• I'm Jesse
      • My Birthday?
      • You Remembered!
• Pool? Animal Style!
      • Dumplings w/Neptune
• Sicilian Sculptor
• The Golden Years
• Human Hangers
• Just a Barista
• I Need to Dance
• Can't Stop Looking Up
• Be Careful What...
• The Collection
• Into the Light
• A Perfect Interview
• The Abbey
• Who You Know?
• What's This Life For?
• Unexpected Talent
• Just a Dog's Day
• Chester
• Darren
      • Darren and the Circus
• Voice of God
• Aaron
• 5350

• Resurrection
• Private Dancer
• Eye Contact
• Bullying
• The Surreality of It All
• Sound of Silence
• 31 Days of Christmas
• Giant!
• Fear or Comfort?
• You're Different
• Another One Bites...
• Stroll with the Clouds
• Walking with Banshee

My Birthday? (03/06/21)

The death of our friend Jesse had been a severe blow to our emotions. It was one of those senseless deaths that would leave a hole in our hearts, especially for me, literally leaving me heart broken.

I realized over time the pain would go away, as it always had for all the other deaths I’d experienced in my life, but I knew I would never completely understand ‘why’ it happened. With many unforeseen deaths, one wonders why. What force in the universe imposes death at unexpected times and in sometimes appalling circumstances? I guess that is one of the eternal questions.

It had been several months since Jesse’s death, and all of us were moving forward in life as we needed to.

I have always been an avid dreamer, and with some seriously regimented behaviors, have been able to document those dreams quite extensively. One can argue that dreams are just our imagination on overdrive, others feel they are forces from beyond reaching out. My understanding of my dreams is somewhere in between—I think my dreams are my imagination reacting to energy from forces from beyond.

I regularly have ‘visitations’ from people who I find have passed. I have always felt that many people, when they die, journey through their friends and family to say goodbye, and occasionally pass by to just check in. It’s just that many people do not subscribe to this belief, so therefore never experience the visitations.

It was the evening of November 22, I had gone to bed and fallen quickly asleep. An hour or so later there was a knock on the door. I thought it was awful late for anybody to be stopping by, but I got up, opened the door, and to my surprise, there was Jesse. “Did you forget my birthday?”

At first I was a little shocked, but as he stepped into my apartment and gave me a giant hug, I was beyond happy to see him again. He told me he was doing well, everything was fine, he was happy and content, and just wanted to say hello.

And yes, I felt bad that I had forgotten his birthday. I had purposefully left it off the calendar because of the pain I knew would have been felt if I had dwelled on Jesse and his death.

After a very short visit with him, he said he needed to leave, he’d check up on me again, and off he went out the door and around the corner. I watched as he left, I closed the door, and headed back to bed feeling joy, surprise, sad and somber all at the same time. It was quite a combination of emotions. And I could smell the scent of Terre d'Hermes!

One of my friends asked who was at the door. “Jesse, he came by to say hello and let me know he was ok.”

The lights went on.

“What?” Graeme asked. “What do you mean Jesse came by to say hello?”

I was now sitting up in bed, knew damn well Jesse had died 7 months earlier, and was intrigued by the entire experience. “Did I really just get up and answer the door?” Graeme was looking at me like I was crazy. That had been why he had asked, because I actually had just got up and answered the door.

So now I was sleepwalking?

“Did you remember it was Jesse’s birthday today?” I asked Graeme. He turned off the light and suggested I needed to talk to my therapist about what had just happened.

I couldn’t explain what had happened that night, chalked it up to my subconscious playing with me, and didn’t think much of it. April of the following year passed, the one year remembrance of Jesse’s death. We had a quiet acknowledgement of his death with his mom and several of our friends, and life continued for us all.

His death had been a challenge, but like I had said, we all needed to move on and were doing so.

Many things in our lives had changed over the months, we had brought a couple new friends into the fold, and had just allowed a homeless kid in the neighborhood to move in. Christmas of this year would be Darren’s first holiday off the street, and the first time in his 24 year old life that he had an enormous Christmas tree to help decorate.

As we always did for our friends, Darren got to find ornaments that he liked to put on the tree, and we decorated the tree with its usual tons of lights and ornaments awaiting our tree lighting on the night before Thanksgiving.

While he was putting his ornaments on, he noticed a box marked Jesse. We had kept our friends’ ornaments and had already added them to the tree. During this joyous time of the year, this activity actually left me incredibly sad, but I still made sure his ornaments were placed in a prominent spot.

Another ritual we had, at midnight on the night before Thanksgiving, all the Christmas lights, indoors, outdoors, and including the tree, were turned on and would stay on till midnight of December 31. We’d finished the decorations this year the weekend before Thanksgiving, so everything was complete and ready to be ‘turned on.’

It was Sunday evening, November 22, I had waited till everyone else was asleep, and I had gone out to make some final adjustments to the Christmas tree. Though I allowed my friends to completely decorate the tree as they chose, I always swept through before it was turned on to make sure it was as aesthetically perfect as it could be, to my standards. I turned the lights on to ensure the tree looked its best, and sat in wonder looking at the tree, Jesse's ornaments especially glistening in the lights.

I turned off the lights, and jumped into bed and fell quickly asleep.

An hour or so later there was a knock on the door. I thought it was awful late for anybody to be stopping by, but I got up, opened the door, and to my surprise, there again was Jesse. “You totally forget my birthday, again!”

He stepped into the apartment laughing, I got a big hug as usual. Jesse commented on the fact that even though we forgot his birthday, he was happy to see his ornaments on the tree, and how wonderful it looked all lit up. He said he was happy to see me, glad I was doing well in life, and was really happy we had encouraged Darren to move in. “He’s a really good guy. He has the pure heart of God.”

Then as quickly as he stopped to say hello, he left.

I woke up in tears because of this visit. It had to have been Jesse that stopped by. How else would he have known about Darren, the ornaments, and how beautiful the tree was when lit? I was the only one in the house that had seen the tree lit—we wouldn’t turn it on for another couple of days.

I did make a mental note that this was the second year Jesse had stopped by on his birthday, that day I had purposely not left on the calendar. I needed to change that.

The next afternoon I told Graeme and Darren about the visit. By now Graeme had grown accustomed to my ‘visits’ from people. He simply asked how Jesse was doing, teared up a bit, and hoped that he knew we missed him.

The visits on Jesse’s November 22 birthday became a yearly occurrence, even though we had started to mark his birthday on the calendar, so Jesse could be happy we hadn’t forgotten him.

Every visit from Jesse though always referenced something good that had happened during the year between visits. Rationally I attributed all of this to my brain just putting data together while dealing with Jesse’s death. That was not really what I truly believed.

On July 10, 2020, our beautiful white lab Misty died in her sleep. She was almost 13, which is old age for a large sized dog. She had a wonderful life full of wonderful adventures, and had simply passed quietly of old age, which was actually a blessing—her hips had rapidly started to fail so she had problems walking, and I didin't doubt was starting to experience pain.

Her passing was sad, but we had another 5 beautiful dogs to draw our attention, so the impact on our hearts was not quite as severe as it could have been.

A little over a week later, even though it was a Friday night, we had all gone to bed early anticipating an extremely early rise to go hiking. We planned on being at our location high in the mountains for a beautiful sunrise.

A couple hours after I fell asleep there was a knock at the door. It was a bit late for any of our friends to be coming over, and it wasn’t November, so I didn’t think that our friend Jesse would be ‘stopping by’ to say hello.

I was surprised to open the door and actually find Jesse standing there in all his glory, as he stepped into our apartment to give me the usual giant hug. “Since you are remembering my birthday every year, I thought I’d come by to surprise you. And look who I brought along with me!”

I looked down to see Misty, looking like she was when she was a healthy, rambunctious puppy, back end moving frantically as she vigorously wagged her tail. I knelt down to pet her, rub her belly and get those doggies kisses she was notorious at giving.

Jesse and Misty had been inseparable in life, and it appeared that hadn’t changed. Jesse now had a new travel companion and both were beaming with overwhelming joy at having each other as company. Jesse said they had to go, that Misty was in good hands, said they were both really happy, and would stop by again at some point to say hello.

I hugged Misty not wanting to let go, but was gently guided up to my feet by Jesse, got another strong hug, and off they went.

I woke up crying on the floor of the door. The guys had just woken up and were standing next to me staring at me on the floor. Graeme nonchalantly looked at me and asked “how is Jesse?” Darren followed this by asking “is Jesse taking good care of Misty?”

I hadn’t said anything about why I was sitting on the floor crying, so I was really stunned that both of them seemed to know what had happened. Again, I must have been sleep walking, and experiencing a ‘visitation’ like I had never experienced to that extent. And rationally, I probably was not only sleep walking, but sleep talking, which explained why Graeme and Darren knew what was going on.

Darren and Misty had also become really close and he was devastated when she passed. Yet Darren and Jesse had never met, Jesse dieing a full year before Darren had moved in.

How all of this folded together in time I still have no clue, other than those dreams for me were as real as my daily existence. Jesse and Misty stopped by again on Jesse’s birthday in November, and I swear I woke up with dog fir in my mouth, and the scent of Terre d'Hermes in the air!

To this day I have no full explanation for what is going on, and why I keep getting visited by my friend Jesse. I now look forward to those visits with joyous anticipation.

And recently I was reminded that maybe there really is something more going on with life after death than we know. Another friend I had lost back in 1995 stopped by to say hello, and was laughing that I hadn’t remembered his birthday in decades. Apparently I was being watched.

I woke up realizing I didn’t even know when his birthday was. I do now, and am looking forward to him stopping by for a visit again this year!


#Jesse #Misty #lifeafterdeath #birthday