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Heaven Calling
with whom would you like to speak?

by Joseph Toone

I was reading David Sedaris’ newest book in which he mentions dealing with a physic. He writes that chatting up the dead is like being on the phone with folks in prison with the phone being passed around randomly. You don’t ask questions. You are there simply to listen to what they feel compelled to say.

It made me wonder, given the opportunity, whom in the great beyond would I like to hear from. Immediately I thought of my childhood pal, my great Aunt Ida. She was blind and likely a victim of the Pennsylvania priest scandals. Mainly, I'd just want to know if their existence after death is easier and more pleasant than their experiences while living. I didn’t even consider contacting ,my parents feeling I’ve always known, they are just fine where they are. Almost daily, in a multitude of ways, they let me know this.

Thinking perhaps my reaction was odd I asked a Canadian pal. He also didn’t think of his parents, not even other family members, only his contemporary who had lived in the former Inquisitor’s House/Prison and died rather quickly a few years ago.

Next I asked a Mexican pal. She quickly answered there was no one dead she wished to hear from, knowing they are all with God, where they should be, and that she’ll encounter them soon enough.

As these things happen, later that day I had a Cemetery/Day of the Dead tour. These tours always leads to profound conversations about contact with dead. I tend to remember the funny ones.

One of these humorous encounters was with a pair of sisters. They had labored up a mountain to toss their brother Tommy's ashes, as he had requested. Just as they tossed the wind changed directions blowing the ashes up and into their faces. “Gross! Tommy is in my mouth!,” they moaned.

Another sisterly pair had a picnic on their father’s grave. Their parents had divorced, but Mom still wanted buried next to Dad. Dad, however, had had other ideas. He had remarried and had saved the grave site adjacent to his for his newer wife, and there she was interred. Faithful as they were to Mom's last wishes, the daughters used spoons to lift up just enough dirt to place Mom’s ashes by Dad, even if not officially noted as such.

With all the recent St. Michael’s celebrations I pondered about my departed brother, Mike, the former seminarian that left the priesthood to marry a Jewish lass, join a traveling circus and become a clown with the act “Farmer Toone, his wife and their kid, the goat”. He would have enjoyed all the fuss made over his namesake here. But I didn’t think of contacting him either on my hotline to Heaven.

While on the tour a tomb I saw a large, pink beach umbrella and a handful of women resting in its shade. This reminded me that, along with Easter, Christmas and Day of the Dead the death anniversary of one’s loved one is a popular day for cemetery excursion. This reminder notes that the day one dies is your real birthday, as it is the day you go back to God and begin eternal life. Speaking of the Jews, they commemorate the death anniversary, Yartzeit, by lighting candles and reciting the special prayer, Kaddish. They believe that death marks the greatest flowering, the culmination of life.

Happy Day of the Dead... to us and them.


Day of the Dead: Toone Tours Tombs
October 26 - November 2


Joseph Toone is Amazon's bestselling author of the San Miguel de Allende Secrets series of books and TripAdvisor's best rated historical walking tour guide. For more information contact toone.joseph@yahoo.com or visit History and Culture Walking Tours or JosephTooneTours.com, also on FaceBook.

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