I logged in to my account. My computer remembered my username and password. I have multiple variations of the same password to fit the different criteria each web site and app requires. At least one uppercase, who cares how many lowercase, an asterisk, a hashtag, four numeric symbols (not your birth year, obviously!), and one emoji for good measure. So much easier to just have the computer remember it for you. So what if you get hacked? Are you even living in the 21st century if you haven't gotten hacked yet?
This particular account is a monthly expense of $24.99, and it's a service that connects you to the spiritual plane. It may add up throughout the year, but for me, it's so worth it. That technology has come this far is utterly mind-blowing. It literally blows my mind. I mean, it could. It could literally blow my mind up if I thought about it too hard. It's in its early stages, the "digital mediums" are still mapping the other side. They cannot guarantee that you'll find what-- or more importantly, who-- you're looking for, but when you've lost someone to the spiritual plane, the chance to reconnect is everything. Like, every thing.
I signed up about a year ago in the hopes of finding my mother. Moth, for short. She passed away eight years ago, and I never recovered. My immediate family never recovered either. My two brothers and I, we stopped talking. It's almost like we don't know how to deal with our emotions or something. Shrug. Is that a thing? Maybe if we had stayed together, we'd have been able to grieve together, to navigate this "life after mom." And this "life after mom," it never slows, it just goes on with or without you. You may have lost someone too, but you know just as I know, that life just goes on. It's kind of a bitch. At least that's how the saying goes, but what can you do? I'll tell you what you can do. Repress all of your feelings. Just kidding. Don't do that. Here, I'll really tell you what you can do: sign up for this service like I did, for a low monthly payment of $24.99, to find the spirit of your loved one.
The last time I heard my mom's voice, I was living in Hawaii. She had called the family business phone line, and I was too busy and too tired to talk to her. I'll always regret that. I told her, "Mom, I'm sorry, but I'm closing up right now, I don't have a lot of time to talk." I hate myself for that. I really do. I should have dropped everything to hear everything she had to say to me, to tell her a funny story, to hear her laugh. She might have told me to cut down on my sugar intake. She might have told me to be bold. She might have told me that everything happens for a reason. A week later, she was in critical condition, and even though I prayed super hard, begging even, pleading for her recovery, she still passed away. God's plan, though. He planned for it to happen that way. Obviously. God's "plan." It starts to get funny after you think about it too long.
When you sign in to your account for the first time, you type in the name of the person whose spirit you're trying to reach, and then offer some information about their soul. What did they love? (Family.) What made them happy? (French onion soup. And sesame balls. Fried oysters. Babies. Animals. Going to the movies.) What made them sad? (The plight of humanity.) What did they believe? (In the strength of standing up for yourself. That we choose our lives, our personal journeys. That the point is to learn and grow.)
I'd been trying to reach my mom for the past year, her name was saved on my spirit search. Each month, feeling somewhat hopeful, I would log in, click "Resume search," and watch the graphic of tiny stars illuminating the loading screen. "Please wait," it'd say. "Searching." The stars would light up in a circular pattern. I'd wait. Maybe take a shower, make a coffee, return. Still searching. Every single time over the past year, the result was always the same. "Sorry, we were unable to find the spirit you're looking for. Please try again later."
I would log out, dejected as heck. My cat would tilt her head and look at me with her inquisitive eyes. "No luck again, human lady?"
"No, this thing is such a farce. You know what this is? Scam city. That's what it is. I hate it."
My cat would bump her head into my shoulder. "Sorry, but can you feed me now?"
I deactivated my account in an infuriated huff after the first week. I cried about it, wrote a mildly furious review about it online. Then a month later, I decided I had to keep trying. I would keep trying until I found my mom. Knowing her, she was probably straight up gallivanting the spiritual plane. She was probably all over the place. Of course, it would take time and patience to find her in whatever corner of whatever dimension she might be. I wanted to find her. I wanted to tell her that I love her. I wanted to say, "Hey, what's up with you dying and leaving us all behind that one time? What was that all about..." But I also wanted to say, "It's cool, though. I miss you, but I know it's not your fault."
So many things I want to say.
This time, I steeled myself. It was her birthday. July 25. She would have been turning 65 years old. I mustered all of the positive energy I could. In all honesty, I typically find it exhausting to be positive, but I mustered the hell out of my positive energy. I was like a fire ball, radiating love. I'm too hot. Hot damn. Call the police and the fireman....... My mom probably would have liked that song. She probably would have danced in the kitchen to that song as she cooked dinner. I remembered her like this. Chopsticks in hand, waving them around, dancing and singing heartily to random pop songs as she prepared our plates. "Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?" My younger brother, doing his homework and rolling his eyes, "Mom, please no."
This was good. Positive reviews of the program say that the more vividly you imagine your loved one, the higher the chances you'll find them. I focused on this image of her. So joyous and lively. I clicked on her name. "Resume search?" the program offered. Sure. I've only been waiting several years, but yes, sure. Please. I clicked and sat back. The stars on the screen began their coy dance.
Even after all of this time, thinking about how it felt to find out she was gone made my heart feel swollen. How it felt to get that call, to be stunned by the finality of it, to have cried so hard my eyeballs felt sore, like they could sink into their sockets, dehydrated. It made my chest feel heavy and hollow at the same time. It made my face warm. Only five minutes in, and a pool of tears had collected in each of my eyes. Water cohesion held them there for a little while. I blinked and felt them slowly roll down my face. They dripped down my chin and onto my thighs. I focused on rubbing them into my skin. It's her birthday, I thought. Be happy. Radiate. Radiate, you dummy! Birthdays don't matter in the spiritual plane, I retorted to myself. True, I thought back. I wiped a few more tears from directly under my eye. My fingertip was shiny. Salty. I looked back at the screen.
L has been located. Please wait.
"No way," I said out loud. "No freaking way, dude." My cat meowed and jumped up on to the desk. The screen was white. My heart was beating fast, and the backs of my knees were sweating. An ellipsis appeared. My cat and I watched intently as the three dots slowly faded in and out. We were suspended in time and space. We were enraptured. Me, at the the thought of connecting to the spirit of the woman who birthed me. My cat, at the blinking dots. She's a cat, so you know-- cats like that sort of thing.
L: Hi honey!!
L: It's mom! Hi Ju! I can't believe it! You found me! What is this?? $24.99 a month?! Honey!
Me: MOM!!! IS IT REALLY YOU
L: It's really me. Oh honey, I missed you! I love you! I have so much to tell you!
Me: I HAVE SO MUCH TO TELL YOU!
L: Okay, you first. I want to hear everything! Tell me everything.
So I wipe my eyes and my nose, and I begin typing. I begin typing my everything.