These poems were written five years ago to my special Aunt Natalie as she lay dying.  I am posting them today in remembrance of her and of my good friend Beth’s mother, Marcia, who just passed away a week ago.  It is a reminder to take advantage of every moment you have with the ones you love; to hold those moments in your heart, and to have no regrets.


Today I said goodbye

as I held your hand

and looked upon your withered body;

the last of your essence had already slipped away,

your labored breathing like a weight upon my heart.

You were a given; an unquestioned part of my life,

your love always there, as a mother’s.

Today I said goodbye, the final chapter closed.

Now you will be a memory

to which I will return again and again.

Your sweet voice, warm hands and smile,

long conversations, borrowed jewelry,

family secrets, everything just so.

Salmon and potatoes, peas and soy milk,

chocolate muffin quartered, soft sheets

and tender words.

These things I will always remember.


One by one before us I have seen those of the other generation

lose their place in our world to be buried beneath the earth.

One by one before us aunts, uncles, fathers passing away suddenly

or lingering and withering away day by day

to bare bones and soul.

What will be left of their lives and memories?

Will we remember their stories that we carelessly shrugged off

when our last loved one dies?

I will remember you in my heart

and carry your memory to my children

and write your stories down for the ages

as our family changes and adjusts

And I promise your life will never be forgotten.



My father’s last dream precipitated the two final entries in his notarized document written on November 4, 1975.  They are:

“1.      I will be reborn on April 30, 1993.

2.         On May 3, 2001, late in the afternoon my home will be visited by one woman and two men.  One of the men will be full-bearded.  I do not know who these two men will be.  I do know that the woman will be Amy Swartz or whatever her married name will be.  Her visit will be pre-planned at this time (November 4, 1975) with me.  I will have the ability to recognize her at the time of her visit but I will not know how until and/or if she chooses to explain to my parents and/or me about this reincarnation which will be the purpose of this visit. This item will occur some eight years after the original opening of this statement and will further substantiate the above facts.”


My dad and I had had a love/hate relationship when I was in my teens.  He was my “enforcer”, my “grounder”, uncovering every lie and mistake I had ever made.   I had been focused on my social life when I should have been getting better grades.  At that time there was such a sense of not knowing who I was and where I was meant to fit into the world.  When I dropped out of college after a year, depressed and lonely, my father was the person who kicked me up off my butt which had been firmly planted on the sofa in front of the television.  He found a job in the local paper and forced me to make a phone call to set up an interview. Shockingly, they hired me!  That job began my metamorphosis from a self-loathing slug to a happy, fulfilled person with a growing sense of self esteem.  In some ways I saw my father as my savior.  When he took me as his assistant in the search for answers to his past life, it was the cherry on top of my sundae.  Soon after I took that job that my dad’s dreams began.

During that time my parents went on a sightseeing trip to Washington, DC.  After their arrival they began to visit the local attractions — the Smithsonian, the Capital building, the White House…and the Arlington National Cemetery.  They were just inside the gate at the information booth, when they heard a family asking for the location of some one’s grave.  Minutes later the family was handed a computerized map indicating the exact spot of the grave site they were seeking.  My mom and dad made their way into the cemetery, excited to be able to look upon the places where famous military dignitaries were buried.  After a short time my dad told my mother that he needed to do something and asked her to wait for a little while.  He walked away and left her standing at the JFK burial plot.  My mom waited…and waited…starting to get a little bit worried.  Finally my father came back looking like a ghost; pale, shaken and almost unable to speak.  While my mom tried to find out what was wrong he handed her a piece of paper.  It was a computerized printout of the cemetery, and there, in Plot #885, was listed the grave of “Jeremy W. Porter!”

My dad brought this information home to me and we discussed whether or not the grave was an empty one used to mark a missing soldier (Jeremy was listed as Missing in Action after being sent to Charny, France) or if there could have been another person with the same name. He seemed too agitated and upset at that time to investigate further and we put it on hold, not wanting to give his heart more stress than it could handle.

After that the dreams seemed to abruptly stop and eventually his stories became “party talk” or something cool that other family members brought up.  It wasn’t until his death that reincarnation became a recurring thought in my head that wouldn’t go away.


My dad died suddenly on April 8, 1987, twelve years after writing about his future rebirth in 1993.  It was the first time I had confronted the death of some one so dear to me.  It was devastating to be unable to say goodbye to some one I loved so much.  Even though I had the hope of reconnecting with a reincarnated version of him at a later date it did nothing to assuage my sadness and pain.

Hans Holzer was a famous paranormal researcher and author, living in New York City, who wrote over 100 books on the supernatural and the occult subjects for the popular market.  A short time after my dad’s death I sent Mr. Holzer an outline of my father’s story.  I wanted an opinion and some advice from a true expert but I really did not expect to hear back from him.  About two weeks later the phone rang and it was Mr. Holzer, asking me to come to New York and to bring my father’s papers with me; he was very intrigued!

Nervous and anxious about what to expect, I brought along my mother and husband for their moral support.  It was a long drive.  We finally arrived at Mr. Holzer’s home in NYC and rang the doorbell.    The person who opened the door was an older man with a receding hairline and a kind face.  Hans offered us tea, sat us down and got right down to business, asking me to tell him my father’s story in my own words. It was not an easy task; my dad had just died and I was very emotional.  Hans was understanding and let me take my time as he handed me Kleenex to dry my eyes.  Having written so many books about the paranormal he was extremely knowledgeable on the subject of reincarnation and made us feel as though what my dad had experienced was interesting, thought provoking and worthy of his time.

When I finished the story Hans sat for a few minutes thinking things over.  He then made his offer.   He would give me full use of his research team to corroborate the dreams and assist in the writing process but he wanted ME to be the author of the book! That was something that I had never considered.  I wasn’t a writer and didn’t know where to start.  The wound of sadness over my dad’s recent death was too raw and I didn’t know if I could tackle something so huge; it would sap all of my emotional strength.  We thanked him for his time and I told him I would think about his  generous offer.  The trip back home was quiet, each with our own thoughts about what should happen next.

When I got back home I needed the time to mourn.  I was so sad and worried about my mother.  I couldn’t think about anything but making sure that she was okay.  Life went on, eventually I got pregnant with twins, and any thought I might have entertained about writing a story or book about my dad’s reincarnation didn’t enter my head again for many years.  Mr. Holzer called me once to find out what I had decided to do.  He understood when I told him I just couldn’t do it and kindly told me to call him if I ever changed my mind.

I never did change my mind until now, thirty plus years later.


On April 30, 1993 I picked up the phone and dialed the Cincinnati University Medical Center to find out if a Michael Perrone had been born to a couple by the name of Joseph and Chris Perrone.

There was no record of his birth. I tried the next day and the next day and the day after that.

According to my dad I was supposed to visit him (Michael Perrone) on May 1, 2001 accompanied by two men.  That day came and went like any other day.  Over the years I have tried to find Michael on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn …every tool I can think of…but I have had no luck.

I have asked myself the same questions over and over again.  What if my dad had one small piece of his dream mixed up?  What if Michael was born in a different city or on a different date? What if one important letter in his name was wrong?

And then…was all of this really real?

My dad was somewhat eccentric and loved to stir things up.  Could this all have been an incredibly elaborate hoax? And what about all those letters we wrote and the letters we received back from the living relatives of the Porter and Martin families in South Carolina? What about the funny Slavic language he had written in the middle of the night after one of his dreams?  Were all those stories made up?  It would have taken my dad months or even years to come up with something so layered, so textured, so interesting.

I may never know the answers to these questions but I can say wholeheartedly, and without any doubt, that it has truly been an incredible ride.

Thank you, Dad.

Mom and Dad at my wedding; two weeks before he died.