“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant… Now there are diversities of gifts but the same spirit.” 

1 Corinthians 12:1,4

The morning after our first date, I got a call from Drake at 6:30 am. I didn’t expect to hear from him again at all, much less the very next day! I figured he had heard about my crazy life, and he would decide never to contact me again. To be honest, I didn’t think he could handle my life at all. So, I was stunned to hear from him. 

He asked me if he could come over that morning on his way to work to say hello. How cute was that?! When he came by at 7:30 am, he asked if I wanted to go for a walk with him after he got off. I had a great time talking to him the night before, so I thought, “Sure, a walk will be nice.” Then he will for sure know there is no way we are even in the same league. Plus, my daughters would not be home, so it would be a relief not to be alone in my thoughts. 

Drake came by and picked me up at about 3:00 pm, and we went for a walk down the Jordan River path. It was scorching hot, and we both wished we had brought water with us. There weren’t very many people out because of the heat on that Sunday afternoon, so we found ourselves alone for a good two hours, maybe a little more.

Drake Journal Entry: “Well, I found someone. Her name is Charlotte. We met up for ice cream and spent 5 hours talking.”

As we walked, he told me about Lindsay’s superb ability to bake, especially pies, and all of her outstanding skills in the kitchen. She loved to eat as much as she loved to cook and she worked out hard to keep her amazing figure. He told me about her beauty inside and out. She had been a great mother and an incredible wife. There was a lot to learn as he shared story after story of family events where she had planned and cooked for everything. Lindsay was kind, enjoyed serving those around her, and loved everyone. She had a quiet yet snarky, sarcastic personality and her laugh was infectious. He said she always looked for the good in everyone she met and helped him be less judgmental. There were tales of the girl’s camps she had been on, neighborhood parties she planned, and family trips to Hawaii that were her favorite.

On their first date, at a dance, when he was introduced to her he thought she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen and he fell head over heels. While they danced he sang in her ear and she fell for him too. Only three months later he had asked her to marry him, before going away to basic training and military school. He was gone for 5 months, and she waited. They got married 2 weeks after he got back.

His favorite things about Lindsay was that she was so fun to be with and she made him laugh. She made him feel like the best husband in the world and made him a better man. They would be driving down the road and when she saw a police car she would holler, “It’s the fuzz!” And they would laugh. Her spontaneity kept him on his toes and he loved how she would plan everything or just drop everything and say, “Let’s go!” She brought true joy to his life and it showed. 

One day Drake came home and asked Lindsay what she was doing for the weekend. “Not much,” she said. “Pack your bags!” He said. “We are going to the beach!” She put her hands on her hips and said, “Beaches are nothing to joke about Drake. This is serious business.” Her sister came over to watch the kids and they went away for the weekend. They had a blast!

Lindsay loved loud music when she was cleaning or when they were just in the car going to the grocery store. Her favorite band was Little River Band, and just about all rock bands like Journey, Foreigner, Asia, all of the 80’s bands. 

Drake was obviously kind, loving, fun, and excited about life. He knew everything that would make Lindsay happy because she told him. More importantly, he paid attention and did those things. He wanted to be better for God, himself, and for her every day. He said it was his job in life to add to her happiness, and it was one of his favorite things to do.

Lindsay was incredible at caring for their children, home, and so many necessary things. Drake supported them in every way a good husband and father should. Together with Lindsay, they lived a content and peaceful life for the most part. Working together they raised five independent, kind children who are all uniquely different and immensely loved by both Drake and Lindsay. 

Journal Entry: “I am 6 months older than Lindsay. Their love was a very different love than I have ever felt.”

Four years earlier Lindsay had gotten cancer and lost eyesight in one of her eyes in the battle. For years they thought she had beat it but then pain in her stomach took them back to the doctor. While in the cancer institute a few weeks before she passed, Lindsay tried to help pick out a wife for Drake. “Hey, honey! See that girl over there running? That’s the kind of girl you need to find. A runner.” He told her he didn’t want to think or talk about anything like that. She said, “I still have one good eye, and I’m going to help you find a honey before I die.” 

Months of pain in her stomach were the results of cancer returning and raging through her entire body. After extensive tests, they were told there was nothing to be done. Drake took her home and lovingly cared for her day and night until she passed a few short weeks later. Every one of those days were long and grueling for the entire family. They spent as much time with her as they could for as long as they could. It was one of the most excruciatingly painful times in their lives when she died. 

Life wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t perfect, but they lived a fairytale type of life. Learning to communicate and support each other their marriage became easier and easier, and they worked out a flow together. They knew each other’s love language, which helped them know what the other wanted and needed to be happy. They were open and completely honest with each other, having all of the hard discussions, listening to each other, and learning from each other. Making the necessary individual adjustments they grew together and become an unstoppable team. They put God first and each other very closely right after Him, creating a marriage for the books.

The stories about Lindsay and their life together were not shared with a feeling of missing and longing that was expected; it was with a desire to help me understand Drake and to know Lindsay. There was no question that he missed her and loved her deeply. He wasn’t telling me these things to brag about her or put her on a pedestal. He wasn’t telling me these things because he wanted to replace what he had with Lindsay. He told me because he wanted me to know her. He was talking about his life, and she was a huge part of it. They had been together for more than half of their lives. 

It was crushing for him to lose the love of his life in such a tragic way! He shed just a few simple tears as he spoke of how much his life had changed in the last few months. There was an impressive peace and calmness that he had regarding her passing and his future. It came from their preparation together and knowing where she was. She had important work to do on the other side and she made it very clear what she expected Drake to do when she was gone. 

They had dealt with her death together, in a special way, with the time they had after her final devastating diagnosis. Preparations were made, questions were asked and answered, and they shared the eternal hope and knowledge of being together again in the eternities. She had even gone the extra mile to ensure that Drake knew how to take care of the things she used to take care of, like the finances and things around the house. She had prepared him the very best she could for his next phase of life without her. 

Drake said he wished he had the gift to see spirits on the other side of the veil so he could see Lindsay. It was an honor and delightful to listen to him talk about Lindsay and their magical life. 

Drake Journal Entry: “I know Lindsay is super happy where she is. She’s home and has proved herself worthy of greater things. Missing her excessively will only keep her from her duties on the other side.”

With all of this information, I wondered if he just might be ready to date. But, I was surprised that I still didn’t feel Lindsay’s spirit as we talked. Usually, by this time, I would have felt something. “Well, yep… he’s a terrific guy and a wonderful catch! Lindsay was one lucky girl! Whoever he marries down the road will be very lucky as well. And boy! Will she have to be some kind of special to deserve such an incredible man like Drake,” I thought to myself.

Throughout the entire walk, I noticed a sense of hope and joy about him that I did not experience around other people. He was remarkable in some kind of way, and I wondered why. What made his life so different? Could he really be that happy all the time? What had he done right that gave him such hope and joy?

I didn’t think there was any way he could ever fall for a girl like me. Not with my trials and background. Not with my baggage and problems. I was broken. I had way too far to go to get to the point where I could ever consider getting into a relationship…. if I ever could. And, he didn’t seem like the kind to want to wait around once he found the one for him. Plus… I kept reminding myself… I was off the market. I wasn’t going to let myself fall for him no matter how incredible he was.

I briefly shared some of the stories of my life with him, much fewer than he shared with me because I wanted to know more about Lindsay and he enjoyed telling me about her. He listened intently and asked questions when he needed clarification while respecting my privacy. I was surprised at how well he listened and still didn’t seem shocked by my past.

He asked to hold my hand as we walked and I agreed. It was nice to be close to someone knowing that he didn’t want, need, or expect anything from me. We were just spending time together getting to know each other. It was enjoyable and relaxing…. And hot! Almost 100 with no wind at all!

Journal Entry: “I don’t want to be alone the rest of my life. I want someone to love!”

Close to the end of our walk, we both realized that we needed a drink to cool off. Drake wanted to take me to his house, but I knew that his children were there, and that wouldn’t work for me at all. It was way too soon for that, in my opinion. I suggested that he come to my house for a drink and maybe something to eat. 

We went to my house and found that the meat I had planned to cook had gone bad, so I didn’t have anything to make. Remembering how great of a cook Lindsay had been, I felt totally embarrassed. But, mostly I thought it was ironic and funny. I was pleased to see that he thought it was funny too, and that he didn’t judge me for not being as adept in the kitchen as Lindsay had been. We ended up having tortillas and cheese, and at least we were out of the heat!

Leaving Drake sitting at the kitchen table I got up to put the dishes in the dishwasher. When I was done, I turned around and leaned my back on the counter to face him as we talked.

The night before he said he was for sure looking for a wife. Since he knew I wasn’t looking for a husband, I knew I had to let him down easily. It would be difficult, but the sooner, the better before either of us started having feelings. It was time I told him that I thought he was amazing and a great catch, but that I simply didn’t see us being any more than friends. 

* * * * * * * * * *

When I was a teenager, we had a discussion in Sunday School about Spiritual Gifts. By the time I was 49, I had lived a complicated life and still had not figured out what any of my spiritual gifts were, or if I even had any. Over the years, I had wondered, “Do I not love the Lord enough? Am I not living the commandments? Have I not been faithful enough to have been given at least one spiritual gift? What kept me from finding them if I did have any?” 

In December of 2018, my older brother, Archer, passed away. He was only three months away from turning 51. Visiting him a little while before he passed, I knew that would be the last time I would see him alive. He was very sick and had been for a long time. When Archer was younger, before his terrible life choices changed him, he had helped me through many hard things. His passing left a hole in my heart.

He always had a book in his back pocket when we were kids. Usually Dickens’s “Tale of Two Cities” or one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” books. Archer had been an avid reader, and he knew the scriptures so well he could quote them or tell you where to find specific passages. 

When Archer was a teenager, he made a choice that he felt he could never be forgiven for. After that, he just gave up even trying. He was drinking, smoking, and living a very different lifestyle than we had grown up living. He got angry with God and lost his desire to change. It broke all of our hearts seeing him go down that dangerous slope from which he never recovered. Even though he had fallen away from the church long ago, and he had made some choices that made his life very arduous, he still held a special place in my heart.

Journal Entry: “I was told in a blessing recently that my Heavenly Father feels a great love for me and that I have a great purpose that is divine.”

The day he passed away, I was doing dishes when suddenly I heard Archer singing, “Kung Fu Fighting,” as if he was standing right behind me. Surprised at how real it sounded, I instinctively jerked around to see if he was there. At that moment, I could feel his spirit, along with the spirit of my sister, Anne, who had passed away when she was a baby, right behind me. Archer still looked very much like he did the last time I saw him except that his hair was short, and he was standing tall as if his back injury had healed. They both had goofy smiles on their faces, and Archer was laughing. He used to sing that song all the time, and he knew it drove me crazy, so he thought it was funny that he startled me. 

Journal Entry: “Archer passed away today. He is in heaven with Anne. I’m still praying for him. I miss him! I’m so glad I got to see him before he passed, and he let me serve him.”

The day I saw Archer, and Anne was the day I knew that what I had always thought was me making up things was really happening. Still keeping this primarily to myself, I started paying attention. It seemed to me there were spirits everywhere! It became overwhelming for a while until I learned how to block them out. 

The way I explain it is that when my spirit sees and hears people on the other side of the veil, my spirit translates it into a physical experience. I don’t actually see anything with my physical eyes. Although I think that would be amazing! Especially the day my brother passed away. Oh, how I wished I could have seen him with my physical eyes! I miss him every day!

Over the years, I have had vivid, recurring dreams about my older sister, Anne. Some of my siblings tell me that they had the exact same dream. We were in a large, green grassy field surrounded by a forest. There was a bench right in the middle, and she was there waiting for me. She stood up and opened her arms to hug me as I walked to her. She had darker blonde hair about shoulder length. It was straight except at the ends where it was curled under a little. She had the biggest smile! She was wearing a green shirt and brown pants. In my dreams, we would sit and talk. When I woke up, I couldn’t remember what we talked about but I always felt better.

On the day that my brother passed, and throughout the following year, I felt Archer and Anne often. I watched as Archer seemed to heal spiritually, and I saw a physical change in him as well. I was going through a tough time, so having them around gave me strength and comfort. It was also good for me to know, and especially to share with my parents who didn’t feel spirits, that Archer was progressing and he was with Anne. 

Journal Entry: “Last night I had a dream about Archer. Our family was in the Salt Lake City temple walking to the waiting room down a wide hallway when we saw Archer walking the other way. We called him to come with us. He looked like he did in high school so young and handsome. He had short hair and was healthy and happy. Turning to us and smiling his beautiful smile, he continued walking the other way as if he knew something we didn’t know.”

Wanting to know more, I went to speak with someone I trusted entirely about what was happening. So far, it almost felt more like a curse than a blessing, because I could feel so many spirits around me all the time. My mind had become so noisy that it was hard to focus. I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t making any of this up and that what I was experiencing wasn’t coming from the wrong source. More than anything, I didn’t want to be deceived. 

We had a very long, detailed talk that was essential to my progression with this gift. He helped me understand that this was a gift, not a curse, and how to learn more about it. He helped me know how to manage it and tell if it was me, Satan, or the real thing. Having this spiritual gift himself, he knew exactly how to guide me. It changed my perspective totally.

Since then, I have been studying spiritual gifts, praying about them, and trying to learn as much as I can about how they work and what their purpose is in my life. The most important thing I have learned is that these experiences can easily be misinterpreted if they are not managed by staying close to my Heavenly Father. Having continual faith and staying close to the Holy Ghost is critical.

My experiences with spirits on the other side of the veil are extraordinary and come with great responsibility. I do not take this lightly. It was a great relief when I was told that this gift is only to be used with family and in very unique situations as directed by the Holy Ghost. I have been told several times that I should be a medium, but I personally don’t believe that is what the gift is for. Once I realized this and verbalized it, many spirits that had been following me, wanting me to share their message, left. This was confirmation to me, and I assume to them as well, that their message wasn’t one I was supposed to share.

Journal Entry: “I had the most incredible blessing! I was told that my potential and abilities are great. I was blessed to find my purpose! I was told that I radiate light wherever I go and if I keep this light and remember it I will have joy!”

My great-grandmother is my guardian angel and I feel her with me when I need her the most. One day I was telling my mother about her and that’s when my mother told me to look at a photo. Until then, I didn’t know it was my great-grandmother. It has been an honor to know that she takes the time to watch out for me. 

There have been many personal, miraculous, and incredible experiences that have blessed my life. Over time I have learned that spirits from the other side are very near, and they do communicate with us. If a spirit from another family speaks to me, I know I need to be very careful. This is a spiritual gift that I have come to love and value. It has truly blessed my life and also many of my family members. 

I have no control over when it happens but when it does I pay close attention and consider it a sacred experience. Some experiences, I’ve come to understand, are meant to be shared so those who listen, especially with their hearts, can learn. The Holy Ghost helps me know when to share and what to share. There are some that have not only changed my life but will change the lives of those who hear them. Some will believe and some will not believe. Those who chose not to believe need not listen.

 

Continue Reading….

Start at the beginning of the story

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