Dying to Know

This month, Tim and I are celebrating our 40-year-Best-Friend-iversary. It’s hard to wrap my heart around the endless memories, conversations, love and laughter we have shared together. Besides being the amazing soul that changed the trajectory of my entire life, Tim is also one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.

In the late 90’s I submitted a short story titled, Dying to Know to Arielle Ford’s book, More Hot Chocolate for the Mystical Soul – 101 True Stories of Angels, Miracles and Healings. It was a story about our friendship, and to my surprise it was accepted and published in 1999. This is that story with an updated afterword. Enjoy.


When I saw my first ghost, I was nine years old, visiting my grandma in North Carolina in the late 1960’s. I was playing on the front porch during a thunderstorm when an old man appeared. He was sitting at the opposite end of the porch, fast asleep and snoring loudly. At first, he startled me because he hadn’t been there a minute before. But I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I was riveted by his every move, and an eerie feeling enveloped my body. Suddenly, he woke up from his nap, grabbed his chest, and fell right off the porch and into Grandma’s rain-drenched flower bed. I rushed over to help him, but when I reached my hand out to pull him back up onto the porch, he vanished into thin air!!

Covered with goose bumps, I looked over at my brothers. Before I could ask them if they had seen the old man, I already knew they hadn’t. So, I did what I was good at: I kept my mouth shut and didn’t tell anyone. Months later, I overheard grandma telling one of her neighbors about the former tenant who had died before she’d move in. In a matter-of-fact voice she said, “Yes sir, he died of a heart attack right there on the front porch.”

Raised in a strict family where the motto was “Young ‘uns are to be seen and not heard,” my brothers and I knew better than to go against the grain, or else a hard backhand was sure to follow. Grandma baby-sat my three brothers and me during the summer while Mama worked at the textile mill. My brothers and I were afraid of Grandma. Not just because of her strict Bible thumping beliefs, but staying at her house meant frequent emotional and physical abuse. As early as elementary school, I vowed that as soon as I was old enough to leave, I’d never go back to her house. Ever!


I met Tim in the early 1980s. Immediately, we were best friends. I confided in Tim about seeing dead people, ghosts and angels as a little boy. Tim was fascinated, and he also believed that something great happened to us when we died. “It can’t all just stop when we’re six feet under,” he would say. I agreed.

Later, after nearly a decade of sharing my Grandma horror stories with Tim, he said I should make peace with her. I disagreed, but Tim was persistent. He promised he’d come back to my old stomping ground and be supportive. Two weeks later, Tim and I were sitting in Grandma’s darkened living room, the same house she had raised us in. Grandma had little to say, but she and I managed to keep a conversation going despite our discomfort. Grandma sat motionless in her rocking chair facing forward with her Bibles stacked on the floor beside her, a glass of sweet tea in one hand, and fanning herself with her trusty butter-bean hat with the other hand. I asked her permission to show Tim the property. Walking past the wood burning cookstove to the back-door, I walked Tim over to the well where we drew water for the kitchen. I showed him the rows of switch-trees, the smokehouse, the wood pile, rain barrels, the huge garden, and the outhouse too. We walked the long garden path together to the hog pin by the woods before it was time to go.

“It’s so weird to see everything you’ve talked about,” Tim said. “It’s just so hard to believe it, until you see it in real time.” We walked back to the house. I hugged Grandma good-bye and kissed her on the cheek like I had done a hundred times as a kid.

A year later, Grandma died. I thought the only reason for being at her funeral was to support my mom. Less than a month later, Tim was hospitalized with chronic pneumonia. Within forty-eight hours of his admittance into Duke University Medical Center, he was diagnosed with AIDS. We were devastated.

For the next three and a half years, Tim was in-and-out of the hospital more times than I can count. Between my jobs I researched materials on near death experiences, life-after-death studies, psychic communication, the human soul connection and mediumship. We talked openly about spirituality and what happens when you die. I did everything possible to empower Tim with information and books on the afterlife before his transition. Mostly because Tim was raised in the church. Every time the church doors swung open his parents and he were there.

Much like my Bible-thumping Grandma, the religious beliefs Tim learned were strict and conservative. Which meant being gay, like us, was a one-way ticket to hell. I knew what we were taught about heaven and God was a contradiction to what I intuitively felt in my heart. Which is why I gathered as much proof as possible to bridge Tim’s beliefs so that he understood there was a good seat waiting for him in heaven too, despite what he and I were taught growing up.


During one of Tim’s numerous hospital stays I recall bouncing into his room with his favorite family pictures and cards from friends to cheer him up. He was sitting on his bed and his face was literally as white as a sheet. He was speechless and seemed to be in shock. I asked if he wanted me to call a nurse, and he just held his palm out facing me, gesturing, “No”. He was obviously startled. When he regained his composure, he told me what had happened.

“A hospital volunteer came into my room and stood beside the bed. She was an old lady who smiled at me while she straightened my bed sheets and pillows. She never said a word. I began to recognize her while she arranged the flowers, but I wasn’t sure how I knew her. I can’t explain it, but she made me feel like everything was going to be okay. I spoke to her again but she never answered me – she just continued to tidy up the room, smiling the whole time.”

“The weird thing was that she had a straw hat, sort of like a garden hat. When I asked her about it, she smiled at me again. Then a nurse knocked on the door to check my vitals, and the old lady beside my bed vanished right in front of me! That’s when it hit me who she was!

Tim reached out his thin, sickly arms showing me the goosebumps covering them. “Eddie, it was your grandma, and she was holding that damn butter-bean hat that you used to always make fun of!”

I was excited for Tim’s visitation with my grandma. However, Tim was not as enthusiastic about Grandma popping in from the grave to check on him! But Tim and I did agree on one thing: This was a clear sign to us that the spirit world was alive and well, and on Tim’s side.

I left Tim’s hospital room late that night. Getting into my car, I said a prayer, then I thanked Grandma for watching over Tim. Before I could finish my thoughts of appreciation, I felt her essence respond with a sincere, “You’re welcome, Honey.” Tears automatically welled in my eyes because had it not been for Tim encouraging me to make peace with Grandma before she died, Tim’s visitation with her may not have happened.

As Tim grew closer to leaving his physical body we talked extensively about our friendship and love for each other. He made me promise to walk him across to the other side when his time came. “Hand in hand, we’ll walk across,” I gently told my best friend of eleven years. “You’re not going to have to do this alone.”

Two months before Tim passed away, he began to experience dementia. His parents decided it would be best if he lived with them. His mom took a leave of absence from her job to be with Tim. The day his parents came for him, Tim seemed almost coherent. We were both sad he was leaving, but we knew it was for the best. It was an emotional moment for us, and I was grateful Tim was aware of his surroundings. I was thirty years old and scared that Tim’s conscious mind wouldn’t remember me as a result of his dementia, especially when his time came to cross over.

We hugged each other quietly and cried in each other’s arms. I realized this was probably the last physical hug we would share. We felt helpless and oddly invincible as our friendship reached a new, deeper level.

“If you help me get over there safe and sound, I’ll see that your dreams come true,” he said, laughing and crying at the same time. “And I’ll give you lots of signs so you’ll know it’s really me helping you out from heaven.” We laughed and made jokes back and forth until his parents arrived.


A few weeks later, surrounded by his family, Tim lay lifeless in another hospital bed. His room was filled with family that loved him. Each person took a turn holding Tim’s hand, saying a final good-bye. I waited for everyone to say farewell so that I could take my time holding the intuitive space to help Tim cross over as we’d promised each other.

While holding Tim’s hand, I monitored his breathe closely. His exhalations grew weaker by the second. I closed my eyes, said a prayer and began sending telepathic messages from my heart to Tim. I could sense his essence in the room and all around his family. He was inside and outside of our awareness all at the same time.

Suddenly a glorious light emerged from everywhere and nowhere at the same time, as if I were floating in the core of the sun. I felt my best friend’s warm spiritual hand holding mine. His smiling face filled my mind’s eye. His pure essence caught me off guard. Tim’s soul personality looked and felt radiant and healthy. He was whole and complete again. Without words, we moved deeper into the light. Hand in hand we became light bodies, as the spiritual realm welcomed Tim with unconditional love.

Suddenly, I felt like a little boy again, the same little boy who saw angels in this bedroom, the kid who saw spirits and ghosts and heard disincarnate voices. This cellular feeling was the identical energy I had experienced as a child, yet it was a timeless, ageless stream of consciousness. Tim and I floated inside of this indescribable energy. From inside the light emerged silhouettes of people, along with light beings, all moving toward Tim.

Tim and I realized this was farewell. Energetically we hugged each other. I thanked him for being my best friend in the whole world and vowed that we would, somehow, be together again soon. In my mind’s eye, the image of Tim and me hugging transformed itself into a psychic image of me hugging Grandma good-bye the year before she died.  In that same moment, Grandma was standing beside Tim and Me, smiling at us with her butterbean hat in hand. Tears filled my eyes when I realized that Grandma had indeed, held a place in her heart and in Heaven for my best friend.

More people from the other side, people I didn’t recognize also came forward through the invisible veil to assist Tim on his journey home. I remember thinking, that I have never felt so happy for someone in my entire life, as I was for Tim right then.

With his radiant smile, Tim gave me the signal that he was okay. He motioned for me to return to the hospital room to be with his family. Upon opening my eyes and adjusting my energy fully back into the room, I realized Tim’s physical hand was still in mine. Looking at his worn-out shell of a body, I knew Tim’s soul was no longer inside of it. His family and I stood around Tim as he exhaled the last and final breath, releasing him from years of pain and suffering. Seconds later, my best friend was free!


Tim and I have been best friends for 40 years – 11 of those years were physical, 29 nonphysical. I no longer think of Tim as gone because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that life is eternal. Love is everlasting. We’re all energy; and pure positive energy at that.     

Like I said in the beginning, January is my Best-Friend-iversary with Tim. Yes, it’s a milestone but honestly, isn’t every great friendship? Every day of being with your best friend is a cause for appreciation and celebration. Best friends make life happier and better. They make our hearts sing with love and laughter. Best friends enrich us on deeper levels than we can see and hear. Now, more than ever, I know this first hand.

Before I learned to consciously meet my best friend between Heaven and Earth, I used to wonder how he was doing ‘over there.’ Today I know Tim’s just fine, because he tells me so.

I wish you, your friends, and best friends the Happiest New Year ever, and may 2022 be filled with great memories, cozy conversations and belly laughs with everyone you love – both physically and nonphysical – on Earth and in Heaven – forever and ever. And, until we meet again, please remember to keep your thoughts, feelings and frequencies high, fast and pure so that you can Unlock the Universe Within.

With Light and Love,


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