Saturday, August 21, 2010

Balloons from the Other Side

First, let’s get one thing straight.

Messages from the Next Life don’t usually come in the form of email, snail mail, or phone calls (but I’ve learned to never say never). The Afterlife probably has immutable Rules that govern one’s actions, just as in this life gravity happens and fire burns. That doesn’t mean the people who have moved on don’t try to offer comfort, assistance, and the occasional laugh to their loved ones.

It means they have to get creative.

In my last post I told you about a message of comfort my father sent when my mother was hospitalized for a life-threatening infection. The statistically-improbable (as in billions-to-one odds) pattern of meaningful family names he created by manipulating nurses’ work schedules (and probably a whole lot of other minor events and inclinations) was a sign that comforted me.

Signs from the Afterlife come in an infinite variety. The trick is to recognize them while maintaining a healthy dose of skepticism. Sometimes, once a sign has been used, it will be repeated as a shared reference in future communication.

My father was a career pilot. He loved to fly almost as much as he loved his family. When he was dying of cancer, he hoped to regain enough strength to soar above Oregon’s high desert one more time—in a hot air balloon. Unfortunately, he waited too long to be able to accomplish his goal.

Fast forward six months and two thousand miles to my youngest son’s house in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The kids had climbed in bed with their parents because it was a Sunday morning. No one had to get up early.

Then the danged Siamese cat jumped onto the bed. Instead of pouncing on someone to wake them up, he ignored them all and he walked across them to the window. Then he stood on his hind legs and checked out the back yard.

Whipping his tail back and forth, he yowled like a banshee. After a minute or two, three-year-old Lily checked to see what had scared him. “Mommy, Daddy, look! Look!” Her mother sat up with a yawn and turned around.

A rainbow-striped hot air balloon was landing in their back yard. How often does that happen?

Fast forward five years to my mother’s hospital room. Dr. Boddie (pronounced body; you gotta love the irony) explains that my mom’s condition is deteriorating. Her severe sinus infection may have spread into her spinal fluid, causing meningitis. He needs to do a spinal tap to be sure so he will know how to proceed with her treatment.

I held Mom’s hand as they rolled her to a procedure room where they would draw fluid from her spinal canal. My throat ached with fear. I closed my eyes and mentally reached out into the ether. Tell me she’s going to be alright, Dad. We stopped. I opened my eyes and looked inside the procedure room.

A poster of five hot air balloons soaring high above the ground greeted me.


  1. Nice. I think there is always enough time, and always on time, on the Other Side. :)

  2. Your Dad was certainly watching over you all. Just too much going on to be a coincidence.