Joe & Chris McQuillen
*Note the following excerpt is an exclusive to Natalie from Joe Mcquillen's new book*
He’s always right next to his dad….
On December 17th I was having my first book launch and signing at the Winnetka Community House. We had just published My Search for Christopher on the Other Side. When I say we, I mean myself, my son Chris and the publisher my boy shanghaied to bring our book into print, Lisa Hagan. You see my son drowned in a canoe accident with three of his pals just shy of three years before the event. He was 21 years old at the time. They were fun loving reckless and as far as they knew, bullet proof. But of course they weren’t. I know that because I’m not young. But I was once. It was a perfect storm consisting of too much Corona, layered clothing, timberland boots and a three man canoe on an icy lake.
The following three years were chocked full of mediums, spirit circles and research on anything metaphysical. I wanted to know where he was, I needed to know where he was. And if that place existed I wanted to know how to connect. I needed to know how to….. well you get it.
My journey was nothing short of amazing. I met with mediums who told me things only my son would know. And said them in a way only my son would say them. A year in, I began to connect with Chris through spirit writings. Always on his terms. It always happens at three a.m. I would wake up and feel the urge to contact him. I would walk into my office that was his bedroom in years gone by and we would connect. I would align my chakra, light a candle, burn some sage. One time at three a.m. I lit some sage to help cleanse the room. This one time I was using a large stalk, I mean a big wide fatty of sage. Unfortunately, the sage burned intensely and set off the smoke alarm. So now I only use medium stalks. Note to reader…it’s a good tip.
So the previous years were full of connections. Some intense and spot on and some just ok. But all legit, and it was always Chris coming through. I didn’t start off with a knowing. I had no opinion either way but Chris’ spirit brought me into the fold. I now knew there was another side, and I knew that’s where he was. That’s where all that crossed over are. That’s where we are all going. If it makes you a bit uncomfortable, well get used to it.
So here we are three years later at the book signing with a full house of one hundred and thirty plus people. There were indeed some very special people in attendance. Christopher’s mom, my wife of 27 years, our two kids, Caroline 22 and Will 19, my in laws down from the wilds of Eagle River WI. The room was full of all of our friends. But more important the room was full of all of Chris’ friends. High School friends, College friends, these kids who just wouldn’t let go. These are some of the finest people I know. They literally give Sally and I air to breath with their love and devotion for our boy.
One friend in particular in attendance was Chris’ childhood and then young adulthood girlfriend, Gali. They began dating in Jr High and picked up again when they both ended up in Arizona. Gali living in Scottsdale and Chris working at a ranch near Tombstone, while living in Tucson. The ranch was a therapeutic boarding school and after attending for a year Chris stayed on as staff. The romance rekindled. Not that it ever really unkindled. I would see Gali when I would come out to spend a weekend with Chris. We would head up to a resort in Scottsdale and Gali, and later Chris’ little brother Will would join us. Lounging by the pool, spring training baseball games , golf and steak dinners were the order of the day. It was as close to heaven as I had ever gotten. Their relationship was loving and mature. Gali brought out a tender side in my boy that filled me with pride and love.
As time passed and college loomed the two drifted apart. Hurt feeling and bruised ego replaced the tenderness and they both moved on. Sally and I were heartbroken as we cared so deeply for Gali, but our children make their choices and so they did.
A year or so after they split my boy crossed over to the other side and I started my search. It was gratifying and reassuring but it would never compare to a hug, or an “I love you” said in person. You never get over the loss, you just use better tools to cope. Just under three years from his crossing our dear Gali attended my book signing. Just like she attended the golf outing and concert held in Chris’ honor in September. They had a special song… their song, which we covered as a band and dedicated to her. At songs end there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Including the band members.
The book signing went off without a hitch with the talented Brad Nye performing a few songs including Tears in Heaven by Clapton. I invited a few special mediums to attend and introduced them. One such medium Andrew Anderson had become a pal and I noticed him looking at Gali seated in the crowd. At the conclusion of the evening, Andrew approached her and introduced himself. “I don’t know you but you must be someone very special. I know Joe and Chris, and Chris always stands next to or behind his dad during these events. But he stood next to you the entire evening.” Andrew and Gali chatted and he did indeed do a reading later where Christopher of course came through. The reading is their personal business but it included heartfelt thanks and tender apologies for any youthful missteps.
Like their youthful relationship the meeting was magic, and loving and good.
I of course miss my boy terribly but am grateful for these young adults that fill our lives and our hearts. I am especially grateful to Gali for giving him such joy when he was here.
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