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Always Together In Love
by Mavis Cullen 

This is not for the faint of heart. 

This is only for those who love deeply and forever and have such a true belief in what God promised that they know it can be so. 

Remember that there is nothing God won't or can't do for those who love him and trust him. What church or religion you belong to has no bearing on it. It's between you and Him and don't let anyone tell you different. He is, indeed, everywhere.

When the time comes for your beloved husband or wife or lover to die and leave their flesh and blood body they don't also have to leave you. They can make their choice to leave you to go on with your life, thinking they are doing you some kind of favor. And maybe, for some people, that's true. Or, they can decide to stay with you and share your life, whichever way it goes, so as to be there to take your hand at the end and say "I'm here. I've never left you." 

Or, they can make their presence known immediately and you can hear them and even feel their touch.

Some people will stand a little away from you rather than take a chance on scaring you. They will only, maybe, give you little clues now and then to help you. Me: I needed my whole husband back and, believe it or not, I really do have him in almost every way. We talk. We laugh. We argue. We are closer than we ever were before because we share this life of mine together. And when I die he'll grab me out of this old, worn out body so I won't be afraid of all the goings on that take place at funerals. Instead, he and I will be sitting on the beach watching the gulls and the sunset and later, when all the evil funeral stuff is over, we'll go home to our little house on Cape Cod and make love until the sun comes up.

Our daughter will know this because she's our child. She's a beautiful, compassionate woman. I can only hope that the man she loves will love her back and realize what life and heaven have in store for him. This man is handsome enough to make your heart stop and good and honorable in so many ways. In my opinion, they seem made for each other. However, it's up to him, of course, and God bless him. 

The only thing worth bothering about is love. With that, you can be happy in a sleeping room with a hot-plate and a can of soup between you. Without it, you're to be pitied in a castle filled with treasure. 

Now for how this miracle occurred to me. Bear with me because, unfortunately, I am one of those people who also needed to have the sky fall before I got the message. 

Not to bore you with my life history: I'll just tell you that George and I were married on October 30, 1953, in City Hall in Miami, Florida. We had no money. No friends or relatives were with us. I had a little "Brownie" Camera and I took a picture of him and he took a picture of me. We had our wedding breakfast at the drug store and we later went to the beach and nearly burned to death, both of us having fair skin. We had both been married before. He was a Catholic, I a Protestant and, I ask you- who cares? (Sorry about that-I had to put that in.)

A year later, we had our beautiful baby girl. We had twenty two years of marriage with the usual ups and downs. We fought and we loved and we argued and we made up and, as time went by, George became more and more ill. Too much toll on his heart, stomach ulcers, intestinal obstructions and very bad nerves (World War II) and very bad hospital care (The V.A.). So bad that if you take your cat there you ought to be ashamed of yourself. Of course, hindsight is wonderful but it comes too late. 

One day, George and I were talking about what happens after you die. I told George I believed that life goes on in some way—I wasn't really sure how it was but I just knew it did. He didn't say too much because he had learned in the past that people thought he was nuts when he made the mistake of telling them that he was able to talk with his mother who died when he was only ten years old. He also said to me on more than one occasion "I'll haunt you when I'm gone." I would reply: "I hope you will." I meant that with all my heart. This man was the love of my life and even though in the back of my mind I knew I'd probably outlive him, I didn't want to be without him—not ever. 

Our daughter went to a Jesuit College in Upstate New York where we lived. On November 10, 1975, a Monday, I drove her back to school. (She lived on Campus but came home on weekends.) On the way back, I felt that I had to hurry but also that I needed to go to the drugstore to buy smelling salts. Now, I have never once in my life ever bought or thought of buying smelling salts. 

When I got home, George had just taken a bath and was in bed. I got in bed with him and before we had time to do anything he said "wait a minute." and fell back, unconscious. I grabbed the smelling salts. He jerked a couple of times and I stopped using them then because the smell was overpowering and I thought it was making him worse. I could tell he was dead by the way his eyes were. The ambulance came after much folderol by the EMT's who, I discovered later, lost their oxygen mask in my hall on the first level of our tri-level house—so they couldn't have helped him even if he had still been alive. 

Catherine met me at the hospital they took him to where he was pronounced dead. She called a priest and one was already at the hospital. Later, the funeral director asked me what Church I wanted the funeral to be held at and I said St. Michael's because it was the Catholic Church in our area. My friend for forty years, Evelyn, flew up from New York to be with me and somehow I got through the business end of the funeral. In church I whispered to Father Kilpatrick, who was one of the three priests saying the Funeral Mass: "Father, I'm not a Catholic. Is it alright for me to take Communion?" I didn't want to foul up anything. I wanted George's funeral to be as perfect as possible so he'd have every chance of being in the best of all possible hands. I know that may not sound sensible, but that's the way I felt. Father Kilpatrick was a Vietnam War Veteran and the most understanding of men and he said "It's alright Mrs. Cullen—God doesn't count how many times you come to church. He sees into your heart." 

The other two priests were from Catherine's College there as a favor to Catherine. One was young Father Frank Nash, SJ, who was the College Chaplain. He was a Jesuit and he was the kind of guy who did everything he needed to do to help his kids whether they needed a date for a concert or someone to take them home after a dance. Not necessarily the kind of priest you'd expect to be the most God-like—right? 

I watched intently every move and heard every word and while Father Nash was doing his part I saw blue light shining like beams out of his eyes. I knew then George was in good hands—that God was with him and in spite of my Darling's colorful life he was, indeed assured of heaven.

Going home with a few friends was terrible. I couldn't stand the thought of a get together with the usual refreshments and conversation. A friend brought a coffee cake and it tasted like ashes in my mouth. Finally, everyone but Catherine and Evelyn left. I went upstairs to change my clothes because after about two years of no periods I suddenly was bleeding.

In the bedroom we had a very large old cedar chest with some family pictures on top. I was drawn to them and saw that all the eyes in the pictures seemed lit up as if there were light behind them. I also smelled the scent of roses. I called Evelyn and Catherine to come upstairs and they both smelled the roses. There were no roses in the house. It was November in Upstate New York. You wouldn't find any roses outside either. It was a cold, rainy day as well. Evelyn was the best woman in the world but certainly if not an atheist an agnostic. She didn't believe in anything unless it bit her on the hand. But she did smell the roses.

As the day wore on I became more and more despondent. I finally lay down on the bed and screamed and cried until my throat hurt and I couldn't breathe. I tried to will myself to die when suddenly I saw George in living color. He was smiling at me and wearing nice sport clothes. I gasped "Oh... It's you!" and he disappeared. I kept hearing something like a tape recorder whirring in my mind. I recalled that a medium had once told me that you have to tell spirits to slow down when they talk to you because things go much faster in the "spirit world." I tried that and I started to hear: "I'm with you. I'm here. I'm here. I'm always with you." I decided I was remembering the bible classes where we learned that Jesus said "Lo, I am with you always."

I started to plot an innocent looking suicide for myself. I thought the best idea was to place a white sheet down on George's grave and cover myself with another one. Then, when it snowed , it wouldn't be noticed and shortly I'd freeze to death and either be with him or dead in a black hole—either of which was infinitely preferable  to life without him. Catherine started to suspect my frame of mind and slapped me in the face and finally made me realize that I had to be alive for her.

We had masses said in every Catholic Church in town for George's soul. We lit candles and prayed for him at home. I prayed that he's be safe in the arms of his mother. In spite of trying to be conventionally good and praying and attending church—taking Communion on behalf of George and myself every time I attended a Catholic Mass—I still needed to delve into spiritualism. I did everything including automatic writing which was very frightening at times. 

One evening, while writing in this fashion, I became very frightened at the things that came out on my paper and I drove to St. Michael's. The church was usually locked except for Masses because of widespread vandalism but as luck would have it the side door was unlocked and I went inside and up the stairs to the main part of the church. I flung myself on my knees in front of the altar and with my eyes fixed on the crucifix I begged God to help me and not to allow George to be banned by my foolish dabbling in the occult. I begged God to cloud men's minds and bring George back to life so that no one would remember he had died. 

Now, twenty five years later, I barely recall all that I said as I wailed but what I will never forget is this: I heard a beautifully modulated male voice say "My child, you are one of my favorite children, but I don't love you any more than I do any of my other children. You will be with your husband in your forty-fifth year." I was forty-four years old. He said this would be so because we both wanted it, not just because I did. He told me that as long as I needed to hear him tell me this I would hear him and I did hear him many times in many different churches in Syracuse. I thought others must hear him too because his voice was loud and clear but that message was just for my ears.

I also mistakenly thought He meant that I was going to die soon. I was terribly disappointed when I kept waking up every morning in perfect health. However, as time wore on I felt and I heard my husband more and more. It was, in some ways, frustrating, because I felt George just enough to make me long for his lovemaking. I had made up my mind when he died that I would never have another man and would wait to be with him no matter how long it took. 

For several years prior to his death our lovemaking was not frequent because of his heart medication and poor health. I learned to accept that and pretended in fact to him that I was not concerned with it. Now, however, with all of these feelings coming over me on a very regular basis and with George's spirit being so close I wondered what, indeed was going on. I started to get pretty snotty with him. I told him I'd married the most handsome, sexy guy in the world and then I got shortchanged. Now, when he was not even in a regular body I was tortured by too little, too late. He always hung back, just out of reach.

Then, on June 23'd 1997, I woke to feeling my husband being very much alive and active in my bed. He backed off again. I broke down and cried and told him that now that I knew he was capable of being my lover he could either be my lover or go away because I couldn't deal with it one more day. He had been "dead" for twenty-two years at that point. He talked to me and told me that he had been afraid of scaring me and he also didn't know if he had the right to interfere with me in that way. I asked him why he thought I had been a "dateless wonder" for all those years and begged God to let me be with him. I had been a rather pretty woman with a few offers I always turned down before the men in question had even had the chance to get their whole thought out. He still thought he might be doing the wrong thing (Catholic upbringing and all that) but decided that there was no making me understand the worth of me being a nun when I had a perfectly good, healthy husband in bed with me even if he was in a spiritual body. My rules were that we would make love every day until I died from now on or no deal. 

George always keeps his word once he gives it.

It will be three full years this June 23'd 2000. George says he doesn't know what happens with everyone but the day he died he found himself looking at the dead body on the bed and wondering who that guy was. He went to his own funeral and no wonder Catherine heard him recite his little rhyme: "They tell me the graveyard is an awful place. You lay flat on your back and they throw dirt in your face." 

We talk and laugh and argue. He says that no one came and said he had to leave me and go anywhere and he says he wouldn't have left me even if they had unless God Himself came for him, of course, and insisted. He says he feels better than he ever did in life and he looks younger than he did when he died. He says that when my time comes, he'll pull me out of this body and then I won't have to be afraid of anything. The same for Catherine. 

There's a man Catherine has fallen in love with that George thinks is a really good man. I do too. George and I both felt that now was a good time to get this written so that Catherine and maybe that man will get the message that God fixes things for us if we need him to. We don't need to fly up to Heaven and sprout wings—we can find our Heaven with the familiar faces who love us and whom we love—if we want to.

Now, I realize that perhaps all but a few of you will think I'm crazy. During the time since my husband's death I went to college and got on the Dean's List, worked as a Private Investigator and later got my own New York P.I. License. I have also managed my daughter's office for ten years. How many crazy people do you know who can do that?

I hope you will believe me. To a lonely widow or widower or fiancée or lover who loved someone so much that they can't go on when their beloved dies it is so important to know that if it was real love both of you shared then they didn't leave you.

Think about it. You can talk about this in advance and plan it so you don't have to wait twenty years to get the message. I had a friend who, after forty-five years of marriage to a man she called "her Tony," Tony died. From that day forward she was so afraid of him maybe coming back from the dead that she left all her lights and the television on all night every night. Yet, she prayed for his soul at daily novenas! "Her Tony" must have wondered where he went wrong and I'm sure he left in disgust.

Well, suit yourself. I just wanted to be generous enough to give you information that may make you a
happier person at the risk of causing myself to look foolish in this tiny town. 

Happy Landings anyway.

_______________________________

Mavis Cullen dedicates this story to her daughter Catherine, her husband's three daughters, Mary, Marie, Anna, and even to Agnes (wife number one). She can be contacted by writing to P.O. Box 1863, Brewster, MA 02631.

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