Last week I lost my friend Jerry Scott–a wonderful pianist, arranger, producer, coach and performer. In the midst of adjusting to that loss, I remember what happened when his partner, Gavin, died a little over six years ago (OMG has it really been that long?).
At the memorial service for Gavin, we were given a silver, helium balloon and asked to release them after we left the church. I live a considerable distance from there, so I tied the balloon to my hat(and yes, I had it on at the funeral dinner at Danny’s Grand Seafood Palace). When I finally left to go home, I rode the subway to 207th Street, and noticed as i went up the steps to street level, that it was raining. I put down my knapsack to get out my umbrella, and as I did, a huge gust of wind from the street started pulling hard on the balloon, so I had to stop what I was doing to keep from losing it. A long-time upper east side resident once told me that the dust devils (minature tornados) that you see here are actually spirits, so I quit fighting the wind, said aloud, “Ok Gavin, go ahead and take it”, and let go of the balloon. The wind immediately wisked the baloon away,
I finished getting out my umbrella, walked up the four steps to street level, and looked around for the balloon. Both the wind and the rain had stopped in the minute this took, and I started home, wondering where the balloon was; I assumed it was in one of the trees farther down the street. As I reached the Rite Aid, without seeing the balloon, I stopped and looked around. it was across the street, hovering three feet above the sidewalk–there was still no wind. As I looked at it the balloon slowly rose straight up until it reached the top of the apartment building behind it. Once there, sipped out of sight. I said, “Goodbye, Gavin”, and finished the walk home.
I wrote all this down, and the next time I saw Jerry Scott, I gave him a copy to read. He asked me the exactly where I was when the wind took the balloon, and he told me that Gavin had loved to shop in the Jewelry store just above the subway entrance at 207th, so he wasn’t surprised.
The evening after Jerry Scott passed away, i included him in my bedtime prayers, telling him that we will miss him, and that I hoped he was happy and reunited with all the friends he’d lost in recent years. As i knelt there with my eyes closed in the dark room, I suddenly saw bright white light behind my eyelids, rather than the usual black or purple, and when I opened my eyes, the lights were still off.
I guess Jerry heard me. I know the usual philosophy is that ghosts are always malevolent, but now I think we should allow room for the idea that they sometimes comfort you. I know that I felt better after the contacts, and these two weren’t the only times I’ve had it happen.