Prince Shining Star

Julie Stevenson

© Copyright 2003 by Julie Stevenson

 This story is described from the perspective
of  both the author and the victim. 


Drawing of a pyramid with a treasure inside.
There she is next to the vehicles, on her knees in the black coat. I hear her whisper ever so faintly: “You’re not alone…I’m here.” She trembles as she talks to Tara in the back seat. I’m glad she’s here, better with me than not. Her breath on my temple and the faint scent of hairspray reminds me of my mother. Blood is soaking her coat but she doesn’t notice until much later. She quietly wails for me to hang on and promises help is coming. The helicopter taking Tara away breaks the eerie quiet and a man places a blanket over Amy’s body.

I wish the woman wasn’t frightened, too distraught to recognize it’s okay for me to go, too worried about earthly things - like Amy’s parents unaware their daughter has died.

Her image fades as my spirit lifts, and I watch her rocking my empty body.

Hesitating, she marshals all her energy to enter my home and talk to family. She finds mom and dad and shares with them some of my last moments.

Later, stretching her limit of possibilities, she is able to recognize my essence as I reveal to her the message. She understands I will be waiting to comfort her, hold her hand and she will come to know there is only one of us because none of us is separate.

* * * * * *

He was a son, a brother and someone’s grand- child. A 17-year old graduating senior, excited about his future. On a late March afternoon, Tom and two of his classmates were returning from summer job-hunting. Laughing with his friends, fatefully changing seats with one of them not many miles outside of Alex Bay. Just a short while later Tom, and one of the two friends with him that day, were snatched from our presence forever.

I share with you next how four intense hours at the scene of that accident changed my understanding of life and the universe.

Holding Tom’s broken body on the side of the road that squally spring afternoon, I begged for the strength to remain there. March snow quietly falling, Tom became my child for a short while. I cradled him, bleeding in my lap, and dared to hope he would live. If he didn’t, I prayed for strength to bear the alternative. Strangers we were, but Tom and I bonded that afternoon as we experienced something unique and intimate.

Following the funeral, for strength and support, I visited Tom’s parents. They deserved to hear every word Tom said to me before he left (and all that I promised him) as we waited feverishly for the ambulance to arrive. His parents, in return, shared joyful, humorous and emotional moments from their seventeen years together.

In the weeks that followed, darkness enveloped me, lasting longer than I ever imagined. Feeling physical as well as emotional pain, I appealed daily to a source greater than myself for relief.

Then while driving my car one morning after the accident, something happened. With my elbow resting on the opened window, I felt the fine silky hair on my arm shift gently as that breeze whispered over my skin. An awareness, which is still a mystery, quickened inside of me. It was the gift of being freed from the oppressive trauma of Tommy’s accident and death.

Another of life’s mysteries lies well beyond the scope of this essay. Clearly, the experience of Tom’s death made me aware that something larger is going on and I am different today because of it. Moreover, it has crystallized for me that we are not separate from each other.

Finally, I knew. Tom Jewett was free. He was where he needed to be, and he was letting me know. Tommy, Prince Shining Star out in the Universe, is waiting to greet me one day in the future.

Julie Stevenson is a senior administrative assistant at a community college in Upstate New York near the Canadian border. Since she grew up on the St. Lawrence River, she has many fond memories of swimming and ice skating. She and her husband, Gary, have one son (Will) who resides in Denver, Colorado. Julie enjoys classical music and live theater.

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