My friend Fran communicated with the dead, and not in a creepy Insidious way.

Our friendship, spanning several decades, which went by lightning fast, was often spent talking about the messages she got from the dead.

Oh, don’t get me wrong! We didn’t only talk about the dead (I’m not talking about the Grateful Dead band here people.). We also talked about life, family, food, everything really. Nothing was off limits. Of course, the most memorable moments were when we talked about her conversations with dead people because let’s face it, not very many people communicate with the spirit world.

She died last month leaving me wondering why I never asked her how I was supposed to talk to her after she died.

Would she talk to me from the great beyond?

Would she send someone alive, so that person could give me messages from her after she died?

Or maybe she was just talked out, and wouldn’t want to communicate with any of us anymore once she was on her way?

Now, I find myself scratching my head and saying, “OK, Fran, now what?” as I am sure most people who knew her will be doing for quite some time.

A Cup of Tea

I met Fran in a most peculiar way.

I was involved with a Newcomers Association in Connecticut; although I don’t practice the art of Feng Shui, (My furniture is put wherever it fits in the room.) I decided, “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun if we had a Feng Shui seminar at my house.” I found someone reasonably certified to hold such a seminar and spread the word.

There was a fairly good crowd for the seminar. Not sure why. It wasn’t very popular back then. I’m not sure it is even that popular now.

The majority of people there were new to the town we lived in, but not everyone. A few people had lived in the small Connecticut town for decades – Fran, for instance.

As I was greeting people for the meeting, Fran walked up to me and said, “Hi, I’m Fran. I’m a medium, but really I’m a small.”


Fran was truly a small in women’s clothing. Far too slender for a medium, yet she was a medium.

Back then, the only thing I knew about mediums was from watching the movie The Sixth Sense and John Edward’s show on TV, but that was about the extent of my knowledge on people who speak to dead people.

I was really shocked that Fran was in my living room introducing herself as a medium.

I can’t remember what drink I was serving that night. Maybe it was ice tea? Maybe coffee? Definitely not Mezcal Tequila. There was no hallucinating going on that night. Yet, there in my living room stood a small lady with a giant story, or two, or three.

Fran tea box

She found me shortly after the meeting started and asked if I had any hot tea, so we walked back into the kitchen. I pulled out a tea box my brother had given me years ago and handed it to her, and she opened the box and found an Echinacea tea bag.

She was overjoyed by this. Why? I don’t know.

I remember her saying, “You had me at Echinacea,” and laughing. Fran was a very very funny lady who loved to laugh and loved to hear other people laugh as well.

That was the beginning of our friendship.

Friendships, in my way of thinking, have a beginning but no middle or end.

A short time after the Feng Shui gathering, Fran called me and told me she was having a Nutrition Meeting at her house, and she would like for me to come to it.

It was just an Echinacea tea bag, but Fran figured that I was interested in nutrition.

She was right. I was very interested in nutrition.

A few days before the Nutrition Meeting at Fran’s, I went to see a chiropractor in Woodstock, New York, which was a two-hour drive through the beautiful New England countryside.

At the time, I had a miscarriage, six months later another miscarriage, and then six months after that Lyme’s disease. I was just getting over the Lyme’s disease. I was really struggling. Everyone struggles in life. When I go through periods of struggle, I tend to remember the people who cross my path and act as a beacon of light.

As you probably already guessed, Fran became a beacon of light.

I hope I can shine that brightly for others in my lifetime.

Oddly enough the chiropractor played a role as well in illuminating my path.

There I am, sitting on the table at the chiropractor’s office and wondering what in the world am I doing here? A friend of mine had suggested Chiropractor Harris might be of help in my quest to regain my health, so I blindly went.

In walks the chiropractor, and after an hour session, out I walk feeling empowered and spiritually connected.


Turns out, Harris was also a Shaman. I didn’t know what being a Shaman meant, but that didn’t matter. He used healing modalities on me that helped me tremendously.

Of course, I wanted to spend an hour every day in his office after that,  but he said to me, “There is a person in the town you live in waiting to help you.”

In my mind, that part was a load of doo-doo.

The Meeting

The next day arrived at Fran’s front doorstep for the Nutrition Meeting.

After being thoroughly confused at what to bring to the meeting, I brought a few boxes of Bancha tea as a hostess gift. I didn’t think I could bring wine or cookies and was really stumped at what to bring to a Nutrition Meeting.

Fran cake

Recovering from Lyme’s disease made me a little sluggish, so it was no surprise when I was a little late to the meeting and set my tea boxes on the kitchen table where there was every dessert known to mankind – cakes, cookies, pies. As you can imagine, I was very confused by the spread.

Following the sound of conversation, I then walked into the dining room where 12 or so ladies sat at the dining room roundtable deep in conversation.

There was an empty chair waiting for me.

My eyes were as wide as saucers, and my mouth hung open in surprise as I listened to the ladies talk about their experiences.

Suddenly the conversation stopped, and all eyes were on me.

Fran introduced me, and the group asked if I was OK.

“I thought this was a Nutrition Meeting,” I stammered.

The group chided Fran saying things like, “Oh Fran, how could you!”

Fran replied, “I had to get her here somehow.”

I never fully understood why she had to get me there.

You see, the meeting was for area psychics, and they were sitting around the table talking about their experiences and the difficulties that come with living everyday life when you are a psychic.

I’m not a connoisseur of psychics, but they sure seemed like the real deal to me, and boy did they have the stories.

That night, I was introduced to a world I didn’t know existed. Fran was a master weaver of people. She was so gifted at bringing folks together, and she wove so many amazing people into my life.

I always thought she would have made a great mayor. She knew everyone in town and never backed down from a challenge.


I imagine mediums don’t all get their messages in the same way. When someone from the great beyond wanted to talk to Fran, the spirit would mess with her electronics. At times, the TV would flicker on and off when a message would be coming in for her. Fran would laugh when she’d tell me about her husband asking her to go get the message so he could watch TV without it flicking on and off.

Other times, she would sit down, with pen in hand, and stream of conscious write. A message would come out of the writing, and it was often her task to try and figure out just who the message was for. You see, it wasn’t always clear. She began calling these messages H-mail, and together we created a logo and business cards for her.

Sometimes, she would call me on the phone with a message, sometimes she would give me the message written in beautiful loopy and curly handwriting. The H-mails were always encouraging – positive.

They were the kind of messages you would hope your loved one would give you when he or she passed on. You know how you might think to yourself, “When that person dies, she won’t be so distracted by that nonsense or have time for hate.” Well, Fran’s H-mail always support the fact that people in the spirit world didn’t hate or get caught up in pettiness.

And, the messages Fran delivered contained information that she couldn’t have known on her own.

Fran candle

She was like a Chaplain, consoling a grieving person with news from the great beyond.

My grandfather died years ago. As he lay dying, I whispered in his ear, “Pop, when you get there, tell me what heaven looks like.”

Fran called me shortly after my grandfather died, not knowing he had passed, and read a message to me or someone I knew ( You know, she never really knew for sure who the message was for.). The message that day started, “The view from where I stand…” and went on to describe paradise.

A Beacon

Most people help others by sending a card or flowers, maybe even by bringing over a casserole. Fran? She would sit in your living room and share with you a message from the spirit world in hopes to bring you peace.

Fran wasn’t defined by the fact that she was a medium or a small. She was a good Catholic and loved her church. She was a devoted mother who raised four beautiful kids who love and support each other. Fran also maintained a loving marriage to her best friend and husband. She was a huge advocate of homeopathic medicine and used a naturopathic doctor for years instead of a medical doctor.

When my daughter was in the ICU, it was Fran that visited me driving three hours to get there. She went door to door and raised money to help pay for my hotel room while my daughter was in the hospital. When Fran was on a mission, nothing could stand in her way. Fran refused to let me repay her and only asked that I pass the money on to someone who one day needed it. I did.

When my daughter was sick, Fran called me every day. Every single day. And, when she couldn’t visit, she set me up with a Jesuit Priest named Jim who visited me at the hospital and prayed over my daughter. How do you put the fear of God in a Jesuit Priest? I don’t know how she did it, but that was Fran. Occasionally, Jim would grumble about Fran owing him $200, and occasionally she would say, “Don’t let him make you think I owe him $200.” Fran’s daughter explained at the funeral that they had a running joke about a missed flight in South Dakota.

Fran taught me the beauty in saying “I love you,” to a friend.

She was such a bright light in life to so many.

Fran road

The Journey Home

I don’t think we can or should be defined by an event in life that takes us away from this world. That thing that kills us – that’s not us. That’s not who we are, and it wasn’t who Fran was either.

Some people die in a day. It took my Pop three months.  It took Fran over three years to transition away from this life.

As much as we would like to, we can’t choose how we die, and I know Fran would not have chosen the path she had to take.

Fran cross walk

The beginning of the end for Fran happened one day nearly five years ago when she was crossing the street heading towards the library. She was in the crosswalk and caught the eye of the young driver who saw Fran and paused. For some reason, with Fran in front of the car, the young woman put her foot on the gas pedal and hit Fran. We can speculate all we want here. Maybe the driver was on her cell phone? She was obviously distracted.

There Fran was lying in the middle of the street, and her husband was at the post office running an errand before he was to walk over to the library to meet Fran. He heard all the commotion and thought, “Wait till I tell Fran about this,” having no idea it was Fran.

I know this because Fran later told me about the events around the accident and laughed at that part. Fran loved to laugh.

The EMS transported Fran to the hospital. She had significant injuries including brain trauma, but she was recovering, partly, I think, because her youngest daughter was pregnant with her first child.

It was a painful recovery and was halted nearly a year later when she fell and hit her head.

I’ve always heard that one of the biggest dangers with a brain injury is hitting your head once more.

That second hit to her head started a decline for Fran from which she was never able to recover.

Her brain was severely damaged.

She said things she didn’t mean. She did things she didn’t mean. All this happening while she slowly died.

Her husband and her family were by her side until the end of her life several years after her fall.

I didn’t know she was in the process of dying when it happened. Her family, like most, huddled together bound by love, struggling with grief, and surrounded her with love as she left this world.


I have been totally honest with you, and am totally honest with this as well, a few days before Fran died, the ceiling lights in our kitchen started blinking. My daughter and her boyfriend were freaked out by it, so of course, I said, “That’s someone from the great beyond trying to communicate with us.”

My husband changed the light bulbs, and those lights stopped blinking. The light over the kitchen table then started to blink on and off just as the kitchen ceiling lights had.

The blinking light stopped when I got the call from Fran’s daughter telling me that Fran had left this world.

Since Fran’s death, I’ve reconnected with some of my old friends in Connecticut. One of them is recovering from breast cancer. I knew this because Fran had told me about it, but I let my old friend talk about her journey becoming cancer free without mentioning that Fran had already told me about it.

As I was talking to my old friend, she mentioned when she was diagnosed with cancer. I asked her to repeat herself because something was off with the date. Way off!

Fran couldn’t have told me because my old friend was diagnosed with cancer after the last time I spoke to Fran. After, when Fran was no longer able to verbally communicate. But, I’m sure Fran did tell me.

“OK, Fran, now what?”

Fran tea