Today marks the 12th Anniversary of the September 11th attacks. This is a day that will be remembered forever; its victims never forgotten. For me, it has personal meaning as the day my husband John’s friend Rich Lee, a Cantor Fitzgerald employee, lost his life. Rich, a man that I never met, would ultimately change my life as he was the reason behind my book, Visits from Heaven.
The Epilogue of my first book, Footprints in the Sand: A Disabled Woman’s Inspiring Journey to Happiness, contains an inspirational e-mail written by my husband’s friend and former boss, Rich. In it, Rich talks about the passing of his father but more so about the importance of life. In August 2003, Rich came to me in a vivid dream that would forever change my view of the afterlife.
In the dream, I saw myself going through this long hallway but I had no idea where I was yet there seemed to be a force pushing me forward as I made my way to the end and turned right into a door at the end. I walked into this room and looked around seeing a bunch of desks and windows. I should also mention here that I actually felt myself moving. It was as though my soul was out wandering while my body remained in a deep sleep. All of a sudden, Rich appeared before me. He was wearing glasses and smiled reassuringly at me as he telepathically communicated, “Josie, thank you for mentioning me in your book.”
As I said earlier, I had never met Rich in person when he was alive on this earth. I had only spoken to him on the phone and knew him through pictures yet I had no doubt that this was my husband’s friend standing before me. I looked up at him squinting because it was hard to look straight at him. The only reason I can give for this is there seemed to be a density or fog about us. To this day, I don’t know why I said this but I looked at him and said, “Rich, you have to give me proof that this is really you?” He looked at me with a comforting glance and walked over to a desk picking up a cell phone. On the cell phone was a picture of him, his wife and his son.
He then spoke to me again saying, “Boston is O.K.” I had no idea what this meant but the next thing I knew I was going through a window and found myself on the street looking up at a pickup truck. In the bed of this pickup truck was Rich standing behind his wife and son. He looked at me and told me to give them the message. I don’t remember anything much after that except for waking up panting and sweating in a sitting position feeling like something had just hit me in my chest.
I must admit I was scared and confused. Nothing like this had ever happened to me before. Though I could not understand what just happened; I was certain that I had to get this message to his wife. It was about 8:00 a.m. and my husband was already at work. I quickly rushed to call my husband and told him what had just happened. His response was nothing that I didn’t expect. “You’ve got to be kidding me!” he yelled. “You want me to call Rich’s wife who just lost her husband and tell her that ‘Boston is O.K.’” He was convinced that I had lost my senses.
I persisted telling him that I was positive the experience had been real and not a dream. It had been unlike anything that I had ever experienced. My husband listened reluctantly but finally agreed to forward an e-mail written by me explaining what had occurred to Rich’s sister-in-law. He would ask her to forward the e-mail to Rich’s wife only if she felt it was appropriate.
The following week, we were on vacation when my husband received a response from Rich’s sister-in-law on his BlackBerry. In short, she explained that her sister had a brother in Boston and was considering moving there. But having purchased her home just before her husband’s untimely death, she felt guilty. My husband read this message to himself but did not grasp what the message meant until he read the e-mail aloud to me.
We both looked at each other in complete shock. I never met his wife and certainly did not know that she even had a brother in Boston. Now, it all made perfect sense to me. His words, “Boston is O.K.” was meant to let his wife know that she need not feel guilty and move to Boston. He was telling her that it was alright with him.
At first, I honestly did not know what to think. So a deceased friend had given me a message in my dreams that had actually been validated. What next? What did this mean? Even though I had no doubt that I had visited with Rich’s spirit and that he was alive and well, my ego had difficulty processing this information. While my unconditioned self or spirit believed what I had experienced was perhaps more real than anything I had witnessed on this earth, my ego self was afraid and doubtful. After all I reasoned, if Rich is dead and if he did, in fact, communicate with me, then not only is it confirmation of the existence of an afterlife, but it must be possible for the dead to communicate with the living.
I did not realize it then but this would ultimately lead me on a spiritual quest which would later result in Visits from Heaven. I had been given a gift. Not only did Rich communicate with me, but he gave me information that his family was able to validate. Surely if this had happened to me, others must have had similar experiences.
The beginning of my search led me to the story of Dr.Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a psychiatrist who pioneered the study of death and dying and is credited with raising awareness about bereavement issues. Dr. Ross frequently told a now famous story about a former patient of hers named Mrs. Schwartz who had appeared to her to ask that she not give up her work. As the story goes, Dr. Ross was making her way over to an elevator after the conclusion of one her seminars on death and dying when she noticed a woman who looked very familiar. The woman approached her and asked if she could accompany Dr. Ross to her office. At this point, Dr. Ross recognizes the woman as a patient who had passed away about 10 months prior and began to second guess herself.
Dr. Ross was sure that this was, in fact, Mrs. Schwartz but how could this be? She even touched her skin to see if it were cold or warm or if it would disappear when touched. But Mrs. Schwartz was still there. When they arrived at Dr. Ross’ office, Mrs. Schwartz opened the door and told her that she had come to thank her for all the help she had given her and to ask her to promise not to give up her work on death and dying.
Ross went to her desk and did a reality check but Mrs. Schwartz was still there and again asked her to promise not to discontinue her work. Ross agreed but asked Mrs. Schwartz to first sign and write a note. Mrs. Schwartz did as she was requested, walked out and disappeared.
She kept the note and later told this story many times. “Death is simply a shedding of the physical body like the butterfly shedding its cocoon,” Dr. Ross later wrote. “It is a transition to a higher state of consciousness where you continue to perceive, to understand, to laugh, and to be able to grow.”
At the onset of my spiritual quest, I visited with a local medium from New Jersey named Artie Hoffman. This was my first visit with a medium and I had no idea what to expect. To say that it was more than I could ever have imagined is an understatement. The reading which was scheduled to take 30 minutes took well over two hours. One by one my deceased relatives came through with validation after validation. I was just amazed by Artie’s accuracy.
I bring him up, though, because of a message he gave me. Artie told me that I was working on a book that was meant to be written. You are being guided by the Other Side, he told me, and will be given many validations. This message confirmed what I had already known deep within.
As Artie said, I did indeed receive several validations and would later write my book. Visits from Heaven (4th Dimension Press) contains evidential afterlife communication accounts from around the world. Every account is backed up by proof. I am very grateful to all of my contributors. Obviously, without them there would be no book. But truthfully, Rich Lee, is the one who deserves the bulk of the credit. It was his visit from heaven which started it all.
And speaking of visits from heaven, on the first anniversary of the attacks, September 11, 2002, the New York Lottery came up 911. And the day before, the S&P 500 futures index closed at exactly 911.00. The S&P futures index had never closed at exactly 911.00 before. Coincidence? Some may think so. But to me, it was just another sign from heaven.
Today, as I remember all the victims of 9/11, I give thanks to a very special man who changed my life in so many ways. Thank you, Rich.