Years ago, I had a certain feeling about my neighbor and I just couldn’t put my finger on it. He was lovely to me, always, but something just never felt right. I remember flying for work with my boss at the time who is gay and asking him if I should talk to my neighbor about coming out – maybe that was what was troubling him.
I had only lived in my loft a few months and had vacation I was going to lose at work, so I went traveling to South Africa and Italy to photograph a friend’s wedding. It seemed like months that we missed seeing each other in the hallway.
Seattle ended up having a crazy snow storm where the world shut down and I remember being in the longest line I have ever been in at the grocery store and being so happy. The world seemed to stand still, in a beautiful way, as everyone was chatting. I got my groceries and remember going to bed really content and slept peaceful.
Sitting straight up out of bed, suddenly, I looked at the clock. The clock said 3:17 a.m. And I said to my cat Ernie, who was on my other pillow. Someone I know just died.
It was the strangest instinct I have ever had (up until that point).
I checked in to make sure my father was okay. As soon as it was an appropriate time to call. And then went on with my work day.
A few days passed and there were different noises in and out of my neighbor’s loft. My heart started beating really fast and I knew. I went over and knocked on his door. His step-mother answered the door. In a loving voice said, “Oh, just one moment dear.” She came back and I asked if he was there. Even though I knew he was not. She said, in a matter of fact voice, he is dead.
On one of the most beautiful, peaceful nights that I could have ever remembered. He parked his car in front of his best friend’s apartment. With a note asking to please feed his cats and that he left his plants in the sink to water. And he walked up to my favorite park. By one of the most gorgeous old fir trees, and in the purest of snow, he shot himself.
His death represented my turning point. That from then on I would share energies I felt, heard, and saw no matter what, whenever I experienced something that didn’t seem right. I don’t know if I could have kept him on the planet or not. But I do know his death made a distinct line in the sand for me.
From that day forward – no matter how crazy it sounds – I share what I see, feel and hear. As I write this, I am wondering why this story is coming out to be shared now. Maybe so it will give you permission to acknowledge your instincts. They are there. Waiting to be shared.