There was a great post by Nancy Martin and a whole slew of accompanying stories over at The Lipstick Chronicles this week about disastrous wedding experiences. Well, actually, humorous disastrous wedding experiences, which is why I decided not to contribute my own most bizarre wedding memory – it was just too dark. Maybe it’s the stuff I write (you think?) but out of the multitudes of weddings I’ve attended and participated in (I had EIGHT good friends get married within a year, egad – one of the reasons I keep putting that wedding thing off myself), all with lovely and funny and heartwarming stories galore, it’s this one particular incident that, well, haunts me, so much so that I didn’t want to invoke it and cast a pall over that happy thread.
So I thought I’d tell it here, where you all are, you know, used to me.
It was a gorgeous wedding at a club by the ocean. Rich father plus highly artistic bride and groom and highly artistic friends helping so everything was stunningly lovely with no expense spared. Great dance band, entertainment by friends, the bride in a gasp-inducing princess gown. Lovely, lovely, lovely, perfect in every way.
And then came the toasts. All touching, funny… until the FOB. Okay, he was drunk, but that’s not unsual in itself. But when he started to speak, an uneasy hush fell over the crowd. He was telling a story about the bride, and it was just – wrong, the whole sense of it. He said that when she was born, they thought she was autistic and the way he said it made it sound like there was no hope, so they’d never expected much from her anyway. (She is not impaired in any way, by the way – quite the opposite – beautiful, brilliant, talented, charming) We kept waiting for an upturn, a happy ending, even something remotely mitigating, but no. It was horrifying. More than just disturbing in the moment – it felt like – the moment in Sleeping Beauty when the evil fairy shows up at Princess Aurora’s christening and curses her. It felt – prescient.
I wish, really now I’ve wished a thousand times since then, that all of us, the couple’s friends, had stepped in like the good fairy to cast some kind of counter-spell, right there on the spot, wedding protocol be damned. But what? We were all too stunned to even move.
The couple’s first child was diagnosed with autism a few years after birth.
Now of course that story gnaws at me as a writer because of the fairy tale curse aspect of it – I’m completely obsessed with the theme. But it wasn’t just me – all of us who knew the couple knew that something large was going on there – something more than ordinary – a foretelling. It was a moment that ordinary reality seemed to stop and you got a glimpse into the future, or at least a possible future (which is why I so wish one of us at the time had been an experienced witch or yogi to perform some kind of counter-ritual or blessing).
And because of the book I’m writing (yes, STILL writing…@#$%^&) I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently – the moments when we get a glimpse into a bigger, deeper reality. You read enough about psychic events experienced by ordinary people, as I’ve been doing, and they’re all so very similar.
– The crisis apparitions, where a loved one is hurt or dying and appears in some way to a relative or mate at the moment of death, either as a full-fledged apparition or a signal, like a mirror shattering.
– The precognitive dreams: A young mother has a nightmare that her new baby is crushed to death when the light fixture above the crib falls – she wakes up screaming and runs in to the nursery where she finds the baby perfectly fine, sleeping soundly, but she takes the baby into bed with her and her husband – and two hours later they’re awakened by a crash from inside the nursery.
– The visitations from dead loved ones who have something to say about where your mother’s bracelet is or where the new will was filed.
– And of course the ordinary psychic things that happen all the time – the wife who dreams that there is another woman in bed with her and her husband – and discovers that he is, indeed, having an affair. The teenager who decides at the last second to take the left turn instead of the right, even though it will mean an extra five minutes getting to his friend’s house – and as he makes the turn he hears the screeching of brakes and a grinding of metal back there at that very corner.
Yes, yes – all these things can be explained as simple, ordinary perception. The young mother noticed subconsciously that the plaster around the light fixture was cracked and her dream warned her about a very real danger. The woman whose dead husband visits her in a dream to tell her where the bonds is remembering that her husband made that stop at a certain bank one day and her dream makes it her dead husband telling her so so that she’ll pay attention. The teenager registered that a car was driving too fast on that side street out of the corner of his eye. (I can’t as blithely explain how people see their loved ones at the EXACT moment of death, but I’m sure there’s someone out there who can debunk that one, too.)
But I think – reality is a lot more mutable than skeptics want to admit. And I’m not just talking about our perceptions and instincts and intuitions. I mean the whole of the universe gives us signs all the time.
The morning my grandmother died, I woke up and walked outside and the sunrise was just – surreal. The whole sky was flaming orange and red and pink – much more like deep sunset than the pallid pink of LA sunrises. The pecan tree in my back yard towered against that sky, and in the tree were hundreds, hundreds of cawing birds. It was earsplitting, mindblowing.
A half hour later I got the call.
When I look back at those moments that I knew something more than I realistically should have known, there is a heaviness to them, an import, a hyper-clarity – even a time-slowing-down quality. And so it seems to me – and it’s said by spiritual teachers – that if we all paid more attention all the time to these insights, synchronicities, we’d be able to see the signs all the time.
So that’s my spring resolution, since it’s such a lush and pretty day today that it seems like a resolution is called for.
I’m going to pay more attention to the signs – the dark and the light.
So I know all of you have stories to tell about visitations, prescience, telepathy, dream signs, and those just larger-than-life moments. (Yes, all of you – even the people who don’t believe always have stories about friends…)