I called a psychic last week.
Yes... I know.
I was out taking a little "mental health drive" with the babies in the back, and just praying, praying, praying! that they might take a nap (which of course, they didn't) when I flipped to a midday talk show hosted by a woman that I can best describe as "flighty." She is super syrupy sweet, usually offers self evident self help tips, and I am pretty sure that I am about 40 years younger than her listening demographic, but what can I say? She had a psychic on and I got sucked in.
The callers before me asked questions like, "will my arthritis flair up again" (not kidding here) and I listened along, because really there was nothing else on the radio, and then all of the sudden the psychic told a caller about a spirit living in her house. The caller seemed to really believe what he was saying about this spirit and the messages the woman had received from her, and I can't help it... if there is even the remotest possibility of hearing Peyton in any way on the other end of the line, I am going to pick up the phone.
So I did.
I asked him two questions. The first was if I was going in the right direction with my writing. I wanted him to say something like, "I see a published manuscript in your future," but he didn't. He said, "if it feels right to write, then write,"
and I thought,
Really? I needed to call a psychic to tell me this crap? Of course you should write, if it feels right. How is that telling me the future? Ugh.
I moved on to question #2, and taking a deep breath asked something to the affect of, "when I sense my daughter is with me, is that really her?"
Psychic: "You feel her often, don't you?"
Psychic: "Maybe in the wind, or like a hand on your shoulder?"
A More Gullible Me: "Yes. Yes."
Now we were getting somewhere!
Psychic: "That's her."
Me: "It is?"
Psychic: "Yes, and she wants me to tell you something."
Psychic: "She wants me to tell you about the frogs."
Psychic: "Yes, or maybe it's Kermit the Frog. She says you would know. That it is an inside joke."
A Less Gullible Me: "An inside joke, huh?"
Psychic: "Yeah, from when she was a little girl."
Me: "Right. Okay then," *rolls eyes* "thanks."
What was the point of going any further?
I didn't have the heart to tell the guy that my daughter never was a "little girl."
She never got to that stage.
My daughter never saw a frog, let alone knew what one was, and she certainly didn't know who Kermit was.
This guy was full of bupkis.
Maybe he assumed I was the same age as the other women calling in?
Maybe he assumed my daughter died as an adult (it's an easy assumption to make) and was just throwing things out there to see what stuck?
Kermit the Frog...
That would have stuck for so many others, but not for me.
Butterflies - Yes.
Pinwheels - Yes.
Flickering Lights - Yes.
Frogs - No.
There's always next time.
Maybe the next Snake Oil Salesman will tell a more convincing tale.
As you may know, I am the Editor of the online literary magazine, Exhale. This week we put out our Summer issue, with the theme Time as our Enemy. Time as our friend.
Piecing together the submissions for this issue took me on a real journey emotionally. About a year after Peyton died I wrote the poem, Father Time, and as soon as we had decided on the theme, I knew I wanted to include the piece.
I was surprised by the sucker punch I felt in re-reading it.
In re-reading the sense of hopelessness in my words:
That maybe in some future space,
a genuine smile will claim this face,
as in my arms I hold a child,
whose future has not been defiled.
By Disease. Infection. Despair.
A child whose shot at life is fair.
But then it hit me.
I did that.
I created two beautiful, perfect, healthy babies.
I didn't know that was possible when I wrote the poem... but I do now.
I remember how it felt writing that poem.
I remember every emotion that I felt pouring it out onto the page.
Going back to it was like revisiting a dark, early chapter in my grief and infertility.
It was a reminder that we really can't ever count ourselves out.
There is always the possibility that things can improve.
I invite you all to check out the current issue of Exhale. In addition to poetry, essays, and fiction, we have a wonderful book review by Kathy Benson, and a great interview with infertility activist Keiko Zoll.