My grandmother thought I was a saint.
She said that in her lifelike dream, Max had been joking around with her. “Hey, I feel fantastic, Paulette,” he hooted, “more alive now than ever!” They’d been “tipping a few” and watching the late shows together. Well, along with my surprise, imagine how I might have felt. If Paulette’s dream contains any ounce of reality, I thought, am I so happy to hear that Max, in all his aliveness, is having such a grand time without me?
Now, after all the extraordinary events I have witnessed since Christmas Week of ‘03, I look back in joy and wonder over Paulette’s numinous dream. For when she finished telling me her story, she cried out, “Mandy, my dream seemed so real! Imagine my state of confusion and disappointment when I woke up to find Max gone! How is that possible?” For Paulette, this was an encounter of some sort, resulting in a sense of disorientation and disillusionment once she finally grasped that Max had left our world... if, indeed, he did go, for Paulette’s dream was just the beginning.
Not long after Char’s encounter with the uncanny, the family called to express their regrets. They said her beloved brother had passed at nine p.m. Mountain Time in the hospice in Tempe, Arizona. Char then realized something unbelievable: accounting for the time differential between England and Arizona, Max had departed – in real time – not long before the mysterious footprints “appeared” on her bathroom rug. This bizarre phenomenon had taken place on the morning of December Twenty-Fourth. It was Christmas Eve in Oxford, England.
I can just hear Max now. “Hey guys, Happy Holidays!” he seemed to say. You just call out my name and you know wherever I am, I’ll come running to see you again….
We played that song for him all night, the night he died.