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Messages: Signs, Visits, and Premonitions from Loved Ones Lost on 9/11 is #15 on the NYT bestseller’s list.  Congratulations, Bonnie McEneaney!  I encourage everyone to read this book.

Oddly, I picked up another book I’ve had awhile, and had read half of it and put it down.  I guess I wasn’t ready for it, because I barely remembered reading the first time.  Maybe I bought it used and someone else had dog-eared it at that spot.  Have I mentioned I am not a detail person?  I will remember loving something I read but not remember details about it?  Like all the Nancy Drew books of my childhood, except the names Nancy, George & Bess, and the color “titian blonde”?

Anyhow, this book is by a woman named Dianne Arcangel.  It’s called Afterlife EncountersArcangel is a former psychotherapist and hospital chaplain, and has worked with Elizabeth Kubler Ross.  Arcangel studied afterlife encounters for years and wrote this book, which is interesting and inspiring.

My husband shared this experience with me (and gave me permission to blog about it).  As many of you know, he lost his wife suddenly when she was 33 of cardia arrythymia.  We met and married later; I didn’t know either of them before.  He has shared with me a few of her visits over the years.  I’m pretty sure I’ve seen her, I know I’ve felt her.  Our son saw her, and she was wearing the dress she was buried in.  He was 2 when she passed and didn’t attend her funeral.  I’ve never doubted her comforting, protective presence in our lives.  I told him last night (probably thought of it because I’m reading about afterlife encounters) that he should write down these experiences, but after he told me a few things he hadn’t shared before, (or had and I forgot) I knew he would never forget them.

I thought this one was so cool.  Tim felt like her death opened up many spiritual doors for him.  He believed all things were possible before, and even more so after she passed.  As all people who have experienced traumatic loss know, he was going through his own personal hell after she passed.  He’s always read the Bible, classics, etc., but he started reading some of the Christian mystics and other spiritual books as well.  About 6 months after her death, he was reading  Proverbs 31, about “the capable wife”.  Now, Tim doesn’t mark or highlight much in books.  He’s big on small post-its, and they fill his Bible and many other books he reads.  If he does highlight, it’s very neatly, usually with a green highlighter.  He showed me a place in his Bible where he had highlighted.  Anyhow, as he was reading in Proverbs 31, he came upon verse 25: 25Strength and  dignity are her clothing,  And she smiles at the future.  The part I wrote in blue was underlined in pencil.  Tim knew he didn’t do it.  He knew Denise did it, and it brought him great comfort.

That is the overall theme of afterlife encounters, based on the 2 books I’ve read above.   Frequently, the purpose is to bring comfort when someone is in crisis or transition.  I’ve always believed in an afterlife.  I don’t really know what it looks, sounds or smells like, but I find things I read about it very comforting and inspirational.  Historically, culture has a lot to do with how death and the afterlife are represented and regarded.  I think now we are still in a Victorian or even older cycle of being very afraid of death and an afterlife that can’t be defined adequately for many.

Friday I read a book about the murder and eventual discovery of the murderer of Chandra Levy.  It’s written by 2 WaPo reporters named Scott Higham & Sari Horwitz.  It is very comprehensive and informative.  It’s called Finding ChandraIt was a quick, well written read.  I never read anything about it before.  Like many others, I was obsessed with her disappearance and the bizarre media spectacle of Gary Condit, which was eventually overshadowned by 9/11.

I finished Andrew Young’s The Politician.  I found it fascinating.  I also found it hilarious because of some of the behavior of the people involved, but also because I listened to it on tape and the reader’s intonations made some of the actions of the characters laugh-out-loud funny to me.  This book on tape provided a plethora of levity during a very stressful couple of weeks!  I got 2 more books on tape– Jon Krakauer’s book about Pat Tillman and the coverup of his death.  I like Krakauer’s work.  I’ve been reading him ever since his Everest book.  I also got a book on tape called Father Joe, the Man Who Saved My Soul, by Tony Hendra.  It’s a memoir.

I think my next books on tape may be fiction.  I checked for books by Pat Conroy or William Styron, didn’t find them at my library but maybe I’ll find at another branch.

Ciao for now!

by Bonnie McEneaney.

I read this book last week & it was great.  Here is a link to it on Amazon.  As I said before, my friend has been telling me about this book for months, and I’m so happy to finally read it.  I do have to give to Amazon.  They ship it in time for me to receive it on the day a book comes out.  This has happened every time I pre-ordered a book.  I do Amazon Prime, which gives me free 2 day shipping on everything (besides 3rd party vendors), so it’s worth the money.  And I’m always willing to pay a little extra for convenience!

Here is an excerpt from the book.   I will leave you again with another photo from my Manteo trip this past weekend.

My perfect hibiscus shot

First, I finished the fabulous book The Forever War, by Dexter Filkins.  I can’t say enough good things about this book.  I feel like his view is very balanced, not too emotional, but really gets you inside the heads of a lot of fighters.  It also gives us a good visual image of what people encounter in Iraq.  It’s sad, without being sentimental.

This weekend I read The Hot Zone by Richard Preston.  It was about the introduction of the Ebola virus into the US in the late 1980’s, via a company that procured & sold monkeys for research in Reston, VA.  It was very interesting.  This outbreak was fortunate in that the Ebola, which looked exactly like Ebola-Zaire (which is deadly to humans 90% of the time) did not make any humans sick.  There is also Ebola-Sudan.  Now, there is Ebola-Reston, which has recurred a few times in the U.S. & abroad.

I also got a book that has all the true crime elements I love-rich family, madness, greed, murder.  It’s called At Mother’s RequestIt was written in the 80’s by Jonathan Colemen.  I’m about half-way through.  It’s quite long and, I must admit, drags at times.   I can’t believe I haven’t ever read this before.  I don’t even remember it.  There was another book written about it by Shana Alexander, I believe.   This one will probably be enough for me.

Meanwhile, yesterday I woke up with a rhyming verse on my lips, saying it.  I immediately forgot it, but I really must get back into my poetry.  It is very grounding for me.  I’ve been very busy (reading, obviously!) and doing some volunteer work.

Today, I received a book that actually came out today called Messages: Signs, Visits, and Premonitions from Loved Ones Lost on 9/11 by a lovely lady named Bonnie McEneaney.  She is a friend of one of my dear friends, Stephanie, (who really needs to update her website! : )  She’s been telling me about it for awhile, and it is wonderful.  I started it this evening and it is very inspiring.  I recommend it for anyone, but especially anyone who has a strong connection with 9/11, for whatever reason.  I also recommend for anyone dealing with grief.  If you know my history, you know grief has been a big part of my family because the boys lost their Mommy (and Tim, his wife) when they were 2 & 5.  I have never, ever doubted that she is around and looking over them and protecting them.  Anyhow, I recommend this book!!

So, that’s what I’ve been up to the past week, among other things.  I’ve been making lots of greeting cards, and I’ll leave you with a picture of one.

I apologize in advance if you receive this card from me as a ty note.