Miracle One: “Two and Two”: The Psychic(s) and Life After Death Question

IB Publisher Jody Glynn Patrick blends work and life in this very clear departure from both her column for In Business magazine, and the other bloggers. Awarded national recognition for her previous work as a newspaper columnist, she brings us all back "Closer to Home" with her insights and remembrances. A nice place to be "After Hours." Check back often! Read Full Bio

[Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a three-part series. A strong believer in miracles, Jody is posting a different and unique miracle from her life in each of these segments.]

I wrote about a child’s death last week, and it certainly isn’t a topic I want to write about with any regularity. However… it’s only right, when I list the miracles in my life, that the most potent one – and therefore most important one – is listed first. And that miracle begins and ends with Daniel.

My son Daniel died when he was 16. He was my firstborn and he’s now been physically absent longer than he was here. You can’t know how strange that is for me even to contemplate, because there is a difference between getting over shock and getting over disbelief.

At the time of his death, I was a police crisis interventionist who, among other duties, did the death notifications for all shifts of a suburban Milwaukee police department. I also wrote a Greater Milwaukee area newspaper column titled “Person to Person” that was a lot like this blog – up close and personal. Two weeks before Daniel died, I had written a column about his new driver’s license, admitting it made me crazy with worry because he was still so young and inexperienced. The fact that he was adamant about organ donation moderated my concern a little, I reflected, because that was such an adult decision. Maybe, I concluded, I should practice the Serenity Prayer and loosen the apron strings a little.

If I were a superstitious person, I’d be afraid to ever write another word, since he died in a single-car accident two weeks after that column was published (loose gravel on a country road). But I’m not superstitious. I’m spiritual.

So where is a miracle in all of this?

The First Sign

Many years later, my husband Kevin accompanied me on one of my many pilgrimages to Daniel’s burial place in Galesburg, Illinois. Because Daniel’s favorite color was blue and his favorite flower was a rose, it remains a family custom to leave blue plastic roses in the vase on his grave to mark our visits.

That’s how it happened that Kevin and I went to a Galesburg Wal-Mart, where we found the expected floral display – a tall, free-standing four-sided vertical box with flowers in the slots up all the sides of it. Unfortunately, what we didn’t find was a blue rose. Ivy was a second choice, but we couldn’t find that, either. We must have walked around the cluttered display four or five times; I was quite frustrated and dismayed that I couldn’t fulfill the tradition. In a separate aisle, I finally did locate some ivy in a big planter vase, but it wasn’t suitable for my purpose.

Finally, after a little prodding from my husband, I agreed to settle for a handful of blue daisies from the rack. I don’t remember my exact words… probably something like “this really sucks” as I plucked them from the wall. But my husband was his usual kind self as he insisted the type of flower didn’t matter nearly as much as the visit.

“It all matters to me,” I muttered, angry even though I knew it was my own fault for not hunting for the right flower before leaving Madison. Why was I so sure I’d find it in Galesburg? (Because I always had, perhaps?)

As we turned away from the floral display, something fluttered in my peripheral vision. I felt compelled to look back, and to my amazement, a long sprig of ivy now laid on the floor, seemingly having just fallen there of its own volition.

“That is really weird,” Kevin mused aloud. “But ivy?” He looked up and quipped, “Are you kidding me, Daniel? If you can do that, why not a blue rose?”

“I must have knocked this out when pulling out the other flowers,” I said, bending to retrieve the ivy. “But it is really weird that we didn’t”—

And at that exact, precise moment, a blue rose fell forward above my head, separating itself from all of the red flowers in the same slot.

No other blue flowers were on that side of the display, either.

For the first time in our marriage, Kevin and I jointly were speechless. It was a moment of breathtaking incredulity that must be akin to winning a lottery. It was simply impossible, yet… it was what it was… a blue rose.

You might think the blue rose is the miracle I intended to write about. Surely we thought it to be a major omen at the time, but it was only an omen. A first sign. The miracle would come later, after yet another sign.

The Second Sign

The strangeness of the event did, however, open my husband’s mind to the possibility of energy surviving physical death. For many of us, such a thought is a huge leap of faith. For some people I know, it runs counter to faith. My own belief system has no problem “crossing over” to that conclusion, as (remember) I had been involved with death work for a long time. In previous jobs (manager of the Chicago Ronald McDonald House and director of WIU’s Crisis Hotline), I also had been with children and adults who had recounted near death experiences to me. I was no stranger to the belief of a soul surviving the body.

But nothing quite prepared us for the next challenge – or confirmation.

Friend Donna Gray was asked to critique a new book for bookreview.com for its New Age genre. Author Suzane Northrop had earned great acclaim as “the psychic’s psychic” because John Edward, a famous medium with the television program Crossing Over was among her tutelage. Suzane was to appear in St. Louis, Missouri the coming week, her closest rendezvous with Madison that year.

“Why don’t you write an author interview to go along with the book review?” Donna suggested. “Road trip! We could go to St. Louis and meet her! It might be fun.”
Why not?

Road Trip!

I contacted bookreview.com for the assignment, and Donna handled all the trip details. “Northrop’s people” agreed to the personal interview and gave us the secret name she was listed under at a downtown St. Louis hotel. We promised our husbands a riverboat gambling trip and a good dinner to lure them in, thinking it would be a lark at best, and that Northrop would be a sham at worst. So we hit the highway in search of a latest adventure. (We often travel together and it is always an adventure).

Despite all the hype in the press at the time about Suzane’s abilities, Donna and I decided that the medium – sitting in a drab hotel room without makeup or assistants, nursing a glass of red wine, answering perfunctory questions that she’d obviously answered hundreds of times before – was nothing spectacular. Most interesting was that she was royally ticked off because some lunatics had called a local radio station with death threats, proclaiming her to be a channel for the devil.

“And you people wonder why all the psychic mediums live in New York instead of the Bible Belt,” she said. [Actually, her real quote had lots of swear words in it.]

I was disappointed – not in the swearing, but because a psychic didn’t know what to expect before coming. She also wasn’t as, well… different as I’d hoped. She didn’t wear cool jewelry or bright colored gypsy scarves or even have an enigmatic smile. She was just a regular person wearing a nondescript outfit who drove a four-wheel drive jeep to all of her gigs across the country because she was bugged by the hassles of flying.

And yes, we did wonder why it was that she and John Edward and the two other headliner psychics popular at the time (James Van Praagh and George Anderson) were tied to Long Island.

“Is it something in the water?”

She smirked. Turns out she’d heard that question hundreds of times before, too. I didn’t think we impressed her any more than she was impressing us, so it was a surprise when, as Donna and I gathered our tape recorders and started for the door, Suzane suddenly offered four complimentary seats in the reserved section at her sold-out evening performance. “You have to come,” she pressed. “I want to see you when I walk out on that stage.”

Okay…. But there were still husbands to convince.

“We think maybe the Bible Belt will crash the show to stage a Devil protest,” we suggested to them. (Yes, we offered up the potential for chaos or live wrestling to get them to go along). However, as bereaved mothers, Donna and I probably both privately harbored some hope that we’d get something we needed out of it. She had never gotten any signs of an afterlife after her son David, 33, died. At least, she hadn’t gotten a message as clear as the blue rose. And I can admit I wished for another blue rose.

The show followed a typical protocol. Suzane began with an explanation of a “medium” and then offered a guided meditation for participants. Following that, she did “readings”. She began to speak rapidly as she called out clues to audience members, asking who “owned” a particular energy. What wasn’t typical of such productions, however, was her specificity. Although she has been tested for psychic abilities in university studies, and consistently scores in the highest bracket for intuitive knowledge (imagine a batter who hits 300 most games), the things she said that night were nonetheless unsettling.

“Who owns an Uncle Frank, who hung himself in the back yard?” for example. That’s pretty specific. Not like “Who lost a loved one whose name begins with ‘G’?”.

A woman stood up, crying. She must have placed stooges in the audience, I thought. This has to be a sham. That, or group hysteria or hypnosis. Maybe the woman THINKS she had an Uncle Frank now….

"I have a Betty here." We were nearing the end of the program when Suzanne announced, “I have a Betty now. This Betty only planted gladiolas in her garden. No other flowers. Only gladiolas. Who in this audience owns Betty?”

My husband raised his hand as his face drained of all color. “That’s my mother,” Kevin confirmed in a surprised voice, standing. “It’s all she ever planted.”

Now it was my turn to feel the blood rush out my head. I didn’t know that weird fact about Betty. But my husband was no stooge for Suzane Northrop! (That I did know.)

“She didn’t come to talk to you,” Northrop stated, all but dismissing him. “She came to open the door to bring through two sons.” And with that, she crossed the room to where we sat conspicuously in the front of the room.

In the next few minutes, she told us that Donna’s son was named for his father (David Sr.). She said he was onstage standing by a microphone, like he was telling jokes, and she reported that he was talking about the movie business and about a large collection of keys. She threw facts at us faster than we could catch them. “And he says he opened in Las Vegas,” Northrop said. “What does all that mean?”

David Sr. had a look on his face that I’ll never forget. But he managed to speak: “He was a comedian who had just made a movie. And he was a Second City comedian who opened for some big stars in Vegas.”

“The keys were a family joke.” Donna was unable to stand to face the audience as Northrop requested. She was shook up, but she added, “He traveled and was always locking himself out. We had made several copies of the keys for his house. Everyone in the family had a set.”

Suzane turned away from Donna to repeat the words for the audience, who applauded the confirmation.

Then she turned back to us. “The other son had a mother who had four children,” she proclaimed. “Two and two.” She held up two fingers on one hand and then turned her hand, indicating four children total. “Two boys and two girls.”

This can't really be happening, I thought.
My heart beat even faster, if that was even possible.

“This son,” she added, looking right at me, “is showing me his mother wearing a headdress of some kind. A wrap. A covering over her head. He says to the man with her, the man by your side” [she pointed to me and then to Kevin] “‘thank you for taking care of my mother’.”

I had survived breast cancer since my son’s death, and had worn a scarf, turban or wig for many months. Because Kevin and I were married after Daniel’s death, it also would have been appropriate to use those words for Daniel to express his gratitude to Kevin for being my caregiver. Daniel was that kind of a thoughtful kid, too…. an unusually thoughtful child….

But wait a minute… I thought. My hair is still super short because of ongoing therapy – could she make a reasonable conclusion from that? Would she have a way to know I’m a cancer survivor? Yes, maybe … if she Googled….

Northrop interrupted my thoughts, continuing her hurried report: “He says his mother was worried about the hot air balloon, but he wants you to know, he was there. You asked him, and he went in the hot air balloon, too.”

Oh my god, I thought. This can’t really be happening. This can’t be real!

After Daniel’s death, my father offered my other son, Philip, then seven years old, a ride in a hot air balloon. I’m petrified of heights and I didn’t want him to accept the birthday gift. Philip called me “a meannie” and Dad called me “overprotective,” so I caved in. As the balloon soared, I mentally begged my angel Daniel to protect his little brother. I asked him to be there, and to keep his brother safe. “Please, please!” I had begged.

“He says you are known in your family for your mega albums,” Suzane added, snapping back my attention. “What’s that mean?”

I blanked out. It meant nothing to me.

“She scrapbooks,” Kevin offered. “She’s made over 30 albums for the family.”

I prayed she would stop. I mean it. It was wonderful, but I couldn’t process any more. It was just too much. I felt naked in a room full of strangers.

 

"Two and Two"

However, she had one more message: “He says he will appear to you again, to take away all your doubt,” Northrop said. “He says not to spend your money looking for him; the message will be delivered to you. You will know the message is real because a true medium will give you this sign very clearly” – here she held up two fingers again, and again she rotated her wrist to displayed two fingers again. “Two and two,” she confirmed. “There will be no ambiguity in the message. Two boys, two girls. Always two and two.”

With that, I think she closed the show, though I can’t remember for sure now. Everything after that last pronouncement was less important. When we left the room, not one of us ever imaged we would be able to sleep again because we were so mystified and charged up. Yet we didn’t want to talk about it, either. We ordered coffee in the hotel bar and then couldn’t even finish that before leaving. It was all just too much. Too much.

Still, that evening wasn’t the miracle. I thought it was at the time, but now I recognize it as only the second sign of the real miracle, which was delivered, as promised, about two weeks later.

The MiracleDonna called to inform us that the medium John Edward was being televised live on Larry King. Instead of allowing Edward to walk through the audience and select his target, as was the custom on Edward’s Crossing Over television program, King had pre-selected people (winners of different affiliated radio program promotions) in different studios all over the nation. He was going to test Edward himself by having them far from his direct influence. Both the interviewee and Edward would wear headsets and microphones; although the television viewing audience could see the interviewee on television, Edward could not.

We turned it on to watch, too. The King show was impressive, with cameras at remote sites to bring close-ups of the people selected to get the “messages” via phone.

I looked at Kevin, sitting in his chair. “This is a live broadcast,” I reminded. “Wouldn’t it be a hoot if Daniel came through again, this time with John Edward?”

We had a good-natured laugh together. “He could,” Kevin agreed. “And if you’d been picked for the show, he sure would. We already know he inherited your strong will.”

The cameras locked in on the next interviewee; John Edward was in one studio, she was sequestered in another.

They were getting along until he said, “I feel the presence of a young man killed in a car accident.”

“No….” she said. “I don’t believe that’s for me.”

“He dies of injuries right here,” he said, pointing to his neck with a chopping motion.

It was his first miss on air, but a dead-on hit with us. Daniel’s neck had been broken in the car accident.

“He wants to talk to his mother,” Edward persisted.

“I’m here, Daniel,” I murmured. Kevin laughed with me, but we were both a little freaked out.

“I don’t know who you mean,” the woman protested. “There’s no one I know like that.”

“He said his mother had four children,” Edward answered. He held up two fingers on one hand and flipped his wrist. “Two and two. Two boys and two girls.”

Seconds later, our phone rang.

“Oh, my God,” Donna breathed.

Yes. Oh my God and his sweet angel.

It is what it is.Since that program, Kevin and I accompanied Donna and Dave to interview the Ghost Whisperer’s James Van Praagh for bookreview.com when he was in Chicago and we saw Northurp again, too. A famous English psychic named Kevin told me, during another bookreview.com interview, that he saw me in front of a big microphone addressing thousands of people – he interpreted that to mean a radio show.

“No way,” I said. “I’m in print. Maybe you meant that. I write for thousands of people.”

He said, “No. I don’t mean that. You already know that. I definitely see radio. I see airwaves.”

Can you imagine?! I laughed with my friend, Tammy Rozek, about it afterwards. I told her I thought he was a fake, and we both thought the radio thing was a real hoot! [Seems I owe him an apology now, since a year later, I did the first of over 600 radio shows…..]

And at a memorable psychic fair party thrown by Hiebing for 400 of the company’s best friends, a gypsy (she had the outfit to prove it) said I had two collections in my house that suggested I had been a nun in a prior life. I have to admit, I found that idea even more absurd than the radio idea. But when I later told Kevin, he pointed out that I have 23 crosses hung on our kitchen wall and 21 Willow angles in the display case – my only two collections.

“You had psychic amnesia,” Kevin said kindly, wise now in the lingo because I’ve dragged him to all of those shows. “It happens all the time. Psychics hate that.”

I’ve been told I’m “easy to read” because a deceased grandmother (my beloved Nana) and a pervasive male energy (you know who) supposedly speaks to psychics on my behalf.
But now I feel I should say (I’ll put this in capital letters like I’m shouting): I’M NOT SUGGESTING THAT YOU GO PSYCHIC-CHASING TO FIND DEAD RELATIVES.
I don’t go myself anymore. I don’t need to. I know what I know.

Like a blue rose, sometimes it just is what it is.

Click here for Miracle Number Two.