I recently took a poll to see what anyone wanted to hear about on my blog since I am mostly dazed and confused and cannot concentrate worth a damn lately. The overwhelming majority of you wanted to hear the story about my brother's ghost. So, I will tell it. It does need a little background for it to have the full impact, so I'll give that to you briefly. Also, I did email many people in my family about it the night it happened because I couldn't sleep. Since it is a really strong part of the punch for me, I left it in there. I colored the text purple so that it wouldn't be too confusing what with changing voices and all... I thought it would make more sense to you that way. Also, I changed most of the names in the story except my brother's. (Not that it matters, but...) Ok, so here goes...
BACKSTORY-- .My family has been semi famous in certain circles for a very long time... Not so much anymore because all of the famous ones have died and not many people remember them anymore, unless you go to S. Florida. My dad was a musician. He and my uncle had a musical comedy trio that toured for years and some TV shows like, the Mike Douglas show and etc... WAAAY back in the day. They finally settled in S FL to raise their fams and quit touring. They were quite the big deal in Miami Beach for years. Oddly I googled them one evening because I was missing them, and I found a blog post about one of their albums and re-posted it HERE on my blog back in May. --- I have 3 brothers. One of whom passed away from pancreatic cancer back in '99. I moved back down to S FL at that time to help him through the chemo and to be closer to him. Ray was also VERY famous or infamous however you see it, in S. FL because he wrote for the Ft. Lauderdale News for decades. He started out in sports, then entertainment and finally did a LifeStyle column 3 days a week. He was well loved and when he became sick, we could hardly keep up with all the mail and notices of prayer circles and well wishes and stories of how his writing has helped in some way or has been a big part of (insert person)'s life for so many years, ect...Ok, that's the short version, but it's enough to make the story I'm about to tell you make sense.
Now, more recently, my husband, Marc, got a job with our local PD's office. He adores it. It is a laid back department and most, if not all of the people who work there are VERY liberal, like minded and super cool. (Lots of old hippies, you get the picture?) The people who work at this office have a tradition of getting together once a month on the Friday just prior to payday, they call it Final Friday (As you may recall, I recent'y blogged about that too: FINAL FRIDAY). It's a family affair, and it is also where I felt my brother's presence. This is where the actual story takes place.
FLASH FORWARD TO THE FF PARTY: Not long after we arrived, I moved outside to the porch area and took a seat. Griffin was playing with other kiddos, Marc was talking (I know, shocker!) and I was just enjoying the background noises and a cold beer on my own. Most of the others people were migrating through the porch area between smoking outside, and going inside to munch or get cooled off So, I'm sitting there, when this family arrives. One of the attorneys, we'll call her Bonnie, brought her parents. Her mom walked onto the porch drinking a YooHoo.... As soon as I saw the Yoo Hoo bottle, I could hear my brother Ray saying "I could really suck the balls off a Yoohoo right now"! (He said this when he was undergoing chemo for Pancreatic cancer in '99) I sort of snickered to myself at this memory, because, well, it was so classic Ray... Anyway, the lady, who we will call Martha, sat in the chair nearest me, Yoohoo in hand, so naturally we struck up a conversation.
I thought about saying how my brother used to like those... or whatever, but I didn't want explain that my brother was deceased and go through all that stuff, I mean, we just met. So I just said something like Wow, Yoohoo, don't see those much anymore. I used to love that stuff"! We chatted about Yoohoo for a while, then we moved on to other topics. She and her hub are travelling the US in their car, so they have lots of great stories about quirky stuff they've seen and great food they've eaten along the way. While we're chatting away, and Martha's daughter, Bonnie, (the attorney), comes by and tells us of a "dress malfunction" she's just had. I won't go into it, but it was kind of funny... reminded me of times it's happened to me... All of a sudden Bonnie looks over at me and she says, "Did you used to work at CABO'S? (A local restaurant) "Yes I did I said. Followed by my usueal apology: "Please tell me I wasn't mean to you! I was in a very bad mood for about 10 years once and I could be pretty grouchy back then". She says: "No no no, I get it now, you're Ray Recchi's sister"! I was like HOLY SHIT! in my mind anyway... How does Cabo's equate with being Ray's sister? And who in the hell was she and how did she know this??? Hmmmmmm...? So, she tells me that her brother Michael used to be good friends with my nephew (Ray's son), and they were in gifted together... Wow, I know most of my nephew's friends, but I'm not coming up with a Micheal... I racked my pea brain trying to think of who this kid was/is, and I could NOT for the life of me remember him. sigh.
So, of course they asked about Joe and the rest of the fam, etc... then Martha told me that she raised her children as a single parent, and that she really appreciated the way Ray took an interest in Micheal.. and that he was really good to him. She was tearing up as she said this. Martha, Pat's hub and Tracey all expressed to me how much they loved Ray and missed him. Yea, me too. ME TOO! They began to look at me differently, like I was some one really dear and special, like an old friend they just recognized. It was sort of sweet.
So, as per usual, I get home, and I'm lying in bed thinking about the whole thing and how odd it all was.... and it hit me... she was talking about MIKE!!! DOH! I can't believe I didn't put that together, Micheal/Mike, but I did not. So, I feel a little badly that they think I don't remember Mike, because I so do! I'm just dull with connecting the dots somehow.
Now, you must realize that I come from pretty pragmatic stock, science is king kind of thing. There's been really no belief, religion or talk about anything that cannot be proven scientifically... but over the years, I've changed. I do believe that God/the Universe AND the dead are real and they do speak to us... or they speak anyway. Only they use symbols or pictures/images, like the subconscious,. This makes the "Yoohoo" really important in my book. There were many cosmic messages for me from that little encounter.... and I thought there maybe one or two for some of you also. Maybe for you, the message is just "YOOHOO"! or "Hello, I'm thinking of you" or maybe it is deeper. It's always very individual. One of the messages that I always get when someone remembers Ray or my dad or the uncs is: "Remember who you are, where you come from and the people you are part of, whose blood runs in your veins too". This is always an especially good message when I'm feeling insignificant and unmotivated or need to cowboy up. It makes me remember all the intense passion and fire, and smarts and tenacity, and creativity and talent that runs in our family. How fully they lived and still do...and what a strong impact they made in the lives of others. Suddenly I feel a surge of energy running through me, and I'm proud to be me and part of them, and this, and you.
The thing is that I don't think the message was just for me. It was coming through me, or to me, to take what I need and to pass on to everyone else so they can get what they need. So, take whatever you want from it, but if nothing else, Ray told me to give everyone a big"YOOHOO"!!!!!!!!!!