By Sophia Demas:
It tormented me to call home and hear my father in the background moaning in pain. His prostate cancer reoccurrence had been misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis. By the time the cancer was discovered, it had metastasized to his bones. He was ninety-two, and my mother, his sole caregiver, was seventy-three. They still lived in the home where I grew up in Portland, Oregon, and I was working at a Philadelphia architectural firm. I simply could not deal with what was happening. At the time, the road to my spiritual development was more like a barely defined footpath—I was still an endorser of capital punishment.
One Thursday afternoon, I was sitting at my desk, thinking of my father, when I felt an undeniable urge to be with him. I called the airlines and booked the next flight to Portland, leaving for the airport directly from work with just the clothes on my back. I arrived at my parents’ house, which I still called home, to find my father in and out of lucidity because of the morphine medication he was taking. Next to his pillow was his wallet with hundred-dollar bills that my mother had placed there to calm his irrational fear of poverty. I spent four days sitting next to his bed, talking with him when he was awake. He would relive the financial hardship that he, his mother, and siblings had endured in a dirt-poor village in Greece. He talked about coming to America alone through Ellis Island when he was fifteen years old, pretending to be eighteen, the cutoff age allowed to enter without a guardian, and how he had spent his youth doing grueling work and sending money back home. He marveled at how he had achieved the American dream and how his success in the stock market allowed him “to make money while I sleep.” I had heard the stories countless times before.
On the last day of my visit, as he was coming out of a stupor, my father suddenly grabbed his wallet, fished out a hundred-dollar bill, and handed it to me. I took it because I knew this was the last gift he would ever give me. Then, just as abruptly, he became his old self. “Where did I go wrong with you two kids?” he wondered out loud. “You should be where George [my younger brother] is, married with three kids, and he should be where you are, single with a good job!” My father had not gotten over that I wasn’t married.
Stunned, I reacted with equal fervor. “Fine, Daddy. I’ll just walk up and down the street, carrying a sign that says ‘Husband wanted’ just to make you happy!”
Clearly disturbed, my father leaned forward. Waving his hands back and forth, he said, “No, Dolly [something he had not called me since I was little], I want for you whatever makes you happy!” I hugged him as tightly as I could. My father had just freed me from any future guilt. Once again, my inner voice had guided me well, bringing me to him before returning to Philadelphia to receive his blessing to live my life for myself. He died the following month. Eleven years later, I bought my fiancé’s hundred-dollar wedding band with the bill my father had given me on the last day I was with him.
Beginning around eight months after his death, I began to feel that my father was messaging me. First, my mother reported that, upon waking one morning, she had felt my father’s hand clasping hers for a solid minute, then letting it go. Strangely, I accepted this as perfectly normal. A short time later, I found a nickel on the street. When I was little, my father would reward me with a nickel for a deed well done. I felt the same surge of joy that I had felt as a child. The nickels kept coming. On one birthday, I was having lunch with a friend at an outside table. As he got up to go inside for a coffee refill, I started thinking of my father. I glanced down at the sidewalk, and there was a nickel. I just knew that wherever he was, he had my back. The night before my birthday, as I was falling asleep, missing him, I asked my father for a sign to let me know that he was with me. I woke up the next morning, feeling something pressing against my cheek. Lifting my head from the pillow, I looked down, and there was a nickel. I toss and turn in my sleep, continually flopping my pillow. How could a nickel survive that and be right under my cheek? I looked to see if there was a wallet or purse nearby from where it could have fallen out, but I found nothing. I knew for sure that the nickel was a birthday kiss from my father.
One day while taking a walk, I realized that I hadn’t found a nickel for some time. I asked my father for one, and instantly a message clear as day sounded in my head, “No, I get to give you a nickel when I want to.” The next morning, as I opened the gate of the wrought-iron fence onto the brick sidewalk, right there in front of my foot was a gleaming nickel. The nickels continue to come to this day.
THE BEDROOM DOOR
My friend Peg and I were having drinks at a happy hour. Peg was conservative and married to a very wealthy man. I found her husband and his rich white friends to come off as racists. Peg wanted to fix me up with one of them, but I kept dodging the idea. At the time, I was seeing a Black man whom Peg did not approve of. She was drinking two martinis to my one, and as the evening progressed, she became more vociferous with her opinions. I told her I had nothing in common with the guy she was pushing on me. She said that I was practicing “reverse racism” against white men. When I tried to explain how none of her husband’s friends had a spiritual bone in their bodies, while the man I was seeing was deeply connected with Spirit, she shot out, “By refusing to go out with suitable men, you are sabotaging any chance of getting married!”
After going to bed that night, Peg’s words were ringing in my ear. There was something to them—not her comment about refusing to go out with “suitable” men, but I did wonder about the sabotaging-marriage part. I had my issues with marriage. I had ended three long-term relationships after my partners’ push for marriage intensified. While all three men could not have been more supportive of whatever I wanted to do, I had an unrealistic fear of entrapment. My thoughts shifted to my father and how disappointed he had been that I had not married my first longtime boyfriend, whom he had loved. I thought, “You didn’t get married until you were fifty-seven, so why expect anything else from me?” I remembered the last time I was with him, how he had relieved me from any guilt about not being married by telling me how my happiness was his priority and felt my tears flow. I missed him. I thought, “I know you meant it and I know that you are with me, but would you just give me a little sign?”
There was a door on each side of the bed. One led through the bathroom into the kitchen, and the other one, which I hardly ever used, opened out into the stairway. At that very moment, that door spontaneously opened, and the room was filled with what I can best describe as a warm glow. I lay there basking in it. I knew I wasn’t dreaming, because I eventually got up to close the door. I climbed back into bed in amazement and gratitude, falling asleep while still feeling my father’s presence.
Several years later, I had started a dress-designing business. I needed money but wanted to avoid taking out a bank loan. My father had gotten me into the stock market when I was nineteen, and I had done pretty well following my father’s practice of reinvesting the dividends. While walking home from my studio, I was mulling over selling some of my Boeing stock, which was at a high, and felt my anxiety mounting. I wished my father were here to advise me on what to do. I tried to second-guess him. My gut was telling me to sell, but I needed confirmation. As I unlocked the door of my building and started up the stairs, I looked up, asking, “Daddy, won’t you give me a sign?” When I reached my fourth-floor apartment, my jaw dropped. The door to my bedroom was wide open. The last time I had seen it open was when it opened by itself after I had asked my father to affirm that he really meant what he had told me the last time I saw him before his death—that my happiness took priority over whether or not I was married. I just stood there in awe, staring at the door, thanking him. There was no question in my mind that my father was giving me the green light to sell!
The experience I had with my father that felt the most real was when he visited me in a dream. I was panicking about something, most probably about money again. I had inherited my fear issues over money, or the lack thereof, from my father. A bounced check could plummet me into irrational catastrophizing. It was in this state, after I fell asleep one night, that I had a dream that seemed as real as I am sitting here writing:
My father could not be jollier. He’s hugging me tightly. As he lets go, he points and wags his finger at me, exclaiming, “You wait and see, Dolly. Everything is going to be all right! You just wait and see!” Then he hugs me tightly again. I feel the fabric of his shirt, his cheek next to mine, and his mustache. He lets go and tells me again how wonderful everything’s going to turn out. His eyes are twinkling, and he appears giddy with knowing something that I don’t. I am thinking, “This is too real to be a dream.” He alternates between hugs and bellowing encouragement for at least five full minutes until I wake up overjoyed, without a trace of anxiety.
Thank you for everything, Daddy!
About the author:
Sophia Demas has enjoyed three diverse careers in architecture, fashion, and mental health counseling, and is the creator of Living a Fearless Life, a twelve-workshop program for at-risk women. In 2023, Demas was invited to join The Scientific and Medical Network’s Synchronicity Summit as their only non-scientist or academic participant. Consciousness Beyond Death: True Stories of Signs, Messages, and Timing is on sale now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other book stores.