Did you ever look into the bathroom mirror and wonder who was staring back?

With an evening off work, I decided to catch up on what I’d been missing on TV. I switched on a new series, Medium, and sat down to watch. It wasn’t five minutes into the show that I realized how true to form they were portraying the medium this time. She was experiencing some doubt and confusion about her “gift.” She began expressing her feelings in words, that up to now, I’ve only allowed to exist in my thoughts. You see, I have seen dead people walking and I do have premonitions. The first time I didn’t think much of it; just a dream.

Weeks later, Uncle Russ’s grandma passed on. I still didn’t put it all together until the night we went to the funeral parlor. Not even when I entered the front door did I see what was coming. It only hit me when walked up for the viewing; clear as the night I had dreamed it. I was facing Uncle Russ, and we were talking, when everything from that point on began replaying on cue. To my left was the open casket, yet from my side view I couldn’t see the face of who was laid to rest. Looking directly over Uncle Russ’s shoulder, behind him in the alcove sat Aunt Anita, sipping coffee, talking with Aunt Lorraine. The inexperience of my youth couldn’t comprehend. Stop this madness, I thought as rush of panic flowed throughout my body. I’d had isolated moments of Déjà vu before but this time it wasn’t ending in a short minute. Caught off guard, I couldn’t control what was happening. I’d dreamed this entire scene only a couple of weeks ago. My composure dissolved. Tears flowed down my face while the rest of me was frozen in fear. Everyone assumed I was crying as a natural reaction to my grief for his grandma’s passing.

Dad walked up to calm me and escorted me outside. Walking through the parking lot, he attempted to distract me from my overwhelming emotions. I began explaining my dream and how everything those last few minutes was a reenactment of that vision. Continuing toward the car, with a knowing smile he assured me that he believed I was telling the truth. While opening the car door, he added, “It would probably be good if you didn’t mention this to anyone else, because they might not believe you.” I took his warning to heart and didn’t discuss what happened again. Now, with me settled in the car, he went back to the parlor. I waited alone, staring through the clouds. My thoughts began questioning who I was in this world. I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me. The notion that I might be evil crept into my thoughts. I began wondering if a person could dream something into reality.

We didn’t bring it up again, and after returning home I went straight to my room and got ready for bed. I lay there. All I could do was keep repeating my prayer to Source asking to never let me dream again. I really didn’t want to experience any more visions and I wanted Source to know this, to get the point, right up front, no thank you. I was done with it all. My fear kept me awake that night; fear of having another sad dream that would relive itself in my immediate world of reality some weeks later. I just kept repeating in my mind – why me? I don’t remember it ever happening before then, but who knows, when you’re a kid fantasy overlaps reality and you can’t always see where the line is drawn.

Over the years, the premonitions kept showing up without warning. I’d have a dream. I’d think, “It’s only a dream,” in hopes it wouldn’t come true. I’d let it go, and then, bam! It hit me. It’s really happening this time; followed by the all too predictable aftermath of questions. I still didn’t know why it was me instead of someone else; someone who knew what they were doing. I didn’t know what I was to make it mean, if anything at all. If I were to tell someone I couldn’t be sure what repercussions to expect. Bringing the subject up in discussions might give someone else the opening to mention they had similar experiences and then we might learn for each other. I would need to plan how and what I said; approach the conversation gingerly, without giving away my real reason to want to find out more. No one was talking back then, so neither was I. Only a few members of our immediate family knew of my “gift.”

But there were times when I came to realize the meaning of “a blessing in disguise.” Once, I knew my sister Martha needed help. I kept calling one evening, only to get a busy signal. I couldn’t explain my feeling of urgency to my husband, John; I could only tell him that we needed to get to Martha’s apartment right away. I didn’t know what I was going to face, but I knew I wanted him there for support. He was miffed, to say the least, that we had to go out since we were already settled in for the evening. Grudgingly, he helped me get the kids out of bed. We carried them to the van, still in their pajamas. They slept through the short trip to Martha’s apartment. All the way John was beside himself at how this was really so unnecessary, just because I had a “feeling.”

As we drove into the parking lot, an ambulance, police car, and fire truck were parked haphazardly at the entrance. We left the kids sleeping in the van, locked the doors, and quickly made our way through the crowd of professionals. It was Martha all right. She had an epileptic seizure. A build-up of medicine was causing her to have hallucinations, and had accidentally set the apartment on fire.

About an hour later, with Martha on her way to the hospital, we quietly walked back to the van; sitting there, gathering our thoughts. John looked at me for the first time with questioning and fear of the unknown in his eyes.

Who had he married? Why didn’t I explain my experiences in detail before? He began to speak in a solemn voice, telling me that if I ever told him we needed to check on Martha again, I wouldn’t be getting any argument from him.

After arriving home, we put the kids back to bed and had a long discussion. As we talked, unconnected pieces of the past began to fall into place, showing him the clearer picture. He recalled how I knew ahead of time about my bridal showers when everyone swore they hadn’t said a word! I told him back then that I knew, but he didn’t understand what I meant when I said, “No one told me, I just know.”

A few years ago the subject did come up in a discussion with one of my aunts. My gift isn’t a deep dark secret any longer and others in the family have had these experiences. In fact, one aunt came right out and told me my mom had an added sense about things as well. She died when I was only six. No one ever talked about her in conversation. Memories of her were too hard for them to articulate. Now, in my forties, I was finally hearing about her deep dark secret. Looking back on it now, I can understand my dad’s knowing smile that day in the parking lot.

Now, when I look in the mirror and wonder who I am, I still see a mystery and a lot of unanswered questions. I know now that I’m not evil. Yet, I still wonder why I have this ability. I know if you are given a gift, it’s a waste if you don’t use it. I’m still not sure who I should be helping. I often wonder if I should interfere or just let things play out for themselves. If I introduce something to redirect destiny and cause a different outcome, I don’t know yet where that precious balance is where I could just cause the tiniest ripple and not create a monsoon. One of my frustrating concerns is that it has been trial and error all these years. The most perplexing issue is my need to find a sanctuary of friends who can accept me. A heavy responsibility comes with this gift. I’m not here to do parlor tricks, and still am very selective about my conversations on the subject. I haven’t found a “how-to” book that meets my needs yet. As far as guidance goes, it’s hard to separate the charlatan from the mentor. I continued watching the show while all these issues resurfaced, yet this time I felt connected, not alone, and the dark side of me just became a little brighter.

Author's Bio: 

I'm a simple person. I was born to Enrico Jerome Messina and Camilla Margaret Deken at 12:20 p.m. on Sunday May 7, 1950, at Saint Anthony’s Hospital in the city of St. Louis, Missouri. In 1956, just six short years later mom passed on. Dad, restless without her, moved us a lot; some boxes just didn’t get unpacked. He sent us to Catholic schools. We lived in clean, safe neighborhoods and walked to wherever. High school years were spent in this order: Freshman: St. Anthony’s; Sophomore: Cleveland High School; Junior: Afton High School; and Senior year at Roosevelt High School where I graduated in 1968.Upon graduation, I received a job offer from the FBI, but turned it down to remain in St. Louis. In 1971 I went Hawaii on vacation for the first time without family.

February 17, 1973 I married John Charles Long, on an unusually cold day mixed with sunshine and snow. By summer it seemed we ate all the hot dogs in St. Louis; saved enough money to buy our home at 1531 Shoppers Lane, in Crestwood, MO and lived there for the next twenty years. On March 12, 1974 Jason Michael Long was born to us. He was a month overdue, had a full head of hair, and all the features and characteristics of a one-month-old child. He went immediately on cereal and we couldn’t keep him fed! We were clumsy first parents but everything we did, we did with love. On April 18, 1977 Gina Maria Long was born to us. She was so tiny compared to Jason and she squeaked when she breathed. The nurse said it was all right and would stop in time, and it did! It was the year we had our Green – Go Van. Jason and J.C. came to the hospital together to bring home Gina and me. Jason loved his little sister from the beginning. We listened to a Johnny Horton eight track on the way home from the hospital and sang the songs together. When we got home, Jason sat on the sofa and we placed Gina in his arms so he could hold her. Ah! A Precious Moment!

After 20 years of marriage, in 1993 I gave John his freedom through the legalities of divorce. December 15, 1988, after a stroke, my dad passed on at 71. In 1995, John was informed that he had contracted leukemia and we reconciled. Two weeks later he died.

In December of 1998, after 30 years working at one financial company, I and a few others in our division found ourselves without employment suddenly when our boss died and new management took over. I became a self-employed consultant. One assignment was on the Y2k team for Busch Entertainment. It offered an insight into the workings of amusement parks; gave me the opportunity to travel and meet new friends. Surprisingly, I found myself inches away from Baby Shamu when it did its first trick in training!

In December of 1999, I joined Morgan Stanley, and witnessed 911 from one insider’s point of view. In August of 2002 I left to pursue a new career helping people and using my Reiki gift. It wasn’t the right time, the right place, or the right job. In December 2002, finding myself without a permanent job description, I began creating floral arrangements; consulting; and working on my web site.

After being invited to a Torah study group and sharing my first Passover, realizing that I was a Jewish soul all along; on January 24, 2003 I became a Jew, taking “Simcha (Joy)” as my new Jewish name. My writings in my book “Visions” reflect aspects of the Jewish faith long before I knew that there was a connection. Friends tell me “they thought I always was Jewish!” I can question life without whispering now. This is the most comfortable I have felt ever about my faith and my path through life and back to God.

As you read “Visions,” please keep in mind that it was written long before I had any formal introduction to Judaism although there are threads of similarities, possibly from my prior Catholic background, since there are similarities and the Catholic faith branched off from the Jewish faith. New works found in my book: “Oy!” have been written since I became a “Jew by Choice.”