question for the universe or closer

My dead sister, Libby, visited me at work last week. That’s what I was told by a customer-friend. Libby didn’t say hi, but perhaps she knew I was too busy to talk, or perhaps she knew she’d be hard to hear over the grind, steam, hiss, ouch, of the coffee machine. An enormous amount of nodding and smiling goes on at my work.

I hadn’t seen my customer-friend for ages, at least a year, and I took a minute out of the push to say hello.

‘How’s your sister?’ she asked.

Confused, I said, ‘she’s gone.’

‘Yeah, but she’s here with you.’

My friend said she could ‘see’ her. From what I understand, she’s talking about ‘auras’ and ‘human energy fields’ and ‘electro-photonic vibrations’. And yes, I have to put them in inverted commas.

Out in the world, if this interaction was on TV, or with a stranger on the train, or from a friend of a friend’s friend, I’d dismiss it as crap. Utter crap. I’d probably feel sorry for the person who said it and anyone who believed it. Yes, even though I’ve got, or had, a ghost in my phone (and I will not be talked out of that conclusion), auras and presences, that type of mysticism, is something I have trouble with.

But this woman, my customer-friend, isn’t just anyone.

If I’ve experienced grief then she is at the Head of it. Her husband died, her mother, her father, her sister, her nephew, all in tragic circumstances. She’s been on her grief journey for some time and has looked into it. She’s investigated belief systems, she’s spiritual, methodical, practical, she has her feet on the ground. My customer-friend can’t be easily dismissed.

Still, I’m not sure about this, energy, presence, ghosty stuff. Since Libby died I’ve experienced many of peculiarities and I have been open to experiencing more. I used to look at my phone and will Libby to ‘talk’ to me, come on.

But the biggest thing, the ‘proof’ of what my customer-friend said, is that not half an hour before she came in Madonna was on the big TV. We can’t watch, we’re serving, but we can hear. ‘Like a Prayer’ above us, my work-buddy said it was her favourite Madonna song, I said me too. And I said Libby loved it. And then I remembered a BBQ about twenty-years ago where ‘Like a Prayer’ was playing, and me and Libby and Erin were singing along. I’d had a drink, a Fluffy Duck (ssshhh), after a bike ride and not much lunch, and I was a bit drunk. Libby thought I was hilarious.

At the coffee machine at work, on a Sunday morning, my best work-buddy beside me, I smiled when I remembered me and Libby’s, Madonna moment.

And yes, Libby is dead, she won’t be here for Christmas, but she was with me, I felt it. In my smile I knew it. I was too happy to hear the song, to share the memory with my work-buddy, to think of Libby and Madonna and Erin and me. There’s no way I could have cried. She was there.

And then my customer-friend comes into the shop and tells me Libby is with me. I don’t believe in Heaven, I don’t believe in ghosts, I don’t believe in an afterlife, and that’s hard to reconcile with this aura, she’s-with-you stuff.

Could it be? Maybe in this, colour of our emotions-aura thing, whatever aura my customer-friend saw is the same colour as big smile and a loving memory.


she was on Earth, she was in that plastic box, she was in the air and in the river, she’s disappearing from the mud, she’s in my heart, our hearts.

thank you, Libby.

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