Medium

“I want to know if he’s okay,” she says, heartbroken.

I think, but do not say, but he is in the ground. A part of me understands. She’s his mom. She needs to know.

She calls a man and says her name. The medium asks her nothing. He describes what he is sensing and seeing and hearing. He describes her son. He describes that behind him are a man and woman, her parents. They welcomed him, he tells her. He says, “I love you, Mom.” He is whole again. And he is with her all the time.

Saturday I walked with my friend along the beach, catching up and comparing notes as we have done since our sons were babies. There are novel challenges, mothering young men emerging into adulthood. There are challenges of restarting careers we left for a decade (or two), ready now to stretch in that direction, going back at lower pay and less experience than we would have had if we had stayed in them all along, but not regretting the departure.

Our skin moves against the sand, our feet and calves and quads propelling us across it. We do not believe this is temporary, I say, trying hard to feel the urgency of being in the moment. We keep thinking it is endless. What are the magic words I can utter to wring the energy out of every hug, every song, every cup of coffee? “This too shall pass.” “I love you.” “I am here,” like Moses and God looking for each other. Hineni.

We say goodbye. She is off to pick up her son from the SATs, but I have more time to myself. I am not ready to go yet.

I ride my bike to another spot on the beach. I follow my instinct to a place I’ve never stopped, buy a coffee and a snack and sit in one of the orange sling-back chairs. My grandmother sits next to me. She leans back in her chair and closes her eyes, reveling in the air on her face, the sound of a casual family volleyball game ahead of us. Clouds keep the heat of the sun at bay. In her later days, it would have been impossible for her to be here physically, to step over the sand and sink into a low chair. But now she gets here just fine, like Samantha or Endira in “Bewitched,” appearing when beckoned or on her own whim. My quiet companion. I savor this moment. I wonder who met her when she passed over. Maybe my grandfather, handsome and young and knowing. Whole again.

I sit here for a while, sinking into the peace of having nowhere else I need to be, waiting for some inner cue to tell me it is time to go home.

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