Sometimes the loss of someone can affect us in ways we couldn’t have imagined.
I found out about the passing of a friend a year and a half after the fact. Time flies and all of a sudden it’s five years since our last call. I still can’t believe Fred is no longer with us. Last night I had my first dream with him and his ebullient presence, and I didn’t want the visit to end. When I emailed friends about it, I was told that a few days ago, Nov. 3, was the second anniversary of his passing.
In the six months since I heard the news about Fred, I’ve often been reminded of his absence. People would say, “Keep me posted!” It just makes me think of Fred saying that in his upbeat manner. His “goodbye,” an invitation to call him again.
All I can think of are things I would’ve, should’ve done, to be more open-hearted to a kind person I had the pleasure to cross paths with.
Fred was Adam West’s agent. When we first met, he said, “I have an old name, I have old clients…” He was analog, and from the analog world. His channel selection was SiriusXM channel 7. He was happy in his own 1970s world. I found that so refreshing.
I miss him more because people aren’t that available now, in this robotic world. They choose when to electronically reply back, if at all. And when you leave a voicemail, people don’t call back (even when their outgoing message says they promise will), unlike the analog days of landlines. Being from that world, Fred always answered, and with a smile in his voice. It was something I could count on.
He wasn’t even a close loved one. But this passing hurts. And his loss has made me change the way I live forever. It’s been a big lesson in leaving nothing left unsaid. No stone here unturned.
It doesn’t matter how someone signs off – we all choose and agree to the way we sign off in this life – we choose agree to how we sign off in our soul contracts when we choose our life paths. And it didn’t matter that Fred smoked cigars, and I would hear later he said he had himself to blame when it was cancer. I can be angry that cancer got him, and waste my own energy of the here and now, at what is fact, or think I should’ve said something about his smoking (to make myself feel better now, since he wouldn’t have listened), but the fact doesn’t change that he signed off. And I had stuff left unsaid, unbeknownst to me until it was too late.
Something as simple as telling Fred he was special – just for being open, inviting me to sit by his beloved pool to soak in the sun, letting me call any time of night (we were night owls), when he taught me games to play like “Password” on the phone. Who answers the phone now? Let alone any time of night.
His passing is also a lesson to be kinder. Fred was kind and generous with his words. I’ve only just now realized it going through his emails years after he sent them – “How do you look? Still stunning?” It had been a long time since I saw him when he wrote that. I replied that I had two wrinkles on my forehead and was staying out of the sun, I was upset I had to remove a freckle I got by his pool. No one ever called me “stunning” before. I realized that when I saw the email. Had I known he would not see old age like his legendary clients, I would’ve gone back to the pool and not worried about the sun.
I used to tell friends Fred wasn’t deep. But I always knew he lived life the correct way. He visited the elderly (I recall him visiting Rose Marie on a Saturday night) and helped those in need.
In one of our late night calls, I blurted out, “Fred, you’re not deep!” I can never take that back. I’ve only just now realized how deep he was. From the beginning, Fred urged me to listen to “Coast to Coast.” Our last conversation was when I told him Art Bell was starting on SiriusXM. I never got to tell him later that I did get hooked on the show.
After I lost my mom, she’d click on my landline and people would always think it was Call Waiting. She did it when I was on the phone with a good friend, and almost always did it on the phone with Fred. I used to wonder why, since I thought he wasn’t deep. It tickled him when she did that. He’d always ask, “I don’t hear your mom!” She eventually did clicked. How couldn’t I have seen he was deep? In his email years later, when I hadn’t seen him, he asked, “Has your Mom been contacting you, via the phone? Or, only with me? Let me know.” I replied, “Just once, she clicked with my friend.” He liked the exclusivity, “Your Mom clicked with me and your friend.”
After I first heard he passed, when I typed a word to search my emails for work, Fred’s old emails popped up randomly. He launched songs on my iPad, after I cried about him. In the wee hours of night, after crying about my regrets, I opened up a box that sat for years in one spot, to see if there was anything about him, like a journal I might’ve kept. Right on top was a folder, with red marker, it said: “Adam West for K.” Photos of Adam. Inside he wrote, “640 AM KFI 10 p.m. – 5 a.m. Coast to Coast Art Bell.” I’d forgotten about that.
Synchronicities. Signs. That’s all we get now when they leave us.
I do readings when I’m not writing. Last week when I was on the longest running dedication show on radio, I wished I could tell him. And in our last call, I said I was on the radio doing readings, not wanting to say it was the station his favorite show was on. He would’ve gotten a kick out of it. I also didn’t connect that he loved when my mom clicked. But back then I didn’t really share about this gift I have with him. He knows now. The irony of it all, now.
When I first found out the belated news, I reached out to a friend, desperate to connect to someone connected to him. I said I regretted not telling Fred the type of readings I do now, “It’s easier if I do a reading format, where I’m the third party and able to get messages more clearly.” He came through to us for almost two hours.
We come here to accomplish spiritual goals in the human experience, such as simply playing a role for someone to help carve their life story, or experiencing things on a human level. And we have certain themes we choose and learn from. He said one of the things he did was to show that people can be family and not be related by blood. When he said that, I thought of how some friends seemed like siblings, and he was warm and open to people beyond status or boundaries.
The flip side is also true. When you’re related by blood, the same DNA doesn’t matter on what a person’s spiritual life path is about. It can also be a hindrance, or a role play for someone else, or just a matter of human fact and part of someone’s story here, but not spiritually significant on why they chose this life. It’s especially not significant on the Other Side, where it doesn’t matter at all whether we were related by blood or not. Too often, we’re mired in human issues, instead of rising above to spiritual lessons, the reason why our souls chose to walk through that in the first place.
Another lesson from Fred’s passing, is to not compare, but to accept those in front of us offering a gift – whether it’s their presence, acceptance, kindness, or being there on the other end of the phone when we need a friendly voice in in a cold world. To embrace wonderful, like-minded souls we connect with in this brief time we’re given. I’m consciously trying to do that now, thanks to Fred. A teacher after he’s gone. More deep than I could’ve imagined.
Hearing the kindnesses he did for others is another legacy Fred left. Someone had to sell furniture to pay bills, and Fred happened to know someone who needed furniture. The person later thought Fred paid for it.
We need more people like Fred. These unique gems – people who march to their own tune, creating their own path, forging straight ahead, not caring or looking at the paths others are taking, virtually, or in real life. He’s someone who could care less that people take photos of a banal cup of coffee to share with the world. Fred lived his own life. He was happily oblivious and yet so present.
When we cross over, that is all we have to answer for – how we lived our lives. Not how other’s lived.
At Fred’s memorial, someone said he didn’t realize how much he loved Fred until now. I echoed that a year and a half too late and have been for the rest of this year since. When we lose someone, the only thing we can do is be grateful for what time we did have with them (and not lament about how they passed), and remember to say things that won’t be left unsaid someday down the road, a year and a half too late.
Besides the love they leave, the good they did is also what remains. A friend shared this quote after my endless emails of regrets about Fred and his musical songs as signs on my iPad, “Keep your departed loved one alive through you by adopting their best qualities as part of you for the rest of your life.”
If only I knew how little time we’d have when I met Fred – that day, just the two of us sitting in a tiny courtyard of a restaurant in Burbank, chosen so he could sit outside for lunch, as he occasionally looked up with his sunglasses to smile at the sun, his signature look in my mind now – I would’ve cherished every phone call, every interaction, and not grumbled about sitting in the sun.
I would have been more present. Lessons learned. Thank you, dear Fred.