• 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

Shorts
• 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

You Remembered! (11/28/21)

Every year, I normally get reminded that I forgot about one of my friend’s birthdays, which is on the 22nd of November. My friend Jesse was killed in an accident in 2014, but every year, he has come by on his birthday to say hello, and let me know that he is doing well—and to remind me that I have forgotten his birthday.

I always rationalize these visits by feeling that deep down in my subconscious, I really do remember his birthday, and that his once a year visitations are my brain's way of helping me heal. My rational mind is saying that, but my emotional mind really does believe that our loved ones that have passed do keep an eye out for us and make occasional visits. To me, ‘visitations,’ are real.

In the past, he comes by, knocks on the door, quickly comes in for a hug, says hello, tells me everything is fine with him, and that everything will also be fine with me, gives me a bad time about forgetting his birthday, says he needs to go, and then heads off on his journey.

Last year, that visit included our recently deceased white lab, Misty. I was beyond emotional and happy knowing that she was also enjoying a wonderful afterlife adventure, and that her companion was Jesse—they had been best friends in life.

Read: I’m Jesse!
Read: My Birthday?

While Jesse was still alive, one of the joys of my life, and at that time, of Jesse’s, was a trip to Lake Mead and Las Vegas. A large group of our friends rented a houseboat and spent a week enjoying the beauty of nature, followed by a few days in Las Vegas. Jesse had never been to Lake Mead, Las Vegas, nor on a houseboat, so the entire adventure had been new for him. And he had a blast.

Jesse had his first name tattooed across his chest, and his last name tattooed across his back between his shoulder blades. We always joked with Jesse that those tattoos were the only way he could remember his name.

While on the boat, the rest of the group got up early one morning, and wrote our first names on our chests, last names on our backs, so when Jesse woke up, well, we all looked like him. To this day, the photo of all of our ‘gang’ hangs on the wall of my office.

This year, 2021, I fought with myself over whether I should place a reminder of Jesse’s birthday on my desk, or I just let it go. I thought if I placed a reminder, and we did something to commemorate his passing, he would have no reason to visit—and I really cherished those visits. Again, this was me battling between rational and emotional.

The fact that I agonized over the decision for most of the year, in itself, spoke to which direction I was going to go. I decided to put my emotions aside, and placed a reminder of his birthday on my desk.

On the morning of the 22nd, a group of us that knew him, and a couple of new friends that didn’t, got together, and hung the Christmas ornaments that he had personally selected, another one of our traditions, on the tree, in remembrance of his life. We told a few stories, had breakfast, and moved on with the day.

Most of us in that group headed out to the Los Angeles Car Show, and had an awesome dinner at the San Pedro Fish Market, and by the time we got home, were completely exhausted. I had already forgotten about Jesse when I got home, and later went to bed as usual, not thinking about our ornament hanging earlier that morning. Such is life.

Later that night, I woke up and thought I heard a noise, and thought I felt the cold nose of a dog rubbing against my arm. I woke up, looked around, knew we had no dogs in the apartment, and started to go back to sleep when I noticed a glow coming from the living room.

At first, I thought someone had forgotten to turn off the Christmas tree lights, only to realize it was the morning of the 23rd, two days before Thanksgiving. Our ritual was to turn the lights on for all of the Christmas decorations, including the tree, early on the morning of Thanksgiving, the 25th.

I grumbled a bit and got up to go turn the tree lights off.

As I walked into the living room, I noticed the smell of a cologne, one that I immediately recognized—Terre D’Hermes, which was Jesse’s favorite cologne. I started to get emotional, yet thinking my mind was simply playing tricks on me.

Standing in the living room, I noticed the Christmas tree lights were on, and then noticed Misty running over to me. My immediate reaction was to get down on the floor, give her a good belly rub, and watch her tail wag furiously, as her legs got into that ‘ready to pounce’ stance. It had been quite some time since I got one of those doggy kisses from Misty, and got to watch her back leg thump as I rubbed her belly. It was so nice to see and feel her again.

I reveled in that big lab tail waving excitedly back and forth, which in turn, moved the entire lower half of her body. It's a dog thing!

Then I looked up, there was Jesse, sitting in one of the Lazy Boy chairs looking at me with a giant smile. “You made a point of remembering my birthday this year. The tree is beautiful, especially that one spot in the middle.” he said, pointing to the location where we had hung all his ornaments.

We both got up, and we exchanged one of those long hugs, and once close up, I could smell the wonderful scent of Terre D’Hermes. “I suppose where you are at, the supply of Terre is unlimited, eh?” Jesse just smiled, though never did answer the question.

“It really meant so much to me that you made a point at remembering my birthday, and to made an event out of it. I hope you realize that acknowledgement of a deceased loved one actually keeps their memory alive. I would have stopped by one way or another, but the fact that you remembered, made my soul smile even more.” Jesse said.

By now I was a sobbing little child, and didn’t want to let go of Jesse. I thought that if I didn’t let go, he could never leave. That made rational sense to my emotional mind at that moment. He sensed what I was thinking, pulled back, and looked at me, “It doesn’t work that way Dave.”

“Jesse, it just hurts every time you leave, just like it hurt…” Jesse pulled me forward again and just hugged me even tighter.

“You have my photo up on the wall, does it hurt everytime you look at that photo?” Jesse asked.

I looked at him, looked at the photo, and couldn’t remember any pain ever coming from that photo, and I looked at it a couple times a day. It just reminded me of what a good time we had, and how we had impacted Jesse’s life, and how he had impacted our lives.

“It always makes me smile, Jesse. That was a fantastic week!” I told him.

Jesse continued, “I remember you telling me about how you couldn’t look at a photo of your Mom after she had passed, and yet you had dreams of her constantly. Those dreams were her attempt to not be a forgotten memory. Once you accepted that she had moved on, and you did not hurt from looking at her photo, the dreams also stopped, because she knew she was no longer at risk of being forgotten.”

“Dave, when we pass on, we simply don’t want to be forgotten. We want the living to have those wonderful memories of how we enjoyed life together when we were together.” Jesse was still smiling, and Misty was at his side, tail still wagging like crazy, wanting to be pet.

I nelt down, kissed her on the head, rubbed her belly some more, and just hung onto the fact she was there, with Jesse.

“Dave, you know we have to go.” As Jesse spoke, Misty jumped up and headed towards the door. I knew they couldn’t stay, I knew the drill, the ‘rules,’ though I didn’t understand them—or chose not to understand them.

I looked at Jesse, and asked “Can Misty say hello to Darren? You know the two of them were close.” Jesse again just looked and smiled, and I saw Misty run from the front door into Darren’s room. I could hear Darren laughing—it sounded like he was playing with Misty.

After a few minutes, Misty came running out, went straight to the door, Jesse gave me another hug, and told me they’d stop by again. Jesse opened the door, and with Misty, disappeared out into the night.

I slumped down onto the floor next to the chair, this year’s experience being more emotionally draining than previous years. I sat there missing Jesse, missing Misty, and wondering why we, as humans, get so attached to other living beings, knowing that every single one of them will eventually die, as will we.

Then I remembered those wise words, “It is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.” I know that was lyrics from Stevie Nicks in a Fleetwood Mac song, but I had to Google to find out where it originally came from. Hmm, Alfred Tennyson—I had to Google who he was too, English poet from the 1800s. I was going to have to read up on how he had managed to come up with something so profound—yet so difficult to understand and accept without experiencing it.

I heard a noise from the bedroom and noticed Darren walking in my direction, and could see the tears streaming down his face. He came and sat down next to me, trying to control his sobbing. “Did you get to say hello to Misty too?” he asked, almost afraid of how I was going to respond.

“Yeah, I got to spend some time with her and make sure she had a good belly rub. Got to chat with Jesse for a few minutes too.” I told Darren, then we both just sat there, with nothing more to say.

Multiple people experiencing the same dream was another one of those things I never quite understood. Was it truly a mutual shared dream, or was it just circumstances in a mutually shared environment that triggered the same dream reaction—like watching the same movie before heading to sleep and dreaming of elements of that movie.

Some things can never be explained, and depend on one's belief. Jesse’s impact on my life was salient, so I believe those impressions are deeply embedded in my brain.

Still sitting next to me, Darren sadly looked in my direction, “I wish I had met Jesse. I’m glad he is taking good care of Misty.”

I told Darren that eventually, he would have a chance to meet Jesse, but in the meantime, was not sure if it was possible to meet someone you didn’t know in life. Another one of those mysteries I do not understand, nor have any answers for.

By now, our friend Craig had gotten up, came out to the living room, sat down, “You knew Jesse would come by whether you remembered his birthday or not. I bet it meant a lot to him that we actually celebrated, and remembered the good times.”

“You know Dave, that was one of the funnest weeks I’ve ever had. I think everyone that went would say that.” Craig said.

Looking at Craig and Darren, I told everybody to go back to bed, and thought we needed to either go for a trip to Lake Mead with our new group, or do something similar that would make a memorable impression in everybody's minds.

I sat looking at the Christmas tree for about an hour, mesmerized by the lights, and thinking back to all the good times we had when Jesse was alive—and wondering when I’d see him again.

Jesse's birthday will not be forgetten from this point on, and I look forward to him and Misty stopping by for a visit again!

I glanced at the time, and for me, there was no reason to go back to bed. I decided to keep the Christmas tree lights on for that morning, fired up the computer, and settled down to write.

Before I typed a word, I went online to Macys, and ordered a new cologne that I had seen advertised, and really liked the fragrance. It is similar to what Jesse liked. It will be interesting to see if I can get him to change his cologne.

 

 

#Jesse #Misty #lifeafterdeath #birthday #cologne #Christmas