I've known this friend's dad since I was 12 or so, and I was best friends with his son for about 30 years, before he died from a heart attack.
|Jack Tracey, life long friend, father of my pal Paul|
But as pals of "Flipside" know, death appears to be a temporary experience.
As reported in that book, I was walking in Tibet, around Mt. Kailash when I heard my friend's voice clear as a bell speaking in my ear. I was complaining to myself about the altitude (about 18K in some places) carrying a backpack of film equipment (making the documentary "Journey Into Tibet with Robert Thurman") when I thought "Wow, this is really hard to walk at this altitude." And I heard Paul Tracey say "You think it's hard for you, imagine how hard it was for me!"
Paul had passed away a year earlier - in fact, I was carrying the titanium ball from his hip in my backpack, as I was going to plant some of his ashes on Mt. Kailash. (His mom Lois sent me a tupperware jar of some of his ashes, and inside was the titanium ball. As friend Dave Patlak said "The thing Paul hated most in life he willed to you!") Paul was a star athlete when he had routine surgery that he didn't need to have, but had - and it destroyed his hip. He had two replacements in his life, and walked with a pronounced limp and cane afterwards.
But here I was on Kailash, hearing his voice clear as frickin' bell. And then he said "Richard, you were responsible for the happiest day of my life." I couldn't think of what he meant - I walked on, puzzled, until he showed me. A day when we went walking in the Cuyahoga Valley outside my uncle's home in Brecksville, Ohio, and we got lost. Instead of panicking we followed a creek until we came to a waterfall and we spent hours jumping off a stone ledge into a pond. It was idyllic and outside of time. And I had forgotten it completely.
|With Billy Meyer and Paul|
I told this story to his parents afterwards.
His mother didn't want to hear it ("I'm his mother! Why wouldn't he appear to me instead of you?" She forgot she had told me she saw him "standing in the backyard" once after he passed.)
His dad was a tad more generous "It's rare in life to find one true friend, and Paul was lucky to find you."
Jack Tracey gave me my first job. At 16, one summer Paul and I worked in a packaging factory on the West Side of Chicago. I learned more about capitalism and union politics that summer than I did in any job I had since then; it was an eye opening experience. As the foreman Mr. Lagacki said to me "Son, you're never ever gonna be blue collar. Just go to college and be the white collar you are supposed to be."
When I heard that Jack Tracey, an athlete like his son, who rode his bike sometimes 70 miles a day, was on his last legs and in hospice care I thought - "Well, in my experience with this research, I know we bring about a third of our consciousness to a lifetime, so it's likely that I would be able to access that other percentage of him. I mean, I've already spoken to his son, so I should be able to contact his father - even though he's still alive, part of his "higher consciousness" is always back home."
|Jack on his chariot|
So in our weekly scheduled session, I asked medium Jennifer Shaffer to help me access my friend's father.
She had accessed Paul a number of times and instantly recognized his pale blue green eyes (hypnotic as they were and apparently still are.) The following is a transcript between me, Jennifer Shaffer, Luana Anders (our pal on the flipside who helps facilitate these conversations) and Jack Tracey. (Recorded on film Nov. 22, 2019).
|Dave Patlak and Paul in Pizzeria Uno's.|
|Dad, Paul, Mom; Paul's BMW|
It's a different paradigm when you realize that the loved one with dementia is not "gone" - they're just mostly already "back home." They still have access to some memories - playing music, getting them to sing is helpful and lasts up to the end. They may not know who we are, but we know who they were. And further, on the flipside, they're completely aware of our love and affection.
And thanks for making my latest book "Architecture of the Afterlife" #1 in new releases at Amazon (in its genre.)
|With Jennifer Shaffer|