I don’t remember how long it was after my son’s death when I saw an ad in the local paper for a “spiritual gallery” with a psychic medium who claimed she could connect attendees with deceased loved ones. I made a reservation using a short version of my name and paid cash when I arrived. There was no way to do any background research on me.
The medium was a wisp of a woman named Nikki, with long hair and a sweet face, who was also a former U.S. Marine. Nikki was very nervous and admitted it was her first doing an event like this. She clutched a large Diet Coke from Burger King and occasionally took long sips, and long pauses, throughout the session.
I’ve had readings with psychic mediums before and after that first session with Nikki. Some were world famous with television shows. One charged so much money I’m embarrassed to admit what we paid. All of them start out with generalizations and engage in what seems like fishing. I don’t fall for this and only play along to a certain extent. I wait patiently for them to say something so personal and private and specific that there’s no earthly way for them to know this detail. It happened with the famous ones, it happened with the expensive one, but among all the psychic mediums, tiny Nikki said the most personal and unexpected things.
Nikki got started by saying a prayer on her rosary. At first, I thought she winged it. The information she gave seemed too general, but then it got more interesting. Nikki said that my mom was present with a young male relative. The boy is running around and it’s important to him to show me that he’s able to do that. (My son lost his mobility before passing away from a brain tumor at age ten). Nikki claimed he wants me to give all his toys to his little brother (I had not mentioned a little brother). She was surprised there wasn’t also a little sister at home (not yet!).
I was moved, but not convinced. I was still waiting for that undeniable, specific detail that could only come from my son. And then it happened. Nikki took a long sip from her Diet Coke, then asked if I ever cracked my son’s toes. I immediately began to cry.
Who cracks another person’s toe knuckles? It’s one of those weird, embarrassing, idiosyncratic quirks that should never be revealed beyond immediate family, yet somehow Nikki knew my son and I did this as a goof. I asked her how she knew, and she said, “He cracked my toe.” The lady in the front row confirmed she heard it crack during my reading.
Nikki finished the session by assuring us our loved ones are always with us and are constantly leaving us signs. Their heaven is watching us, and they want us to be happy.
The famous psychic with the television show told me a person is supposed to have one amazing reading that blows their mind, and then move on with their life.
But that’s not what happened. I wanted Nikki to be a telephone line to my son. I was desperate and hopeful and wanted to connect with him on a regular basis. I returned to her galleries every few months over the next three years (I noticed the same people there as well). I wanted to know if my son was with us at such-and-such a place, or if he came along to some other family event. I wanted to feel like a complete family again and this was the closest I could come. I also wanted more signs — obvious, unmistakable ones. But the more I went to see Nikki I experienced diminishing returns. Over time, she had less and less to tell me.
I realized my expectations weren’t fair. She’s not a telephone with a direct line to my son. That’s not her job. Her job is to let me know that love endures all obstacles including death, which I now believe. Several years later, the birth of my daughter (Nikki was right!) is what finally lifted me from grief, but the journey began with the comfort I received from her spiritual gallery.
I understand this might not be the coping mechanism that would work for most people, and shouldn’t be a substitute for the arduous work of processing one’s grief, but the experience helped me move forward with the feeling that I connected with my son and he was okay – wherever he may be.