By August, we discovered another commonality - both of our babies were overdue. Katherine finally gave birth on August 4th. The following day, I had the nurses wheel me into Katherine's room to announce to her that I, too, had given birth to a son. Our babies were born hours apart on different days.
Throughout that year and the next we further developed our relationship when we both gave birth to girls a month apart in 1984. We got together as often as we could and we maintained our relationship with phone calls when we couldn't get together. We were each other's link to sanity when our lives spun out of control.
After we both divorced, Katherine moved west of the city and I moved south, but we kept in close contact with phone calls, emails, and visits. Our discussions always centered around family and the paranormal.
As the days, weeks, and months passed, Katherine and I became more strongly bonded. Her beliefs were aligned with mine and we both shared a passion for all things paranormal. Spirits, ghosts, hauntings, auras, crystals, ESP, UFOs, Tarot cards - everything paranormal captured our attention - especially astrology. I had taken a class in astrology and taught Katherine how to draw charts and analyze them.
Katherine took my teachings and started casting her own charts, making phenomenal predictions that more often than not came true. She developed a client base, quit her job, and became a full-time astrologer.
We read for each other and decided that because of our belief in life after death, whoever died first would contact the other. That was our pact.
In 2006, Katherine developed physical problems that, according to Katherine, baffled doctors. Katherine went from doctor to doctor, from hospital to hospital, no closer to an answer after several months than before she started visiting them.
As her health deteriorated, her spirit suffered as well. She thought friends didn't understand the severity of her problems and that they were taking advantage of her by hounding her for readings and not caring about the medical problems she endured.
Despite repeated attempts to get together with her, Katherine grew to believe that nobody, including me, truly cared about her. In the fall of 2006, I finally convinced her to meet me midway between where we both lived. The visit was the most unusual one we ever had.
As was our custom, we informed the wait staff that we would be in their establishment for several hours but that we would compensate them for their time. Unlike her usual cheery attitude, Katherine's demeanor was serious and morose. Something about that luncheon bothered me and I could sense something in Katherine, a sad resolve, perhaps, that her physical problems would never be addressed.
The holidays were extremely hectic for me that year. In a period of two years, my family had expanded considerably with the addition of two marriages and more babies. I was also moving during the month of December. I tried to let Katherine know what my new address would be, but though I tried on several occasions, I could never reach her.
I always call friends and family on Christmas, but for the entire month of December, I was unable to get a hold of Katherine. Her voice mail box was full and it wouldn't allow me to leave a message.
I even tried sending emails, but Katherine never responded to any of them. Maybe she still considered me to be one of those friends who had abandoned her in her time of need. By January, I was becoming more and more concerned, and I called her again and again.
One night, alone in my room, I discovered a new reason to call her that would certainly excite her. Upon awakening in the middle of the night, I felt a presence in the room, a heaviness that alerted me to the fact that I was no longer alone. As surely as I could feel a hug from a loved one, I felt the presence of someone in that room.
Though I have felt the presence of spirits before (you can read about those experiences in the article, Spirits of Ghosts - True Ghost Stories), I remained frightened by them. I didn't know who the spirit was, but I apologized to whoever it was for being afraid. Once I acknowledged its presence, the heaviness lifted and the presence left.
Katherine knew about my other spirit visits and I couldn't wait to share this new experience with her. I continued to call her throughout January and into February, all the while wondering what was going on and why I couldn't contact her. I was getting angry with her for never emptying her voice mail box so I could leave her a message and I was angry with her for not responding to my emails.
I thought I might be able to reach her through one of her children on myspace so I tried there first. Eventually, I located her son. On February 20th I received a message from him telling me that Katherine had passed away from organ failure on January 10th. His father had died the following day. The shock I felt was compounded by knowing how sad her children were at the passing of both their mother and their father within one day of each other.
Thinking back to the day when I felt a spirit in my room, I understood now that the spirit who visited me was Katherine. She had kept her promise to visit me if she died first.
Today, probably knowing I'm still not comfortable with spirit visits, she enters my dreams. I once asked her in a dream what if felt like to be dead. She responded that it really wasn't much different from life on Earth and that she was still learning.
I'd like to believe she finally found the peace she so deserved.