Mark Jenkins May 13, 1970 ~ March 21, 2022

I'm going to start by saying that I cannot choose this. I have no power over it and when someone leaves me, they are usually gone for good. So, don't go thinking I can just speak to anyone. I can't. They choose me and they choose when and how long.

The night I learned Mark passed away, I reached out to him soul to soul and told him that if he needed to talk, I could hear him. In my extremely limited experience of talking to the dead they don’t normally show up for a while after they pass. I assume they are getting oriented to their new existence and haven’t quite figured out how to converse with the living.

During the first night after his passing, I woke somewhere around 2am and it was on. For the first time ever, I felt a need to form the words I spoke to him with my mouth instead of speaking them in my mind, which had always been the way before. I assumed maybe it happened because something between us made me know that he was more comfortable seeing me speak than wondering if I was really speaking to him or just thinking about him. For a good 2 hours we giggled and laughed at our predicament and how we had talked more in this conversation than we had in most of our adult lives. I still want to cry happy and sad tears right now while I write this, and I promised him I would write this. He was positive he wanted me to take notes and I meant to write them while it was all still fresh, but something wouldn’t let me. I was strong in my procrastination. Maybe I thought he’d just keep sticking around nudging me as long as it was undone.

In the past I’ve spoken to three other dead people who had messages for other people. Now Mark made four, but our conversation didn’t belong to anyone but us. It was like he was a visitor in my house. The only message he gave for someone else was to tell my sister, Trista, to talk to him while she drove home from work that day and to not tell her husband Steve because he wouldn’t take it seriously and might make her feel like it wasn’t real. When I think back to that call, I am positive I left out the don’t tell Steve part. She knows their relationship and she could navigate that for herself.

Mark was a happy newly dead person. I could feel it so strongly. I’ve never felt that before. I don’t feel sadness from the dead either. It normally just feels like they are just not ready to leave their people behind, they want them to know that and that’s it. He still isn’t leaving his people either, but he was flying high with a plan to stick around. I asked him what it felt like to be a soul without a body, and he said he felt like a butterfly. Of course, butterflies keep showing up now and at his funeral they played a song that had butterflies in it, and it was my first glimpse of how he’d remind me he was still around even though he seems to have mostly moved on from me. I feel him around still on brief occasions when I think about him, but I think he is with Eliza pretty much full time now. I thought I’d have him for a long time, but he only stayed a day, and he was gone.

So, the morning he came to me, Bryan had left early because he was working from the road that day. I felt so sick. Before we finished visitation, the funeral, and the benefit that Saturday after he passed I could hardly eek out a sound. I had full on laryngitis for the first time ever in my life. I got out of bed after the morning light showed in my bedroom window. I went straight to get water to sip on in a thermal bottle I’d been using. I was just going to fill it up again, grab my laptop and go straight to the couch to work because I felt so bad. When I picked up the bottle, he told me to wash it and joked that I hadn’t washed it in a week. I obeyed. While I was washing it there was a sink full of dishes and he told me to wash them too. I was like, “Dude I am so sick right now, I just don’t feel like it.” He told me if I washed them, I would start to feel better. So, I started washing the dishes. He would not let me set down a clean pan if it had anything baked to the bottom of it. He’d tell me it wasn’t clean and to get my paste out and scrub it clean. When I thought it was good enough, he made me clean it more. He also made me partially clean the fridge. He wasn’t satisfied with what I did but I refused to take everything out and clean it like he wanted even though he was right, and it did seem that every clean dish made me feel a little better.

My health had felt off for a while and I was doing a cleanse to restore myself but eating with it didn’t seem to agree with my guts. I thought I should probably fast for a few days to really let this cleanse work. He immediately let me know that he thought I should fast too. I told him that I’d have to have lemons to do the fast I do, and I didn’t want to drive to town. He said, “there’s a lemon in the fridge.” Just to prove him wrong I went to look around the fridge thinking we hadn’t eaten anything that would require us buying lemons and we mostly don’t just keep them on hand. I went through all the drawers where we keep them and there wasn’t a single lemon. I started to close the door and I saw half of a lemon laying on the shelf. That blew my mind. I could probably make it with half a lemon today and have Bryan bring some home on his way back. Another thing I needed for the fast was Maple syrup. As I was putting away things on the counter, I opened our pantry and the bottle of maple syrup we had fell out of the cabinet and on to the floor right in front of my feet. Message received. I’m fasting. I fasted for 4 days and other than the laryngitis I felt so much better.

Mark told me when I was washing the dishes that I needed to start seeing the dishes in the sink again. He told me I’d made a habit out of not seeing them because Bryan just volunteers to wash them and I let him. He said Bryan resented it and that I felt guilty that I let him do it. He said resentment will kill him and guilt will kill you. He said resentment killed him and now that he's gone he knows no one was responsible for making him feel resentful. He chose it all on his own and wanted me to know we could choose to live with guilt or resentment, or we could choose not to. I asked him if we were writing a book together, I said that it seems that way. That’s when he let me know he wanted me to type this story and not just write it in pen. I think he knew I wouldn’t share if I wrote in pen which is my chosen thing to do in a situation like he and I were in. I told him I would type it like he wanted but then I just couldn’t. Part of me feels like my procrastination was because I wasn’t ready and the people who would care about it might also not be ready, and I think that is why I lost my voice during the whole funeral period. It was to stifle me until the time was right.

I learned a couple of things from Mark. One is to let go of the things that eat you up inside. Also trust when dead people talk to you or risk having a bottle of syrup come close to hitting your feet. There’s always a lesson with these souls and he also reiterated one I’d heard before. Do not ever feel bad for a relationship you had with someone while they were alive after they pass even if it wasn’t ideal. It was what both of your souls needed to help you grow. If it were supposed to be different, it would have been different. We are all here to help each other further down the path and sometimes it’s just ugly for beautiful reasons.


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