Let’s get this straight, it’s not like I went around talking to dead people. They started it is all I am saying. My name is Max Chase and I am a school counselor for the love of god I work for a living. It just happens that the dead are a lonely bunch with problems too, seems like whatever side of the fence you are on you need to be counseled, sheesh. What I mean by “side of the fence” is either the living side or in spirit side. I have had to make up a whole vocabulary for the stuff I do now because there is no Wikipedia for mediums. What they show in movies and on TV only gets me so far. How many times can a girl watch GHOST?
I wish I could tell you this was a recent development but it’s not. This kind of thing runs in my family only as a kid I never was much interested. My mom, Aunt Ruthie and grandmother are table tippers from way back and held séances once a month to help folks connect with their dearly departed. I would sail through the room, grab a wedge of my grandmother’s poppy seed strudel and take off. The whole ghost thing creeped me out truth be told. I had a relatively normal childhood barring the séances, the talk of past lives at the breakfast table and a spattering of dream interpretation here and there. I mean we all have dreams that come true right? I just chalked it up to normal and went off to college as far away from home as possible. I love my family but really they are a little nuts.
Things started to get a bit wonkey for me after my Aunt Ruthie died a few years ago. It’s not like she’s really gone or anything she still shows up for the séances and her and my mom are as close as ever. When she first got sick I was living a little ways upstate New York, she was down with my mom in Florida. They all lived in Florida by then as that is what happens to old people in New York they migrate south. A few fall out in the Carolinas and Georgia but the bulk make it to Boca. So any way, on the way home from a vacation my Aunt called. She did not sound good and I thought uh oh this is the big good-bye. After we hung up I called my sister and told her to book us two tickets to Florida for the next day. I got home from the west coast that night and flew out the next morning. We got there in time to say good-bye and support both Aunt Ruthie and my mom. I don’t think the uh-oh feeling I was so sure about in terms of my aunt being ‘ready’ was anything unusual. Everyone can feel that stuff. It was the whispering I heard in the hospital room that was unusual. It wasn’t coming from any of the live people sitting in the room either.
I kept turning around and looking at my sister thinking she was trying to get my attention. She was not. I kept turning around and looking to see if the TV was on. It was not. I didn’t realize at the time and not until a few months after my aunts death was I was hearing spirit, all of the folks that came to meet, greet and shepherd over my aunt. I deduced that I was hearing departed family when my mom shared that my aunt had sat up the night before she died and was talking to my long dead grandmother. My aunt had been in a morphine coma for the 12 hours prior to that so this impromptu chat was startling for my mom and the night nurse. The realization I was hearing my grandmother and my dad who has been gone over 20 years was a little spooky for me. I promptly ignored it and buried my head in my work and graduate school and soldered on.
A few months after my aunt died I started to talk to her in my head. Not out loud, that I reserve for my surly cat Gus. Any way I could feel her but didn’t pay any real attention she was background to going to grad school, working and falling in love. You know life, not death stuff. Then there was the next incident I remember that got my attention.
I was living in an old Victorian with crystal doorknobs, high ceilings, bay windows and a draft so hard that you could fly a kite in the house. One Wednesday night I went into my tiny upstairs bathroom to take a shower before bed, dropped my slippers in front of the sink, placed my jammers on the toilet cover and jumped in. On my exit I found one of my slippers gone. Look I wear a size 11 and these slippers were big on me, and red. Not something you can overlook. They were bigger than my cat, I live alone, and the freak’n slipper was there 6 minutes before. Now it was gone. I looked everywhere, but all I found was the one lone slipper where I left it. I chucked the lone slipper next to my bed and thought… either I am going crazy or something crazy is going on. I continued to look for the missing slipper for next couple of days. Early the next Saturday morning I got up and wandered bleary eyed into my bathroom to find the rogue red slipper sitting right where I left it. I got chills all over my body. I could not find any logical answer; I lived alone, no dogs, a lazy cat, no guests… nadda. I started to think those internal conversations were not all me, there really might be a true dialogue. Ah fuckity fuck me I didn’t need more crazy I needed less…
So that is how counseling folks on both sides of the fence began for me. Very few people know I have this gift and skill. I am what you might say mostly in ‘the closet’ about talking to dead people because, well, it does not help in most social situations. And really the ones it does help are very odd, trust me. This is also not something I share in my school life as district employees are clearly prohibited from this kind of shenanigans. I am pretty sure talking to dead people is listed in the employee manual under Conduct and Crazy.
In the beginning I was wide open to every spook who wanted my attention, not good. So I have had to learn to control and focus my gift. I am helped by an executive assistant on the other side. And lucky for me I found Tiffany, a master teacher on this side who helps me navigate the ether. Turns out it works just like a radio, I can turn it on and off and choose the station, simple as that. It’s been a year and a half since I started studying. Now I help find missing people, deliver messages, mostly to folks who are grieving, counsel the departed and I’ve realized strudel compliments a séance nicely. I just got to say that life these days is never dull and there is always someone to talk to!