nashville with one stop to see a grandchild and other family before returning home. I had been swept off my feet, but we returned to reality and many problems ahead. The similarities to Bernie and our previous life together ended in a washboard of troubles and sorrows. Bob’s family was dysfunctional and we began to have problems, but we always managed to clear the horizon for new and better attempts at life. We shared our home with children, ex-wives and old parishioners, and found our generosity depleting the home of its furnishings and newness. Once Bob made the decision to abate his heaviness through surgery, we were doomed. Series of surgeries, hospitals and doctor visits plagued our lives and prescription drugs ruled the very way we lived. Mood swings, depression and near death experiences riddled the paths we followed. From Paul Bunyan to Ichabod Crane in less than a year tore the very souls from our bodies and left us struggling to survive. There was neither sunshine nor blue skies and his body became weaker each day through malnutrition. I could not walk a mile in his shoes, but I was sometimes close behind and sometimes leading him to the next footfall. We were not sure if life would ever let us see the beauty of another sunrise…
The Hand Beyond
I raced into the den in response to a low moan. Bob was sitting alone in his chair watching the room, following some kind of imaginary dance from one side to another. He wanted to know if I saw it. What was he seeing? What was he witnessing in his depleted state? Slowly he described the dark gentleman who walked the rooms in his black creased trousers and white cotton open-necked shirt. There were almost wall to wall spirits that inhabited the house. I had never actually seen fear on a man’s face before, but this reached his soul. The movement of objects in the room, the flashes of light, the noises and the cacophony of wind whistling through the fireplace made him shake with uncertainty. I eased over to the chair and began to explain in quiet tones how we knew of the house spirits and they meant no harm. Their dances and games were meant to entertain and lighten the soul, to bring some happiness into our lives or companionship in our loneliness. He murmured that he had preached about spirits, but had never known them personally, only through Biblical passages. The gentleman he described had to be Bernie’s father, who had always been with us and blessed our home. He was probably just concerned about Bob’s health and meant to stay close to help. This was our only home and he would have to accept them and move on.
As Bob improved in his health, the spirits he saw became fewer and less frequent in their games. The addition of Amanda to our home, our four year old grandchild, became another salve to the fiery disturbances. She lived with us to finish the pre-kindergarten program when her family moved to Georgia. The house became a loving and peaceful place again, full of the sounds of laughter, reading stories, telling family folklore, building toys, or watching videos. The spirits were no longer seen or felt, and life adjusted to some variations of sunrises and sunsets fit for princes and kings. In spite of the hardships and illnesses, we were happy to be able to share our lives with a growing and loving child. She brought a warmth we had forgotten and a cohesion of our souls that had been missing for years. We were at peace again and preparing ourselves to meet the demands of the future, although we had no way of knowing what that would involve.
The Hand Beyond
Time seems to march right on, to the beat of its own drum. Sometimes I seem lost in the backwash of its energy trails. January rolled around and we found ourselves in another hospital getting the stomach replacement surgery Bob needed so desperately. Amanda wanted to see Grandpa, but I wouldn’t let her until he was stable and in a regular room. I explained to her how I felt it would be too scary for her to see all those tubes and machines hooked to him. I demonstrated what the tubes looked like and what they did for him, how the machines worked and what they said, and even had her put a breathing mask over her face to feel what his was like. We were now ready for a visit. Thank goodness the hospital was small and quiet. She marched right in and started to talk with Bob and tell him how much she missed him. The nurse tried to tell her about the equipment, but Amanda informed her that she already knew about such things and proceeded to demonstrate her knowledge. The nurse was astounded, but managed a smile, a nod at me and an acknowledgement to Amanda that she would make a fine nurse some day. Bob continued to get stronger and we had him home in another week.
When Amanda went back to school, they were covering health issues about heart problems. As the teachers began talking about oxygen masks and other hospital equipment for patients, Amanda jumped up and began instructing the class on everything she knew about hospitals. The teachers were amazed, but delighted to see her become more confident and outgoing. Later that week, Bob visited her classroom, using his cane to maneuver. The children were fascinated with the cane, which Bob talked about in some detail and demonstrated. Amanda was proud of her grandfather and held his hand as he told the class tales of his life on a farm and his hospital visits. Amanda finished school shortly after that and rejoined her family in Georgia. We visited as often as Bob’s health would allow and even stopped to see his ex-wife and mother-in-law who lived in the same town. His health improved very fast and his nutrition was better, coupled with B-12 shots every two weeks, which I gave at home.
Our life became a little confused when Bob wanted things to do. He wasn’t capable of holding a real job, but I thought he might be able to do some crafts, which we could sell at a flea market. We invested in some lead molds, a melting pot and a propane burner, so that he could make lead weights for fishing tackle. He then made “leaders” for deep sea and lake fishing and we were ready. Just on a lark, we visited a country auction in Spuds, near Palatka, and had a great time. There was a ton of stuff sorted into large boxes, some small “lots” of household items, and some professional wholesalers who brought items in quantity. The place had a sandy concrete floor and was in a large warehouse with folding seats and tables. We roamed around looking at the wares until the appointed hour when the auctioneer came. People scrambled for seats and kept their coolers close, as they provided iced tea, water and sodas for later in the evening. Everyone knew each other from the community. It was the entertainment for the week, every Friday evening. The auctioneer got into the swing, offering box after box by the numbers for sale. There were offers starting very low on the dollar scale and sometimes reaching as high as twenty-five dollars. Occasionally, there were mystery boxes offered, or old freight lockers/suitcases that had been left in the bus station. People seemed to be reluctant to bid on items they couldn’t see, but the auctioneer would make up stories about the ownership of the boxes, or sneak peeks inside when there was no action at all. He would turn the item around so only he could see inside, look, then quickly close the lid, step back, make all kinds of gestures and facial grimaces trying to get the crowd interested. Then, he would begin making up a tale about the circumstances of the box’s loss or the infamous people who owned it, weaving mystery and intrigue into every phrase. People began shifting forward in their seats with each word and became mesmerized by the auctioneer’s voice. You couldn’t help but bid on that item, just to see if anything he said was true. Bob made some bids, I sat with calculator in hand figuring about how much we could get for the items, then relaying that info to him. We had a great time, made some interesting friends and Bob found information about old friends he had lost over the years.
The next Saturday, we had a sale on our empty piece of property on State Road 26 in Melrose. People were interested and stopped to see what we had. Our sales were brisk and Bob had a great time talking to people as they bought items, telling tales of the area. All the organizing, packing, loading/unloading and set up fell to me, as he couldn’t do the manual work, but it was worth it to see the excitement return to his eyes. There was a change in his spirit too! As the carrying of these materials became more physically demanding for me, we moved the site back home. Having a half acre of ground helps in this task. We fixed permanent table space and brought out chairs to sit for the duration. Some days were good and others not so good. We finally stopped doing the sales, but we sold some items to local merchants. Bob continued to make the “leaders” and they did fine in the Fish and Tackle stores around the lake area.
But items began disappearing from our shed out back. Boxes of stuff were missing and items were strewn around. This had to be the two-legged variety of villains and not our friendly neighboring squirrels. Police came to investigate, but in that particular time and place, they couldn’t write out the reports, so not much happened. Our Sheriff could read and write, but his cronies had little to no schooling and were at a disadvantage. We had a rash of robberies in the neighborhood. People became angry and finally caught some of the youngsters who were trying to steal a boat which was still on its trailer. I guess they went to jail, but it was too hair raising an adventure to pursue ourselves. We did have one evening when some crooks came directly into our driveway, very brazen, and tried to steal something (I can’t say I remember what). The dog noticed them and clamped down on one man’s leg, drawing blood. He was unlucky enough to have been closest to the dog. He was screaming and yelling when my husband appeared at the door with a shotgun. The would-be robber yanked his leg free, tearing the skin terribly, but managed to flee the pellets of the blast Bob sent over his head. Harry, the cock-a-poo, wasn’t big enough to be a good match for the man, but he did make a fairly deep impression on him. We never had them return, to our knowledge. What we didn’t understand, was that this was only the beginning of a siege.
The Hand Beyond
It was a subdivision built between two small lake region towns, Melrose and Keystone Heights, with some secondary roads as arteries, lots of trees and briars still running wild around the fences of sold lots. Just naturally, we had magnolia blooming their large sweet white flowers, casting pollen at a moment’s notice. Our live oak trees were festooned with old grey hanging moss and lots of little green acorns dangling from the twigs. You could tell the future of winter weather by how many acorns were produced and how large they were. Nature always provides for its own survival. Man is not as lucky to be so prepared. The woods across the street were filled with wild plum trees blooming in pinks and whites and other trees chimed in with their oranges and flaming reds. Below, in the undergrowth of the wild country were persimmons displaying their heavy orange fleshy fruit, voraciously eaten by possums and raccoons alike, and a smattering of wild blackberry bushes showing the dried remnants of their fruit as the leaves fell to the ground. We have what they call high sandy soil, good for wild scuppernong and muscadine grapes, it’s a combination of sand, fine and granulated for good drainage, and pale beige to light orange clay for retaining some moisture in the arid soil mix. We had encouraged the grapes to climb our fence lines and partnered them with new grafted grapes from Florida and South Carolina several years before I married Bob, so they were growing well and providing some fruit for the animals and us. We had also planted nut trees, oranges, tangerines, and small 4X4 plots of vegetables in season. The large garden had overgrown and I didn’t have the energy to plow it up again, although I found myself dreaming about its past crops with envy now. Bernie and I had gone to Waldo to bring back some old discarded railroad ties years ago and had cut them in four foot lengths and laid them in squares, two high, strapping them together for stability. They were indeed old now, but the original creosoting had protected them well. The crops were mostly mustard and collard greens with some tomatoes and banana peppers. On occasion, I would plant some leaf or bib lettuce around the edges and hope for the best. It was a pretty iffy endeavor, but it gave me some pleasure in the fall and spring of each year. Of course, I did have my bromeliads under the trees in beds of cypress mulch, surrounded by manicured fallen trees and limbs. We even turned some half rotten stumps into planters for the interesting squirrel’s foot ferns, devil’s ivy, and small tillandsias (a type of bromeliad) that were spotted or striped and about 3-4 inches tall. The beds were always filled with blooms of every color of the rainbow. Some bloom stalks reached three to four feet in height and others showed their colors deep within the center of the plants in reds, oranges, purples, yellows, and whites. Every day I took a long leisurely stroll through the side yards just to see what had bloomed that day. The good thing about bromeliads is that they keep their blooms for several months and are very showy. Along with the other regular plants in the yard, we had a lot to take care of, but it was far from manicured. We kept it cleaned up, but I insisted upon having the feeling that you were still in the woods. We put some benches around the yard and stopped often to listen to the birds and squirrels as we shed our stresses of the day. On occasion we would see rabbits, raccoons, possums, silver fox, deer, box turtles and at least twenty different varieties of insects, or an infrequent snake or toad. I referred to it as “Pooh’s little patch.” Certainly not the hundred acre wood he grew up in, but we had a half an acre to enjoy. It was generally quiet and we loved our existence.
I was inside the house in my office, which was on the opposite side from the bedrooms, trying to feel for any leaks in the ceiling tiles. There was discoloration, but we were looking for current problems not old ones. As I got close to the ceiling standing on a chair, I heard a sudden crack of thunder and a “fireball” ran under the eaves, all the way down to the south end of the house. I froze and watched the event, never having seen this before. I yelled for Bob and heard nothing. I had left him working on the water heater at the other end of the house in our master bath. Trying to grope my way through the darkened house, I knocked into a lot of furniture and almost fell several times. Still, I heard no reply from Bob. When I arrived in the bedroom, I could see him sprawled on the floor on his right side. He was dazed and tingling from the lightning strike. His glasses had been thrown across the bathroom and lay in shattered pieces. I began rubbing his arms and legs, and eventually, he came back to life and could talk. He had been working on the water heater and the lightning struck the electric panel just feet from his repairs. The jolt was not direct, thank heavens, but it was very substantial. I covered him with a blanket to raise his body temperature and called the doctor at her home. She said she would meet us at the office in about twenty minutes. We made the trip, checked him out, and were relieved to find that he had returned to almost normal. He continued to feel some tingling for several weeks and then that disappeared too. Nothing worked right after that moment in time.
A freak strike with no warning or storm and we were groping for life again. The pain of fixing the electrical outlets, switches that sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t, appliances that had to be replaced and an insurance company that couldn’t care less what we needed done even though we were paying extra for “today’s rate of replacement.” Bob was very depressed and each day found us fighting to keep him in touch with the world. The doctor changed his medication, but he still plodded on in a diminished way. There were paranoid thoughts and vivid tales of how I must be seeing others outside the house when I had stopped to pick up groceries. He was becoming so paranoid, that I couldn’t even receive a phone call without probes and accusations. It’s hard to carry on a private business when your spouse is so critical and untrusting, but we worked through it from day to day. When I had men CEO’s hire me to find information and deliver it to them, I carried Bob along, so that he could see the benign situation and sort of work I was doing. He became fascinated and even helped me package a lot of the information in notebooks for the clients. I think it helped him through the situation a little. Even though the scenarios became unsettling, we managed to keep our bonds tight and free of the illness. It was the increase in house noises, disappearances of “things” and strange voices that kept pushing him toward the edge of insanity. We could never figure out what was happening to us. Finally, I backtracked from the house into the attic through the rafters into the shop and out the unfinished attic on that side of the house. Someone had removed some of the boards and had gained entrance to our home whether we were there or not. I panicked and so did Bob. We made some repairs and security improvements in the structure and began to feel better. Perhaps those unearthly noises and events were not the “other” world but actually real people. Were we just victims of someone’s crazed practical jokes and ugly crimes?
The world settled around us and those sunsets began to reappear for us. We once again partook from the cup of life. Small creaks and rustles began again some weeks later. They were not attached to outside forces. I was sure that our “spirits” were telling us they were still there. Life became the same each day and we were plodding the path with more sure steps than before. We could not tell whether it would continue.
The Hand Beyond
The only thing our new home had in common with our old one, was the four walls and a roof. It was almost square, with a large room we used as a living room, a bedroom and study, a bath, kitchen and small front room that housed the outrageous pool table hauled four hundred miles north for no reason at all. This small 1000 square foot home was built on a hill sloping down to the street, with very high concrete steps in the front and only one step and a stoop in the back leading to black soil, roots, trees and some plants springing through the soil everywhere the eye could see. The leaves looked like the beginnings of narcissus, but spring would tell. The bone-deep cold clung to us each day as we endeavored to settle into this new climate. By the end of the first week, we were not as angry and could begin to pattern our days and evenings into a blissful ease. Because of the lack of bedrooms, we shared our nights again and began to rediscover each other in new ways, talking until we drifted into slumber.
Duke woke us with a growl that rivaled a lion’s roar and Bob crept out of bed to see what was wrong. He could hear someone trying to break in and came back for a weapon. As he flung back the door, he thrust a twelve inch blade through the opening as the dog leapt into action. The young man jumped back with fear inscribed on his face and ran for the fence. That was the first time I ever saw anyone clear a five foot chain link fence in one bound as the dog snapped the frosty air with nothing but a scent to remember. Bob opened the gate and he and Duke loped down the street stopping at a Police car to give directions, while the officer phoned in the chase. It appeared that the young man had tried to burglarize numerous homes in the area and remembered ours as a drug haven for hiding. We were happy to be free of him and the officer was glad to meet Bob and Duke. After that incident, Bob would sit on the front porch during the day with Duke, and people walked by waving and sharing the day’s greetings. The small community began to change and became a sedate haven for families raising their children, while Bob watched from that porch vantage. He made sure that no one bothered the children at the corner park and he reported any strangers to the police. We were a vital part of that area and its change.
I had the chance to grow some vegetables among the roots and set up a tent with our boxes of books and other household things from a storage place. The only sounds that kept us company were the giggles of children, the songs of birds and the scratchings of a family of squirrels in our wall near the back door. Each day sped into the next and only the declining health of my husband broke the awe and spirit of the sun soaked country. We traveled to North Carolina to visit relatives and friends and Bob began to settle old problems into a kind of easier compromise until his pneumonia in July. A month’s worth of treatment in a local hospital and at home did not seem to improve his health and we added oxygen tanks, shots and pills to the daily regimen. One Sunday in August, he talked to me about the emotional settlements he had made with his family. Each member was satisfied with the words and deeds of the man. I knew the end was near. I tried to encourage him to complete his tasks, and he had done so. That Sunday, he voiced his completeness and I assured him that was all he could do and hope for at the time. Wednesday night we went to bed in shifts. He was tired and made me guarantee that I would not take him back to the hospital to save his life. He wanted no heroic efforts on his part and hoped I could do this, as I was unable to assist any suicide efforts he contemplated earlier in our marriage. Very early Thursday morning, I heard him taking his last breaths. I started to get up and call the emergency service, but then I thought of his wishes and settled down, turning to touch his arm, telling him how much I would miss him and letting the tears run their path to the pillow and sheets below. As soon as I heard Duke move from Bob’s side of the bed to mine, I knew he was gone. I saw the phosphorescent green of the clock blinking 3 AM and closed my eyes for another thirty minutes, collecting my thoughts and memories for the coroner’s ordeal of questions. I dressed and phoned the emergency unit by four, then went to check him. I couldn’t feel a pulse and I gently wiped his mouth of the tannish foam that had collected around his lips, brushed back his hair and continued to talk to him in quiet tones.
Nightmares cannot compare to the ordeal of questions, waiting, suppositions and condolences that accompany such events in one’s life. I had lived through it with Bernard and now with Bob. I gave Duke one of Bob’s shoes and watched in a delayed shock as he curled up on the brown slipper and huddled close to my legs. It never gets better, but it does get different. Each day bleeds into another until you are able to get up and go again into that vast void of life we understand is necessary. I had to now survive on my own without help or company. The skies were bleak and the rains continued through other heartaches as I watched for a new beginning…
The Hand Beyond
Nothing mattered any more. Each day was like the next and only work brought a semblance of difference to the regimen of life. I spent many extra hours at work trying to focus on the ways things should be. Bob had left me in debt and aching for a new beginning. I got a call from Helen asking me to sit with her mother a few days, as she was dying of cancer, another doctor’s error of radiation overdose. Mrs. Cowley was like a mother to me, as she housed me when I first moved to South Carolina. I returned the favor by cooking her meals, walking her dog and cleaning the yard. We sat and talked for hours at a time and then she encouraged me to seek that rental so that Bob and I could be together. I went to her home again to make her final days more comfortable. She was worried about me, but I told her that it was something I could give to a woman who took care of me in very troubled times. She relaxed and allowed me to keep her company and keep her fed and cleaned. There were not enough days left in our friendship, as she slipped into a peaceful death. It seemed like only a couple of months since Bob passed away and indeed it was. Each day dragged me into a deeper depression. I was tired and alone.
One evening, I sat down in the big arm chair and felt a pain in my left arm that turned into a numbness. My vision blurred and I felt like a lava flow oozing between pebbles, drifting in and out of light and dark until some hours later the pain eased and I became peaceful. I knew at once that I had suffered a stroke. I reached for a rubber ball and began squeezing it in my left hand. Slowly, I regained some feeling and then a little strength. I was returning to the living, but I did not know the extent of my damage. The next day at work, I picked up a page of a medical report and was shocked to see garbled symbols. I couldn’t read! I could hear; I could see ; but, I couldn’t decipher symbols. The receptive aphasia appeared to be complete and I panicked. How would I be able to hold a job? I left work and went directly to an office supply store. The owner listened as I explained my problem and asked if he could sell me a computer on time. No one ever did that, but he was willing. I set up the system and worked each day playing solitaire and mahjongg until my mind could begin to comprehend symbols and make connections and plan moves. To this, I added some very simple crosswords and small jigsaw puzzles over time. Slowly the rehab process worked. Now, I could continue in my job and make small gains each day. As I was improving, the panic attacks settled in and then a visit from a process server who said I had to move because the landlord lost the property. I went to court and asked for more time to find a new home begging the court’s indulgence for a new widow.
Day after day of searching ads and driving the streets looking in all of the neighborhoods for any place that would accept pets kept me tired and frustrated. One day, a friend wanted me to see several places. We drove from Olympia, where the rental sat on top of a pool of accumulated water, to West Columbia. The mill house didn’t look like much, but it had room. We walked to the back door and went inside. Laura went upstairs while I stood in the kitchen and felt Memie’s spirit surround me. Losing no time, I made an offer for the rental, and with my resume of hard work on the manager’s desk, he convinced the owner to rent to me at a reduced price. Church members and friends helped me move, and I was at home again in a spirit filled house. I enjoyed making bookcases, planting a garden, grooming the grounds and searching for new ways to accomplish things in life. The computer was my focus in a new project to write stories for children or continue writing my descriptive poetry. My physical body went out of control, exhibiting erratic heartbeats and diabetes. My mind succumbed to manic depression and I spent long hours pacing the floor or writing incessantly because I couldn’t sleep. Just when I thought I could settle down again, the fire came. I was convinced that Bob was being vengeful, but nothing seemed to matter. If Laura hadn’t taken me into her apartment and given me shelter, I would surely have roamed the streets in confusion. It’s been a number of years since the fire, but I am still unsettled and can’t seem to find a way to focus on the necessities of life. I work and help others, and do a little to stay alive, but nothing is the same anymore.
The only solace I have is to be very still and begin to let my soul search the universe in an out-of-body state. It is very peaceful and I have begun to resent the return. The trips become longer and longer until I begin to see Bernard in the distance calling for me to join him. I am relating this to you, so that someone will know that I am beginning to lose touch with reality. I am leaving this plane for another more peaceful and loving environment. I will not return again in this form. Another world is pulling me towards it and I feel very little any more. I am able to see the other side and it is beautiful. My last breath in reality is coming soon…I am going…pulled by Bernard’s loving hand…he has been my protector and now I return to his love and hand beyond……