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MARK, MY WORDS
An Afterdeath Dialogue
by Roberta Ayers Carson

This is dedicated to Mark, wherever he may ďnowĒ be.

This story begins in January 1976 - with the ending of a young life. My step-son was killed in an accident involving his 1966 Mustang and a school bus.

The events that preceded and followed his death are chronicled here. There were ongoing premonitions of the event before Markís death, and many conversations with Mark after his death.

Markís name and mine are the only accurate oneís that you will find here. I have changed the remaining names, as this is not intended to be a book involving any living persons other than Mark and myself.

Yes, Mark is living. Thatís the message. Thatís Markís word. I hope that those of you feeling the pain of loss find comfort in Markís description of ďthe other sideĒ.


THE  END

and

THE  BEGINNING
 

Around midnight, January 19, 1976:

 

Mark:  Roberta...Roberta...
 
Roberta:   Oh Mark, Iím so mad at you.

M:    Why?

R:    Youíre dead and Iíll never be able to talk to you again.
 
M:    But you are.

R:    Oh my God! Mark, is that you?

M:    How are you?

R:    Are you kidding?! Iím miserable! I canít believe this is happening!
        My God,
Mark is dead. Oh my God!

M:    Iím alright.

R:    Oh my God! Why did you die? How could you do that? Iím so mad at you! Youíre so stupid! I told you to drive carefully. But no, you always knew better: ďIím young and have better reflexes than you ever had...thatís what makes me a good driver...Iím ready for anything.Ē I could just kill you! Youíre so stupid. Oh God, and now Iíll never see you again...Why do other kids get another chance but you donít? Just one mistake and now youíre gone. Oh, what am I gonna do?

M:   Iím okay. Iím alright.

Thatís how it began. Mark was killed in a car accident on the afternoon of January 19, 1976...the bicentennial year that he never saw. Mark was 17, a senior in highschool. He was driving home from school around 3:15pm on a dreary day - a day of snow mixed with rain.  Cloudy. Cold. Wet. Messy.  He stopped on the way out of the school parking lot to help a friend get his car started. His friend - and Joyce, Markís girlfriend, were at the hospital that evening.

Joyce:  Oh, Iím so sorry about Mark. Oh, I feel so terrible.

Roberta:  You have lots of good memories of him. You two were together for a long time.

J:  Yes, but I donít know why we broke up. He just told me that he wanted me
to date his best friend. It didnít make any sense.

R:  When was this?

J:  Just a few weeks ago. He started saying that he wasnít going to graduate and he wanted me to date Tom. We had a fight about it, but he meant it. I couldnít figure it out. Tom and I have always been friends. I think Mark knew he was going to die! I think Iím going to be sick.

R:  Take it easy. Itís alright. Just rest awhile.

J:  But Mark is gone. Heíll never graduate or do anything anymore.
 
R:  Look at it this way, if thereís life after death, then thereís no problem, and if there isnít, then thereís no problem.

J:  Yeah, I guess youíre right.

R:  Tom, how are you?

Tom:  Iím okay. But itís all my fault. Heíd still be alive if he hadnít stopped to help me. My car! Thereís always something wrong with it. He stopped in the snow to help me...thatís the way he was. He could have driven on...I could have fixed it myself. Then he wouldnít have had the accident. The bus would have been gone...and heíd still be alive! Oh, I did it, itís all my fault.

R:  Tom, youíre one of the luckiest people here. Itís not your fault. It was the most wonderful gift he could have given you. Youíre the last person he did a favor for, the last person he was kind to. Thatís something for you to remember. Thatís special.

(crying, crying, and more crying)
 

The need for completion is very strong. I suppose not seeing Marís body left a lot of things undone in my mind. That night at the hospital, a nurse came in and rustled us into a room and closed the door.  She offered  no explanation except that ďIt will be just a minute.Ē

I didnít know what she was talking about. My husband Jim said that they are probably moving the body - that Mark had to go to the county hospital because the accident happened on a county road. All of a sudden it rushed in on me...moving his b-o-d-y!! I tore open the door and ran down the hall.

They were rounding the corner with beautiful Mark laying quietly on the stretcher. He was covered with a sheet - mostly. His tennis shoes were easily identifiable...but I wasnít prepared for the emotion connected to recognizing the right arm of his jacket hanging out from under the  sheet. I stood in the hallway frozen. I never saw him again.

I wish I had.

I guess I heard that a lot those first few days...ĒI canít believe heís dead... We didnít help any by choosing to have a closed casket. For some reason, the whole thing was never really final. I never saw his body. I guess he was in the casket, but Iíll always wonder what he looked like.
 
 

(Marksís classmates)

CM:  Do you really think heís in there? I donít know. Why didnít they open it?

Roberta: Pardon me. I overheard you comment and...

CM:  Oh, Iím sorry. I didnít mean anything by it. Iím so sorry.
 
R:  Thatís okay. I feel the same way.

CM:  Was he really messed up? Is that why itís closed - why canít we see him?

R:  No, no. Heís not hurt or anything. Itís just that his dad wanted everyone to remember Mark the way he was.

CM:  Oh...I guess...but I canít believe heís dead.

R:  Me either.

(more crying, and more crying.)

 You know, I wonder if the crying ever stops. To this day, when I re-live this, I cry. Iím crying now. Itís difficult to lose a son...or a step-son. Itís not supposed to happen. Kids are not supposed to die before their parents.

R:  I hate this! I hate this!!! Kids arenít supposed to die before their parents. Thatís not the right way! Itís not supposed to happen that way!

Mark:  It was an accident.

R:  What do you mean it was an accident? Mark, doesnít God control everythingĒ You know, His will - His providence?
 
M:  It was an accident. Things just happen.
 
R:  You mean they just happen? Itís just happening? Thereís no plan?

M:  Itís just happening...whatever happens is the plan.

R:  No, no, no! I need to appeal to a higher court or something. This isnít supposed to happen. Isnít there someplace I can go to roll back time so we can do it again...so this doesnít happen? Oh Mark! Mark! What was it like when you died? Please tell ;me. I have to know. Donít lie to me. I want to know if it hurt.

M:  It didnít hurt. I was driving down the street. There was music on the radio. Jane was in the front seat. We were all talking. I looked away for a second and when I looked up, all I saw was a wall. I didnít even know what it was. I was surprised. I donít remember thinking anything. It only lasted a second. Then it was totally dark. And totally quiet. It was really dark...you really couldnít see your hand in front of you. I was wondering if I had my eyes open. I didnít feel anything. Then I heard a voice. It said, ďWell, are you ready?Ē I had no idea what it meant...but it sounded nice. I wasnít afraid. I said, ďYeah, I guess so.Ē And then things started moving. It was still totally dark - black totally, but moving. I could feel the sensation of moving very fast through a black tunnel...and then...........

(Wow! I was experiencing everything Mark was ďsaying.Ē The light was like none other I had ever seen. And it burst open. There was a hint of it for just a second, and then it just burst open! Incredible! The brightest thing you ever saw...and sound -not music - but sound - not the sound of an explosion, but the sound of explosion. And then it softened.)

R:  Oh Mark! That was wonderful. You didnít feel anything at all!

M:  No, nothing at all. Howís  everybody else? Theyíre hurt, arenít they?

R:  Yes, but theyíre mostly upset about you.

M:  But Iím okay

R:  I know that - and you know that - but they donít know that...and sometimes I donít know that too.

M:  Youíll be alright.

R:  But I canít touch you, and I canít see you.

M:  Itís different, but we can still talk.

R:  But itís not the same.


We discussed that often...not being able to be seen, to be heard, according to the normal definition of ďhearing.Ē Mark clarified things for me one night, many weeks later...

M:  (laughter)

R:  Mark?

M:  Yeah.

R:  Get out of here! Donít you ever do this again! Get out of here!

M:  I canít see anything!

R:  What do you mean? You were laughing. Your dad and I are making love and youíre laughing!

M:  (laughing) Itís not what you think. Iím feeling what youíre feeling.

R:    What!?

M:  I mean that when I talk to you, weíre thinking together...or maybe feeling together. I was having fun.

R:  No! Iím having fun. Go away!
 
M:  Okay. (laughter)

The next night Mark and I talked about that experience. I asked him to go over it one more time:

M:  I can find you. Not your thoughts but you and then I experience what you are experiencing. Thatís how I talk to you.
 
R:  But Iím hearing words...or thinking?? Words??

M:  Youíre actually getting my thought or ideas - mostly pictures.

R:  Boy, thatís true.

M:  Go back to when I died.

I experienced it again.

M:  See? You see it or experience it but you never moved from where you were. But you experienced it just like it happened to me.

R:  Now I donít understand. What did you mean when you said that you couldnít see anything last night?

M:  You know, Iím not standing in the bedroom! Iím not outside of anything. Iím not watching anything. Itís more like Iím experiencing the experience. The only time I saw anything was when you thought of me watching you and what you thought Iíd see. That was pretty funny.
 
R:  Thatís not very comforting! So we can be walking around naked and you
canít see us.

M:   Thatís right, but I can see your thoughts, your feelings...I can know your
feelings.

R:  Anytime?

M:  No, I have to find you. I have to focus on you...imagine you, and then Iím there.
 
R:  Thatís what I do when we talk! I just think about you and youíre there.

M:  Thatís right. Youíve been doing it but you didnít know it. Thatís how I knew to come to you. You wanted to talk to me.

R:  Oh my God! This is incredible!

I found out a lot of incredible things. Havenít you always wanted to know what ďheavenĒ was like? Donít you have a lot of questions youíd like to ask? Just for fun, take a few minutes and write down all the questions youíd ask about ďthe afterlifeĒ if you had the chance. Go ahead. Really do it. Write out the entire question in long hand. Iíll wait for you, and then weíll do an experiment. Donít cheat...go write your questions.

Now take your questions, and see how many of them I asked. You may need to re-read some of the book, because sometimes I didnít ask Mark my questions directly...he just gave me the answers.

M:  What do you want to know?

R:  Everything.

M:  Come on. What do you want to know?

R:  Whatís it like?

M:  What do you mean?
 
R:  Whatís it like up there?

M:  Up there? You mean here?
 
R:  Yes. Heaven.

M:  There is no heaven. Itís just here.
 
R:  I donít understand.

 (Flood of pictures...experiences:

light.....music --- I mean light that makes music ---I mean thereís sound but itís coming from the light thatís everywhere. There arenít notes or a tune...just tone...Itís like a background to everything...Everywhere I look I see figures that sort of fade in and out. When I focus or concentrate, then the images are clearer...and become distinct...Ēthree dimensional.Ē People are walking around - talking to each other. Others are moving - and are alone Everyone is dressed in clothing of light but thereís so much light all around...)

M:  Got it?

R:  I think so. What do you do all day?
 
M:  There isnít a day.

R:  What do you mean?

M:  There isnít a day. Thereís no day and night...we just are...itís just happening...we donít count things and mark things off.

R:  I guess thatís what we do, isnít it? We mark the number of times the earth turns.
 
M:  Right, but thatís not whatís happening.
(stillness existence  no ďtimeĒstillness in motion)

R:  I got it!

M:  I know. Want to go on?

R:  You bet.

(Theyíre studying. There are groups of people speaking and discussing and studying. They are learning from each other. They are sharing experience...literally. They are feeling the feeling. One is remembering and the others are experiencing and learning something)

M:  You got it!

R:  Whatís going on?

M:  You thought it was over, didnít you?
 
R:  Yes, I did. I guess it was all that Catholic training...... judgment and eternal heaven or hell and all that.

M:  Itís nothing like that.
 
R:  I can tell.  Wasnít there any judgment?
(awareness...of choices...life review...see all the decisions...see the thoughts...where you were at the time mentally, emotionally...it was like watching a tree grow...branches...each decision led to another through the experience itself and all that went before. Each decision...not right or wrong...just look and see what was happening...what was really happening...what were you experiencing, feeling? What was really happening? Who, what, how, were you? How are you now? Would you  like to change? No pressure, just the suggestion of the question.)

R:  How beautiful!

M:  Easy. Real easy.
 
R:  Very easy. Itís not like ďThe JudgmentĒ at all. Thereís no one reading all the events.

M:  No, just you and another looking at what went on.

R:  Who is with you?

M:  Just another person...someone whoís been here a long time. Heís a lot higher than I am. He understands a lot more. He said I didnít have to learn anymore or change anything if I didnít want to.

R:  Do you want to?
 
M:  I donít know yet. I donít have to decide either.
 
R:  Oh, I guess that makes sense.

 (acceptance...total, unconditional acceptance...from everyone, including yourself)

R:  Mark, Iíve never felt like this before.

M:  I know. You judge a lot. Thereís nothing wrong with that. You just do.

R:  But this acceptance thing...I can feel things dropping off...itís like chains dropping off my shoulders and arms. I feel very light.

M:  Yeah. Thatís what it feels like.

Mark told me so much in those first few months.  It was such a very special time - though I didnít know it. It seemed so natural. I just never questioned it. Then, one night, I asked Mark if he could help his father...

R:  You know your did is taking this very hard.

M:  Yeah. He doesnít talk to me.

R:  Heís very quiet about everything. He wonít discuss how he feels. He hasnít even really cried that I know of. Is there anything you can do for him? Can you come back and talk to him...maybe disguise yourself and visit him in his office...like in the movies...and he doesnít know itís you Ďtil you leave.
 
M:  He wouldnít want that. It wouldnít do any good.

R:  What do you mean? Heíd love to see you again.
 
M:  No he wouldnít.

R:  Oh Mark, I think youíre wrong.

Well, wouldnít you know, Mark was right. I spoke with Jim the next day and told him about my proposal to Mark and Jim said ďI wouldnít want that.Ē I was shocked! Mark was right. Mark knew.

But I still didnít understand why. Jim explained that he had already given up his son, and he couldnít say goodbye to him again.

Ohhh.... the silence I had felt from Jim was not indifference, nor pain. It was an ice pack, deliberately constructed to eliminate all feeling, and avoid human touch. He was terribly hurt - and hurting - and I had misunderstood. But Mark knew!

R:  How did you know?

M:  I felt him...what he was feeling, so I knew he didnít want me to come back.

R:  But Jim said it was alright for me to talk to you.
 
M:  Yes, but he doesnít want to talk to you about it.

R:  Right. Heíll listen, but he wonít talk.
 
M:  Yes. He wants to hear, but he doesnít want to feel.
 
R:  What should I do?
 
M:  Anything.

***********************

That was a typical comment.

I just couldnít get any real advice from Mark. He made sure I knew at all times that all decisions were mine. I could stop the conversation just by turning my attention away.

In the beginning, those first few days after Mark was killed, my attention was completely on him and the other children who were in the car. His sister Jane had a compound fracture of the leg, and glass was imbedded in her face from the windshield. Gene, the boy in the back seat, had a chipped vertebrae - chipped on the front of the vertebrae, by the larynx. He went through excruciating pain with the halo head brace and surgery. Amy, the girl who was in the back seat, had gone between the two bucket seats in the front, through the windshield, and back in the broken windshield only to eventually land on the stick shift. She lost a lot of front teeth, and required extensive stitches and surgery.

It was very touching, that very first day. Those children in such terrible pain themselves, bursting into tears when we entered the room - expressing their sympathy at our loss of Mark. They were alive, but were in terrible shape. The injuries were awful.

June was delirious the night of January 19. She was lying on an examination table in the hospital with her leg elevated - the compound fracture was a sight to behold...and so was her glass riddled face.

I sat with her for a while...she kept asking about Mark and Iíd tell her he was in the other room...I didnít tell her he was dead...then sheíd ask about her earrings. We had given her pierced earrings for Christmas. They were very tiny, just a small oval with hand painted pink flowers. The oval that hung from the stud was about a quarter of an inch long.

I kept telling her that the earrings were okay. The fact of the matter was, they werenít okay. One was still in her ear. I removed it. The other had been torn out and was gone.

In the back of my mind, I determined to buy her a new pair - sheíd never know the difference, but then I couldnít remember where I had bought them.

Roberta:  Mark, Jane wants her earrings. Itís so terrible. Sheís such a mess. Oh God,
Itís so awful.

Mark:  Iíll help you find the earring. Itís in the car.

R:  What car?

M:  My car.
 
R:  Where?

M:  Iíll show you.

Too many things were happening then. We were arranging for the funeral, and calling relatives, etc., so the trip to the car didnít happen right away. However, the next week, I woke up early.

R:  Mark, this is it. Letís go.
 
M:  Okay.

R:  I donít want to fool around. This isnít going to be easy. Whereís the car?
 
M  Itís in a wreckage lot. You know, where they smash cars and sell spare parts.

R:  Where?
 
M:  Call the police.

So I called the police and asked where they towed the car. They gave me the address and general directions. Mark and I started driving.

R:    I donít know where Iím going.

M:    Turn left.

I turned left...he told me where to get off the highway and where to turn...and we were there.
When I arrived, I signed in and asked to see Markís car. The guys at the lot looked at each other. None of them wanted to take me to see it. Then one man said to another---ďYou show her...Ē

So we walked outside.

It was another dreary day, cloudy and cold. It was late in the afternoon...and what happened changed my life.

There was a large van on the right blocking my view of the car as we walked down the wreckage aisle. The guy was nervous and walked more and more slowly...and finally he asked me if I really wanted to do this. I replied ďyes,Ē but that he didnít have to go with me. He wanted assurances that I would be okay. Naively, I said Iíd be okay. I was right...but I was also wrong. Iíd be forever changed.

He turned and walked back to the garage, saying over his shoulder:  ďItís just past that big van, lady. On the right.Ē And he disappeared into thin air.

The wind blew cold as I stood alone in the aisle. I still couldnít see the car...but I knew I would soon. I wanted to find Janeís earring.

R:  Mark, this isnít going to be easy. Letís do this and get out of here.

There it was. It was incredible.  The front of the Mustang was pushed back to the front seat.  The  windshield  was out.  The  doors  were  displaced.  The tires  were  twisted.  There  was  glass  on the dashboard.

The car was as wrecked as my life.

The starch went out of me. The pain rose to the surface and I groaned along with the kids in the car.  There was no way to avoid feeling it.  The pain  was  intense.

l approached the car slowly, as if it were pulling me toward it.  It was facing me. Where do I begin?

I opened the driverís door. I got in. I wanted to get closer to him...to find out what it felt like.
His sun glasses were wrapped around  the  windshield  wiper.  There were teeth on the floor of the car. There  was  blood on  the  dashboard... and  on  the  stick  shift...and  between the  bucket  seats...and  on  the  seats... and there  was  homework,  and books, and pencils, and a notebook with assignments  -  waiting  for  someone. The wind blew through the space where the windows  used to be. And then l touched the steering  wheel.

Mark had been wrapped around it. it was now folded down toward the drive shaft.  And  there  it  was - the  Mustang.. the  insignia...the  circle  of steel  that hit  Mark's  heart...it  was  ended so fast!  I cried.

R:  Mark, come on. I want to get out of here. I'm going to go through this car once.  This  is
terrible.

I looked around in the debris. No earring.  1 got out, and climbed into the back seat behind the driver.  I got another  surprise.

Not only was Mark impaled on the steering  wheel shaft,  but he  was also shoved into it from the back.  Gene was  thrown forward  so  violently  that his arm went through the back of Mark's  seat.  He  had apparently  tried to brace himself on the back of Mark's  chair.  The 1966 Mustangs didn't have all the  safety features  that  are  standard today.  l doubt that the seats  even locked in position since it was a two door car.  When  the  impact  occurred, Mark  was thrown forward and then also  crushed from  behind.

It happened...and it happened fast.

Nothing in the back seat but more indescribably  touching  remembrances of a school day, and death...

I got out, walked around the car, and sat  where  Jane  was  sitting.  Again, nothing but my own tears.  Her car door was stuck - as though it were rusty.  Actually  it  wasn't  clearing  the fender very  well anymore.  I had to push hard to get the door to open from  the  inside.

I stood there looking down into the front  seat  through  the  empty  wind-shield.  I  was  desperate.  Jane  wanted the  earring.  She  needed the  earring.

R:  Mark!  This is it! I'm going to do this one more time and then I'm leaving.
I have to find it now!

  (silence)

I did the entire rotation again. I ran my hand all along the floor. I told myself that I would not get cut on any of the glass.  I absolutely  refused to be injured. I would not allow that to happen. 1 wouldn't be able to take physical pain on top of all the emotional pain  l  was  already feeling. Apparently,  my  demand  worked.  I wasn't  cut.

I sifted through the glass and the teeth and the blood and the books... and rotated around all the  seats.

Still  no  earring.

I pushed my way out of Jane's side of the car again - and I was mad. I yelled "God damn it, Mark!" as I slammed the car door shut  with all my  might.
I was struck silent. And frozen to the  spot.

A pencil stood straight up on its eraser when I slammed the car door. It  was  standing  where  the  windshield wiper  used to  be... with  the  eraser stuck  under  the  hood. Instinctively I knew to look where it was  pointing.  Look  where  the  pencil is.... in the tiny area at the base of the would-be  windshield,  lay  the  earring. It was laying flat, on the ledge, about to fall into the guts of that pitiful machine.

What do I do? I can't pick it up. My fingers  won't fit in  there.  I've  only got one  chance.  No  mistakes.

1 licked my index finger, pressed it mightily  against  the  pretty  pink flowers  on  the  oval  earring,  and  withdrew  the  prize  easily.

1 cried and laughed and said thank you a thousand times. Gratitude.    Relief.   Elation.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.... I was two feet off the ground when I left the lot.
I'm  certain  the attendants thought the  situation  strange...they  knew  who I was. And I'm certain they saw me leave  -  grinning,  laughing,  happy. How could they possibly   know the miracle  that  had occurred.  1 found one quarter inch of heaven in the middle  of hell...and grabbed  it  and ran!
I drove home on auto-pilot. Mark guided my way  - but still said nothing.

R:  Mark, thank you for finding that earring.
 
M:  I did it for Jane. I used you because  you  were  ready.  You're the only one who's ready
for me!

R:  I'm not really sure I'm ready for you at all.  I don't even have my "normal  everyday"  life
together.

M:  All  that  stuff doesn't mean anything.  The  real  issues  are attitude - approach  - feelings - considerations - the way you do things  -  the  undercurrent.
 
R:  When we  talk,  everything  is calm  and  simple  and  logical. You make me feel like
there's a reason for  everything.
 
M:  Life is a continuum. There's no difference  between  life  and  life  after death.  You're just in a different place doing  things  a different way.  That's all. My life hasn't stopped. It's just changed.  For  instance,  I've  already seen  Elmer.

(a relative  who  died some months before.  I got  impressions  of seeing him from afar. Elmer was in a different   "division.")

R:  Do you like what you're doing?

M:  Yeah.   Here, try this:

(I'm  lost in  amazement...in awe of the  mysteries  that  we are  unaware of. We can't see what is all around us -all over, if we could only see!)
 

M:  You have to believe and be willing to "go along." I can't communicate with you when you
want proof. Even proof won't prove. Belief in proof is always a choice.

R:  Mark, can you come back?

M:  Yes, that's one of my options.

R:  Have you decided what you're going to do yet?
 
M:  No, but I'm thinking about it.

Naturally,  I  immediately  assumed that Mark was going to come back, and so  I became  very interested in pregnant women. I assumed that Mark was in  there  someplace.

M:  It doesn't work like  that.

R:  What do you mean?

M:  I mean that I don't have to become a baby some time after January 19, 1976. I can come
back before then.

(confusion  on  my  part)

M:   Let me see if I can show you...

I got some strange pictures or impressions,  but  I  couldn't  get  any clear idea of what Mark was saying. I got the  impression  of vastness,  a wholeness that had no parts and a lot of noise and nothing but quiet. l never did get the idea. I got very confused and so had Mark stop.

M:  Anyway, try to focus on my happiness  - I'm not really  gone, you  know.  I'm
everywhere.

R:  I  don't  understand.
 
M:  It's not important. You don't have to put limits on things.
(sense  of  wonder...pleased and  excited.)

M:  Don't  be  surprised  at  anything! What you call miracles happen all the time. You're
encased in them but you can't see it. It's amazing to me that you can't see it.

R:   Thanks a bunch. So help me see it!

M:  You need to be quiet. Just   quiet things  down.
 
R:  I can't yet. I can't cope with everything  that's  happening.
I  have  to keep busy just to keep myself from thinking.

M:  Go along with your feelings and inclinations...but  don't  be  afraid  to pursue a thought.
I feel sorry for you. You have to follow things, like "a" to "b" to "c" or from one to two. You can't  see  everything.  Remember,  it's all  around  you.  It's  glorious.

It hasn't been  "glorious ever after,"  and it  didn't  seem  glorious before  January,  1976,  either.  I  had been  having  nightmares for  months and months.  I was waking crying and screaming.  I  was  seeing an  accident. And someone was killed. And I was hysterical.   And l cried and cried. Jim thought I was losing my mind. He suggested  I  see  a  professional.

My diagnosis  was that there  was too  much  pressure.. raising  my  two year  old  daughter,  working,  taking care of the house, etc. But that wasnít it.

lt was the events to come casting their shadow ahead of them. It was Mark's accident and death that I saw that 1 lived in my dreams over and over  again  before  it  happened.

That day, when Mark died, 1 was teaching  a  data processing  class  to personnel  from  Roosevelt  Federal Savings and Loan.  We  were really pushing to get through the material.

I was about to call a break when I noticed that it had begun to snow. It was 3:25 PM. 1 walked to the window - and got  "spacey".  When I got myself back  together,  I suggested that  we shorten  the break and get done  early so  everyone could get home before the rush.  I  dismissed class  at  4:15.

But I didn't go home. l was staying for something. I sat at my desk and put  innocent  items  away. ..and  waited.
The phone rang at 5:05. it was my husband. Jim.

Jim:    There's been an accident. Mark is dead.

R:  I know.

J:  Jane was with him. She's in the hospital,  but  she'll  be  ok.

R:  Where  are  you?     I'll  be  right there. It's snowing, so it might take a while.

When I hung up, it hit me. I knew ahead  of time...literally.  I  don't  want to know ahead of time. I murmured that phrase  again  and again...and then began  screaming  it.... "I don't  want  to know ahead of time. Mark is dead, Mark  is  dead."

My boss, John, was in his office two doors away from me. I was lost. I was wandering.  I went into his  office and delivered my  message.  "I don't want to know ahead of time. Mark is dead."

Somehow I got to my car that night.  I wanted to drive alone,  even though John didn't think it wise.  I wanted to drive alone because I wanted to scream and cry at my leisure... which  I did.

It was 20 miles in the snow to the hospital... with  stop/go  lights  all  the way. l was rocking back and forth in the  seat,  holding on  to the  steering wheel.  Mark  was  with me  even then....

R: Mark, what the hell were you doing!? I can't  believe  this  is  happening!  What happened to you? Are you all smashed up?

(awareness of my heart, a sudden drop  in  pressure, blackness.)

Why did I know this was going to happen? I don't want to know. Oh God, it hurts to know ahead of time.

When I got to the hospital, a cop was speaking  with Jim. He was cruel. He was assigning blame.  He was cruel. He was waving a clipboard. On it was the long form he had filled out at the scene of the accident. He was explaining that the road conditions were bad and Mark was driving too fast,  not over the speed limit, but obviously too fast to drive safely.  And there were no skid marks on  the  pavement...but  the  pavement was  wet...and there were people around...but no one  saw the brake lights go on. He must have been driving too fast...kids...just  driving too fast.

Like I said, he was cruel.

I asked Jim what happened to Mark.

Before he could answer, the cop replied that  Mark's neck was  broken. I stared him right in the eye:

R:  That's not right! It was his heart!

"Cop:  No ma'am. His neck was broken."

No sense in arguing over a dead kid who was driving too fast, I suppose.... I was angry and sarcastic.

As it turns out, I was also right, but it took a few days to prove it.

I told Jim that I wanted to find Mark's  clothes.  He said that he told the funeral home to get rid of them. I wanted to see the damage on the clothes. I wanted to  touch  everything I could. 1 asked Mark - he told me that the clothes were in a box at the funeral home, so I headed there.

One  of those  eternally kind men employed by funeral homes  met me at the door. I wanted to relax in his arms. I was so tired of holding myself together.

He  went  downstairs  and  retrieved the  box...tennis  shoes,  socks,  a  Leviís shirt,  and jeans... very  little  blood  on the  lower  leg  of the jeans... very  little on his shirt. Mark   was right. It was over  very fast.  Confirmation.

I asked about Mark's ring, since it wasn't in the box.  The  kind gentleman told me  that  it  was probably removed at  the  hospital.  His  experience  was that folks  had  very  little  luck  getting personal  possessions  back.

When I went back to my car, I asked Mark if his ring was there. He said yes, I could get it today if I wanted to, but I'd have to say that I was his mother.

In  this  case,  I didn't mind phrasing things in such a manner as to allow  an  incorrect  conclusion  especially when there would be no harm done. I was going to give his mom the clothes  anyway.

So I went to various offices at county hospital until I got his  "DOA" bag by signing my name followed by "relationship:  mother".  I  put  the "step-"  in front of "mother"  with light  pressure  from  my fingernail.  No one could see it but me. Mark laughed about  my conflict  in  signing the fake relationship.

The  envelope  contained all that he had "on his person" when they brought him in  that night.  An almost empty pack  of Kool light cigarettes,  a change  purse  from  Roosevelt  Federal, a parking  receipt,  a  ticket  stub from a movie, a black comb and the senior ring they had cut off his finger. Clutching the DOA bag, I went to the  coroner's  office  ---  I mean  right up to the office where he works, if you know what I mean. I walked around by myself - no one around. It was  clean.    and  white...and  tidy...and I couldn't imagine Mark laying on  this table  with  all  these  people  gathered around  while  they  cut and  examined and  determined  and  recorded.. .I couldn't  see  it  happening. That's  because  it  didn't  happen.  A nurse  stumbled  across  me  with  great surprise.  When  I  identified  myself as a  distraught  mother  gathering  what was left of a 17 year old boy, she was understanding  and  helpful.  We  sat down and she got the records.  They weren't official yet - too early for a death  certificate.  But  the  doctor  had described the  cause  of death.  She couldn't give me a copy, but she translated what it said.  It  was  his heart.  It  was  disconnected by  the blow.. .the  steering  wheel.  They  didn't do a full autopsy.  They didn't need to ..he  hadn't been  drinking.  He  was just a kid coming home from school with three  other teenagers  in  the  car.

She helped heal me that day. She told me, with the news of how he died, that  this  really  was  happening.  Mark was talking to me.  Mark  was telling me things that only he could know at the time. Just hours after he died,  he told me  what killed him by letting me feel  what  happened to  his  heart.

Roberta:  Mark,  this  whole  experience is  amazing.  It's  wonderful.

Mark:  You'd better write it down.

R:  Why?  I'll  never forget  this.

M:  That's  not the point. You'll have problems  later  -  you'll think you  were making it up,
but now you know. It's not faith or hope anymore.

R:  I feel like I want to tell everyone who's lost someone. I want to help people  understand
death.

M:  Keep going. Don't stop. But there's a lot of people who won't understand. It's  important
for you to keep believing.  Someday, your faith  in yourself and your story will be  tested.

So I took notes, and recorded all the conclusions and observations, until...

R:  Hi Mark.  I can tell you're here now even before you speak.

M:  I have to talk to you. I've made up my mind. I've decided to go on  to another place.

R:  What  other  place?

M:  I'm not coming back to where you are. I'm  going somewhere else.

(Suddenly,  I'm  traveling  light-years in a second - out to the far reaches of the  universe.  It's  a  completely different  place.  It's  purple.  and what Mark  will learn  there  is very  specific.  He's  signed  up for a  specific  course.  Heíll have to make it on his own... learn everything again as though he never knew it. But there's  a  goal,  an  objective. Itís a single thing he's signed up to learn and the best place to learn it is here, in this far corner of  the  universe.)

R:  When are you leaving?

M:  Not for a while yet. That's why I'm here. I want you to think of all  the  questions you
want  answered. I won't be back for a while.

R:  Do I have to think of them now?

M:  No, no rush.

sometime  later

R:  You're here,  aren't  you?

M:  Yeah.  Got  any  questions?

R:  Is God up there?

M:  That's  interesting.  I  haven't even thought about  "God.Ē I haven't looked for him.

(God is  everywhere.  He's  the baseline.  There's  background  and foreground  and  ground.  He's ground. He can't be  "found." There's no place to look.)

M:  God in your frame of reference is  unimportant.  We're  not  "singing  his praises for all
eternity."  We just are for  all  eternity.

R:  Are  there  kids  there?

M:  Yeah,  but  they're  not  really kids.  They're just "people.Ē  Just  'us."
(When  children  die,  they  transform into  what they really  were  all along. 1 saw this as an  optical illusion, where I saw a child one second and an adult another,  and then  an  aged spirit simultaneously.)

R:  Are  there  lots  of people there? Where are you, anyway?

M:  There's lots of people here, but when it's quiet, no one is here...and it's  everywhere.
 

(...empty  space  which  fills  in  with images  whenever  attention  is  directed somehow.. not  clear, but  had  strong impression  that  it  was  right  here where I was. Like it was all around me...and I am part of it too.)

Then  it happened.  The  real good-bye. I suppose I was ready for it. It was  very  simple.  Very  quiet.  Very natural.

I was driving on a sunny spring day.  The air was light and warm. A really perfect day.  Then  I was aware that Mark was  with me.

M:  Do you have any more questions?

R:  No, not really. But what if I need to reach you after you leave?

M:  You can't reach me directly. But I have  a  friend.

(relay  information  -  like  a  contact at another level who can pass the message on. Has something to do with interference  patterns.  Saw  images scrambled.  Needed  this  person  in between  to  understand  and  transmit the  picture  on.)

R:  How do I reach him?

M:  When you need him, he'll be there.

R:  Ok. Good luck. I hope you get what you're  looking  for.

M:  Would you do me a favor?

R:  Sure.  Anything.

M:  Would you drive by the park? I'd like to see the trees.

I  drove along a very scenic drive, that  went through  the  middle  of the city park. I seemed to be the only one on  the  road.  Everything  became  quiet, even the sound of my car faded.

As a looked out the window at the trees,  the  scene  began  to  change.  1 saw  light.  The  light  was  streaming  out in  all  directions  from  the  leaves,  the branches...and  the  grass.  The  colors were like  none Iíve  ever seen.  The trees  were transparent  and  fading into  the  light.  The  sound  was  glorious...coming  from  the  light....

And then it was done.  The car noise  came  back  and the  trees  became three  dimensional  figures  again...and the  music  stopped...and  I  knew  Mark was  gone.

I wished him well - and let him go.

I still feel close to Mark when Iím outside on a clear night. 1 don't know if Mark  is  in  this  reality.  Perhaps the  "planet"  he's  on  isn't in  this frame of reference  ...  I can't tell.  But I  did get the  impression  that  there are  lots  of  "training  locations"  all over.  The one Mark chose was just one of millions.   From that perspective,  I suppose  we're  experiencing  just  one of  millions,  too.

Did Mark come back? No. not yet. But I was contacted by his friend. He heard me cry out. And told me to write the book.  So I did.

 
 

MARK, MY WORDS  by Roberta Ayers Carson
© 1988 Roberta Ayers Carson. All rights reserved.
Unauthorized reproduction in any form prohibited.

 

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