I hated to take Coral away from her important work with the children she was helping to raise just to ask her a bunch of questions, but I was very often stumped about how to exist in my spirit form, light as a feather, but feeling rather insubstantial as a result.
"You will get used to feeling light all the time," said Coral, "and you will soon see it as a great advantage in getting around. Oooh, when I think of having to transport that heavy body to San Francisco where we are going, I shudder."
We had already arrived in San Francisco and were waiting in a park for a good time to intrude into the family festivities. "I like to find myself in this park," said Coral, "after I arrive in San Francisco to visit Deana. It is one of my favorite places next to the Farmer's market on the bay. Deana and Lianna always take people to the Farmer's Market which is why I am so familiar with it."
"Don't you get hungry when you see so much wonderful fruits and vegetables for sale?"
"Not a bit," said Coral. "That isn't me. Remember I grew up raising those fruits and vegetables, and I was mighty glad I didn't have to weed any more and bottle all our produce, but I watched my sisters from afar many times working their fingers to the bone."
"I just can't imagine an existence yet where you don't live to eat!"
"Well, it isn't necessary. We have learned that we actually generate and transfer energy to each other to keep ourselves going. Communication is the nourishment in the hereafter, but that is a hard lesson to learn, and many more would die from lack of it that will live if they think they are kept alive by something like food."
I tried to wrap my mind around the explanation that Coral was giving me about how the spirit was sustained without any visible signs of nourishment. Coral ought to know so I tried to believe her.
"You mean," I said, "that the love the family gives each other is what keeps people alive, not the fresh food and vegetables?"
"The food and vegetables are an expression of the love, so that is why they sustain. Look how hard our parents had to work, at first, to raise a garden, until the daughters were old enough to help plant and weed."
"Yes," I said. "I get that, but it is the leaving out the food that I am having trouble with."
"Keep in mind that you discarded your body. Your body was what really thrived on the food as lessons were being taught about what was even more important, the love that was passing back and forth between family members."
"I always knew it was important to love and support family," I said, "and I must say that is a hard lesson to learn. This is the first time I have been back to see a sister since I arrived to the other side, because I either fought with them or their husbands didn't like me. I think my sister Deana will be able to receive me because she has no hostile husband and is happy since she moved to San Francisco to be around her daughter and her grandchildren. Her daughter's husband is not even very hostile to her or to me."
I added, "I think you and I should go together to pay visits to our sisters from the hereafter. I am sure you have had your relationship with each one of them, so you will be of great help getting me started in a hereafter to earth association."
"Yes, because they are getting older and apt to join us at any given moment. Deborah is busy working on your novel about the hereafter. I must say I found your ideas about the hereafter in that novel absolutely hilarious. It is a little different than you imagined isn't it?"
"Well, yes. I can't get used to being so well weightless. Maybe because I was too heavy for years. I certainly hope that discomfort will end. I can't help but feel I am missing something. That I am not all here."
"You aren't," said Coral, breaking into her characteristic peals of laughter. "A good deal of you is missing." She patted me. "Don't worry. Other fatties complain of feeling too light. They hardly believe they are there, which is understandable considering they did not feel substantial enough in life, so kept gaining weight to be more visible. It is a strange phenomenon."
"Coral, really? You think I gained weight to have more substance?"
"Yes, you did not feel that you were regarded as having enough to you. You disappointed people with your paltry achievements. I didn't think that, but they did. I thought you were doing extremely well considering the odds you were facing, but you always ate when you felt defensive."
"I know I did," I acknowledged. "Even I knew that. It was kind of an instinctive and primitive way to prove they were wrong."
"Deana is doing quite well with her weight. Romina and Marsha are still thin, but we can't imagine at what cost. We will have to go visit them to find out. Deborah has done fairly well, because she had to lose weight or die. Having developed severe diabetes."
"I hope she has a few years with her grandchildren before she passes. They will miss her she is such a hands on grandma. I was never able to be hands on when I got older. But I did not expect to spend so much time back on earth chasing around to make sure my kids and grandkids are okay and are surviving my passing all right."
"It's time for us to go visit Deana," said Coral, getting up. "I think Santos has visited with her a few hours now, and we should be able to come in without intruding. Deana is so alert she will probably pick up our presence. That will be good so she can tell Santos. Santos needs to start recognizing your signal so he can receive messages from you without actually having to be in the same realms. You have established very good contact with your son Jerome and daughter Vivienne, but you will have to work more on Rafe and Santos to get them 'online' so to speak." Coral laughed heartily at her own small joke, "Especially since your son Santos is such a raving caving skeptic. It's going to be hard for him to believe in the current you, but maybe communicating with you will appeal to his sense of humor, and that will help."
"I would never have gotten through to Jerome without his barking dog," I said. "But Vivienne can pick up my presence in her dreams. She must have inherited the dream gene like Deana did."
"I preferred the direct communication I was able to have with you due to your years of writing spirit dialogues. In order to make sure I got my message through to Deana in a dream, I was forced to listen to a great many of her dreams. I was finally convinced she could get my message, after she learned to interpret her own dreams better. It is no wonder people don't believe in a hereafter when the communication is so shaky. But people learn by doing."
"I hate to think the fate of the world is going to depend on how well I can get through to my kids, Jerome, Vivienne, Rafe, and Santos in spirit form who need to get my message that life is eternal."
"It is very important just to convey that simple message, we live. If the people in the world can really believe we survive death, maybe they will be more careful about dispatching great numbers to the hereafter including their own precious children who will survive death just like the rest of us have."
"There really isn't anything made up about this existence," I observed. "I am now here and must make do with being a wraith. But I still seemed to function about as well as I used to. My thoughts have somehow arrived with me intact without a body to help me express them. That is the real miracle. People on earth are convinced we need the miraculous brain in order to live, think, breathe, remember and so on."
"We do while we are there," said Coral, "but at the moment of passing, the spirit essence unhooks from what can be now be seen as an arbitrary way of existing. In the lighter more economical spirit form, there is a great deal less tortured maintenance."
"I always wondered how, for example, a person could get their memory back after their inherited brain condition blocked it out."
"It is like a block is removed leaving the spirit essence which retains the memory in a more advanced way than you can possibly imagine. But the body becomes totally impaired in many of its parts before death. The advanced Alzheimer condition will not change until death, but once the body with the blocked brain cells falls away memory is restored. It sometimes takes a while for a person who died with Alzheimer's to believe that, but eventually they trust and have faith again, and then they experience a miraculous restoring of memory. They are so grateful, it is a sight to see. It is like they received a gift from God."
"Hmm," I said, "Thank goodness, I did not experience such severe memory loss before death, but I am sure Paul did. Alzheimer's runs in his family. I wonder if his memory has been restored."
"As much of it as he wants," said Coral cautiously. "Come now, it is time to visit Deana, Santos, and Liana and the kids and her husband, whoever is in San Francisco we love and cherish!"