Alzheimer's and the Flipside - a Memorial for a friend

About six months ago, I got a note from an old friend telling me his father was in hospice care with dementia.  

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).

I’m in Jennifer Shaffer’s office in Manhattan Beach. Jennifer is a medium who works with law enforcement agencies nationwide on missing person cases. 

We’ve been doing these interviews for five years and we have two books “Backstage Pass tothe Flipside; Talking to the afterlife with Jennifer Shaffer.” I’ve been conducting these interviews for long enough to not judge whatever she says or sees – and do my best to help her translate whatever image she might be getting. This is from last November’s session (when Jack was still on the planet in hospice care.)

My questions are in italics, Jennifer’s answers are in bold. In the midst of doing other interviews I mention this:

Rich: I got a message from my friend Paul Tracey’s sibling telling us that his dad is on his way off the planet. You may remember, Paul is my friend who showed up in Tibet in my ear; the question I have for Paul is, what do you want me to pass along if anything?

Jennifer: They’re making jokes – saying “It’s a lot of fun over here!” I feel like he (Jack) lives over there already – I don’t know if he’s had dementia or has it here.

He does. (ding!) He's still here, but can we bring him forward?

He says “This is interesting.”

(Note: I think he’s referring to our conversation in a restaurant where we access people on the flipside via our friend on the flipside, Luana Anders. Jack had met her when we went to visit Paul in San Francisco.)

Jack, what’s you impression of this conversation?

He says “It’s very interesting!” The view I got was him looking at us from above, even though his body is still here. He’s saying that “Some people (still) need to say goodbye – or make it to his bedside before he leaves.” (Jennifer aside) I’m asking him “Why are you holding on?” He says “There are people who need to say goodbye.”

Here’s a question about how much of your conscious energy is in you now, and how much is already back home?

90% there and ten percent here.

(Note: In the research people under deep hypnosis claim we bring about 30% (20-40%) of our conscious energy or “soul” to a lifetime. When we cross over, that amount “returns home.”  In this case, he’s saying 4 months before his passing that 90% of his conscious energy is already back home.  Ten percent remains (like being in a coma) while he’s still “on the planet.” We’ve interviewed people who have passed over who had dementia, but this is the first time interviewing someone who is still on the planet at the same time.)

Are you able to do things over there on the flipside?

He’s showing me that he’s still tethered or tied to his body. He’s saying “It’s like he can’t go to (visit) other galaxies or star systems because he’s tethered.”

Can you ride a bike?

“Everything else but.”

How is your son Paul doing?

He says “He’s the one who helped me up.” (Jennifer aside) I asked him “At what point did Paul bring you up?” He said “Recently.”

I’ve known Mr. Tracey since I was ten or 12.

Did you smoke cigars with him?

With Paul. I’m not sure if Jack smoked cigars.  You were always very kind to me, “Mr. Tracey.”

He says “He loved it when you played the piano.”

(Note: No possible way that Jennifer would know that I played the piano in their home.  Nor have I ever mentioned it to anyone. But I did often.)

I did play the piano in his house often. (ding!) I had long hair in high school and you were the only parent who didn’t treat me as if I should be arrested.

He says “Well, you were a punk. But you reminded him of himself, with your wit.”

(Note: “Punk” is not a word I’ve heard Jennifer use before, but would apply to a Chicagoans pov from the 1960’s.)

I once asked you about the first time you met your wife Lois.

Is she years younger?

I don’t know but I think she’s younger.

He says “They met at a dance. At a high school dance.”

That’s correct. (ding!) I’m going to run through some of your kid’s names. Anything for Jack Jr?

He said “Tuck ‘em in.” I saw something like a blanket not being tucked in.

Is that a metaphor?

Something about “tucking him in.”

(Note: Could be about shirts, or his kids – or something only Jack Jr. would know, and may not remember now but will later. I ask follow up questions later on.)

What about his daughters, Susan or Pamela or Hope?

“Susan is hysterically funny.” He’s laughing.  “He loves them all,” he says.

How about Pamela?

Something about her possibly not being there and that’s okay.

Anything specifically to Peter or Hope?

Peter is relatively happy – both he and Hope know that this is for the better, with him leaving.

How long have you had Alzheimer’s?

Like ten years.

Anything you want me to tell your wife Lois?

“Tell her I’ll be waiting patiently for her.”

Anything you want me to tell Lois about Trump?

(Note: This is a joke. We had some epic arguments in their Arizona home over Rush Limbaugh alone. One can imagine what I had to say about the current administration; and while I've not talked with Lois about djt, we had discussed previous administrations.)

“Challenging.” When you said “Trump” - he just can’t stop laughing. (Jennifer aside) I don’t know why.

I get that. So who was there to greet you on the flipside when you first became aware of it?

He says “Paul was there. He missed Paul so much, the love he had for him,” he said “It was bittersweet.”

Paul can you bring Hedda forward?

(Jennifer, puzzled) Hedda?

Paul knows who that is, Jack knows who that is. They can say no – but can you?

Is that an animal?

Yes. (ding!)

I feel like it was a dog.

It is a dog. (ding!) Huge ears, a basset hound. Jack took care of Hedda, I remember in high school he fed her toast every morning... Jack, have you talked to Hedda since you’ve been there?

He said “Hedda knocked him over when he got there.” They just thanked one another, kept thanking one another “for being in each other’s lives.”

(Note: We’ve conducted a few with “pets” on the flipside, and each time ask for information that only the owner would know.)

Can we talk to Paul for a second?

He has blue green eyes, right?

Yes. (Ding!)

They’re very bright.

They are, recently I had dinner with his nephew – who has his eyes. It was uncanny.

That’s the first thing he showed me was his eyes.

Dave Patlak and Paul in Pizzeria Uno's.

We have a number of friends over there. Bill Meyer, Craig Ottinger. Paul is there anything you want to pass along? (A phone nearby rings with an odd “ding dong.”) Paul, don’t call me a ding dong!

(Jennifer laughs) The gods are interrupting us. Paul says “He’s very interested in your research.”

There’s a picture of you and my mom in my kitchen. I always say hello.

You do – he says “That’s as weird as his dad feeding that dog.”

Dad, Paul, Mom; Paul's BMW

Is there anything I’m missing in my work... besides making money?

Paul is laughing. He’s showing us (me and Jennifer) doing a radio show or podcast.

I was talking about this yesterday. Carin.. whom you had a fling with, in college.

She has like ten kids?

No, just a couple but you came through to Carin and said “I’m sorry we didn’t have a kid together, I’m sorry I wasn’t nicer to you.” Something like that. Anything that you want to say to Carin?

“I wish we had ten kids.”

But then you came out of the closet.

He showed me that too... (Jennifer gives me a look.) I know.

Anything you want to say about that?

“No.” He says “I’m out of the closet. There is no gender, it really is fluid for everyone.”

So Jennifer, when you’re looking at Paul what do you see?

Blue green eyes and like a light.. his chiseled chin and how gorgeous he was... that’s how he appears to me.

(Note: Jennifer has never seen Paul in life, and perhaps has seen a photograph on my Facebook page.)

Last time I saw your mom she revealed she had researched the medicine you were taking, and that it may have been the reason you died – one of the side effects of the drug is heart attacks. And you may have had a heart condition.

“Yes, it was twofold. Both the medicine and his heart. It was faulty; like he had a faulty valve.

So why was your death not related to alcohol?

(Note: Paul had done a number of stints in rehab for drinking. When he died suddenly most assumed it was alcohol related - but according to the autopsy it was not; a heart attack possibly related to the medication he was taking for a broken kneecap according to his mom.)

I don’t feel like he had enough alcohol in him.

Your mom told me that the autopsy showed that as well. (Ding.) Your dad told me when they went to your apartment, it was trashed, like someone had smashed everything. Did you do that, or did someone else?

Somebody else was there. It felt like they got in a huge fight.

Was the fight related to your passing?

“No." I feel like he had a heart attack afterwards. (After the other person left).

You called me on the phone... (before I can finish)
And you didn’t answer.

Right; I did but I answered sarcastically and you hung up the phone. So was that around the time of your heart attack... was that during that event? Before or during or after?

(Jennifer aside) I’m not getting a clear read either way.  I feel like (the phone call) - he just wanted to tell you he loved you, not that he thought he was dying...  “You couldn’t have saved him,” he says.

But you did make the call consciously?

I don’t think he remembers making the call.

Butt dial from the flipside? That’s funny.

Part of it was that you meant so much to him.

We have talked about that before in our conversations with him.

(Jennifer aside) I don’t remember.

When I was in Tibet, I heard his voice in my head, saying I was responsible for the happiest day of his life.” I couldn’t think of what it was... but he showed it to me. Us getting lost in a valley behind my uncle’s home in Ohio, we found a waterfall. Paul was jumping off this rock into this pond and it was really outside of time. I had forgotten about it when he popped it into my head. Hey, I got a question for you, why is my hip bothering me – is it the same hip that bothered you?

(Note: Paul had a titanium hip and walked with a limp for most of his life, after being a stellar athlete in high school. After he passed, his mom sent me a small Tupperware jar of his ashes, and when I went to bring some with me to India, I found his titanium hip. I brought it all the way to Kailash where it it rests inside a giant stone stupa, on the far side of Mt. Kailash. I carried two packets of ashes - both Paul's and Luana's.)

Yes, he showed me you carrying a little spirit baby on your hip. (Jennifer listens) Did you put both of their ashes on Mt. Kailash? Both Luana’s and Paul’s?

Yes. (Ding! Ding!)

They showed me ashes flying in the air, it was very sparkly, she’s showing me that’s where you put both of their ashes...

So what are you and Luana doing when you’re together, Paul?

He said “Roller skating.” Like dancing on roller skates.
You mean like you two are dancing to “YMCA?” 

He says he’s learning a lot... from us, from our class, from Luana. They learn how to talk to people here from us.

Do you want me to go to your dad’s funeral when it happens?

(Note: This was November, he passed three months later.)

He said “He’s not going to be there.”

Funny. So what can I tell everyone about your journey?

(Jennifer aside) I’ve never seen that before, I’ve worked with people before that are in a coma, but he showed me... I’ve never seen that much over there, as he just showed me.

He used to love to bike ride – I was curious if he can construct that.

He said “He can do anything! (over here)” He just showed me the Kentucky derby, even someone riding a horse as a jockey.

(Note: We’ve heard this detail from different people. Some say they’re “playing golf” - in our next book, Junior Seau says that he's playing football with Dave Duerson, and reveals some information about how to "Cure CTE" (hyperparic oxygen therapy as touted by Joe Namath who cured his own) - will be in "Backstage Pass Book 3")

 Follow up interview February 20th, 2020 after Jack's passing.

Rich: Hi class. Luana who needs to talk to us?

There’s someone who you wrote a tribute to.  Named Jack.

Yes, my friend Jack Tracey. We spoke to him before and he’s crossed over. So Jack, can you sit down for a second?

“Yeah.” He says “This is cool. This class is cool and he really appreciates your (Facebook) post.” He showed me him opening a newspaper which is his way of saying he “read something” he wants to share.

I asked you questions about your children. I didn’t get answers for everyone; how about for your daughter (that I forgot to ask about earlier).

I feel like she emulates him.

There’s something different about her. Can you show Jennifer what that is?

“She’s adopted.”

Correct. (Ding!) How did you see that?

He showed me a family of people and one that stood out; a way of symbolically saying she’s adopted.

Correct, did she choose you?


Explain that. How or why did that occur?

He says, “Because they’ve been together before they came here. In a previous lifetime, in many previous lifetimes.”

So part of her journey was to find you?


She chose you in a way.

“She had to have (learn) different lessons than anyone else (in the family.)”

(Note: This is often reported in the research. People under deep hypnosis speaking about an adopted child often recall having a previous lifetime with them.  As odd as it sounds, people can and do report that even adoptions are “planned in advance.”)

I was there in grade school, when the school principal made a public announcement, got everyone to kneel and “say a prayer for the loss of Mrs. Tracey’s baby.” That’s how Paul learned of the loss. They then adopted his sister. It was pretty odd when the principal came on the PA, telling everyone before notifying the family.

That’s horrific.

When you guys adopted her, Paul used to say to me...

Yes, I remember Paul now. With the blue green eyes...


Paul said “She was the focal point of everything.”

Yes. He often said he was going to make sure she had the best of everything, a Porsche, riches, etc.

Did she?

No, but I think she’s happy. She lives outside of LA. Jack, put in Jennifer’s mind what her opinion of our work is.

He showed me trash. 

Well, I think she thinks it's "fake" or "phony."  I don't know, but so I've heard. Her opinion or our discussions with family members is negative. So my question; is there anything in her life you can mention that she’ll know this is you? There are plenty of things in this earlier interview that could only come from you – Hedda the dog, etc., how you met your wife in a high school dance... but is there something that would help her believe it’s you?

He’s saying “She just doesn’t believe in it.”

Which is fine. Is there something in her possession, around her house that only she would know about?

I’m seeing a graduation picture of her graduating from somewhere – a picture with both of them. I’m seeing her in a graduation gown. I think it’s blue. “The picture is crooked,” he says.

Jack, I want to clarify some other things – when we talked last November, when you were in hospice care, you said there was still a percentage still here – about ten percent. But now all of your conscious energy is back home. What’s the difference?

He’s showing me an aerial view – he shows me looking down.

He showed you that when he was still on the planet as well; my question is, now that you’re all there, what’s the difference between being partially here and all there?

“The immersion.”

You mean like being in a pool?

"The people that are here" – (Jennifer aside) if I’m getting this right - "when we’re in our bodies we can only go to a certain level, (Jennifer raises her hands to indicate levels) but (now) he can go all the way, to being “immersed.”"

Kind of like dipping your toe in the pool – but the opposite way – when you are set free (from earthly bonds) you can go swimming?

"Yes." He’s showing me that Paul helped him. "Showed him the ropes."

So Paul is more expert at this than when we first chatted with him?


In our conversation in November, Paul talked about our class, and we discussed Paul’s crossing over.

(Jennifer aside) I never remember what we talk about here.

There are quite a few verifiable details – but I want to ask you some more about your kids. Your oldest; you said it was better for him or the family that you’re not longer on the planet. Anything for (him)?

He says “He wants to say thank him.” Says, “He really helped him let go. He helped him to go to the other side.”

And (the other sister)?

I feel like she wasn’t there or couldn’t make it to see him before he left.

He did say that before (four months earlier, but Jennifer has not seen the transcript.)

And he says “That it’s okay that she couldn’t.”

Anything to say to now that you’re over there?

He says “She’s beautiful.” It’s like he kissed her on the forehead and said “She’s a very beautiful soul.”

Yes, she is. How about (another daughter)?

He showed me her writing. He says “She should write more... about her life.” Something like documenting her life or travels, something with a book. It feels like a memoir. “She should do that.”

Okay, how about (other son)?

I’m seeing him rocking in a rocking chair, back and forth. (Taking things slower) He says... “He’s going too fast. He needs to slow down, enjoy... he does enjoy life, but he’s not taking it in. He enjoys it – he’s just not taking it all in.” 

"Slow down and take it in." That’s great advice. He is a tech guy.

He said “He’s crazy smart.”

Anything for (your wife)? I’ve heard she’s having a hard time with your passing.

“She’s got a lot more years left” he says. He’s showing me that she thought they would have more time together and that upsets her.

How old were you?

I’m getting 79... (laughs) No, it’s 89. He said “He couldn’t remember.”

You want me to write this up and send it to your family?

He said “Yes, and to post it as well. Along with his story too.”  I have the chills over that. He says “You have a way with words and writing, Richard. And a small percentage might not like it...

I’m sure (one daughter) is not going to care for it.

He’s laughing.

But at some point you will stop by to see her correct?

He says “Yes. But it will be awhile.”

What should they look for in terms of a visit from you?

He showed me his eyes. Those blue eyes. "Perhaps in a dream."

So when they dream of his eyes, that’s a way for Jack to tap them on the shoulder?


Anything else for your wife, Lois?

She’s still.. he’s saying “How grateful his is to her, that she talked to him normally as if he was okay, as if he didn’t have Alzheimer’s. He’s grateful.”

I know they had a wonderful life together. Thanks Jack, I appreciate that.

“Thank you Richard.”

I’ve been doing these interviews with Jennifer for five years now. We’ve had many interviews with people I knew, people whose details I could verify.  Sometimes it’s a matter of interpretation – so when someone sees that the transcript is incorrect, that’s a way for them to bail, or consider it all “not true.”  

But I’ve been doing this for so long, I know that some of these observations are true, and the point is to be aware of the “possibility that there is an afterlife,” that life goes on.

Because allowing that it’s possible that people can communicate with us, appears to be an important part of them being able to do so.


What do we learn from this interview?

We learned that people with Alzheimer's are "still connected" - still here - but that a higher percentage of their conscious energy is already "back home."  (That's the word people use for the afterlife, substitute the word "afterlife" or "heaven" for whichever aspect one would like; they mean the same thing.)

We learned that people who are adopted had a "plan" in terms of their lifetimes. And that they find each other.

This isn't new information. I published the exact same information in "Flipside."  I had not interviewed a person with Alzheimer's at that point - but now I have.  I know that everything that he says about the journey and process is reflected in the research.  

I post this personal, perhaps intimate portrait of a friend, someone I knew and loved, from a family that I know and love - not to disrupt, upset or otherwise interfere with their grief. 

One person on social media called me a "Grief Thief."  (Pretty funny but they were upset). I can tell you that it was through Jennifer Shaffer's own grief over losing her dad, that I learned the most profound lesson about it.  I asked him to come forward and help us help others with grief.  He said "Tell people to try to move grief to nostalgia." I asked her what that meant and she said "I don't know."  I suggested we ask him; she said "He's saying that grief is only sad memories. That nostalgia is both sad memories but happy ones as well. When you can move grief to nostalgia, you begin the healing process."  

This post is about moving our grief for loved ones to nostalgia.  

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.

This post sent with love and affection to my lifelong friends, the Traceys. 

(Hedda too.)

(Excerpt from the future book: "Backstage Pass to the Flipside; Talking to the Afterlife with Jennifer Shaffer book 3." All rights reserved.)

And thanks for making my latest book "Architecture of the Afterlife" #1 in new releases at Amazon (in its genre.)

With Jennifer Shaffer

Thank you for making Architecture of the Afterlife #1 at Amazon!

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