With the new addition to the family, Sandra and I settled into being Mommy and Daddy. Weekends at our house became like an Italian-Portuguese convention, with tons of family and friends passing through; and lots of food, games, and loud conversation.
One Saturday night last November, we were having a pizza party with my Aunt Theresa; cousin "Little Ro" and her husband Glenn; my aunt Roseann ("Big Ro"); and the new cozy family threesome of Sandra, myself, and six-week-old Justin, when Aunt Theresa decided to get all psychic on me.
"John, look...all I've been dreaming about lately is dead people," she told me. "They come to talk to me about this or that. Why are they coming to me and not you?"
I laughed and told her I'd been working so much lately they were probably getting a busy signal trying to reach me and the psychic operator redirected them to her...ha, ha, ha, I laughed.
But Aunt Theresa wasn't laughing with me. All joking aside, she could be extremely psychic and often picked up on family stuff. Yes, I do believe psychic ability can run in families. In fact, I'd venture to say that both sides of my family have a kind of pre-genetic disposition for it-which is really ironic since my father always shunned the whole psychic world. I asked Aunt Theresa to tell me more about these dreams she was having.
"Well, that's just it," she continued, puzzled. "I'm dreaming about all these dead people...and then I had a dream about yourfather last night. In the dream he was in a real rush-like he wasgoing someplace and couldn't stay. But he specifically told me I wasto call him in case there was anything wrong with Justin. Is Justinokay? And why would I be dreaming about your father?"
"Who are you playing with, you little monster?" I asked him in baby-talk. "Justin, do you see Grandpa? Are you playing with Grandpa? Where's Grandpa?" I was thinking of Sandra's dad, Fernando, who lived about 20 miles away in Queens, whom Justin simply adored. And once I said it, I thought it was odd that I was asking Justin where Grandpa was. My grandmother used to say that when babies played and cooed at nothing in front of them, they were playing with the angels.
I do believe that babies are directly connected with the spirit world because they have no prejudices about the existence of the Other Side and its inhabitants. In a nervous tone, I said out loud, "Justin, Grandpa better be in Queens...or your mommy is going to be one upset cookie. Justin, who are you playing with?" But my son just nodded back into dreamland, and I thought whoever Justin's angelic playmate was, he or she would have to join him in his dreams now.
I carefully put him in his crib with his little ShooSha (Portuguese for "pacifier") to keep him company on this Side, and the phone rang. I jumped to answer it before it woke Justin.
"I know it's early," Aunt Theresa whispered apologetically, on the other end of the line, "but I thought I should call you right away. You're not going to believe this.but I think your father has died."