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  • Cat Ward

AFTER-DEATH COMMUNICATION (?)

I'm going off track from what will be my usual type of topics, friends. And I'm going to share a very personal story with you. I won't often do this- in fact this may be one of the last times I do so, before I move on to the many, many other things that capture my attention, and my curiosity. I do feel this to be a story that's important to tell, though, as in order for you to get to know me, you do need to hear a little about the experiences that have shaped me..and also, I feel it relevant because some of you may perhaps have had similar experiences in life yourselves, but may be reluctant to mention them. Don't be. You're not alone!

This is partly the story of the loss of a very much loved family member, and a dear friend- my Stepfather, Theo..and it's also the story behind the reason why I sometimes wonder if he might be reminding me that he's still around- this despite my tendency towards rationality or critical thinking, and my uncertainty as to what happens when we leave this physical realm.


My Stepfather- and my friend- Theo


As I've said before, I don't necessarily have any set belief system regarding the paranormal these days- I've read too much, and considered too much, from differing viewpoints. I'm what you might call a "fence-sitter" regarding my mindset- I think there's something, perhaps several somethings, going on beyond the realm discerned and governed by our regular senses, but I can never say with absolute certainty what those "somethings" may be.

I take into account as many different (and often contradictory) viewpoints regarding what is commonly termed the paranormal as I can read about, and the possibilities that those viewpoints present, and I consider them all..but I also question them too.

One thing that started me down the road I'm on, (and which I'm sure has likewise done so for many others in this field too) and which has led me from my beginnings as a "ghost-hunter", to then developing further into becoming an investigator, and then further, to my current point as a writer and researcher, are my own personal experiences.

I've had many- from the time I was a small child to the present day, and they've all left me with questions..and after all, isn't that a positive, that wish to learn more and seek answers? Isn't it the questions we have, and the answers we seek to those, that often set us on our journey, and also often keep us on it too?

Since my stepfather left this existence, I've had a few personal experiences that, despite my nonexistent (or at the very least uncertain) belief system, still make me question what's going on..

Is it Theo "saying hello", and thus what's termed "after death communication"?

Or am I perhaps misinterpreting something that could be just as easily explained as random chance, coincidence..or is it perhaps something else, something self-created and perception-based?

Just by way of explanation, after death communication (ADC) is defined as "a spiritual experience that occurs when someone is contacted directly and spontaneously by a family member or friend who has died". The phenomenon existed long before it was defined by its current name. It's been estimated that up to 20% of the U.S. population has experienced some form of ADC..and that figure- of course- doesn't account for those in other countries who may have had similar experiences..including here in Australia- and (possibly) including me.

Back to my own strange tale though, friends..

I was nine years old when Theo and my Mother were married- and I wasn't there when they were wed- my Mother had placed me in the custody of my (adopted) father when I was eight, and moved to Queensland with Theo. I didn't see them again for three years, although I kept in touch with my Mother via letters.

Theo was previously a member of the "communication circle" that my Mother held, so I actually met him when I was about six or seven, but to me he was at that point merely a fascinating and vibrant person, full of knowledge of the type I had always been drawn to, given my proclivity towards the occult and the paranormal.

As my Mother and Theo grew closer, I of course got to know him too.

I was a precocious child- "very intelligent but talks too much" was a commonly mentioned term in many school reports from my early years! I was a "straight-A" student, but always talkative, always questioning..(I guess some things never change!)..and this was, I think, mainly due to my thirst for knowledge, of the type I couldn't find in ordinary schooling.

Theo treated me as a friend despite our age difference- he was thirteen years younger than my Mother, and thirteen years older than me, but he somehow recognised that I was perhaps not an average kid..and thus he shared what he had learned with me about the occult and the paranormal- that which he felt I'd be able to grasp at my young age anyway.

This is where the hard part comes into it- and it's also the part where I may end up shedding a tear or two in relating it..an early memory, all to do with a song. This song has become important to me in the years since Theo died, although I had forgotten about it for many years previous, as I grew and left my childhood behind, and it was many years before I thought about it again.

I remember where I first heard that song very clearly, though..I was sitting in the back seat of Theo's very elderly car, he in the driver's seat, both of us waiting for my mother to come out from what was then my family home. That song came on the radio- it's one from the 80's and may seem cheesy to some, but it holds a special place in my heart to this day.

That song is by a band called Mr. Mister, and it's called "Kyrie".

One of the main lyrics in that song is "Kyrie elaison", which when translated from Greek means "Lord have mercy". Theo's father was Greek, and he understood a little of that language, hence he was able to explain the meaning of those particular lyrics to me. The whole song is quite esoteric, and quite metaphoric. But I digress..

Theo was the one who explained the meaning of those words to me, on that long-ago day..and I never forgot that moment, although the song was lost to my memory for a long time.

When Theo suffered what would prove to be be a fatal a heart attack in my family home 13 years ago I was present, although I was asleep in the bedroom I shared with my partner at the time. I saw the immediate aftermath- in fact I tried to help save him..but that needn't be gone into, as this piece is not about what happened back then.

There is a lot of personal significance for me in that song, "Kyrie", as I mentioned earlier..I wanted that song to be played at Theo's funeral, as the lyrics are not only resonant with some of his beliefs, but also because the song itself holds strong memories for me..like that long-ago day when I was a small child in the back seat of an elderly Datsun..

Due to the religious beliefs of his parents, Theo was given a Greek Orthodox funeral. I never got to play "Kyrie" to farewell him. This piece is more about that which has happened since that time, though..and about what makes me wonder if he may sometimes still be present, and may still show up via a "message", often when it seems I'm at a low point and need the support of loved ones the most.

I'm what you may call an "open-minded sceptic"..a fence-sitter, as I mentioned earlier. I'm very observant, very aware of the effects of perception and belief upon experiences..I don't necessarily feel I have a set belief system, and I feel that's the best place for me to be..

And yet some things do still make me wonder..

There have been a few unusual instances worthy of mentioning here, and the first of them occurred about a month after Theo's life-support was turned off, and he was declared dead. I was at that point in time living in my family home, and on that particular night was nearly asleep, my partner sleeping soundly beside me. Our two cats were asleep too, but in other parts of the house.

The bedroom door was closed, as was the window..My partner and myself had earlier been watching movies, and eating chips, and a nearly empty chip packet lay beside the bed, on the side where my partner slept. As I dozed off, a loud noise brought me back to wakefulness..the crinkling of that chip packet. I was immediately alert again (I'm a very light sleeper), and wondered if it was one of the cats..but they were elsewhere, and the bedroom door was closed still. I looked over at my partner, but he was sound asleep, all limbs tucked under the blankets.

I lay back down..and the same noise happened again about a minute later..my initial response then, the first words that came out of my mouth, without my consciously intending them, were "Theo? is that you?"

I do sometimes still wonder if it was him, as it was early in the morning on Friday the 13th (of September)..and knowing how much Theo knew of my passion for the paranormal, and given too his knowledge of the occult and also the superstitions surrounding it, and also his great sense of humour, it would have been a perfect time for him to have played a prank!

There have been a few occasions since where I have wondered if Theo may have been around..like the time where myself and my partner were part of a Melbourne Cup Day sweep and what was called a "poker run" by my partner's father's motorcycle tour group, which we got to be part of due to family association.

It was November, and about 15 months since Theo had died.

This "poker run" involved collecting a playing card at a location- 5 cards and 5 locations in total, all representing a poker hand. The person with the highest-value hand won. I don't know anything about poker- I've not ever played it!.. but on that day, somehow, I got what's called a "full house". I had to ask what that meant, such is my lack of knowledge of poker!

There was a cash prize involved with the poker run, and aside from that, there was also a cash prize involved with the two Melbourne Cup sweeps run.

In the car, on the way to our first destination earlier in the day, my partner and I had been discussing the entrants in the cup, and I mentioned that I liked a horse (its name was Dunedin) because its name sounded vaguely Scottish, and thus reminded me of my heritage..I know very little about horse-racing, I just liked the name!

Much later on, when we arrived at the final destination of the day, everyone drew a horse's name from a bag for the cup sweeps. Strangely enough, I drew Dunedin..

To cut an already long story short- I won. Everything. Both of the cup sweeps (Dunedin won the Cup that year), the poker run- the whole lot! I walked away from that day $700 richer than I'd been when the day began..

But most importantly, for purposes of relevance and context here, guess what song was first on the radio when I sat my astonished self down in the car to go home, and switched it on?

If you guessed "Kyrie", you'd be absolutely right. That song came on, and of course straight away I thought of Theo, and wondered if he'd had a hand in the day's events..and yes, I cried..tears of gratitude, and of remembrance too.

To say the least, it's an unusual series of coincidences!

I'm the type to always question everything when it comes to unusual or possibly paranormal experiences, especially any that I may have myself, as I'm all too aware of the role my own perceptions- or misperceptions- may play.

When speaking of unusual personal experiences, I've had many..but these that I've spoken of here are very close to my heart. They can't be quantified, of course- personal experiences never really can -but I'll still never forget them.

Nor will I forget Theo..or that song..and sometimes it seems that when I'm at my lowest- my most tired emotionally and physically, that song shows up, often at the most unexpected moments. Is it a message? Or is there another explanation, one based on random chance, perception, and misinterpretation?.. or is it perhaps an instance of Synchronicity? I can't say for sure, but I do wonder sometimes!

What do you think may have been behind the events I've related here? Have you had any experiences with what you feel may perhaps be messages from loved ones who are no longer present in this existence?

Feel free to tell me about them in comments- I'd love to hear your stories and experiences!