I ran into my father's doppelgänger
at a truck stop in New Mexico. He was sitting in a booth, alone, hovering over his plate, spooning scrambled eggs into his mouth and slurping coffee.
My father has been dead since the last day of April, 2023. Before dying, he warned me that he'd haunt me. He's a man of his word.
Now, I have been likened, on more than one occasion, to a Valkyrie. And I like that. That particular Saturday morning, my warrior spirit, eluded me as I fled the diner.
My friend, who knew my father, stared at his double or twin in disbelief. She felt compelled to take a photograph of the man, because, she said: “No one would believe this if we told them.” I couldn't bring myself to continue to look at the familiar old man nor at the photograph. Instead, I looked away and did something I hadn't done till now: I immediately started to pray for his soul.
I believe the dead call to us. I believe they do so because they need our prayers. They need our prayers like the living need food and water. They're constantly competing for our attention.
The job of the living is to be watchful! We must pay attention to the signs: A songbird your wife once adored, the scent of your grandmother's heady perfume, an ice cream truck's chimes echoing your mother's favorite nursery rhyme – the one she hummed in your ear as a child while rocking you in her arms to sleep. These unexpected signs are ways the dead signal us to pray for them.
My father, who was a card carrying "non-believer", never asked me for anything. Today, because I believe, and because I am watchful, I pray for his lost soul.