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    Toby from the Light

    Saturday, May 23, 1981:

    Some major moments in life seem to start with an opening ceremony; this one just started with my father saying, “We’re going to drive across country kids, coast to coast!” It took a little while for this to sink in, and for me to absorb it.

    I’ve decided to start keeping a daily journal of my upcoming cross country trip with the family. It will be fun and maybe I will even learn something about myself. My family will embark on this cross country trip because mother has found the one place in the country that will grant her Doctorate degree in Psychoanalysis.

    Mom used to be a house wife, but now she is embarking on a new career. I’m sometimes afraid I will lose my mother to her career. I feel a longing to be connected to something, and I feel lonely many days too. Maybe this trip will be a change for the better. I live in a very nice house, in the city of New York on a tree lined block, and now we will be driving across America in a Pontiac station wagon.

    Mother cooked some really tasty lamb chops tonight, with mint sauce, and potatoes, I wonder if she will still cook for us when she gets busy.  She is a great cook; our kitchen sits right next to our patio where we and my brothers like to play.

    Sunday, May 24, 1981:

    I woke up this morning remembering a weird dream I had in bits and pieces. I do not remember vivid details, just a little voice that came from the universe to my mind at the very end, “Do you remember?”; “Do you believe?” I wonder if this was more than a dream, since I do not completely remember. I am not sure. I just had this strange feeling of being awake while sleeping, very strange.

    My two brothers and I each have our own bedrooms in a straight line, one after another; I guess much in the same way we were born. Yet we are all very different. I am the middle brother in fact and in so many other ways.

    Monday, June 1st, 1981:

    I had another disturbing dream last night - a ghost was trying to tell me something in my sleep, but I don’t know what. “Watch out when your mother see’s the …,” I thought I heard the apparition say to me, but it got cut off at the end. “What does this mean,” I thought to myself. The spirit presence had also said, “Fear, pain, and chaos sometimes helps one grow.” I have always felt a connection to the other worldly place since childhood, but my brother Jonas would often say, “I don’t believe what I cannot see and feel.” I am left a bit baffled by these events.

    Sometimes I feel Jonas is just not in touch with things, I probably made a mistake when I helped him say his first word which was “no”, because it became big in his vocabulary. He seems better at calculation than me; my younger brother, the non-believer.

    Thursday, June 4th, 1981:

    I keep having this feeling, a feeling of dread. “John, isn’t this exciting, the whole family is going on a cross country adventure!” my mother says to me. I am not sure how to answer this question. I do feel excited, but also apprehensive and scared. My fear is nameless and formless. I want to control what I cannot possibly control; I don’t even know what it is.

    Thursday, June 11th, 1981:

    Another dream, more unanswered questions; this time the spirit told me to “Look inside, everything you need is there.”  What does that mean; what am I looking for? I have dreams sometimes where I wake up in my dream and can’t control the action, and then I get to this blackness where I become very scared and can go no further. The journey of 2,000 plus miles is about to start from the streets of New York to the coast of California. It’s my last night in my single bed with blue pillows and a blanket left over from when I was a child which gives me so much comfort. Out into the unknown we go.

    Monday, June 15th, 1981:

    We just left the New York City, and we are now on a highway leading to Los Angeles. I have not had any dreams in the last week, at least none I can remember, yet the nagging feeling in my gut is still there, I can’t explain it. 

    Wednesday, June 17th, 1981:

    I just took a look out my window in the car and saw a tornado miles and miles in the distance. It feels like an omen of the things to come. I can’t put my finger on it still. I am having some fun in this big adventure, and I am wondering where my spiritual friend and guide is. Last night we had a wonderful family dinner at this restaurant that had the best pasta and desserts! I love food and I love to eat. Sometimes I feel I can never get enough.

    We have a big dog named Ryan, and he, my mother, father, older and younger brother are all in the car together. We drive by day, and then get a hotel to stay in by night. I am happy to be with the family, and I hope things work out for mom. We’re halfway from here to whatever comes next.

    Wednesday, July 15th, 1981:

    We have been in Los Angeles for about 6 weeks now and I am having fun. My brothers and I play in a pool at the hotel, and Ryan, our Poodle, scratches endlessly at the door which annoys dad and probably the hotel management as well.  I had another dream with my spiritual friend whom I now call Toby. Toby says, “Look for the light, learn the light.” It’s almost like she’s preparing me for something, but what?

    Mom is almost done with her studies and I think we are hitting the road soon. It has been interesting and exciting going on this great adventure together, but I can’t shake the sense of foreboding I feel deep inside.

    I can hear dad yelling, “Come on boys it’s time to go!”  I am just finishing saying goodbye to the friends I made here, and we will soon be on the road out of town. Life always feels like a series of goodbyes and hellos to me.

    Saturday, August 1st, 1981:

    The family is about one quarter of the way back to New York City now, and we have stopped at the Grand Canyon to take a look. We just got burgers and my favorite A & W root beer, and I feel like we are gypsies on the road again.

    I am starting to feel a little better; I’ve been sleeping well the last few nights.

    Thursday, August 6th, 1981:

    We have made it to mother’s home town of Detroit, where she was born. We went out to visit her mother’s grave today. Mom said she never went to her mother’s funeral, and then she started to cry.  We’re going to go out to the movies and dinner tonight, and I am getting to know my mother’s side of the family a little better. Mom’s family is nothing like her; they seem a little funny to me somehow. Mom showed me the back yard where her family has grape leaves growing; they use to make stuffed grape leaves which is one of mom’s favorites. Night is coming soon and I am getting sleepy.

    Friday, August 7th, 1981 2am:

                I have woken up in the middle of the night, and I can see what looks like a ghostly figure hovering on the other side of the room, Toby? I remember Mom telling me one of her sisters died when she was younger, and I have a feeling this is her because she looks like the picture on the wall. She is what I have been seeing in my dreams. I feel Toby is trying to tell me something, but I am not sure what. The sense of dread I felt when I saw the tornado earlier in our trip has returned and I feel very strange and afraid. I can feel myself falling back to sleep, falling, things feel inevitable now.

    Friday August 7th, 1981 8am:

    I just woke up and I have sense of urgency and anxiety I cannot explain. I want to get out of town, and now! I feel like the family is dilly dallying, and I am getting more nervous by the moment. Finally the family is in the car and we are headed out of town. I feel some sense of relief, but still lots of anxiety.  Maybe everything will be OK.

    Friday August 7th, 1981 – 2 pm:

    As we were getting on the highway, we were hit from behind by a red car this afternoon. It was a sudden impact, and very scary. I got out of the car and went to try to go get us help. The family was on the shoulder of the highway. I headed up the road to get some help for us. Everyone seemed OK, but Mom was complaining about her neck hurting a little bit.

    Friday August 7th, 1981 – 2:20 pm:

    When I came back from the gas station where I found us help, I could not believe what I was looking at. My mother was lying on the side of the road, and she was severely injured. My younger brother was also down on the ground. What had happened, I thought.  I could not comprehend it? I felt myself shaking; I could feel tears were welling up in my eyes. My father was on the ground holding my mother, she was really bad, and she was bleeding a lot. “Please don’t die mom, I need you”, I thought to myself.  I noticed an ambulance had pulled up, and they took my mother away to the hospital while a police officer took a report.

     Friday August 7th, 1981 – 4:00 pm:

    Mom just came out of surgery, and the doctors don’t know if she will live. I am so upset and beside myself. The idea that I might lose my mother is destroying me. Dad is trying to keep it together for our sake I think. My Aunt Beanie and Uncle Marv have come by to take us to their home to stay.

    “I love you Mom, and I will be back tomorrow to see you”, I say to her.

     I found out that a woman who had just been released from a mental ward said God told her to kill my little brother Josh, and when mom tried to save him, they both were run down.

    Saturday, August 8th, 1981:

    Mom lived through the night, but things are still sketchy.

    Josh is the least injured and apparently not too seriously.

    For some reason I have been having a strange visualization since the accident. I see blinding white light entering Mom’s body from the universe, healing her, and then sick energy leaving her. I don’t know if this will work, but it’s all I can think of to do. I am shaken by all that has happened in the last 24 hours. I have made a pledge to the spirit world that I will one day become a spiritual man. Just please allow mother to live, please allow my beloved mother her life.  

    Toby keeps appearing in my dreams and smiling with nodding approval. I thought I heard her say, “Remember your training, do you remember now?” Training from where, another existence? I feel compelled to continue what I have been shown.

    Thursday, September 3rd, 1981:

    I have been continuing this strange spiritual visualization that was given to me by the universe and I hope it is healing my mother. Mom has actually been improving and may be able to come home in a month or two. My brother Adam and I are coming home on a train to New York; I love trains but hate the reason I am on one is because of what happened to Mom.

    Friday , September 25th, 1981:

    Mom is finally home. Last night I dreamed about Toby again; she came to me in my dreams and whispered something in my ear which I could not completely make out, but I think it was something about Mom being watched over by a good spirit, and I should not forget my pledge.

    This has been an unexpected summer vacation for me, and I have promised the spirit world I will spread love and goodness because my mother has been spared. It’s no longer a vacation in my mind; I guess it was a critical moment for us, a teaching. I am thankful to Toby for guiding me through it all.

    * * *

    Saturday, Nov 4th, 1990:

    It has been 9 years since the fateful sequence of events. I have started down the path I promised, and I have a special group of spiritual guiders which seems to be to be present when I need them.

    I have learned the road of the Buddha since the years of my mother’s near death experience. This feels full circle from the days when I cried as a three year old because I knew one day my mother and father would leave this world and me.

    Toby does not show up that much anymore. Maybe she is off helping others. Thank you, Toby!

    * * * *

    Thursday, Nov 11th, 2010:

    I can’t believe Mom is 80, and I still see the messengers of the spirit world from time to time. I am always thankful for the guiding love which has blessed our family. It seems that fateful year my family’s life was to change me and put me in touch with my deeper self. I have tried to follow the path laid out to me. As the birthday party for her was ending my mother came over and asked me if she ever told me about her sister who passed away with appendicitis at 18.  I said, “I think have met her,” and left it at that. Then I hesitated and asked my mother if her name was Toby, and mother said “Yes, how did you know that?” “A good guess,” I said and smiled. There have been many struggles, but this early life experience has set the stage for being able to overcome things which seem untenable these days. I think Toby is smiling and looking over things, and I still see her from time to time. The odyssey has turned out to be exactly as my father foretold -“coast to coast” in every respect. It’s funny how a single moment in a person’s life can be such a flash point, and change one’s life forever.