Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Justin Said

(How I learned Love is real...and death is not.)

Dedicated to everyone who has experienced loss or lives in fear of death, in memory of Gene's nephew, Justin, who took his own life at the young age of 14 at the end of September, 2004 - and then came back to deliver a message of peace.

Three Nightmares

Almost a week before Justin died

I wasn't sleeping very well,

I had no idea why.

My nightmares kept coming back…

Night after night-

Each worse than the last.

As my important dreams usually do

These came in a set of three

That makes me think they may be true.


The first dream was short

I was in an airplane of some sort

Uniformed men were busy

hiding some illicit cargo

In the seats, in the floor.

I’m not quite sure

How I knew it

But I knew

It had all been done before.


The next night my dream

Was more down to earth

I was in a library

In a school

I’m not sure how I knew it

But something told me

Using drugs was the rule

Not the exception

Perhaps because drugs are now considered

Part of first grade education.


On night three, I was in a house

Where torture was being performed

In a strange sad world

In which violence was the norm

And peace was quaint

A nice thought to consider,

And as rare as a saint.

I knew something must be wrong,

The violence had become so loud and strong…

I knew I had to say “so long”!

I made my mind up to leave

I had to escape it all.

I ran upstairs blind with fear

I ran right into a woman in the hall,

She knew me, but I had never seen her face.

She didn’t want me to go – so she

Squeezed me like a vice.

Until I told her what she needed to hear…

…and lifted my kitten into my arms,

and RAN away,

Before I could hear what she’d try to say.

I ran blindly through a door,

across a room with a dull wood-grain floor,

Without a second thought,

Saw a window - and

jumped right out!

Hurtling down,

To the ground down below,

Tumbling and sliding

In the cold, wet snow.

Without thinking I raced

Blind with fear yet somehow slow

So my retreating footsteps wouldn’t show…

I placed my feet one by one

Within the icy boot prints

And I was halfway gone before I realized

They were the footprints of the man inside

(the one who’d made me run and hide,

Even though it was freezing cold outside…)

I felt myself, unlike myself, calmly decide

“I’ll just stay right here with my kitten

in these bushes and wait until its safe to go…”

How long that would take, I guess I’ll never know…

Because right at that moment,

I heard a noise.

Waking Up

My eyes opened wide,

I was instantly transported…

From a frozen nightmare hiding place,

To our warm dry bed…your smiling face…

Bringing me back from the darkness

and handing me

My first cup of coffee,

warm and sweet…

Confused at first I hid my head

Under my pillow.

Who am I? Where was I? How’d I get here?

Was that dream really just in my head?

Or was it saying something important

Is that why I felt so much dread?

No doubt about it,

time to start a brand new Day…

The anchorman appeared

On the TV screen looking overjoyed to say

something I took as just plain bad news

awful and MEAN:

“Winter is almost here

And my oh my

Just in time!

The price of heating oil is

gonna go sky high!”

So I did what came naturally,

And started to cry.

My oh my.

With Coffee mug in hand, in the TV’s glow

I wondered why this violence

In my dreams had seemed to grow…

Getting louder and clearer

Scene by scene, three nights in a row…

Each day I woke up feeling even more blue,

As my dreams told me there was

Something important I should do…

[have your dreams told you

something that seemed important too?

What’s the message?

Will you tell me?

Maybe if we compare notes

We’ll find out our dreams are quite the same…

Showing us each what we must do

To make our choice of which

dreams we make come true…

Choosing new dreams of love,

over nightmares created by our fear!]

I turned on a cartoon

To try and calm my nerves

But the music made me feel

Like I was going berserk

And the characters were at war

Some game they were fighting for

Beating, shooting, killing everyone in sight

I turned off the TV and knew

My work had just begun.

It is true

In America now,

Violence passes for fun.

Remembering Dreams

As the darkest dream faded,

I started to feel less jaded

And remembered earlier messages

From dreams more mild.

They reminded me to live

with the heart of a child…

To be happy and love everything I see,

just as it is, ‘cause it IS ME, you see!”

Play with dogs and laugh and sing

Don’t worry over money, clothes or diamond rings.

Just BE…

In that moment that is all we really know…

In that moment that is all we really need…

In that moment that is where heaven waits…

When we cease to think and plan,

As if we’ve figured it all out,

When we let our fears go and

Let the love pour out….

Expect nothing but the best then

wait for something even better..

Pay attention very closely to every single clue

until you finally get the proof you need…

That life is so much more than what we see…

It’s in the details of life that catch us by surprise

Where God can simply “BE”.


I’m so glad I remembered, just in time,

Now the rest of the day would be just fine…

I laughed and hugged our silly dog, Hutch,

and told Gene out loud how

it wouldn’t be that much

If “instead of just one dog,

we could somehow have THREE…

One could sleep on your side, and one could sleep by me,

And one could keep our feet warm

We’d all keep warm all winter long no matter what

Even if we can’t afford to pay for oil for heat.

We’d get one dog who is a girl of course,

The other will be little, black and white

And we could even name him Starski!

And say that’s Polish for star

And Hutch would be happier and by far,

hearing the sound of those extra furry feet…

Wouldn’t THREE dogs

make this family complete?”

And we laughed,

Making the best of the news.


On the day we think Justin died,

we knew something was very wrong

But we didn’t know what.

When Gene got goosebumps

up and down his arms,

We knew something wasn’t right,

But we didn’t know what.

At least not for a few more days,

Until Friday when the call finally came.


Colleen called us Friday morning

leaving a voicemail strained by tears

“Justin passed away,” she cried.

Could her brother please come home?

I tried to call back right away

But no one answered -

Gene was at work without a phone

So I sat home that day alone

And cried and cried, not knowing what to say.

Then I found myself asking Justin how he had died,

And what he told me then I won’t repeat here.

Let’s just say I had a hunch and it was right.

When Gene found out he cried.

It’s the first time I’ve seen him cry!

We packed our bags

Hopped in the car and

started to drive.

First Walk: Trouble

Almost a week after Justin died

We finally made it to Colleen’s side.

It was Monday night

And the little black dog they called “Trouble”

Let me know he’d like to go outside…

So I grabbed his leash,

And let him lead the way

Out the front door,

Down the sidewalk

then turned left…

a few steps up the hill,

When suddenly,

A quiet strong voice

Passed silently through my head…

“Tell Mom I’m sorry I kicked her flowers…”

I came to a standstill,

And said “What the heck was that” when suddenly,

I heard those words again,

And felt a small invisible hand squeeze mine

And I knew it was Justin

and he wanted to say,

“Don’t worry about me, I’m ok!”

I took Trouble back inside

A little more stunned

A little more joyful

Than I had imagined I could be…

And Althea said “its my turn!”

So I put the leash on her collar

And walked her next

No surprises

Just the stars following overhead

As usual.

When I took Althea back in

Hutch said “now me.”

I just didn’t know if I could handle all three

At one time.

So I walked them one by one.

It was a lot of work

But it needed to be done.

Second Guessing

So I guess

While I was first walking Trouble

that was the instant,

I almost knew for sure

that death is a lie…

I didn’t understand

Exactly what had happened or why

So I tried to ignore it, then

fought it some more,

before I told anyone at all.

The next day I told Gene and

I asked him if I should tell her,

He said “no way, they’ll think your crazy,

Don’t say anything, ok?”

So I waited one more day.

No matter where I was I kept hearing that line,

Like when a song I can’t forget

keeps re-playing in my mind…

Second Walk

The second night I took all three dogs for a walk

Each one had a leash and

We didn’t make it very far

Very fast

But they made a braid of their leashes

In no time flat.

It was hard

but in a silly way,

I laughed as they dragged me

three different ways.

Only catching me in their wild snare

Several times

We didn’t cover much distance

But I think I laughed at them

More than they laughed at me

But I’m not sure.

This wasn’t too bad.

Still I waited one more day,

Until the funeral was behind us.

It was there that my confidence grew,

Through our tears and our pain

I got a glimpse of the Truth!

And I’ll never be the same.

I owe it all to the story

That Tom so eloquently shared – because

his story was a lot like MINE!

He felt Justin appear in his car one day

And was given a message he was asked to relay,

“Tell Mom, I love her dearly…”

Justin told him, oh so clearly…

And now here was Tom telling all of us,

As if it were as normal as riding a bus…

I guess that story was a miracle for me,

Made me finally believe

what I thought I heard


might be



Later on, back at the house,

I saw Colleen sitting alone on the porch,

I knew I had to risk it and tell her right away…

I wasn’t really sure what to say…

Nothings ever happened to me quite this way…

So I said, don’t think I’m crazy but

does this mean anything to you? I’ve been struggling for 48 hours,

to find some way to make sense of this,

and Tom’s story made me feel normal somehow…

I was out here walking with Trouble the other night,

And I felt a presence in my heart

And I knew, without knowing how, that it was Justin…

And Justin said

“Tell Mom I’m sorry I kicked her flowers…”

Those words didn’t make much sense,

And I’ve been worried about when and how

and whether to tell you

ever since…he said,

“Tell Mom I’m sorry I kicked her flowers…”

Colleen’s jaw just dropped,

As she looked me in the eye and said

“No one but me and Justin knew about THAT…”

He’d gotten really mad one day

and being a highly skilled black belt in karate

He’d kicked her flowers right out of the ground,

They were her flowers from mother’s day!

And now that he was gone,

he wanted her to know he didn’t mean it,

That he got mad and did the damage

before he even knew it,

He didn’t want her to remember him angry…

He wanted her to remember – he loved her dearly.

Third Walk

The night after the funeral,

After delivering Justin’s message at last

I walked three dogs again.

This time we left the leashes in the house.

We walked through the shadows

Like a casual pack

With pride.

Justin made it clear

He’d be so much happier

If his dogs stayed together

Someplace where they’d be loved

Gene felt that vibe too…

We didn’t need to debate.

We remembered my wish,

Here were the two extra dogs

We had just talked about the week before.

And somehow we knew

That morning

Justin had been checking in with us

To see if we’d take his dogs in together

Before he could go,

He had to know.

We loaded all three dogs up in our car

And drove them home.

Another Message

Two weeks after Justin died,

He came back once again to my left side,

And said there’s more she needs to know,

Won’t you tell her for me please?”

But I refused, and told Justin,

“This is something she must hear from YOU….

No matter what it takes, you can do it if you try,

Please, Justin, tell her yourself – so she’ll Know too.

Tell her so she’ll really know what is TRUE.

For herself….”

Message Delivered

And so a week later I got the urge to call her back…

And she said, “I have a story to tell you when I see you!”

I got excited and said, don’t wait just tell me now….

That’s when she told me about her first sweatlodge

And about how, after that experience of a lifetime,

Justin came for a visit and did exactly what I’d asked –

He spoke to her and answered

Those questions that seemed impossible to know…

how, when, where, what, and why –

I’ll let her share that story, with you herself,

when her eyes have had time to dry.

For now she needs to cry…

To try and understand why…

To find a million things she should have changed,

Or ways the entire world must be rearranged,

Even though it won’t bring his body back,

His spirit is there – by her side,

Helping her through this very difficult ride,

And he’s here with me as well….

Helping me keep on moving forward

Even though I’d rather curl up and hide.

Forgetting to Remember

Sometimes, I still let myself pretend,

That this would be easier if I ignored it all

Until just after this life ends….

But then I see,

That’s not the way God intended life to be…

Struggling to live within the confines of our minds,

feeling lost and alone, as time unwinds,

Living as if the universe depends on what we DO,

When all that really matters

is how much LOVE we let Shine Through…

While we’re STILL HERE…

Where everything hurts

and we feel we can’t go on

Where we fear death and everything else

although all we need to fear is fear, itself.

Because, as I’ve learned – death is not real.

Our soul is the part of us that can feel and heal,

The magic that we’ve lost for so very long,

Isn’t buried underground or hidden in some ancient song,

It’s closer than we’ve ever dreamed,

Inside our hearts and every cell,

It’s the magnetic energy that leaves us

when this ‘life’ ends…

It’s the only part that lasts forever,

Yet the one we rarely show our friends.

A soul is not something to be ignored all our lives

To be separated at birth and locked up far away,

Until we face our death all alone one day,

and realize we’ve missed out on the sweetest truth of all…

We’ve somehow forgotten that our soul is in control,

Like a perfect friend,

To guide us gently to the truth…

The truth we all know, at some point in our youth,

The truth we forget when no one speaks it, out loud.

The truth we’ll struggle to find,

though we forget where to seek it.

The truth I don’t even need to explain.

You know it like you know the sun will dry the rain,

You know it like you know there is more to life than pain,

You know it like you know there is much more we can be,

If we could only just remember the key

to “life and liberty”

Isn’t about pursuing happiness

In every nook and cranny outside of us

Hoping we can drive a better car next year,

Or get a big raise so we can buy even more


It’s up to every person to decide when they’ve had enough

Of playing the wrong game,

With the wrong rules,

Taking all the wrong tests in all the wrong schools,

Going places, moving up, running in circles,

While our debts pile up.

And we keep needing more, to fill that place inside

that hasn’t been filled by anything yet,

no matter how hard we try

But we try and try again

because we’ve forgotten what we’ve left

When we closed our hearts…and our Eye

When we’ve fallen so completely for the Lie

And no matter how hard we try it keeps getting worse…

That’s because this isn’t something we can rehearse

We’ve just gotta go through, day by day,

And try a little harder, to feel the power of Love

Learn to use it together to create the peace we seek,

To erase the fear that keeps us going back…

To travel human history’s well worn track…

To make us FREE.

This is the secret they’ve been trying to keep…

Since someone uncovered the truth

that was buried down deep…

They’ve kept the truth hidden so long,

Even they don’t remember enough

To know what’s going wrong!

But that’s the good news…

once we know its even possible to look

For more than what can be written in a book,

Then there is no more going back,

And as one of us finds a new track,

We can reach out a hand,

help a friend see the truth for themselves,

And one by one

we’ll wake up,

See the light overflowing our cup,

And we’ll finally understand

what the golden Rule

really means.

Love your neighbor as yourself

because its true…he IS you!

If you cannot trust yourself,

You’ve already failed

To take part in the universal law

That connects us all through our Light,

And while you say you long for peace,

You’ll end up in fight after fight,

Because you see…

your neighbor will reflect fear back to you,

Until you realize the first thing you must do

Is close your eyes and look within

Find the eye that is invisible to ‘Sin’

Open the heart to let Love finally begin

To melt away the last residue of fear

Like the sun melting fog to make things clear.

The truth is

Justin seems to have died,

In our minds.

Yet in our hearts,

He’s still alive…

He just wants us all to know

We can all be more alive,

Right here and now,

Long before our bodies die…

we just need more LOVE, that’s all!

Forget about believing,

Faith just keeps you going until you learn to let go…

Of what you believe

just long enough

to allow yourself to KNOW

What really IS.

Justin just wants me to tell you,

What you know you already KNOW…

just stop pretending you don’t remember,

and learn to let LOVE FLOW.

It won’t take much,

Just remember what you Already Know.

Just forget everything you’ve learned that isn’t true.

Don’t waste a moment in anger –

that’s the only thing regretful.

Don’t Judge yourself, please!

You’re the only one who WILL judge you after all…

So Just love yourself, please!

You’re the only one who CAN, until you do…

Once you’ve done that simple task

You’ll see miracles too…

Life can be so much more - let it.

Just be aware

Of your light

And your dreams

And your signs

And then

just BE.

From Bliss, for Colleen and All / 2004

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