Searching for Confirmation
Friends of Zachary,
Since Zachary’s passing, our family has been searching for “confirmation” that he is still with us in spirit. We look for signs and evidence that he is still here. More importantly, we look for answers to unanswered questions and confirmation that he is happy and safe. In looking for closure, many seek out mediums or spiritual guides who claim they can connect with loved ones’ “energy” and share afterlife visions in an effort to provide comfort and answers to families. We recently invited Lynn Van Praagh-Gratton, a highly respected medium, into our home to perform a “reading” for us. Like many famous mediums such as John Edward and Theresa Caputo, Ms. Van Praagh-Gratton speaks all over the world, “reading” large and small groups and individuals.
While I was the biggest skeptic and non-believer in the afterlife and spirits walking among us, after the reading I was surprised to find myself believing that Lynn in fact did have some type of connection and that Zachary is among us.
Being a skeptic, I was careful to make sure we removed items that could indicate why we contacted her. We removed pictures, art, bracelets and cancer related materials that may have provided hints about our story. We were confident there was very little evidence. Although we were greeted with open arms, we made sure our interaction was minimal, focused and unanimated. We did not want our body language or tone to indicate who we lost. We were statues in our own house.
Nothing was off limits; we could ask anything. Lynn was very eager to make sure we had all of our questions answered and provide as detailed a response as possible. She began with a deep and almost immediate connection to Zachary. She felt his presence. Lynn immediately laughed as she pointed out how energetic, funny and a comedian Zachary was. Many of his traits emerged, including that he was loving, happy, looking to seek my approval and wishing for his mother to laugh and smile more.
As the evening progressed, we were drawn into the belief that he was in our presence. “He talked” about Josh, either a schoolmate or co-defender on the Lynbrook Spartans. He indicated his great grandmother Miriam helped him cross over to the other side. There was confirmation about his amazing spirit and his devotion to his brother Matthew and his love for the game of soccer and sports. His connection to the Yankee’s and the signed baseballs in his room was brought forth. We were told he loves his room and wants to be sure we keep it exactly as it is. Several specific family and friend names were mentioned throughout the night and we made simple connections to his life. We were cautious not to make distant connections. Specifically, we heard about the “Big B”. “Who is the big B?” Lynn asked. Through additional hints, “someone very close”, “a buddy”, “a mentor”…She then said the name, Bill. Clearly, this was Billy Belmont. Another reference was “Sol, no…Sal…yes Sal.” We immediately drew the connection to Sal Cimato who is generously creating a memorial garden at Lynbrook South Middle School.
Lynn mentioned Marty (Grandpa Marty) and Zach’s bond with him. She also referred to “upstate” which is where we occasionally traveled to visit his aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. Similar references were made about “someone” who lives in Florida and always wears baseball hats. We saw the connection to Grandpa Jeff. Lynn also acknowledged that in his final moments, Deena, Matthew, Molly and myself were with him. The last connection I would like to highlight is when Lynn said “Tell me about the plaque”.
That morning, before the reading, I called the Lynbrook Village for a referral to a plaque maker so that I could order one for the garden. I was connected to Custom Awards, a local retailer in Rockville Center. I spoke with the owner, Brian, who directed me to some of their work online. I looked through a listing of images. As I got to image #30, I saw the plaque: ZACK BERNSTEIN, Died June 29th, 2013. As you can imagine, I fell of my chair when I saw this. I questioned the owner until I was convinced this was a real plaque. It was intriguing that Lynn was able to make the connection to the significance of the plaque during the reading.
Throughout the reading, mention was made of karate, Deena’s broken necklace with the kids names imprinted on medallions, and Zachary’s creativity. She indicated that he would like to have the necklace worn and for Deena laugh more.
The final question I asked was ”what was he buried in?” She said “his uniform.” She was correct.
Though I was a skeptic, I went into this with an open mind. I am a person of fact. If I don’t see or feel it, it doesn’t exist. I question that many of the connections she made may have been taken from the giveforward site. BUT, I can’t ignore the connection and accuracy between a broken necklace, the plaque and the uniform wore when he was buried. There was no evidence of this anywhere.
The goal of the reading was to make a connection between my family in the physical world and Zachary in spirit. We hoped to gain insight and some comfort that Zachary is ok and smiling down upon us. He knows he is loved and we know he is watching over his brother and family. I take great comfort in believing that something did happen spiritually. Whether you believe the reading was real or not, my mind was opened to the possibility that connecting with Zachary could actually have happened. I am not easily impressed but hearing her and making these connections was enough for me.
I’m not suggesting there was 100% confirmation. What I am saying is that it made me feel that my son is ok and at peace. I will continue to search for meaning in this horrible tragedy and honor my son as though he is by my side. At the end of the day…hope, belief, strength and love is all you have.
Yesterday is gone, live for today, let tomorrow be your inspiration and future.
Wishing everyone a wonderful Memorial Day.
Our sincerest appreciation,
Deena, David, Matthew, (Zachary), Molly.
“It Takes A Village”