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Have you received a sign you were looking for? Write about it.

It was a hot July day in 2004. I was in a sales meeting that morning and about 1030 grew very nauseous and had to leave the room. On that same morning, my brother Bill was murdered by his son. My nephew was only 17 when he killed his father. His body wasn’t found until mid-afternoon. It took most of the night to find my nephew – we all thought after shooting his dad maybe he had shot himself and that would almost have been better. We could have made up our own stories about what happened.

My nephew refused to tell, saying we didn’t need to know. He was wrong. I needed to know.

Although we did nothing wrong and were victims ourselves, it was something I didn’t easily share with others, at least not then. There’s a stigma to having a murder in your family, even more so when someone in your family is a murderer.

About a year later, I was at work one day, sitting in my cubicle at UTMB, when one of the

instructors I didn’t know well handed me a yellow slip of paper with a name and a phone number. She told me I was supposed to call Paula.

Paula who?

Calling strangers is not something I do, but I was curious. Why did she want to talk to me?

Turns out Paula was a medium and had a message for me and for a mere $50, her hourly rate, she would spill the beans.

That was a lot of money then – heck, it’s a lot of money now – but I was desperate for answers. I drove out to her house on a Friday night, expecting Whoopie Goldberg’s “office” from Ghost. Instead, it was a house on a canal with typical beachside décor. Paula was thin, brown hair, dressed very conservatively, very different than I thought she would be. Her husband worked at one of the chemical plants in Texas City and she, until recently, had been a dental hygienist.

She started off by telling me she had a message from a man. She said she did not listen to rock music, but she kept seeing a cream colored album cover with two people dancing and that the man kept singing “you will never break the chain.”

I knew immediately it was Fleetwood Mac “Rumours” but I didn’t say anything. In fact, I didn’t offer up any information except to say yes or I don’t know.

Paula said it was my brother. She said he was holding up a mirror and she asked if we were twins. We looked alike; when we were in elementary school people thought we were twins.

I told her no.

She told me he said he was so hot he sizzled, which is something Bill would say. Paula said when someone died from a heart attack, she felt it in her chest, but this time it was her head. She said it felt like someone hit her with a baseball bat and then said “he was shot, wasn’t he?”

I said yes.

Paula continued to tell me things he was saying, then suddenly looked at me and said Bill was holding up a picture of the sun. She said, “oh, my God! His son killed him!”

I said yes.

She continued on, telling me there were two others in the room, Tyler’s drug dealer and a girl, but that Tyler had pulled the trigger. I asked where the others were at that time and she said Bill told her they were where they needed to be. Not much of an answer, if you ask me.

Paula told me he never knew how much he was loved or what a hole he would leave in my heart. He said not to worry, he was in a good place.

After about two hours, Paula said he was fading away and was there anything I wanted to ask?

I said yes.

I wanted to know if he was afraid. He said yes.

I wanted to know if it hurt. He said no.

I wanted to know what time he died. He held up a clock: 1025.

At 1025 was when the wave of nausea hit me.

I believe it was Bill coming to say goodbye.

It was my sign.

We will never break the chain.

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