Carlos was a gentle man with a kind-hearted soul, and there was a fierce determination in his eyes. He’d made an appointment with me because he wanted to hear from his father, Gustavo, who had died several years ago. At the beginning of our session, he told me he had dreamed of his father, who appeared as a phantom-like figure on the edge of his unconscious awareness. Carlos could never remember the gist of the dreams once he woke up. The only thing he knew was his father had spoken to him, but Gustavo’s voice had sounded blurred, like he was speaking underwater. And that made no sense to Carlos, because his father hadn’t drowned.
I centred myself and asked my guides to bring me Carlos’ father. Seconds ticked by, and I wondered why my guides were keeping me waiting. After a bit of uncomfortable stillness, I did feel a presence. A male energy, but the spirit seemed like he was in the far corner of my reading room. Was this Gustavo? And why was he being so difficult?
I asked Carlos if he had a picture of his father; often, a picture will help me link in with a hesitant spirit. Carlos pursed his lips and shook his head.
“Okay, let me tell you what I’m getting,” I said, concentrating on the ephemeral presence nearby. “I do feel the spirit is male. A heavy-set fellow with big hands. He’s showing me his hands, spread out like this…” I opened my hands and stretched my fingers. “And now he’s pointing to his head. There’s a pain in his head.”
Carlos sat forward. His jaw tightened and he hissed, “Yes.” Then he took a breath and said, “Go on.”
The spirit drew closer to me and I felt compelled to stand up. I pointed at Carlos and said with an edge in my voice, “Let it go.” That surprised me, giving such a sharp command to my client. “That’s how your father would speak, right?”
“Yes. When he was angry about something.”
“Well, your father isn’t angry. He’s—“
Suddenly, a searing pain stabbed my left temple. My eyes squeezed shut and I gritted my teeth. If this isn’t mine, I thought, take it away. The pain vanished. And then I knew what had happened.
“Your father was shot in the head,” I said slowly, as I sat behind my desk again.
“Yes. He committed suicide.”
“He’s saying he didn’t.”
Carlos nodded. His eyes began to fill with anger.
“Your father says, ‘Let it go.’”
“I can’t,” he said.
“Let it go,” I said, and once more felt Gustavo’s energy. My finger jabbed the air as I pointed at Carlos. “You will only get in trouble. It’s over. Gustavo says it’s over. That’s why he hasn’t come to you. He doesn’t want you to follow him. Let it go.”
Carlos scratched his cheeks. He opened his mouth to say something, but didn’t speak. In my mind, I saw Carlos standing on a dark street corner, his hand in his pocket gripping a weapon made of cold steel, waiting impatiently for someone to walk by so he could take the next step in a drama of vengeance that would seal his own fate.
“Your father says, ‘You promise me. You promise me. You’re not going to do anything about it.’”
A minute ticked by. It felt like an hour. I wanted Gustavo to say something more to calm his son, but the energy I had felt had slipped away. I implored anyone else in the spirit world to come forward and talk Carlos out of making a mistake, but the room stayed silent and cold.
Then he said, “Yes, I promise.”
I sensed Carlos’ energy settle. He looked at the floor and I wished I knew what was on his mind. Searching for something to say, I asked him if he’d like some tea, then felt silly making the offer. Carlos shook his head, then rose from his chair. He thanked me for the session, and I walked him to the door.
“Are you all right?” I asked him as he pulled on his denim jacket.
“Fine,” he said. “I just need to think.”
I stood at the door and watched Carlos walk to his car. His shoulders were hunched, as if he was carrying a great weight on his back. I prayed for his guides to help him ease that weight, and to give him the inner strength to keep the promise he made to his father. As the days went by, and I nervously scanned the newspapers for word of a story that I knew would break my heart, I came to realize the lesson Carlos taught me: There are some things in life we can’t control, and if we push too hard to exert our will, it ends up controlling us.
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