41 Signs of Hope Book Excerpt

We named him Nicholas, after the patron saint of children.... But we never realized just how special this choice was. It never occurred to us that our son, who displayed so much love and concern for others, especially children, would barely have made his first step into adulthood when he passed.

I say "passed" and not "died" because I don't believe that anyone ever really dies.... My friend Cindy Gilman is a talented singer who has traveled extensively and entertained audiences all over the country. But Cindy has another talent, one she has possessed from a very early age. Cindy is a spiritual medium....

It was the morning of February 21, 2003. It was the morning after the disastrous Station nightclub fire in West Warwick, Rhode Island. I was in my car, going I don't know where, doing I don't know what. I did that a lot in the days that followed the fire. I got a call on my beeper from Cindy. She left a message offering to help in any way she could. At first I wasn't going to return that call; I just didn't feel capable of carrying on a coherent conversation. But then I wondered how she had known about Nick, since the media hadn't even released the name of the victims yet. So I decided to call Cindy after all.

When she answered the phone, Cindy's first words were about how she wanted to help those who had lost family members and friends in the fire. She offered to be on my radio show. She told me that she wanted to reassure those who had lost loved ones. You see, Cindy believes, as I do, that those who have passed are still with us on a spiritual level and are not really gone at all.

I interrupted Cindy to tell her that we had lost our Nicky in that fire, and she couldn't believe it. I could hear the genuine shock in her voice! "I knew it! I should have said something!"

When I heard those words, I felt instant fury. Tears came to my eyes. I couldn't believe she would say that to me! I told Cindy that I had to get off the phone, and I hung up. I'm sure that my reaction confuses you; it certainly confused me.

You see, I never expected to hear Cindy say what she did. Like you, I over the years have been exposed to people who claimed to have the gifts that I believed Cindy truly possessed. Too many times I was disappointed. I would listen to these "wannabes" flounder around, ask question after question, search for clues, and miss the mark every time. They would say, "That's what I meant," or "I was going to say that!" Of course it wasn't what they were going to say at all!

So when I heard Cindy use a similar phrase, it shook my belief in someone I had respected very much....

Well, at that moment, I had no idea what I was "made of." My world was crashing down around me, and I couldn't do a damn thing about it.

The next morning, after I'd had a little sleep, I started to think about my conversation with Cindy. Although I was still upset, I thought I owed her an explanation for ending our call so abruptly. I called her and tried to explain why I'd been so upset. Her response, as usual, was very gracious. As a matter of fact, there was almost a smile in her voice. You see, Cindy had an explanation for me too.

On the night of the fire, Cindy was awakened by a "vision" of what she described as a "charred" boy. This young man kept saying to Cindy, "Call my father! Call my father!" Needless to say, Cindy didn't know what to do with this. But the boy wouldn't leave her alone.

"Call my father!"

Finally, not knowing what else to do, Cindy opened her personal phone book at random. And there, she saw the name "Dave Kane." Cindy told me that seeing my name gave her an idea. Her plan was to come on my show, tell the story of her visitor and his insistence that she call his father. It was important for Cindy to try to make this connection. As it turned out, of course, Cindy didn't need to go on the air at all. As soon as she heard what I told her during our conversation on the morning after the fire, she realized immediately that the young boy in her vision was Nick, and that his message was for me!

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