Monday, December 8, 2008


A friend suggested that I take Gregg to a Spiritual Channel, a person who might help him understand the bigger picture of the universe, that this body and physical time is not all there is to life. That’s how we met Melissa.

Gregg immediately felt like he’d known her before and that they were old pals. He was very comfortable talking with her, and after a few minutes as she talked he felt himself drifting peacefully away.
She told him that he had lived many past lives, and from each life had brought a gift into the next. The life he loved the most was as a Native American in the Southwest, somewhere in Arizona or New Mexico, and that he had been an expert archer and highly respected by his tribe. He roamed the hills with his companion, a pet raccoon and had a peaceful and happy life.
"Do you have a cat?" she asked..
She suggested, "Get a cat, one that looks like a raccoon. It will be a great comfort to you as the raccoon was in that past life. This creature will remind you of happier times."
She brought him out of the meditation and as he left she put her arm around him and hugged him. He felt connected with a wise old friend.
After that visit Gregg was obsessed with getting a cat, and since I had always made some excuse for not having a cat in the house he was very surprised when I agreed to adopting one.
Every day he asked, "When are going to look for a cat?"
After a week of hounding me, our family went to the animal shelter in Salem. We looked at all the cats.
"Do you like this one Gregg?" pointing to a mangy brown one.
"Ma, raccoons are gray."
"Do you like that gray striped one, it sort of looks like a raccoon if your eyes are half closed."
None of them seemed right. No cat recognized us, we were all disappointed.
The next day we went to the Animal Rescue League in Salem. After looking in a few cages, suddenly he saw her.
"Wow, Look at that tail, it has to be a raccoon! I want her, she’s the one!"
A gray striped tabby with a small patch of cream under her chin, the same cream color outlining her green eyes. Looking at us through the cage, she ran to Gregg. Her paw came through the cage and tried to touch him. Meowing softly, she brushed up against the bars trying to get closer to him. He opened the door to the cage, and because it was big enough for a person to walk around in, he climbed inside and picked her up. She cuddled up to him and he felt her silky fur, soft and light like a feather. There was something about her that seemed to say, "Where have you been?"
I said "Kitty knows you, let’s take her home"
The attendant tells us that because the cat is one year old she probably would not be adopted, which means to Gregg that he has saved her life. He is her hero.
Gregg wants to give her an Indian name, meaning raccoon.
"No problem", I said. "I’ll call the University of Arizona. I’m sure they can tell me how to say raccoon in any Indian dialect."
Boy was I wrong! I called the University every day for two weeks. They kept telling me they would get someone to work on it, but they never do. The give me the run-around and it is frustrating. All this time the cat has no name and we are calling her "Kitty".
One day, the friend who had connected us with Melissa, calls to see how we are getting along with the cat. When I tell her the problem we are having in finding an Indian name, she says, "My sister-in-law is part Apache. I’ll find out and tell you tomorrow." Sure enough, the next day she calls back and says, "Apache for raccoon is something like "black around the eyes. It is pronounced "nakaii goochee nee." Gregg decides to call her "Nakaii".
Everything seems right about Nakaii, she turned out to be quite a member of the family. It was as if we had owned her forever. When Gregg was busy working at his desk. she’d walk by his room, look in the door, walk a few feet into the room, then turn and leave. If he was sitting on the floor watching TV, she would cuddle up next to him.
We bought her a wicker basket lined with a lilac pillow and bows on the outside. It was supposed to be a bed for her to sleep in, but that was a joke. She slept at the foot of Gregg’s bed, and we never could get her to sleep in the basket. She stayed with Gregg constantly for the month of June and on his last day she sat on the foot of his bed from early morning until he passed away. I have always felt a telepathic kinship with her and whenever I would think of Gregg, she would come running to me, look deeply into my eyes and comfort me. She was a creature of heightened sensitivity and would always be a special connection to Gregg.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Gregg has been looking forward to seeing Yosemite National Park ever since his friend had shown him pictures of the giant sequoia trees which he described as "looking like tiny match sticks on top of the mountains".
His enthusiasm for Yosemite reminds me of my eagerness to see the Grand Canyon - an exciting dream finally coming true. We have a wild ride driving through the mountains approaching Yosemite. Looking out of the coach window, I see the wheels dangerously close to the edge of the road and I shiver as Gregg yells out, "We could slide down the side of the mountain, what a way to go!"
Yosemite is awesome. Everything Gregg expected. We stay in the Ahwahnee Hotel, a huge rustic lodge in the middle of Yosemite Park. The hotel is famous for the distinguished people who have stayed there...Presidents Taft, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan and Queen Elizabeth II and other nobility. I guess we are in good company.
Our family is assigned two corner rooms on the fourth floor. One room has a view of the waterfalls. The other room has a view of Half Dome mountain. Gregg and I start arguing about which room we want. He will be sharing his room with his dad, Jack, and I will be sharing my room with his little sister, Beth. Finally after arguing back and forth, Gregg and Jack take the better room, the one with the view of Half Dome. It’s also the only room on the fourth floor with a private balcony. I wonder which President or dignitary has stayed in there. I can feel their ghostly presence.
The four of us have dinner in the main dining room which looks like a cathedral. It can seat 400 people and has fireplaces you can stand up in. We are so impressed, we can hardly concentrate on what we are eating.
After finishing the meal, we return to our rooms. Jack and Gregg in their room, Beth and I in our room. I immediately start looking around for the thermostat. I’m not even cold and I can’t figure out why I am obsessed with locating it. I finally find it hidden in an alcove behind the entrance door to the room. Then I telephone Gregg and tell him where the thermostat is and I am shocked when he says that he is cold and shivering and they had been searching all over their room looking for the thermostat at the same time as me!

Monday, August 25, 2008


When Gregg hears that we are going to be in Las Vegas for one night, he said, "I’ve always hoped someday I would invent a system to win big bucks. Now’s my chance. I’m going to carry $300 in my pocket so I can gamble whenever I want."

The first time he approaches a slot machine in our hotel lobby - security guards come out of nowhere, yelling, "Children cannot come within ten feet of the slot machines."

He hates being called a child. He has cash in his pocket and wants to spend it, he wants to gamble. It would be a victory - a victory over this damn illness, he could cheat time, by doing something that he legally wouldn’t be allowed to do for three more years. But he won’t be here in three years when he’s twenty one...if he’s lucky, he’ll have two or three more months.

That night, his dad, Jack, plans on taking him to the hotel casino. We all brainstorm as to how we can make Gregg look older than his 18 years. He puts on a shirt, necktie, dress pants and a sport coat. If the guards asks for his identification, he can say he left it in the hotel room. I convince him that he can easily pass for 21.

So like two old cronies, Gregg and Jack go into the casino. But Jack blew it! After a few minutes the security guard comes over to them and asks Gregg his age. Jack doesn’t say "twenty-one" as they had rehearsed in the elevator. He says, "Oh, I thought you could be 18 to come in here, as long as you are with a parent."

The security guard mumbles, "I’ve heard that one before. Then he politely throws them out.

Gregg is determined not to leave Las Vegas without gambling. That’s all he talks about and thinks about. Then he comes up with a scheme......

The next morning, we check out of the hotel. Our motor coach is waiting outside the door, we can see it from the lobby. There are some slot machines near the exit door and no security guards in sight.

The two of us saunter over to the slot machines. I am armed with quarters. Gregg’s plan is put into action. I stand next to Gregg casually looking around. We act cool. Standing very close to each other Gregg makes it look like he is leaning on the machine with one arm. I pretend to put a quarter into the machine, but Gregg is really inserting the coin. I pretend to pull the lever, but Gregg is really pulling the lever. Our arms move as one. We both are great actors. We are sure the overhead camera thinks we are two hick tourists trying to figure out how to work a slot machine.

I also put on a loud voice and say "Oh Gregg, look at this cute machine. I see all the fruit...strawberries, cherries, lemons. Let me read the directions ... blah ... blah...blah"

The first quarter goes in. Nothing happens. We are not surprised. We glance at the overhead camera. It’s not moving. Maybe hotel security isn’t even watching, it’s only 8:00 in the morning.
I pretend to insert another quarter, but Gregg is really doing it. We both hold our breath as the coin drops into the machine. Gregg pulls the handle again, and again nothing happens.

I tell him, "We better leave. The coach driver will be getting mad. Everyone is waiting for us."

"Once more...please."

I agree and once more we do our routine. I am constantly looking up at the camera, and whisper, "I feel like a criminal."

Gregg loves the excitement. He doesn’t care about the the hotel security anymore. He pulls the lever, watches the fruit spin and then it happens. They match! Three oranges in a row! Coins start pouring out of the machine. Gregg is shocked, and starts shouting,

"Victory, I did it! I did it! I pulled one over on you guys. I gambled and won and I’m not 21!"

He scoops up the coins, shoves them into his pockets and runs out of the lobby, never looking back,. As he jumps onto the motor coach he yells to everyone, "I won! I won! I gambled and won!"

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

GRAND CANYON April, 1991

When he was thirteen years old, my son Gregg, gave me a framed picture of the Grand Canyon for a birthday gift. We hung it on the wall near my bed, so it would be the first thing I would see each morning. Gregg promised that when he was an adult, and wealthy, he would take our family there on a vacation. As long as he could remember, he had heard me talking and dreaming about the Grand Canyon. I had told him, that I never understood why people flocked to theme parks to see man-made scenery. The most joyous wonders on earth were what God has created and to me the Grand Canyon was at the top of God’s list.
Three years later, when Gregg became terminally ill, a relative arranged for our family to travel to the West Coast. We flew to Arizona and then toured the state by motor coach. Our first stop was the Grand Canyon. The coach meandered through the mountains approaching the Canyon, and my anticipation grew. I was short of breath, either from excitement or the high altitude. It didn’t matter.
When the coach stopped, I jumped off. Knowing my long awaited dream was on the other side of the parking lot, I started to run. The cool breeze pushed me along, helping me gain speed. Faster and faster I ran, like an Olympic athlete. Tears rolling down my face, I raced forward, but where was the Canyon? I couldn’t see anything. I was disappointed. After all this time, had I expected too much of it?
I stopped so suddenly, I almost fell on my face. I was frozen with fear. Even though the Canyon brink was twenty feet away, I was terrified that I would fall into the vast abyss.
Shaky and dizzy I reached down and felt the solid ledge I was standing on, but still could not move.
The wind gently nudged me. I became aware of Gregg standing next to me.
"Ma", he said, "If you don’t go to the edge, you might as well be looking at the picture in your bedroom. You’ll never forgive yourself - this is your dream."
He placed his arm tightly around my shoulder and guided me to the rim. Despite Gregg’s illness, I could feel the loving assurance and strength in his arm. Together we inched forward and looked into the glorious depths of the Grand Canyon.
It was as if a giant shovel had reached down from heaven and scooped out a portion of Arizona. The dark rain clouds, created heavy shadows, muting the pink, orange and purple colors of the cliffs. It started to rain. The Colorado River looked like a thin brown ribbon weaving in and out through the tremendous mesas and curiously shaped buttes. There was no sound. Only a great stillness and a sense of height. I took a deep breath and smelled the sweet wildflowers. I thought how lucky they were to be living in such a wondrous place. It was more than I had imagined. No book, no photograph, nothing had prepared me for this spectacular experience. It’s no wonder they call the Canyon Grand. We both were aware of sharing this special and unique moment. The timelessness of the Canyon paralleled the enduring bond between Gregg and me.
Three months later, Gregg passed away. The photograph I had taken of him precariously near the Canyon edge is the picture I have given everyone as a memento.
Now each morning, when I look at the precious birthday gift from long ago, not only do I see the Grand Canyon, but I also see, my dear one, Gregg.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Can You Explain This?

February , 1992
I enrolled to take a one day workshop at the North Shore Community College in Beverly. The course was named "Teachings from Spirit Guides." I paid $37 and waited for a confirmation.
When the confirmation arrived in the mail, there were two envelopes. One was for me and the other one was addressed to Gregg. It showed that he had been enrolled in the same course as me! When I went to the class I told the teacher that it was impossible for him to be enrolled in the class, and she showed me that she had Gregg’s name on her list as a paid student.
The following day I telephoned the school and told them he had passed away about 7 months before the school catalog had been printed. There was no way that he could have enrolled himself in that class . They insisted he must have enrolled without telling me. I said there had to be paper work, who paid for the class? where was the check? They told me they had no check from him and couldn’t find any paperwork.... and they couldn’t explain it.